The best of Dorset in words and pictures

Verwood then and now

The changing size of Verwood comes into sharp relief when scenes from historical photographs are recaptured in 2013

Ironically, for a town whose largely rural aspect has been gobbled up by development, there is no real equivalent modern view of the town from Stephens Castle. Woods have grown up to hide the town from the hill.


Verwood used to be one of the nine parishes of Cranborne, but has exploded in population and become a town in its own right. In population terms  it grew by over 1000% in the 20th century, which naturally has had a significant effect on the way the own looks now, compared to its days as a rural parish.
Figures from the Office of National Statistics show just how the population – and thus the density of housing – has exploded in Verwood over the last 120 years, particularly in the four decades following the 1971 census.


1891 1191 1971 3510
1921 1220 1981 6110
1931 1610 1991 10210
1951 2135 2001 13530
1961 2820 2011 14990

An interwar view of Dewlands Way shows the typical scrub countryside of the time. An equally typical 2013 scene of the same hill road shows housing.

Looking southwards along Manor Road. Again trees have grown covering part of the view.

Looking northwards along (the now-blocked) Edmondsham Road there is now little in the way of open fields around Verwood's crossroads junction

Margards Lane, looking up towards Church Hill from just before Keswick Way, has changed from an unformed track to a metalled road

Bakers Farm in Station Road (and the road itself) has changed beyond recognition. The modern shot was taken from the Fire Station.

The Post Office was in Vicarage Road (although this was not the first, but its third location in Verwood). It is now in Manor Road.

Where once stood the town's railway station is the The Albion Inn. Behind the modern pub on the right are the remains of the railway bridge.

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