Living in Ferndown
What is life like in Ferndown
Ferndown has expanded in recent years and is now one of the largest towns in Dorset, with its population over 20,000. It is set close to the Dorset/Hampshire border in one of the most beautiful parts of the country.
The ancient heathland that the region is famous for exists in areas such as Ferndown Common and Parley Common, meaning Ferndown is an extremely green town, with plenty of open spaces that can be utilised by local people for a variety of purposes. However, due to its close proximity to the coast, many fine sandy beaches and The Purbecks are also close to hand.
With good transport connections, beautiful views, a relaxed way of life and plenty of sport and leisure facilities, Ferndown is a pleasant place to live.
It also offers excellent employment opportunities as a number of businesses are based around the the town, including one that operates in the aerospace industry. Ferndown and Uddens Industrial Estates make up one of the largest commercial hubs in east Dorset.
Even people who do not work in Ferndown will find plenty of reasons to live there, and it is still incredibly easy to reach the larger destinations of Bournemouth and Southampton.
Despite its significant growth in recent years, the town has managed to retain many of its village characteristics. People are encouraged to visit the quaint town centre, and parking there is still entirely free of charge.
Ferndown is believed to have been given its name after it was derived from 'fiergen' – an Anglo-Saxon word meaning wooded hill. With its location on the edge of the New Forest, the town still offers plenty of woodland even today.
A market garden was founded in Ferndown in the last century and this led to an explosion in its population. William and David Stewart from Dundee were behind the creation of this business and it led to many others coming to the town.
Entertainment, sport and days out
There is a strong community spirit in Ferndown, and this is shown in the number of clubs and groups that operate in the town. Residents might wish to join the Art Society, the Bridge Club, Penny's Patchwork Quilting Group or the Horticultural Society, whilst literature buffs can indulge in their passion with others at the local library. The Barrington Theatre also puts on a variety of plays and shows throughout the year.
Sporty locals tend to gather at Ferndown Leisure Centre, which has a range of facilities designed for all fitness fanatics. These include two heated pools, a gym, a sports hall, squash courts and a number of pitches.
Ferndown Otters is a friendly swimming club open to everyone from the age of five, while there are numerous local golf courses such as Ferndown Golf Club and Ferndown Forest Golf Club.
Given its semi-rural location, it is no surprise that Ferndown is blessed with many footpaths and bridleways, all of which can be utilised by walkers and riders. Parley Common Nature Reserve is a particularly popular spot for outdoor pursuits and the chance to catch sight of fascinating creatures.
Those who want to entertain their children can head to Moors Valley Country Park and Forest, which boasts 700 acres of pine forest. It also offers recreational and play facilities, guided lake and forest walks and special cycle paths.
The New Forest National Park – famous for its iconic ponies and notably flat landscape – is also a short drive away and can provide the setting for a wonderful family day out.
Eating, drinking & shopping
Although only a relatively small town, Ferndown is blessed with a good selection of places to eat and drink. Those who simply want to stop for a hot beverage are advised to consider the Raffles coffee shop in the heart of the town. Alternatively, for a more substantial meal, there are several restaurants within a mile of the main centre , The Angel and The White Hart are always busy and offer delicious food and drinks, with the latter renowned for Carol's Cracking Pies.
The Merchant of Venice is a delightful café and delicatessen on Ringwood Road and The Old Thatch is a traditional old pub well worth a visit.
When it comes to shopping, there are plenty of great options in the town centre. The streets are packed with independent shops, including a local butcher, baker and greengrocer. For more extensive retail facilities, take a trip to Bournemouth or Poole although, with the good road and rail network that is available, Southampton is always a popular option.
Schools & healthcare
Ferndown is home to first, middle and upper schools, all of which are located within a convenient distance of each other. Ferndown First School takes pupils between the ages of four and nine, Ferndown Middle School is for those aged nine to 13, whilst 13 to 18-year-olds can head to Ferndown Upper School.
There are some other options in other areas, such as Oakhurst Community First School, West Moors and Parley First School.
NHS Dorset has a base in Ferndown so medical treatment is never too far away, while there are also main hospitals available in Bournemouth and Poole.
The town is located next to both the A31 and the A347, providing easy access to all destinations throughout Dorset and for onward travel to the West Country. The A31, running across the New Forest, provides excellent connections to the M27 to Portsmouth, the M271 into Southampton, the M3 to Winchester and London whilst the A34 allows ease of access to Oxford and the Midlands.
Although Ferndown does not have its own train station, it is possible to travel from nearby Bournemouth and Poole direct to London in under two hours.
Ferndown is also ideally placed for access to Bournemouth International Airport, which is just four miles south-east of the town. This makes it extremely simple and hassle-free for anyone who wishes to jet off to the continent.