Dorchester is the county town of Dorset, England. It is situated between the towns of Poole and Bridport on the A35 trunk route. A historic market town, Dorchester lies on the banks of the River Frome, in the Frome Valley, just south of the Dorset Downs and north of the South Dorset Ridgeway, that separates the area from Weymouth, 7 miles (11 km) south.
Dorchester was the home and inspiration of the author Thomas Hardy, whose novel The Mayor of Casterbridge was based on the town.
In the 2011 census the population of Dorchester was 19,060.