CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Dorset Magazine today CLICK HERE

Best things about living in the Blackmore Vale

PUBLISHED: 11:57 03 June 2015 | UPDATED: 11:57 03 June 2015

© David Hansford / Alamy

© David Hansford / Alamy

© David Hansford / Alamy

Picturesque and fertile the Blackmore Vale provided the inspiration for Thomas Hardy’s ‘Vale of Little Dairies’. It is also home to some of Dorset’s most charming villages

Immortalised in Thomas Hardy’s novel Tess of the D’Urbervilles, the Blackmore Vale forms part of the Stour Valley, which in turn is part of the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

As well as Dorset, the Vale also encompasses some of Somerset and Wiltshire. The local road network provides easy access to Bath, Blandford, Salisbury, Sherborne and Warminster, as well London via the A303/M3 and the South Coast. Both Tisbury and Gillingham at the heart of the Vale have train stations with mainline connection to London Waterloo.

The towns of Gillingham and Sturminster Newton are the largest settlements in the Vale with populations of 11,756 and 4,292 respectively (2011 census). Gillingham (pronounced with a hard ‘G’) is five miles north-west of Shaftesbury and is Dorset’s most northerly town. It is popular with families as it is home to eight primary schools and one secondary school.

The majority of house sales in Gillingham last year involved detached properties which sold for an average of £235,486. Terraced properties sold for an average price of £160,558, while semi-detached properties fetched £181,460. The overall average price of £185,094 was cheaper than nearby Shaftesbury (£227,346). During the last year, sold prices in Gillingham were 4% down on the previous year.

Sturminster Newton meanwhile had an average sale price of £249,271 in 2014. Again, detached properties featured most heavily in sales, fetching an average price of £309,690. Terraced properties sold for an average price of £174,921, while semi-detached properties fetched £242,447. Sturminster Newton’s overall average sale price was £249,271 – up 8% up on 2013.

Marnhull is the location that featured most prominently in Tess of the d’Urbervilles. Hardy called the village ‘Marlott’ and The Crown Inn, which still exists today, provided the inspiration for The Pure Drop. The village embraces a mix of architectural styles, from post-war developments to Tudor houses and is well served by two primary schools, two pubs, a GP surgery, village hall and local shops. During the last year, sold prices in the village (average of £298,280) were 3% up on the previous year.

Other settlements within the Dorset area of Blackmore Vale include the villages of Belchalwell, Child Okeford, East Stour, Hazelbury Bryan, Hinton St Mary, Okeford Fitzpaine, Shillingstone, Stalbridge, Stour Provost, Todber and West Stour.

House price information from



7 of the best farm shops in Dorset - Want to keep your food miles low and your taste experience high? Alice Cooke reveals some of the county’s best farm shops

Dorset walk - Stalbridge Park and Purse Caundle - On this fine Blackmore Vale walks Edward Griffiths visits an ancient Dorset village, an impressive manor house and enjoys many beautiful vistas


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Dorset visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Dorset staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Dorset account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Homes & Gardens

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

As we head into Autumn, the change in season is all around us. From the leaves on the trees turning burnt orange and fiery red, to dark mornings and nights bookending our days. As we put the clocks back an hour to battle the darkness, here’s some top tips on how you can keep your home warm and costs down this Autumn.

Read more
Friday, August 31, 2018

Rural energy provider, Calor, gives some top tips for homeowners wanting to make their houses cosy and warm in time for the colder months.

Read more
Sunday, July 1, 2018

Residential property company heylo recently signed the Armed Forces Covenant, pledging its commitment to fair treatment and support to the Armed Forces community, including regulars, reserves, veterans and their families. The signing took place in a ceremony held at Wellington Barracks

Read more
Friday, May 4, 2018

A house on Dorset’s most famous street has become available and this is how much it costs to buy

Read more
Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Add colour to your garden now with the top flowers of March and this season will be all the brighter

Read more
Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Houseplants are a hot interior trend at the moment and can completely transform a room - but they have their downsides! Gardener and broadcaster Toby Buckland delivers his expert advice

Read more
Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Would you decorate your home with human bones and old medical instruments? Plenty do, according to one Dorset couple, which piqued Faith Eckersall’s morbid curiosity

Read more
A+ South & South West

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search