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Dorchester BID Launches Dorset Dialect Trails

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015

Dorset dialect header strip of 3 plates.Words from Dorset’s past have been unveiled on a series of new trails launched in County Town by the Dorchester BID (Business Improvement District).

Plate in Number 35 cafe with owner Toby.
Plate in Number 35 cafe with owner Toby.

43 unique Dorset Dialect ‘plate clocks’ have been positioned around the county town to create six different themed trails. They are in a variety of different shops and other locations dotted around the town. These clocks are ‘markers’ that contain a unique ancient Dorset word taken from ‘A Glossary of Dorset Dialect’ compiled by William Barnes in 1863.

The plates also have other elements including images of some of the town’s architecture and anonymous memories of Dorchester gathered as part of the project from local residents and visitors to town. The participating shops and other locations all have ‘word definition tags’ to hand out to the trail hunters so that you can collect a full set of words with their fascinating meanings.

Each clock contains an embedded code that when scanned by a smartphone will direct you to which has information about the project, including all the glossary and maps.

Maps for the trails are available in the Tourist Information Centre and around town from the start of half term week. The six trails to look out for are;

  1. Nature,
  2. Food & Drink,
  3. Street Language,
  4. Art & Literature,
  5. Body & Mind
  6. and Haunted History.

To make it a little more exciting, in conjunction with the designers of the plate clocks Parasite Ceramics, a limited edition set of William Barnes playing cards have been developed which depict all the words used in the trails.

Close up of blue clock
Close up of blue clock.

The first 25 trail hunters who successfully collect a full set of tags and return them to the DBID office will get a limited edition set of playing cards worth £7.99. Once you have a complete set of 43 word definition tags, post them to ‘DBID Trails’ 49 High West Street Dorchester DT1 1UT

Include your full contact details and a cheque for £4.99. If you are one of the first 25 you will get a pack of the limited edition cards and your cheque returned.

Phil Gordon, Project Director commented “I want to give a special thank you to the support that we have had from both the William Barnes society and also the County Museum who kindly supplied the images of William Barnes for the cards. I really hope that locals and visitors alike will enjoy re-discovering the ancient Dorset dialect (featured recently on TV when Richard Wilson visited Dorchester) and in the process, they might discover one or two parts of town that they have not seen for a while. The playing cards are a great prize but if any shops around town would like to sell them, they will soon be available to them too”.

For more information on the project please visit our Walking Trails pages.

Three Dorset Dialect plates illustrations.
There are 43 plates located in shops around Dorchester.

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