What makes Wimborne Minster special for people who live and work there

PUBLISHED: 10:16 12 April 2016 | UPDATED: 10:16 12 April 2016

The Minster Church

The Minster Church


Andy Greeves discovers what makes this charming market town so special from the people who live and work there

Reverend Canon Vanessa Herrick: Rector at Wimborne Minster

Wimborne is like a big village, it has a very strong sense of identity and community. Having grown up in cities, and worked in larger conurbations for most of my ministry, it’s good to be part of a town where there are lots of networks and inter-relationships. And it’s in a beautiful part of the country with easy access to the coast and the rest of Dorset.

The Minster Church of St Cuthburga has been at the heart of the community for over 1300 years – both in the sense of where it is in the town and in the hearts of those who live, work and visit here. Whether they come to worship or not, the building and what it stands for are held in deep affection by the people of Wimborne.

When I do get the chance to get out and about, I enjoy eating at the Minster Arms and No 9 on the Green, or pottering round Wimborne’s wide range of shops. On a day off, I tend to go farther afield – often for a walk or occasionally to play golf. My husband David and I are also members of the National Trust and regularly visit their properties – including Kingston Lacy which is on our doorstep. When my sons and their partners visit, we sometimes walk up to Walford Mill for a coffee or lunch.

Find out more about the Minster and its rare chained library at wimborneminster.org.uk.

James Webb: Curator and Deputy Director at the Preist’s House Museum

No two days working at the Priest’s House Museum are the same. In the morning I might be writing press releases to spread the word about the museum’s work and activities, followed by time spent researching and developing new exhibitions. I am currently working on an exhibition of Victorian watercolour paintings of the area by a local artist - W J Hawker.

Wimborne has a rich local and archaeological history. On the outskirts of town is Badbury Rings, the site of an Iron Age hill fort and a later Roman settlement. St Cuthburga, sister of Ine, King of Wessex, founded a nunnery at Wimborne in around AD705 and much of the present day Minster was built in the 12th century.

In the early 1880s Thomas Hardy was living in Wimborne when he wrote Two on a Tower on of his Wessex novels. The Eclipse works of J W Flower & Co manufactured equipment, including bottling machinery for the brewing industry, in the first half of the 20th century at Wimborne.

This year the museum is taking part in the inaugural Wimborne History Festival, on 16-17 July 2016. Christchurch and East Dorset Partnership has been awarded a grant by the Heritage Lottery Fund to deliver a two-day festival and a programme of community heritage projects. The Wimborne History Festival will explore the town’s history from the Bronze Age onwards and we will be offering young people training on curating exhibitions using objects from our archaeology collection.

Reverend Peter Breckwoldt: Vicar at St John’s Church

One of the strengths of the St John’s church family is its activities and support given to children and young families. We have a close working relationship with Katharine Anstey at St John’s First School and once a month on a Sunday we run a lively Messy Church – which is very popular with young families. During the week we run an afterschool club for children of First School age. There is a Bible study on a Wednesday morning for young mums and Tots & Toys groups meet on Monday and Tuesday mornings. We are always ready to welcome new people at our church, which is on the crossroads of St. John’s Hill, Avenue Road and Leigh Road, and share something of God’s incredible love for them.

Find out more at stjohnswimborne.org.uk.

Ian Faulkner: Chair of Wimborne BID

I have ultimate accountability for managing the BID Board in spending our £100,000 plus income on Wimborne. It is a voluntary, unpaid role (which is the case for all BID Directors) and takes up about three days a week and quite a few evenings. I get involved in everything from where to put broadband cabinets or how to increase parking capacity to helping individual businesses develop or interviewing potential staff for the upcoming Wimborne History Festival which is happening in July 2016.

The Wimborne BID (BID stands for Business Improvement District - a partnership between a local authority and business community to develop projects and services that will benefit the local trading environment) was established in 2011. Over the last five years we have marketed the town extensively, helping to select the town branding, carrying regular adverts in local and county press, and through social media. We have put up street signs so people can navigate around Wimborne and helped to bring visitors into town by supporting events, festivals and markets. We have also given businesses a stronger voice with East Dorset and Dorset councils, and through our close partnership with the Wimborne Minster Town Council and Chamber of Trade and Commerce.

The Wimborne BID costs less that 50p per day for the typical levy payer so by working together we have, and can continue to, achieve great things and keep Wimborne Minster the envy of other towns in the area.

Find out more at our website wimborneminster.net/bid.

Sarah Evans: Trust Manager of East Dorset Heritage Trus

I have worked in Wimborne for 10 years and for eight of those I have worked for East Dorset Heritage Trust (EDHT) at Allendale House. Wimborne is one of the best communities I have ever had the pleasure to be involved with. There are so many lovely people willing to give up their time to help others.

EDHT has been in existence for 28 years and was the brainchild of several key members of the Wimborne community. We are an educational charity which strives to provide the East Dorset and wider community with stimulation and interest in our environment, history, culture and heritage. We do this by organising events throughout the year, one of which is Dorset Architectural Heritage Week which runs from 8 - 15 September 2016. We also run tailor-made courses on a wide range of interesting subjects.

Find out more about our work at edht.org.uk.

A taste of Wimborne

Local foodie John Billington gives our taste buds a tour of his home town

Burgeoning new businesses and innovative re-launches of established favourites are making Wimborne Minster the new destination for food and drink enthusiasts. Kate Compston is one of our local stars. Following her stunning success with The Taphouse, a small independent micro pub on West Borough that won two CAMRA awards within 18 months of opening, Kate has created The Gin House next door. Boasting a 130 gins, ranging from artisan American to quirky Japanese, this art deco speakeasy is a ‘must visit’.

Steve Farrell’s beers from 8 Arches, Wimborne’s very own brewery, regularly guest at The Tap House, but for those in the know a trip to the brewery itself on a Friday night is the best gig in town. Also worth checking out is the fabulous street food served by Flaming Peaches, the versatile catering enterprise of renowned chef Matt Davey, late of The Tickled Pig on West Borough. Matt’s 1959 Citroen H van is an Aladdin’s cave of culinary Dorset delights. He has devised superb menus for his Social Suppers at a great new venue, the Old Squash Court on the Deans Court Estate. My best friend’s recent significant birthday saw 30 of us savouring cracking dishes from Flaming Peaches while glugging top notch wine from our BYO bottles.

The lovely Pick More Daisies Cafe may now be a fond memory, but proprietor Linda Tazzyman has not been idle. She’s developed Number 9, close neighbour to The Taphouse, into a fine dining restaurant with a deservedly growing reputation. There’s also the award-winning Number 9 On The Green (at Cooks Row) a cafe that features the famed Long Crichel bakery among its suppliers and is sited opposite the Minster itself. Even the local sandwich bar has been given a splendid Tazzyman makeover.

Have you got a favourite local foodie haunt in your town? Share it with us helen.stiles@archant.co.uk and we’ll spread the word!

Wimborne’s property scene

Mark Stylianou of local estate Hearnes tells us why Wimborne is such a sought after place to live

Wimborne’s housing market includes older character properties, modern houses and flats, so there is something to suit everyone. The town centre is really vibrant with over 150 shops, many of which are small independent boutique shops, there are two supermarkets, several popular high street chains, a three day covered market and a regular farmers’ market in the square. Add to this a wide range of public houses, coffee shops and award-winning fine dining restaurants as well as the renowned Tivoli Theatre.

Wimborne is well served by schools in both the state and independent sectors and there are excellent leisure facilities along with riverside and country walks. With all this on offer, and easy access to the A31 and M27 leading to London, you can understand why Wimborne is so popular with buyers.

Find out more about the market at hearnes.com.

Latest from the Dorset