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Heritage Open Day Event – Roads to be closed

High West and High East Streets in Dorchester will be closed to traffic between 10am and 4pm on Sunday 16th September 2018.
This initiative, by the Dorchester Heritage Committee together with the Dorchester Civic Society, local Blue badge tourist guides, the Dorchester BID and local volunteers will be the first time both these streets have been closed since the opening of the bypass in 1988.
The closure, from the Top o’ Town roundabout to Swan Bridge over the Frome Millstream, will allow locals and visitors to enjoy the county town’s finest street and hear some of its many stories both real and fictional.
The event will form part of the town’s contribution to Heritage Open Days and Dorset Architectural Heritage Week which are part of a national (indeed European) event. The Shire Hall in High West Street is offering free entry on that day and there will be tours of the Keep Military Museum and barracks immediately west of the Top O’ Town roundabout. The Dorset County Museum will be offering free admission to the Museum and archaeologist, Dr Clare Randall will be offering visitors free guided tours of the new archaeological investigations at the back of the Museum.
In addition to being able to enjoy one of the UK’s longest rows of listed buildings in any high street, visitors will be able to meet the Roman re-enactors from Cohors I Durotrigum and be guided round some of the historic sites of Roman Dorchester ‘Durnovaria’. There will be two tours beginning at the Dorset County Museum one at 11am and also at 1pm. Places are limited to 20 on these tours so booking is advised. Tours cost just £8 Adult and £4 Children. Tickets are available on our website www.dorsetcountymuseum.org<www.dorsetcountymuseum.org> or at the Museum Shop by calling 01305 756827.
The Dorchester Civic Society is putting on an exhibition in the Corn Exchange of High West and High East Streets through time and is offering self-guided tours of the Roman Town House with its modern pavilion and the Roman Wall and Riverside Walks that enclose the old town. Plans for the regeneration of the Kings Arms Hotel by the Stay Original group will also be on display.
Alternative arrangements will be made and signposted for drivers and residents and no serious disruption is anticipated. Marshals will assist motorists and guides will offer tours of the two parts of the street at 11am, midday, 1pm, 2pm and 3pm.
It is to be hoped that this pilot closure of one of Dorchester’s finest architectural assets may be repeated in the future and we may, in time, see a range of events taking place in our main street without the noise, unpleasant smells and heavy pollution which currently accompany the incessant movement of vehicles. High West and High East Streets may yet be seen for what they truly are – yet another jewel in the crown of the county town.