Warning: Here be rude words and double entendres.
Let’s take a quick pause from the saga to reflect upon one of the qualities for which the English are most admired around the globe: silly names. What a delight it is to pore over a minutely detailed Ordnance Survey map, counting the ‘bottoms’ and ‘heads’, or to walk into a bakery and ask if they have any knobs. Just in the tiny stretch of this tiny county that I covered in my travels, I found quite a rich sampling to share with you.
Some names are more cute than rude, but can still bring enjoyment. The town of Beer, for example, which has so far failed to take advantage of the enormous tourism potential in its name. Black Head isn’t bad. Studland, fittingly, has a nude beach. The Spittles, a beach connecting Charmouth and Lyme Regis, will get you smiling indulgently, but you could still talk about it with your grandmother.
I mentioned earlier that my ancestors had come from a place called Puddletown, so-called because it’s a town on the River Puddle. I’ve been told by a reliable local source that the river was originally named the Piddle, and that Puddletown was accordingly named Piddletown. In preparation for a visit by the humourless Queen Victoria, the people of Dorset (tragically) had to clean up a few of their place names lest they shock the monarch. One such victim was the poor Piddle (though there is a local brewery called Piddle, so they remain in touch with their heritage).
You’re absolutely spoiled for bottoms along the way. Seacombe Bottom, Middle Bottom, and my very favourite, Scratchy Bottom. This is, in fact, a beautiful spot, and I recommend that anyone in the area budget some time to look at Scratchy Bottom up close.
In Morecombelake, I spent the night within view of Butt Farm and what I assume is its affiliate, Right Bottom. This must be a local strength, because the very next night, in Colyton, I was one street over from The Butts. A couple more favourites for you:
It wasn’t just the place names, either. A local delicacy is the Dorset Knob, for example, which I have sampled and am sorry to say I don’t like. I’m a huge fan of clotted cream, however, and have already claimed that as my porn name (Dorset Knob, as far as I know, is still up for grabs).
Last but by no means least, I’m informed by another reliable source that the local term for the shale on their beaches is clittage.