History of West Moors

The history of West Moors draws people to the area and something that the residents like to keep part of their village. Located in east Dorset, West Moors sits between both Verwood and Ferndown, only being a short 10 mile drive from Bournemouth.

Discovered first in the 14th century West Moors was known as La More, changing to Mours the following century and then Le Moure in the 16th century. During this time, West Moors as it is known today, was a sparsely populated hamlet, north of the ancient parish of West Parley, which was recorded in the Doomsday Book as Perlai. West Moors and the establishment of the Parish council in 1956 allowed it to gain village status from a hamlet. Despite its rebranding as a town council in 2020, West Moors remains a village.

The change to village from a hamlet is attributed to the arrival of the railway connecting Southampton to Salisbury to Dorchester in 1847. By 1866 the hamlet became an important junction for this route and the following year a station would accompany the line in West Moors. However, these lines would be diverted towards the coast passing through Bournemouth, meaning the last commercial journey through West Moors would come in 1964, the last freight service in the 1970’s and the last train in 1974. The only remnants of these lines are found on station road, where the gatekeeper’s cottage for the level crossing resides or along the Castleman trailway stretching to Ringwood and Poole, where parts of the original track bed can be found.

West Moors most notable piece of history comes in the second world war and later military use. During the war the Fuel Depot located in the north of village was used by American soldiers operating aircraft missions out of Hurn airport, now known as Bournemouth airport.  The MoD established an important hub in their fuel distribution at this wartime facility as well as relocating the RAF Fuel Training School to the area in 2017. However, after 80 years at the location, in 2018 it was announced the RAF would relocate to Worthy Down the following year, with the Army then leaving in 2020. Today the fuel depot is home to the Defence School of Petroleum, and also the Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service Training Centre.

Today West Moors houses 7500 people, with a relatively high proportion of elderly people. There are two first schools, one middle school, two youth clubs; including the west moors scout group, and a skatepark. There are various shops including one butcher, one baker and two pubs. There is also the West Moors Social Club which has entertainment nights. Moors Valley Country Park is just outside the parish boundary (3 miles from the village), and is easily accessible from the Castleman Trailway, the main feature of West Moors.