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Fun Facts about Dorset, from the Naga Chilli to the Jurassic Coast
Two fun road facts
To start off let’s begin with two fun road facts (come on, is there any other kind?).
The first is that the most bendy road in Britain is located in Dorset; a 1.5km stretch at Cann Common - so maybe check your tyre treads before tackling it.
The other fascinating infrastructure titbit is that there are only 5 counties in England that don’t have a motorway, and Dorset is included in that illustrious list. So they’ll be no Sunday Drivers annoyingly hogging the middle lane in this county.
Fan of the hot stuff? Love a bit of spice?
Then you’ll certainly want to try one of the legendary Dorset Naga chillis; it’s a substrain of the Bhut Jolokia, which is also known as the ghost pepper, U-morok, or red naga.
The Dorset Naga is grown here and and is counted among the hottest chillis in the world. With an average score of 923,000 Scoville Heat Units, it’s roughly 400 times hotter than Tabasco Sauce and so fiery that protective gloves and a bodysuit have to be worn just to handle it! Actually, we were lying about the bodysuit, but the gloves bit is true.
Be sure to pack extra toilet roll (and maybe a fire extinguisher) if you plan on sampling one during your visit.
The oldest post box in England
The oldest post box in England (and still in use today) can be found in Holwell, a picturesque village in Dorset. Commissioned way back in 1853 (making it 166 years old for those who can’t find the calculator app on their phone), this is a rightly revered piece of postal history. It even has Queen Victoria’s initials inscribed in the casing, though rumours that she used it to post a saucy postcard to Prince Albert are so far completely unfounded.
She sells sea-shells
Have you ever read (or more likely failed to read out loud) the classic tongue-twisty poem composed by Terry Sullivan?
“She sells sea-shells on the sea-shore.
The shells she sells are sea-shells, I’m sure.
For if she sells sea-shells on the sea-shore
Then I’m sure she sells seashore shells.”
Well, this particular mouth garbler can trace its roots right back to Dorset and is believed to be based on fossil-lover and palaeontologist Mary Anning, a famous historical figure from Lyme Regis, whose life work (and local shop selling fossils and other rock-based trinkets) was the inspiration. She also discovered several dinosaur skeletons and was regularly consulted in the 1800s due to her specialist knowledge in geology. Scandalously, being a woman, she was never accepted into the “Geological Society of London” and she did not always receive full recognition for her scientific contributions.
Mary Anning, we s(h)alute you!
The Celtic translation for “Dorseteschire” apparently means “the place of fisticuffs”. We don’t know the meaning behind that, perhaps they were fond of a gentlemanly boxing match back in the day.
The Jurassic Coast
The Jurassic Coast was the first natural site in England to make it onto UNESCO’s World Heritage list, while Poole Harbour is the largest natural harbour in Britain (and second in the world only to Sydney in Australia) and was formed during the Ice Age.
Bournemouth serves up more than 2,000 ice creams a day – we’re guessing that this is an average figure over the year. They probably don’t sell that many in November, right?
Millenials might not have a clue what we are referring to, but Gold Hill in Shaftesbury was immortalised by TV Ads for Hovis bread which ran during the early 70s. It’s the one where a delivery boy is seen pushing a bike up the steeply cobbled street to do his deliveries, then free-wheeling all the way down. Remarkably this advert was shot by a young up-and-coming director called Ridley Scott, who later went on to helm masterpieces like "Alien", "Bladerunner", "The Martian" and "Gladiator".
Brownsea Island is a Dorset nature reserve, but is also acknowledged as the place that Scouting was started in 1907 by Lord Baden-Powell. So Dib Dob Dib.
We hope you enjoyed our Fun Facts round up. There’s lot’s more to discover if you choose to visit Dorset and its beautiful surrounding areas.
With so much to do in Dorset, it's no wonder that Sandhills is one of our most beloved caravan parks. Not only do you have a fantastic beach within easy reach of the park itself, but a short drive will take you to busy, urban Bournemouth, or the quiet, idyllic New Forest, or to historic Christchurch.
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