Dorset is a county in South West England on the English Channel coast. The county town has been Dorchester since at least 1305, situated in the south of the county. Between its extreme points Dorset measures 80 kilometres (50 mi) from east to west and 64 km (40 mi) north to south, and has an area of 2,653 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 largely rural with a low population density. Dorset's motto is 'Who's Afear'd'.
Dorset is famous for the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site, 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 principal 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.