West Moors History

 West Moors is a delightful village located in Dorset, approximately 10 miles from Bournemouth and 100 miles southwest of London. It is a typical residential village surrounding a commercial village centre.

West Moors was known as La More in the 14th century, Mours in the 15th century and Le Moure in the 16th century and has a wealth of history associated with it. During these centuries West Moors was a sparsely populated heathland hamlet at the northern end of the ancient parish of West Parley (recorded in the Doomsday book as Perlai). West Moors Town (formerly Parish) Council was created in 1956.

The development from hamlet to village was largely due to the arrival of the railway in 1847 when a line from Southampton to Dorchester was built. In 1866, the tiny hamlet became an important railway junction when a route north from West Moors was added, with a station following-on in 1867. The railways remained the outstanding feature of the village until it was closed. The last scheduled passenger service was in 1964 but freight and fuel services continued until the 1970's. The last train ran across Station Road in 1974.

During World War 2 the Fuel Depot, located to the north of the village, played a crucial role for the armed forces. Huge numbers of American troops and personnel arrived in the local area, many working at the fuel depot, as well as further developing nearby St Leonards hospital and operating aircraft missions from Hurn Airport (now the thriving Bournemouth International Airport). The Ministry of Defence then established an important hub in their fuel distribution network on the site of the wartime facility.

Remembrance Sunday is a very important day in the West Moors calendar, with many organisations, both military and civilian, represented along with several hundred villagers, all paying their respects.

Today West Moors has a population in excess of 7,500 and is a vibrant community. It is surrounded by (and with access to) many conservation sites and can be described as having a rural character whilst possessing most of the attributes associated with modern living.

West Moors itself plus its proximity to Bournemouth, Poole, the Jurassic Coast, the Purbeck Hills, Cranborne Chase, the New Forest National Park and many other areas of outstanding natural beauty makes the community an attractive place to live.

A History in Images

The images presented in this collection (linked below) have been donated by various people with an interest in West Moors history. They are grouped into four sections; three geographical files and one to cover photographs of the old railway. With each photograph a short paragraph outlining the history of the view is given.

We are always on the look-out for additional historical views; if you have something suitable that you would be prepared to donate for this purpose, please contact:- communications@westmoors-tc.gov.uk or call in at the Town Council office during opening hours.