Lying on the River Stour
in the Blackmore Vale, this is one of Dorset’s
busiest and most northerly towns whose origins
date back to the days of the conquering
Saxons. It became a key centre for cloth
making and silk spinning in the 18th Century
and prospered again with the arrival of the
railways. The landscape painter Turner
immortalised its old river bridge while
Constable was also inspired when he came here.
The town has a number of Tudor buildings and a 16th Century grammar school. Nearby is Dorset Rare Breeds Centre and Farm Museum - which has a large collection of endangered farm animals - and a Stone Age barrow. The parish church has a 14th century chancel.