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   Communications in Verwood. 

 

The eighteenth century brought with it the building of many turnpike roads. In 1756 there were several turnpike roads from Poole Gate into Cranborne Chase and in 1759 two more were established in the area, one from :-

  • Winchester through Romsey, Ringwood, Longham to Wimborne Minster and from 

  • Ringwood through Woolsbridge, Horton and Thickhorne to Cashmore. 

1760 found Cranborne on the high road from London to the west. A turnpike road from Poole Gate to Salisbury through Cranborne Chase was established by Act of Parliament in the reign of George III, a milestone can still be seen on the roadside between Toyd Farm and the Blandford-Salisbury road marking this turnpike. These roads brought more people to the area. The smugglers certainly used the roads, the Chase woods being a good refuge when conveying their contraband from the coast to inland destinations. 

Shawn Shaw has reported following the road from Cranborne to Tidpit, across Toyd Down in 2007 where he saw many of these milestones still in place.The one shown in the photograph (taken by John Barnaby of Poole) is 11 miles from Cranbonre [as spelt on the stone]. At 2 miles it is the closest to Cranborne and is painted white with black lettering. The rest were less well conserved.

Telegraph Hill to the north of Verwood was a landmark in Napoleonic times. It was one of a line of telegraph posts strung out across the country from London to Plymouth. It has been said that this system of semaphore could flash a message from Devon to London, and carry a reply within minutes. It was this semaphore system which helped carry the news of Nelson's Trafalgar and Wellington's Waterloo.

Cross country communications with South Hampshire and the Bristol Channel were improved in 1832 when the Cranborne Chase and New Forest Turnpike was built. Some late nineteenth century maps suggest that the road from Verwood to Cranborne was included but there is no record of this.

The railway was built in 1867 and was part of the Salisburyand Dorset branch of the London and South West Railway. It is interesting to note that it was Verwood station that served Cranborne. The railway lasted for just under one hundred years, and in 1968 the station was derelict and the rails had been taken up. Currently the Albion Inn and the now unused railway bridge can still be seen but the rest of the station buildings have been demolished to make way for a new road and housing. (select here to see the separate article on Verwood Station.)

In 1968 the only public transport was provided by the Hants and Dorset bus company, which linked Verwood with Ringwood and Bournemouth and on certain days with Wimborne. The buses then ran at two hourly intervals and one's own transport was and still is a great asset. Currently due to the increase in the size of Verwood and the privatisation of the countries bus services, new routes have been introduced as well as the frequency, with currently 3 companies competing.

Copyright P Reeks.     

 

 
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