Title: Lesser Known Lyme Regis 
Author: Joanna Smith
RRP: £11.99
Sale Price: £9.99
Publication date: 11 Aug 2014
Format: 234 x 156 mm
Number of pages: 160
ISBN: 9781906651-244
Illustartions:  155
Maps:  7

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A contemporary look at Lyme Regis, highlighting the local people and places that make the town special.

This book offers a close-up view of the town, past and present. It contains quotes from local people and surprising details that many visitors and even residents often miss, creating a unique picture of Lyme. With walks suitable for all ages, the guide can be used to explore the streets and discover all kinds of unusual facts. The third in the Lesser Known guidebooks series, this essential practical guide is for anyone who wants to fully appreciate Lyme Regis, ‘the Pearl of Dorset’.

Local interest ... How is Lyme’s boat building heritage kept alive?
Local people ... Where can you watch a miller at work?
Arts ... What mark has the artist Banksy left on the town?
Intrigue ... Where might you come across a ghostly canine?
Nature ... What has Europe’s biggest active landslide revealed?
Fossil hunting ... Where is the Ammonite Graveyard?
Characters ... Was it really Meryl Streep standing at the end of the Cobb?
Local history ... Where were Monmouth’s followers hung, drawn and quartered?


Lesser Known Lyme Regis is part of a series of Lesser Known guide books from Dorset publisher Roving Press which explore places in detail – rather like having your own local guide to show you around. The town’s long and varied history is visible at every turn, and by telling the stories that lie behind many of the streets and buildings, cliffs and beaches, I hope to help you look at Lyme Regis with new eyes.
This book also gathers together personal stories from a variety of local people who are passionate about the town and the work they do here. Observations and anecdotes are often more engaging than facts, and I hope that these accounts combine to create a living picture of contemporary Lyme.
   Lyme is the kind of seaside resort that appeals to families, and this book suggests plenty of family-friendly things to do. The six walks at the back of the book encourage you to explore lesser-known corners of the town and some of the lovely areas surrounding it.


A Brief History
   Lyme’s Rise and Fall as a Trading Centre
   The Siege of Lyme
   The Monmouth Rebellion
   A Popular Watering Place
   Lyme’s Old Industries – Stone and Cement
   The Branch Line
   A Modern Seaside Resort

The Harbour and Sea
   Sea Rowing
   The Harbour
   Boat Building Academy
   Trips from the Harbour
   Lifeboat Station

The Seafront and Beaches
   On the Beach
   Exploring the Victorian Rubbish Dump
   Marine Aquarium
   Langmoor and Lister Gardens

Fossils and Fossil Hunting
   What Makes Lyme Regis So Good for Fossils?
   Where Is it Best to Hunt for Fossils?
   What Kind of Fossils Might You Find?
   Tips from Fossil-Hunter Paddy Howe
   Guided Fossil Walks
   Fossil Shops and Collections
   Mary Anning

Things to Do and Places to Visit
   Marine Theatre
   Lyme Regis Museum
   Regent Cinema
   The Town Mill
   Walking Tours
   Table Tennis and Tennis
   Horse Riding
   Amusement Arcade
   Places for Young People

Walking and Cycling
   Walks from Lyme
   The Undercliff
   Bindon Landslide

Regular Events

Local Fare
   Some Local Producers/Retailers

The Arts
   Some Local Artists and Craftspeople
   Some Famous Writers and Artists
   Some Contemporary Fiction Set in Lyme
   Lyme as a Location for TV and Film

   Walk 1: Along the Cobb
   Walk 2: The Seafront – Marine Parade to Monmouth Beach
   Walk 3: Gun Cliff Walk to Alexandra Hotel
   Walk 4: The Old Town
   Walk 5: The Mill Walk
   Walk 6: Around Ware Cliffs and the Undercliff

Help and Information
   Tourist Information Centre
   Internet Access
   Dog-Friendly Lyme
   Other Useful Contacts


Joanna Smith lives in Lyme, where she runs the Black Dog Writing Group. She has researched and written three filmscripts that were shot in southern Africa and completed a fourth, and has had several articles published in the national press in Britain. She works as a creative writing teacher and has edited and proofed two volumes of stories written by members of her classes.
   After two years spent researching this book, she says: ‘So much has been written about the town’s history, literary links, walking trails and fossils, but I wanted to write a comprehensive guide that brings all these facets of the town together. The book includes interviews with dozens of local people such as fishermen, artists, fossil hunters, historians and wreck divers, which give a real insight into contemporary Lyme and explain why it’s such a vibrant place to visit.’

EXTRACT FROM THE BOOK – Exploring the Victorian Rubbish Dump

Just before you reach Black Venn mudslide between Lyme and Charmouth, you’ll come across all kinds of interesting objects scattered among the shingle. These come from the Victorian rubbish dump which began slipping from the cliff together with three-quarters of a million tonnes of mud and rock in a particularly huge rockfall in 2008. The tip was used for domestic waste from 1890 to 1994 and is still releasing a stream of fascinating household objects onto the beach. Finds have included a glass eye, false teeth, musket and cannon balls, and, as fossil hunter Paddy Howe puts it, ‘an evolutionary sequence of Marmite jars’. The tip is much loved by local artists and historians, and many people admit that they find this old rubbish more captivating than fossils.
   If you visit the tip, make sure you wear shoes and take care when picking things up – a lot of the objects are sharp. It is also important to steer away from the unstable cliffs and keep an eye on the tide. Local artist Lynda White says:

‘For ArtsFest we’d been asked to generate projects that would “result in the creation of a contemporary archive of Lyme Regis inspired by the treasures housed in the Lyme Regis Museum”. I was drawn to the case of objects from the rubbish tip.
   I’ve been living here for 13 years but had never been right up to the landslip before. I was immediately struck by the peace and tranquillity of the place. Other visitors to the beach were quietly but purposefully scouring the sand, treasure hunting. Every now and then someone would call out “Wow! Look at this! Come and see!” – a child, hysterically happy at the discovery of their first fossil or someone finding a coin or a marble or an unbroken jar from the old tip.
   I started picking up pieces of broken china. Returning again and again at low tide, I collected a vast array of glass and china pieces. Eventually I chose to preserve and present these little fragments of Lyme Regis history in polyester casting resin. Discarded oddments of rubbish were translated into gleaming capsules of colour and texture, and the child-like delight I had experienced while treasure hunting on East Beach was aptly reflected in the final artwork.
   One hundred paperweight-sized blocks became “The Great Wave of china” and were exhibited in the re:collection Exhibition at The Town Mill for ArtsFest 2013

Reviews to follow.


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