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.