Verwood is in the heart of the Dorset heathlands in East Dorset, north of Bournemouth. Its traditional businesses were brick and pottery making which used the local clays. Verwood is a growing tourist destination as it's well placed for exploring East Dorset and the New Forest just over the border in Hampshire. Lying only fifteen miles from Bournemouth it is within easy reach of the Dorset seaside resorts too.
This is a fantastic location for all you wildlife-lovers. The heathlands around this area are massive and there are smaller local heathlands in Verwood itself. There are plenty of places to get out and walk in the countryside and if you need some children's attractions try Ringwood Forest where there are Go Ape tree top adventure course, cycle and walking trails and a play area.
Verwood is in the heart of the Dorset heathlands in East Dorset north of Bournemouth. Its traditional businesses were brick and pottery making which used the local clays. Verwood pottery has now become a sought after historical artefact. It was traditionally made by families using techniques that were handed down from one generation to another and are believed to date back to at least Roman times. Most of the pottery was utilitarian earthenware although some fancy goods were made later on.
Verwood has a range of events and facilities including the Country Market on Fridays in the Memorial Hall 10-11.30am which sells local produce, an annual carnival and leisure centre.
The town also has a key arts centre at The Hub which houses the three hundred seat Merrifield Theatre. There is also a 100 seat hall and a number of other smaller rooms. The theatre is named after Buster Merrifield who played "Uncle Albert" in "Only Fools and Horses" who lived in Verwood and died in 1999 in Poole. The Hub hosts a range of events including films, plays, and concerts. The rooms are available for hired. In the centre of The Hub is a bistro area where drinks and meals are available and where changing art displays and exhibitions are displayed. The Verwood Hub, Brock Way, Verwood, Dorset BH31 6WW. Tel: 01202 828740. Fax: 01202 825139. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Verwood is a growing tourist destination as it's well placed for exploring East Dorset and the New Forest just over the border in Hampshire. Lying only fifteen miles from Bournemouth it is within easy reach of the Dorset seaside resorts too.
Verwood is home to the Heathland Heritage Centre which was the result of a project aimed at preserving and restoring a country pottery workshop as well as providing information on the Dorset Heathlands that surround the town and the cultural heritage of Verwood. There is a changing range of exhibitions and you can visit the traditional pottery, the old cob, which was Crossroads Pottery, the last remaining example of a primitive pottery that was used right up until 1952.
The Centre also has a welcoming coffee shop serving homemade cakes and gift shop with a range of Dorset souvenirs.
The Centre is open Mon-Sat from 9.30am-12pm. A small admission is charged for the exhibitions.
The Potters Wheel, Manor Way, Verwood, Dorset BH31 6HF. Tel: 01202 822658. Email: email@example.com.
Verwood being in the heart of the once extensive Dorset Heaths has several remnants of this habitat at Dewlands Common and Stephens Castle Local Nature Reserves.
Stephens Castle is the largest site just on the outskirts of Verwood itself. It covers 20 hectares and is excellent for walkers and wildlife enthusiasts with fantastic views across south east Dorset. Footpaths link through to North Ringwood Forest.
Like many of the Dorset heaths several rare plants and animals occur here including sand lizards, smooth snakes, nightjar and Dartford warbler. Ponds found within the heathland are also good for dragonflies and damselflies.
South west of the town is Holt Heath National Nature Reserve - one of the largest and few remaining tracts of Dorset heathland that once covered the area. Also included within the nature reserve are two semi natural ancient woodlands, Holt Wood and Holt Forest which lie north and west of the heathland. The heaths are home to native species which have become rarer since the loss and fragmentation of the heathlands in Dorset due to changes in land use such as forestry and spreading urban development. The heaths are made up of common heather, bell heather and cross leaved heath. In the wet heath you can find bog asphodel, sundews and marsh gentian.
Holt Heath has some fantastic birdlife found in only a few other areas of the country including Dartford warbler and nightjar. It is also the only site in Dorset for populations of breeding curlew. All six British species of reptiles are also found here.
The best time to visit the reserve is in July and August when the majority of the wild flowers will be in full bloom and the purples of the heathers are at their height. There is a car park on the western boundary from the A31, B3078 and B3072.
The reserve has several tracks and paths across the site giving walkers easy access and preventing further fragmentation of the heathland from trampling. There are interpretation boards and leaflets available telling you more about the reserve and its wildlife.
To the east of Verwood is the huge Ringwood Forest. This is a conifer plantation that was planted over native Dorset heathland. Glades within the woodland still contain some heathland of the original habitat.
Ringwood Forest is popular for walking, cycling and horseriding. You'll find a host of waymarked trails throughout the woodland. For horse riders you ll need to obtain a Forestry Commission Riding Permit. This will open up riding trails at both Ringwood and Wareham Forests. Contact Tel: 023 8028 6838. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Within Ringwood Forest is Moors Valley Country Park. This is the easiest access point to the forest and includes a large car park just off Horton Road. Buses also drop off at Moor Country Park such as the X34 from Bournemouth.
It makes a good family day out, not only for its range of recreation routes including 20 miles of waymarked walking and cycling routes, but there's also an adventure Play Trail which includes a giant ant's nest and spider's web, narrow gauge steam railway, golf course, shop and cafe! You can also hire bikes from the shop if you haven't brought your own. Check the link right for more information.