THE AIM of this site is to show West Dorset as it really is. The area is often seen as a backwater, but it’s not. It is often seen as stuck in the past, but it’s not. West Dorset is one of the most exciting parts of the country, experiencing already what the rest of Britain is still only expecting.

Here are three of the reasons why:

  1. Britain is going to have an increasingly aged population; West Dorset already has. 
  2. Britain is going to endure years of reduced public spending; West Dorset already knows what it’s like to face years of low Government funding. 
  3. Britain is going to have to encourage small businesses and creative enterprises sensitive to their surroundings; these are already the main drivers of West Dorset’s economy.

So West Dorset is a kind of future lab – and this website is an experimental venture. Come back often, and you can watch it evolve. Its content and its structure will change in ways that can’t now be predicted – but its guiding principles will stay the same.   

  1. This site is about the main talking points of life in West Dorset; the issues, the developments, the people. 
  2. It’s about how we got to be where we are, and how we can shape our own futures.
  3. It’s about what makes life in West Dorset interesting and not quite like anywhere else: small things seen or heard, felt or fancied, done or created, eaten or drunk, enjoyed or not. 

What’s really going on in West Dorset? The aim of this site is to find out and tell you.


Finding things out means using all the traditional techniques of reporting (such as talking to people, going to meetings, reading documents) and it means using the phenomenal modern resources of the internet.

There will be links to other online media, to highlight material that readers might otherwise miss; thoughtful engagements with social media like Twitter; properly-acknowledged excerpts from publications like parish magazines that cannot be found on the web; and reviews of books and booklets, films and programmes, about West Dorset.

Writers for this site will strive to be accurate, open and transparent. For example, it’s not always possible for reporters to find out everything they want to. Real West Dorset will spotlight some questions left unanswered. That way, everyone involved may better understand where an investigation or a story is heading. It may be that you know the answer to a question… If you do, please share it.

Real West Dorset is aiming to become a community resource, a place where people can band together to help each other achieve what’s important to them.

Who runs it?

The publisher and editor is Jonathan Hudston, who has lived in West Dorset since 1993 and worked as a journalist for more than 20 years. You can contact him at  

Who reads it?

Everybody who’s interested in life in West Dorset: people who’ve lived here all their lives, newcomers, workers, visitors, people who lived here once and miss it.

Put another way: Real West Dorset aims to be creative, curious, amusing, lively, eye-opening, thought-provoking, useful, informative, contextualising, analytical, pleasurable, compendious. You get the idea!  

Can I join in?

Please do. Write pieces, make comments, send tips for stories, ask questions you’d like to see answered.

Authors and photographers contributing so far have included Elly Edwards, The Red Bladder, Margaret Rose, Tim Harrap, Andrew Leppard, Leon Edwards, Horatio Morpurgo, Trevor Bevins and Vince O’Farrell.  

If you spot something that’s wrong, please get in touch. Mistakes will be acknowledged and corrected on the Unreal page of this website.   

How often is it updated?

As often as possible. There’s no reason in the 21st century why West Dorset news should only be published online on the same days that local newspapers come out.   

Can I advertise on Real West Dorset?

Not yet. The site needs to grow more before any hard-earned cash changes hands. But if you’re interested in future possibilities, some of them unusual, please contact