A summer programme celebrating Dorset’s outstanding landscapes has been launched - appropriately enough at dawn on the Summer Solstice.

As the sun rose yesterday morning over the South Dorset Ridgeway, people gathered for the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’s (AONB) informal celebration, kicking off their summer programme of free events across Dorset.

Acclaimed performance artist Lorna Rees and friends shared the sunrise with a group of people from across the county with music, stories and laughter at the Black Down Stone Circle, near Hardy Monument, the modern interpretation of the ancient monuments of this outstanding landscape.

Dawn to Dusk is Dorset AONB's summer programme of free events running from now until July 10.

People can see Dorset in a new light as they head out to enjoy our outstanding landscapes from early morning through to the ‘golden hours’ of summer evenings. Artists, storytellers, wildlife experts and archaeologists will be shedding new light on our outstanding landscapes through our packed programme of strolls, outdoor workshops, hikes and talks.

Slow down and experience the landscape close up on the Mindful Meadows walk (Kingcombe) or discover the ancient arts of Forest Bathing on the Weekend Wind Down at Milldown Nature Reserve (Blandford)

Join archaeologist Steve Wallis for a hike through history up and over the spectacular Hambledon and Hod hillforts. Or follow storyteller Martin Maudsley to hear the Myths and Legends of ancient sites of the South Dorset Ridgeway from Abbotsbury.

Get creative on an outdoor art workshops with Your Season of Stories artists Sarah Jan Ross and Ilse Black, including looking at the Jurassic Coast with fresh eyes on a unique watercolour workshop in West Bay for all ages

Or as dusk falls, join wildlife experts and explore the night wildlife of Black Down or Studland, hoping to hear Nightjars, see bats and spot glow worms. Hear from dark skies expert Bob Mizon and take a closer look the moon above Durlston Country Park with special telescopes.

All events are free but booking is essential. Events are programmed for evenings and weekends to fit in around school or work and many are accessible by public transport.

Events are run in conjunction with Dorset Countryside, Dorset Council, Dorset Wildlife Trust, National Trust, English Heritage, Durlston Country Park and Wessex Astronomical Association.

Find out more at: www.dorsetaonb.org.uk