is a small town
on the River Crane
15 miles north of Bournemouth
in East Dorset
. Verwood is a rapidly growing area, with a 290% population increase over the past 35 years. The latest figure (2005 mid year estimate) for the civil parish
(including Three Legged Cross
) is 13,680.
Lying on heathland
, Verwood did not exist as a village in its own right until the mid nineteenth century
, but there have been inhabitants from medieval times. Brick
making and pottery
brought people into the area and Verwood separated from Cranborne
. Despite its utilitarian nature, examples of Verwood pottery are now considered collectable for their historical importance. The Verwood Heathland Heritage Centre
was opened in 2003 on the original site of the last pottery to close in 1953. Verwood was served by a branch line railway till the mid 1960s (a victim of the Beeching cuts), but the growing popularity of the area, being close to the New Forest
and The Solent
, saw the village continue to grow, and saw rapid expansion from the late 70's onwards. The town's Historical Society aims to ensure the preservation of the history of Verwood in oral, written, photographic and tangible form.
Verwood was also once the residence of Buster Merryfield, who played the role of Uncle Albert on the British Sitcom, Only Fools and Horses. Buster died as a result of a brain tumour in Poole on 23rd June 1999
The Verwood Community Association manages both the Verwood Leisure Centre, which provides a wide range of sport, health and fitness facilities to suit all ages, and Potterne Park, which provides the community with 12 acres of sporting provision including Rugby, Football, Tennis, Netball, Cricket and a Skate Park.
Verwood has a Country Market which opens from 10.00 to 11.30 each Friday in the Memorial Hall. The market sells locally produced seasonal vegetables and fruit, plants and cut flowers, home-made cakes and jams and craft items. The latter include knitted goods such as baby clothes and toys, sewn items, cards for every occasion and a host of other colourful gifts and useful items for the home.
Verwood is now home to The Hub, a community facility which opened in April 2007. The Hub houses the 300-seat Merrifield Theatre, a 100 seat hall and a number of other smaller rooms. These facilities are used for films, plays, concerts and many other activities and the rooms can be hired by various organisations. In the centre of The Hub is a bistro area available for drinks, meals etc. Around this area there are art displays and various exhibitions which change periodically.
The town is also home to Verwood Concert Brass, a successful lower section brass band. The band became West of England 4th Section champions in 2005 and 2006. This resulted in two trips to the National Brass Band Finals of Great Britain in Harrogate where they finished 6th and 7th respectively.
On September 26th 2008 the band were placed second at the 3rd Section National Finals after winning the Area championship in March.
From next year the band will compete in the 2nd Section. They work hard in the local area and perform in many concerts in the local area including several sell-out performances at The Hub.
Verwood railway station was once a railway station, serving Verwood. The station was situated directly next to The Albion Inn (then known as The Albion Hotel). It closed in 1964. All that remains is the tunnel, situated in the beer garden of The Albion Inn. The tracks have since been removed and replaced recently by a housing estate, entitled Albion Way.
Currently, the only mode of transport in Verwood is public buses provided by the Wilts & Dorset
bus company. The services that run are the 36, the 36A and the 37
Sport and Leisure