The West Moors Village Trail: Station Road

This 'trail' is an attempt to describe some of the features in West Moors - based on a journey from south to north along Station Road, then a diversion down Pinehurst Road. There are some snippets of history buried in the script which show that there's more to the village than might be supposed! If any part of this text (or its images) is unclear, please contact the Town Council Communications Officer ( restricted hours ).

Until the middle of the 19th century what we now call Station Road was a parish maintained trackway, dry and dusty in a hot summer, muddy & rutted in wet weather, frosted or snow covered in a bitter winter. It was used to connect the various farms in this rather out-of-the-way corner of the old West Parley parish with the Ringwood - Wimborne turnpike. Even with the arrival of a railway in 1847 little changed. It needed the opening of a railway station in 1867 to encourage better maintenance of the track - and for it to gain a name! The station has long disappeared but the name remains and (as the B3072) now forms the 'spine' of the community and acts as a through route to Verwood.

STATION ROAD: from the Uddens to The Petwyn . . . .



The southern boundary of the civil parish of West Moors closely follows the alignment of Uddens Water ( in 2015 the boundary was moved slightly to the south and it now runs, in part, along the A31 ), crossed here by a relatively modern bridge; the waterway takes its name from the former Uddens House & Estate lying to the west, through which this tributary of the Moors River flows.

Bridge over the Uddens

Bridge over the Uddens

The name 'Uddens' (sometime 'Udding' or 'Uddyng') is thought to be of Saxon origin, possibly a 'personal' association such as .. "Udda's place". Large tracts of land in the local area were owned by the family resident on the Estate. The Uddens is joined about 250 metres west of the bridge by Mannington Brook, flowing out of the north and the whole eventually drains via the Moors River into the Dorset Stour, thence to the English Channel via Christchurch harbour.
 The 'Riverside Walk' follows the Uddens and Mannington waters, which can be joined here ( just over the bridge ): follow the link for " Walks & open spaces " at the bottom of this page.

Pedestrian Crossing near the Uddens

Pedestrian Crossing near Uddens

In spring 2015, the roadway was widened just to the north of the Uddens to allow this pedestrian 'island' crossing to be installed. This now makes it much safer to cross the road between the Woolslope recreation area (to the right in this image) and the Riverside Walk / Pennington's Copse area (to the left, behind the wooden fence).

Care should still be exercised though as, despite the 30 mph limit - traffic tends to race along rather smartly! Also, visibility from either direction is rather restricted by the bend of the road to the north and the mini-roundabout etc., to the south.


A couple of years before, in 2013, in concert with the work undertaken to lay 'all-weather' paths on the old Woolslope farmland, the footways forming part of Riverside Walk were also upgraded. As the vegetation grows back, this walk has become a very attractive feature. This view is of the newly prepared pathway as it runs off Station Road near the bridge in the images above. For more on various walks, open spaces and our natural world, follow the appropriate links at the bottom of this page.

Woolslope Farm pathway

Woolslope Farm Pathway

Riverside Walk on Woolslope Farm

Riverside Walk notice board and pathway


A few years on ( 2019 ) and this autumnal view of the path heading off into the Woolslope recreational area neatly demonstrates the pleasant walk available within a short distance of the centre of West Moors village: the information boards are dotted about the area and carry much useful information.
There is more on local walks in a separate note. [ Also, see the 'Nature Trail' on this site - linked from the bottom of this page, for more on these walks.]

A little way north of the Uddens, Station Road bends sharply to the left, with a 'restricted byway' cutting straight ahead; this latter is part of a network of older pathways that was used to access the former common land.

 Woolslope Farm, one of half-a-dozen farms in the area now lost to development, used to stand off to the east of the road. It was one of the oldest and largest of our original farms - its fields extended across much of the land between Pinehurst Road and the line of the Uddens.

 The area still carries the name of the farm, but despite developers alluding to the wool trade, the name has been misinterpreted. 'Woolslope' is a relatively recent transformation from "Woolslap", and before that from "Wylla-slæp", which is thought to be from Old English, meaning boggy area (slæp) associated with a spring or stream (Wyll or Wylla): nothing to do with sheep!

 The remaining fields bordering the northern bank of the Uddens have now become a community 'open space' and will be further enhanced in the years to come. By the end of 2013, 'all-weather' footpaths had been laid out together with associated bridges & gates. See the appropriate section later for more details. There is also an enhanced section dealing with the Woolslope amenity in the 'Nature Trail' linked at the end of this note.


The village War Memorial used to stand at the junction of Station Road with Pinehurst and Moorside roads - from its initial erection in 1920 until traffic became too heavy to safely hold the annual Remembrance Services. It was re-located to the current site in 1971 at the end of the Petwyn, which is a little further up Station Road.

The Petwyn takes its name from one of several families who, in the latter 16th & early 17th centuries, were allotted tracts of rough heathland for low-level agricultural use.

West Moors War Memorial

War Memorial on The Petwyn

The Petwyn - our 'Village Green'

The Petwyn seating and plaque area


This particular area was saved from potential housing development relatively recently (2006) and now provides a pleasant 'green space' on the approach to the village centre. Here is the re-located War Memorial and also a stone marking the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth's accession. At Christmas, the village tree is placed alongside the War Memorial. The entire site is managed on behalf of the village by the town council.


In the spring of 2016, the (then) parish council arranged for a flagpole to be erected on The Petwyn, adjacent to the central seating area.

This was first used on the 21st April of that year, when the Union flag was hoisted to honour the 90th birthday of HM Queen Elizabeth II.

Flagpole on The Petwyn

Flagpole on The Petwyn

Secular memorial stone

Secular Memorial Stone


In October 2019, another memorial stone was added to The Petwyn - at the opposite end of the area to the older War Memorial, near the turning for Queens Close.

It is intended to be a secular focus of respect for all those who have served the community and country in whatever way - not just those who fell in the two World Wars. The stone was erected through a donation from the family of a local resident, Phillip Eccleston.




Close-by the junction of Station Road with Park Way and Pennington Road ( Tesco Express & Elephant & Castle public house either side ) a small stream used to cross the road - rising in the heathland to the north-east of the village and flowing away into Pennington Copse, joining Mannington Brook on the south-western periphery of the parish.

It is now largely culverted, but if you know where to look, you can see it crossing Moorlands Road, close to the junction with Arnold Road - a link with a more rustic past.

Park Way - Station Road - Pennington Road Junction

Park Way Station Rd Junction

It is at this point along Station Road that West Moors can claim a tentative link with a global entertainment phenomenon. In the early 1970s, two young girls would periodically stay with their grandparents, Ernie and Kathleen Rowling who ran 'Glenwood Stores', the grocery that used to stand on the site of the modern-day Tesco Express. The two girls were allowed to play 'shops' with the stock after hours. The elder of the two, Joanne, failing to have another 'given' name, used her much-loved grandmother's initial, K, when her publishers wanted to promote her first novel: as "JK Rowling" she is of course the world-renowned author of the Harry Potter saga.

Just a short way along Park Way (behind Tesco Express) is the Town Council office. This office opened in 2011, replacing temporary accommodation to the rear of the village library.

A wide range of community information can be obtained from the office.

Follow this link for opening times and more detail.

Town Council office on Park Way

Town Council office 2020

Station Road shopping area

Station Road shopping area

Returning to Station Road and here is the central "cluster" of shops and other services - including the post office ( within the Spar shop ), the doctors' surgery ( split between Farm Road & opposite Spar on Station Road ), the village chemist (down Farm Road), Estate Agents ( Brewer & Brewer and Dixon Kelley ), a fish & ship shop, other 'take-away' establishments, three cafes, a butcher, hairdressers / salons, charity shops, cards & gifts shop and a wool/fancy-goods supplies shop ( among others ). There are also a small number of retailers at the end of Park Way, including the 'School Shop'.

In 2015, a Community Defibrillator was installed by the Co-op ( now Spar - changed hands December 2019 ), paid for by the local Lions Club - and supervised by the Town Council.

On either side of the corner of Station Road with Moorlands Road stands the village Library & the United Reformed Church.

The Library is a much-loved facility in the community - not only offering book loans, but also DVDs, access to computers, reference material etc. There are also occasional exhibitions, talks etc., held in the facility. There is a specific page on this web site which will offer more information.

West Moors Library

WM Library

St. Martin's United Reformed Church is the most 'central' of our four churches and has been a place of worship since since 1903 - though the building that now occupies the spot dates largely from the 1970s. As well as being a home for the URC community, it also hosts many & varied activities within the very adaptable building.

Follow the link from our 'Churches' page to their web site for more information.

St. Martin's URC church

St Martins URC church

Following Farm Road as it descends gently to the Mannington Brook, roughly half-way along is one of several access points to Pennington Copse and carrying on along its full length, you'll eventually come to another of the access points for the Riverside Walk.
There is much more detail to be had by following the appropriate links from our " Walks & open spaces " page on this web site - see the link at the bottom of this page.

Old railway crossing lodge: Station Road

Crossing Lodge Station Rd

Back on Station Road, and continuing north, opposite Mary Lane ( an access point for the Castleman Trailway - see the "Nature Trail" & "Walks & open spaces" files linked at the bottom of this page ), is one of the oldest buildings in West Moors: the original railway crossing lodge opened in 1847. Although much modified, the core of the building can be plainly seen and is one of our few remaining links with the old railway - the first main line to enter Dorset - long before Bournemouth had started its dramatic development!

Opposite the former crossing lodge is Castleman Court, but until the 1970s this was the site of the old junction railway station. The station building was originally opened in August 1867 ( a year after the junction itself ) and closed to passenger traffic in May 1964. Though passenger traffic ceased then ( general goods ceasing a year later ), rail operations to the MOD fuel depot were to continue until 1974 - after which the remaining railway line was lifted and the Station Road level crossing was removed. There is much more information on our railway history on this web site.

Castleman Court: railway information board

Information Board - Castleman Court

The residential development that stands at this spot is named after Charles Castleman, an influential local solicitor & estate manager whose family had offices in Ringwood & Wimborne. Castleman was an important figure in the project to bring the first main-line railway to Dorset in the 1840s, and for a short while was Chairman of the London & South Western Railway [ L&SWR ].
In 2018 an information board outlining the history of the railway that ran across this point was erected alongside the bus shelter, on land donated by the company that owns / manages Castleman Court.

Next to the crossing lodge ( noted above ) is the Tap and Railway pub / restaurant, formerly the Railway Hotel, built originally at the turn of the 19th / 20th centuries as the village entered upon one of its periodic growth spurts. It has been enlarged since then and is a very popular family-friendly facility close to the centre of the village.

Tap & Railway pub/restaurant

Tap & Railway

Riverside Road shops

Riverside Rd Shops


Beyond the "Tap" is another, smaller shopping area complementing the larger retail centre just to the south. There is a pet food / supplies shop, & a second-hand book store on one side of the road and opposite is 'Centenary Place', a new complex built in 2011/2012 - standing of the site of an earlier post office & hardware stores - another charity shop & an upholstery outlet ( as of early winter 2018 ) can be found here. Next door ( going north ) is a dental surgery.

Slightly to the north of these shops and on the eastern side of Station Road, is the turning for Ashurst Road: about half-way down this road the local Guides, Brownies etc., have their purpose-built hall.

Opposite this turning is that for Riverside Road - and tucked away just a little way down on the right is a thatched house - which was one of the 19th century farm-houses that have survived to the present day as a private house.

Guide Hall in Ashurst Road

Guide Hall in Ashurst Road

Old vicarage - Station Road

Old vicarage Station Road

Leaving these behind, the old vicarage - an imposing building in late Victorian 'ecclesiastical' style - is on the right ( when travelling north ) and although now surrounded by later properties, the link with the school and church, all built roughly at the same time, is plain to see. There is a specific section dealing with church history on this web site


Incidentally, opposite the old vicarage is the 'staggered' re-entry point for the Castleman Trailway, clearly signed.


Nearby, St. Mary's school is now a 'First' (& Nursery) school but originally it was the sole source of education for local children from a wide area - retaining this role until well into the second-half of the twentieth century. It was - and still is - closely associated with St. Mary's parish church on the other side of The Avenue - see below.



When the school was first built, and for many decades thereafter, the entrance would have been on Station Road; today, it is much safer for youngster and parents to use the purpose-built entrance at the rear, accessed via a trackway off The Avenue: the Nursery school & school field is also approached via this route. 

St. Mary's First & Nursery School

St Marys from Station Rd
St Marys - main entrance

St. Mary the Virgin [CofE] parish church, on the corner of The Avenue & Station Road, was built and first used for worship in the late 1890s and consecrated in 1908. The church, school-house, school and vicarage ( curacy initially ) were all funded by the Rev. Claud Brown: more history can be found via our " Today & Yesteryear " page.

There is a small churchyard attached, within which are the graves of the Fryer family, who were once large land-holders in West Moors. However, the churchyard was found to be far too small by the 1930s and most burials took place ( and still do ) in the Cemetery on Priory Road.

Note the splendid attached church hall - and, out of view in this image - the solar panels on the roof!

St. Mary the Virgin, West Moors

St Mary the Virgin parish church

The roads hereabout - Ashurst, Woodside, Denewood, Highfield and The Avenue represent the 'heart' of the original village that developed to the north of the railway in late Victorian / early Edwardian times, within a short walk of the junction station. Many of the original dwellings can be seen - obviously modified over time.

West Moors Memorial Hall

Memorial Hall


On the opposite side of Station Road ( to the church & school ) is the Memorial Hall, opened in 1929, with West Moors Memorial Social Club alongside, adjoining. The Memorial Hall building was funded by subscription in memory of those who did not return after the Great War of 1914-1918.

As the 'village' hall, it is run by an independent Hall Council made up of regular users and village representatives. Many village regular events take place here - as well as acting as a polling station when required. The land on which the Hall is built used to belong to the aforementioned Fryer family, being made available by Brig. Gen. Frederic Blashford Fryer.

A defibrillator is mounted on the external wall of the Hall. 

Behind the Hall are a skatepark (see section immediately below), the Memorial Bowling Club and other facilities, and a little way away is Fryer Field, with the Pavilion alongside. A variety of sport is played here and the Pavilion houses the Youth & Community Club and also hosts meetings of the Town Council; the meeting room is also available for general hire - see the 'Facilities' page for more information on all these activities.

Skatepark users 2021

West Moors has had a purpose-built skatepark facility since 2003, tucked away just behind the tennis courts alongside Fryer Field. However, after many years of service, and with the structure becoming increasingly difficult to maintain to any degree of safety, it was decided to completely rebuild the SkatePark to modern standards using special-purpose concrete throughout. The new facility was built during the summer of 2021, and opened for use at the end of September that year. Access to the skatepark is gained through the Memorial Hall car park, across Fryer Field, or off the adjacent Castleman Trailway.

On the edge of Fryer Field is a children's play facility - with easy pedestrian access off Station Road, opposite the parish church & not far from the school. This is something of a 'hidden gem' in the community as it lies out of sight of the casual visitor passing along the road, but also means that it is a quiet, relaxing area to bring young children ( under 12 years old ), with the bonus of having the vast expanse of the playing field adjacent for youngsters to let off steam! The play area was completely refurbished in 2017.

Fryer Field play area

Fryer Field play area
 STATION ROAD: north of the village . . . .



Continuing north out of the village on Station Road and the aspect becomes somewhat greener. On the left is Gulliver's Farm once owned by the Wessex smuggler Isaac Gulliver (1745-1822), though only the barn ( late 18th century ) is original - the farmhouse was destroyed by fire and re-built. The barn houses a Farm Shop/Café [ opened  early October 2015 ] - which is a useful addition to the facilities in the community. An extension to enhance the catering side of the concern was opened in 2018 - the view here is May Holiday Monday in that year.

Gullivers Farm Shop & Café

Gullivers Farm Shop

After being a separate agricultural unit for over two centuries, Gulliver's farm is now part of the wider Sturts Community Trust, [ use our links on the Education page ] with a combined total of around 90 acres to its credit - helping adults with learning difficulties develop through practical work in an agricultural setting: Sturts Farm itself is a little further on beyond the bend, and is the heart of a full-time sustainable / organic farming operation.

Entrance to the Sturts Community

Sturts Community entrance

West Moors Allotments


From summer 2016, the Sturts Community have made available land & facilities so that local residents can have their own allotments. The day-to-day management of the scheme is vested in the West Moors Allotment Association, and overall supervision etc., will be through the Town Council; if you would like more information, contact the Council Office in Park Way. The image here is of the mature plots in August 2019.

The unusual sequence of 'sharp-right/sharp-left' of the B3072 here betrays a much older arrangement. The country track that became Station Road would have carried on northward near Sturt's Farm [ still traceable as a footpath ], whilst the modern 'Three Cross Road', again originally just a rural trackway, ran due south ( over what it now part of the Fuel Depot ) to the old Ringwood - Wimborne turnpike; this alignment was cut and abandoned when the railway was built in the mid 1840s.

Holt Heath

Holt Heath

Linking these, from west to east, is Newman's Lane which also gave access to Newman's Farm - which boasted perhaps the oldest ( possibly Elizabethan ) farmhouse ( until demolished ) in this part of Dorset.

Near the current replacement is the access to Holt Heath, a managed nature reserve which is based upon one of Dorset's largest remaining areas of lowland heathland - more information available via the links in our " A Nature Trail " page ( linked at the bottom of this page ). The track running away to the north towards Mannington & Horton, now a little-used footpath would, until the latter 19th century, have been a significant 'linking route' in this part of the county.

Just a little way along from the entrance to Sturts Farm is the 'other' railway crossing lodge in the village; this has been considerably enlarged / altered since it was built by the Salisbury & Dorset Junction Railway. The single-line track, opened in 1866, ran across the road in front of the cottage: trains ran north to Verwood, Fordingbridge & Salisbury and southward to West Moors Junction, Wimborne, Dorchester, Weymouth, Poole & Bournemouth. See our " Today & Yesteryear " section for more railway history.

Former crossing lodge: Newmans Lane

Old crossing lodge Newmans Lane

Defence Fuels Group: entrance

DFG entrance

The MOD fuel depot has its origins in a small ammunition and fuel storage area on the former St. Leonard's Common that was established in 1938/39, in the opening phase of the Second World War. This was greatly enlarged by US forces to support the Normandy invasion forces, both in training and operation, 1943/44.

After the War, and a brief spell as a Prisoner-of-War camp, it developed to become a pivotal depot in the British armed forces fuel/lubricant supply system ( pipeline-based ), and now hosts the Dorset Fire & Rescue's training facility. 

Finally, a little further on the road north towards Three Cross, there is a small industrial estate, amongst which you will find useful motor servicing enterprises.

That completes the Trail as regards Station Road. There is a companion 'Trail' which takes you along Pinehurst Road plus pages dealing with our local natural world and some walks & opens spaces; follow the links below as required.


[ Text last checked / updated 7th May, 2022 ]