The West Moors Village Trail: Pinehurst Road



Until the very end of the 19th century, the trackway that became Pinehurst Road skirted the southern edge of St. Leonard's Common - heading down to the Ringwood road, part of the old turnpike network. Apart farm workers' cottages, isolated dwellings of those harvesting the Common and the tents and vans of the travelling families scattered across the moorland, there was little else: it was probably an irregularly-used way of avoiding the marshy / boggy ground around the Uddens below Woolslope Road.


In the first couple of decades of the twentieth century, sturdy villas were built at the village end and along the newly laid-out Avon Road. Until the nineteen-twenties there was nothing east of where Beechwood Road is now.

In the years up to the Second World War, development occurred towards the Ringwood Road (as motoring became a popular mode of transport), but halted for wartime - then renewed in the 1950s.

Early 20th century houses Pinehurst Road

Pinehurst Road villas

However, major development had to wait until the heathland (to the north) and farmland (to the south) was released for building from the mid-1960s onwards; the area is now well established with two schools, a useful shopping area and good access to the Plantation.

Travelling from the 'village' end of the road, not far up the way on the right-hand side, is one of West Moors' places of worship, St Anthony's Catholic Church; and further down the road on the right-hand side, just beyond one of the entry points for Woolslope Road, is Pinehurst Community Church. Both of these are vibrant centres for both worship and other functions.

St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church

St Anthony of Padua

Pinehurst Community Church

Pinehurst Community Church

If you had been in the vicinity of Pinehurst Church before 2000, you would have found another church nearby, opposite the turning for Woolslope Road ( the one that leads to Pinehurst Park ). This was St. John's - a wooden structure, erected in 1925 to serve what was at the time a sparsely populated spot.

Despite a loyal congregation for this Anglican place of worship, unfortunately the cost of repairs to bring it up to a standard whereby insurance was affordable ruled out a future for the building. The chapel was last used in 1999 ( see the History files elsewhere on this site for an image ), and demolished in 2000: this smart bungalow now occupies the site.

Site of the former St. John's church

Bungalow on site of St. John's church

Two local schools are situated on roads which run roughly parallel to, and not far away from, Pinehurst Road: Oakhurst First & Nursery School is the 'younger' of the two 'first' schools serving the village [ the other being St. Mary's on Station Road - see elsewhere ].

Oakhurst School is on Shaftesbury Road ( named after a one-time major land-owner in east Dorset ) and is found not far from its junction with Oakhurst Road.

Oakhurst First & Nursery School

Oakhurst School

The school has been open on this site since 1971 to serve the newly developed residential areas spreading across the old St. Leonard's heathland - though it does of course take pupils from across West Moors & the immediate adjoining area.

Alongside the school is a children's play area [ see image ] which, along with that on Fryer Field (see earlier), is managed by the Town Council. It was completely refurbished in summer 2015.

Oakhurst play area, Shaftesbury Road

Oakhurst Play Area

West Moors Middle School

Middle School


Children's Centre

Childrens Centre

A little further away, on Heathfield Way ( which links Elmhurst and Heathfield Roads ) is West Moors Middle School opened in 1977. This takes children aged 9 to 13, not only from West Moors but also from the surrounding smaller communities.


Alongside the school is the West Moors Children's Centre, run in partnership with the Dorset Council. The Centre is in a converted house which helps youngsters feel 'at home'.


The local Scout group has its headquarters ( " The Hideaway " ) off Hardy Road: this is accessed from the west via Shaftesbury Road & Hardy Close ( close-by Oakhurst School ) and from Elmhurst Road at the eastern end.

"The Hideaway": Scouting HQ building

The Hideaway Scout Building

Leading off Pinehurst Road ( just before you reach the shops ) is Priory Road, and here is the local cemetery, established in 1932 [ when the graveyard at St. Mary the Virgin became too small ], which has recently been enlarged; it is a quiet spot for remembrance of loved ones no longer with us. The Cemetery is managed by the Town Council - the images below include the newly installed ( in November 2020 ) gateway which replaced the earlier wooden archway - which was taken down in summer 2020 as it was becoming unsafe.

If you walk a little way inside the gates along the main access trackway - and look to your left - you'll see what appears to be a plain white headstone just off the walk. This marks the memorial to Molly Hare, one of the names on the village War Memorial, who was a young woman resident in West Moors at the outbreak of the Second World War, and who served in the WAAF. The details are on the opposite side of the stone. This is the only 'war grave' in the cemetery. She was one of the 'unaccounted' losses during that war, though there is a little more detail about Molly in the linked document relating to the War Memorial inscriptions - see the entry via the " West Moors: Today & Yesteryear " page on this web site - see the bottom of this page. For some images, see the panel at the bottom of this page for photographs taken in 2021.

Cemetery Gateway - Priory Road

Cemetery Gateway 2020 installation

Cemetery plots

WM Cemetery plots

Incidentally, whilst down this end of the village, with Priory Road and Abbey Road 'fanning-out' from Pinehurst Road it is pertinent to emphasise that the names might imply that there was a large monastic establishment in the immediate vicinity. Not true: the nearest religious 'house' in antiquity was a small wayside chapel for travellers. This was dedicated to Leonard of Noblac, who became one of the most venerated saints of the late Middle Ages; the chapel lay well to the south of this area - on land that now forms part of St. Leonard's Farm - there has been no trace of it for over 200 years. The nearest significant Priory was Stapehill - a couple of miles away - now defunct. I suspect the builders and local authority got together and chose names (in the 1930s) to allude to this latter place. But before the bungalows - there was nothing but Dorset heathland!
[ For more on our church & etc., history, see the appropriate file on the ' Today & Yesteryear ' section. ]

Pinehurst Road shopping parade

Pinehurst Road shops

And right at the 'bottom' ( i.e., the end furthest from the centre of West Moors village ) of Pinehurst Road there is a small but busy parade of local shops, with a bakery / snack-bar, good convenience store, pet food suppliers, hairdressers, take-away and similar. There is off-street parking and one of the Town Council's noticeboards is also located here. The shops and other services are kept busy by proximity to the A31 / Ringwood Road!

At the very end is the A31, Ringwood Road, with the only service-station ( with its small convenience store ) within the council bounds. Close-by is a tyre/battery & MoT enterprise.

Over the road ( reached by an underpass if you are walking ) is St. Leonard's Farm ( see the entry in the Nature Trail linked below ) with its camping / caravan facility and attached park home complex; and although not part of the area of West Moors, not far away is the collection of outlets such as Lidl, Halfords, Sainsbury's & other retail & leisure facilities.

Ringwood Road Service Station & shop

Ringwood Road Service Station
Pathway Plantation
Swans on the Uddens
Riverside Walk in the snow

That completes the Trail as regards Pinehurst Road. There is a companion 'Trail' which takes you along Station 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 ]



Molly Hare headstone


Underneath the Royal Air Force crest the text reads:

2069505 ( this is her service number )
( Leading Aircraftwoman )




Molly Hare Plot in Cemetery