THE secrets of Dorset's history have been unveiled in a new book.

Drawn to Dorset, which was launched last month, is a collection of real-life stories which span history from a range of people with a common interest - Dorset.

The book is collated by Claire Whiles from Weymouth and aims to bring the past to life through experience and a history that is lived, not learned from books.

As a Dorset girl born and bred, Claire said her interest in history and culture began as a child, spending many hours at Poundbury Hillfort and Maiden Castle in Dorchester.

"My interest in history and culture began as a child," Claire said. "My late father had a huge book collection and I loved to read about Tutankhamen, the Romans, Bruegel, Bosch to name but a few.

"We would walk on Poundbury Hillfort and Bockhampton path with our dogs and visit ancient sites and historic houses as a family in school holidays."

Claire lives in Weymouth with her partner Robin and her two sons James and Harry.

Her passion for nature and her home county inspired her to produce the book as a sharing of experiences from people, who like her, have felt a pull towards particular historical events that have impacted their life.

Contributors to the book include Susan James, Jonathon Harwood, Mark Vine, Rob Oliver, Doug Chalk, Josephine Sellers and even lyrics from multi award-winning folk duo Ninebarrow.

Each contributor has offered their own story and interpretation of Dorset whether through a historical piece or personal story, poem, quote, photograph or snippet of information.

The book is a not for profit publication in aid of Dorset charities in memory of Claire's parents Henry and Norah Smith.

"My late father undoubtedly gave me the love of the land and history and my late mother taught me to help others and to have empathy as she loved her charity work with the elderly. To that end, in their memory, all profits from Drawn to Dorset are in aid of Dorset charities,” Claire said.

The book's cover was designed by Semirani Vine.

*Drawn to Dorset is is now available to purchase at a variety of bookshops across the county including Books Afloat in Weymouth.