Did you know?

Sturminster Newton is situated at a historic fording point on the Stour. The ford was replaced in the 16th century with a six-arch stone bridge. A 19th-century plaque affixed to the stonework states that anyone damaging the bridge would be transported to Australia as a felon.

Thomas Hardy lived in Sturminster Newton from 1876 to 1878 after he married Emma Gifford. He said that his home was ‘idyllic’ and described his years there as being among the happiest of his life. The house is now a private home.

Sturminster Mill dates from the 17th century but a mill was in the same spot in the Domesday survey. It’s one of several that have dominated the banks of the Stour over the centuries. It was once a place for hiding contraband liquor and is now a working tourist attraction.

It’s all about Cheese

The next few weeks we see advanced preparations for the forthcoming Cheese festival beginning to take place. This festival is the mainstay of the Town’s event calendar drawing in as many as 10000 visitors over its two days. It has been going for more than 10 years. This year sees the arrival of a new chair of the committee and some significant changes in its organising team. Step forward Jeremy Squires as the new head. Steady as she goes is a key part of the preparations (why change a winning formula?) but within that there are to be some changes. Key amongst these is an effort to further involve the Town’s retailers. Some of course, notably Holebroooks will host stalls in the festival itself but by careful rerouting of public transport to station road there is every chance of a footfall windfall in the older retail centre. We know that there are plans afoot in the Museum enclave of shops to put on special hours and a show that will attract those passing by. The Community shop under its new manageress Cheryl Basten will open 9 – 5 both days. Hopefully even supportive locals will take the time out to support these shops.

Quick facts about our town

Sturminster highlights

Oxfords Bakery, run by fourth generation baker Steve Oxford, uses equipment dating back to the early 1900s. Its a traditional artisan bakery, with a very modern owner, and a town highlight.

Hansons is one of the largest craft and fabric warehouses in the South of England. With over 20 000 rolls of fabric, as well as sewing machines, wools, patterns and a myriad of craft utensils, its no surprise it attracts loyal customers from far and wide.

Or visit Harts of Stur – owned and run by Philip Hart and now nearly 100 years old. It’s a cookware specialist but sells everything you ever need for your home. From tiny picture screws to Christmas lights, coffee pots and wellington boots. Its a local treasure.

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