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.

The recently revived White Hart is an old coaching Inn with a  date of 1708 on its front wall Although it may be even older. In 1729 a fire tore through Sturminster leaving two buildings standing, the White Hart and St Mary’s Church. The Inn is reputedly haunted. One ghost is a woman in victorian clothing who walks the ground floor and bar area, some say cleaning! now under new management it has quickly established itself as a friendly and very traditional public house with music and food.

A fifteenth century medieval bridge with six arches guards the southern entrance to Sturminster. Half way across it bears the threat of ‘Transportation for life’ for anyone who vandalises it. The ancient bridge has stood the test of time more recently surviving numerous car crashes into its ancient walls. Thomas Hardy famously wrote about the bridge in his poem “On Sturminster Bridge”

Another well known literary name of Sturminster Newton is Dorset dialect poet Robert Young. Popular for his wit and style, Young was something of a local celebrity. His riverside home, The Hive, also included the ownership of nearby ‘Riverside’ Villas in which Thomas Hardy and his wife were tenants. Young died in 1907 aged 97! His basket travel chair in which he could often be seen travelling around the streets of Sturminster is now on display at the town museum

Have you wondered what to do and where to go? Have you ever thought of Sturminster Newton?

We’ve lots to see and do, ranging from lovely walks along the river, to visiting our beautiful, historic working mill that featured in the international press when it ground flour to fill the shortage during the COVID lockdown. We’ve some lovely shops and cafes, and a chance to see where Thomas Hardy wrote Return of the Native. There’s plenty of parking too.

If you’re interested in being active, we’ve a wonderful trailway route that takes you along a former railway track via the Shillingstone railway project, through to our neighbouring town Blandford with its Georgian architecture. You can cycle or walk on this safe route as a family with lovely views throughout.

We’ve recently installed an orienteering route with maps and an App that allows you and your family to scan markers on the route and show where you are and your speed between each marker. It’s great for young people to learn how to use a map to follow the route and see how well they are doing.

Who’s Who in Sturminster Newton

Wondering who the best person to contact is? We’ve put together a comprehensive list of contact details for numerous going ons around the town.

Find out Who’s Who

Hearts of Stur

Sturminster Newton at a glance

A snapshot out our latest events, businesses and attractions.

Quick facts about our town

Sturminster Newton was recorded in the Anglo-Saxon Charter of 968 as Nywetone at Stoure, and in the Domesday book as Newentone.

In the 2011 census the town’s civil parish had a population of 4,945

The Town 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 bridge states that anyone damaging the bridge would be transported to Australia as a felon.

On the south bank of the river is the watermill. It achieved fame in USA TV as a key supplier of ground flour in the COVID crisis! Actually, restored in 1980 it is now a museum.

Hidden on the hill above the bridge over the river are the ruins of Sturminster Newton Castle. The 14th-century building stands on a crescent shaped mound. Sadly it is NOT publicly accessible

The town was the home of dialect poet and author William Barnes and for part of his life, Thomas Hardy. Hardy wrote Return of the Native whilst living in Sturminster. He was later to say that his period of living here were some of the best years of his life. Hardy used the Town as the location for many parts of Tess.  Learn more about Barnes, Hardy and Robert Young from this video courtesy of the Sturminster Newton Literary Festival organisers.

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