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Dorset is a county in South West England on the English Channel coast. Between its extreme points Dorset measures 80 kilometres (50 mi) from east to west and 64 km (40 mi) north to south, with an area of 2,652 square kilometres (1,024 sq mi). Dorset borders Devon to the west, Somerset to the north-west, Wiltshire to the north-east, and Hampshire to the east. Around half of Dorset's population lives in the South East Dorset conurbation. The rest of the county is rural with a lower population density than in the conurbation. Dorset is famous for its coastline, the Jurassic Coast, which features landforms such as Lulworth Cove, the Isle of Portland, Chesil Beach and Durdle Door, as well as the holiday resorts of Bournemouth, Poole, Weymouth, Swanage, and Lyme Regis. Dorset is the setting of the novels of Thomas Hardy, who was born near Dorchester. The county has a long history of human settlement and some notable archaeology, including the hill forts of Maiden Castle and Hod Hill.
Weymouth is a town in Dorset, England, situated on a sheltered bay at the mouth of the River Wey on the English Channel coast. The town is 13 kilometres (8 mi) south of Dorchester and 8 kilometres (5 mi) north of the Isle of Portland. The population of Weymouth is almost 52,000. The A354 road bridge connects Weymouth to Portland, which together form the borough of Weymouth and Portland. The history of the borough stretches back to the 12th century; including involvement in the Black Death, the settlement of the Americas, the Georgian era, and World War II. Although fishing and trading employ fewer people in the area since their peak in earlier centuries, tourism has had a strong presence in the town since the 18th century. Weymouth is a popular tourist resort, and the town's economy depends on its harbour and visitor attractions. Weymouth is a gateway town situated half-way along the Jurassic Coast, a World Heritage Site on the Dorset and east Devon coast, important for its geology and landforms. Weymouth Harbour is home to cross-channel ferries, pleasure boats and private yachts, and nearby Portland Harbour is home to the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy, where the sailing events of the 2012 Olympic Games will be held.
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