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West Dorset District

Shown within Dorsetmarker

Status: District
Region: South West England
Admin. County: Dorsetmarker
- Total
1,081.48 km²
Admin. HQ: Dorchestermarker
ONS code: 19UH
- Total ( )
- Density


/ km²

Ethnicity: 98.7% White

West Dorset District Council

Leadership: Leader & Cabinet
MPs: Jim Knight, Oliver Letwin
West Dorset is a local government district and parliamentarymarker constituency in Dorsetmarker, Englandmarker. Its council is based in Dorchestermarker. The district was formed on 1 April 1974, under the Local Government Act 1972, and was a merger of the boroughs of Bridportmarker, Dorchestermarker and Lyme Regismarker, along with Sherbornemarker urban district, and the rural districts of Beaminster, Bridport, Dorchester and Sherborne.


In the Census 2001 West Dorset registered a population of 92,350, estimated to be 94,000 . The population structure reflects the rural nature of the district. 52% of the population are female. The area is a popular retirement area which also exports young people due the low choice of career options. This is reflected in the age structure, with 12.3% of the population over 75, compared to 7.5% in England; 51.7% are between 15 and 59, compared to 59.1% in England. 34.4% of dwellings are pensioner households, compared to 23.8% in England.

The district is an extreme example of the low ethnic minority populations in rural areas, with 96.7% white British ethnicity, compared to 87.0% in England.

The district has a high level of car ownership, at 83.1% of households compared to 73.2% in England.


West Dorset is a county constituency, currently represented in the British House of Commonsmarker by the Conservative front-bencher Oliver Letwin. Elections in this constituency are usually a two party contest between the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties. It is almost identical in area with the West Dorset district, but a very small part of West Dorset District lies within the South Dorsetmarker county constituency, currently represented in the British House of Commonsmarker by the Labour member Jim Knight.


The main settlements in West Dorset are Dorchestermarker, the county town of Dorset, in the south of the district, an important settlement since Roman times. In the north of the district Sherbornemarker is an important market town which was, for a time, the capital of Wessexmarker. Lyme Regismarker and Bridportmarker are tourist towns on the Jurassic Coastmarker in the south of the district.

Settlements with a population over 2,500 are in 'bold.

Places of interest

See also

External links

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