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Ferndown is the fifth largest town in Dorset, with a population nearly 20,000, incorporating the communities of Hampreston, Longham, Stapehill and Tricketts Cross. Ferndown is situated in East Dorset adjoining the boundaries of the larger towns of Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch and is surrounded by open countryside and woodlands; it is close to the New Forest, and the market towns of Ringwood and Wimborne.

Ferndown has a lively and thriving town centre, which is airy, clean and convenient for residents and visitors. The largest Industrial Estate in East Dorset is situated just a mile from the town centre and is an expanding resource serving the community. Up until 1972 the town was governed by the parish council of Hampreston, but Ferndown, formerly a small village nearby, had begun to grow and under the local government re-organisation of 1972 a major change took place to re-name the parish Ferndown and it became a Town Council at the same time.

The origin of the name Ferndown is somewhat obscure, but it was probably derived from the Anglo Saxon word `Fiergen` meaning wooded hill. Fiergen later became Fyrne, then Ferne and eventually Fern. This undoubtedly reflected the prolific growth of ferns in the area. Maps as far back as the early 1800`s spelt the name Fern Down as two words, but in 1859 nurserymen William and David Stewart arrived from Dundee in search of a less severe climate to nurture and grow more delicate plants. It was the Stewart family who were largely responsible for establishing early commercial life in Ferndown. By 1865 a seed and plant catalogue had been prepared at Fern Down and sent for comment and approval to William Stewart back in Dundee. He replied in part of the letter `as to the spelling of Fern Down, Thomas and I think Ferndown looks and reads better`. This letter was largely responsible for the birth of `Ferndown` although Ordnance Survey and other maps continued to show the name as two words right up to 1925.

Modern Ferndown has retained much of its former friendly village atmosphere and some locals still refer to it as the village. At a Civic Service the Minister noted with humour that `BT does not stand for British Telecom in Ferndown, but Before Tesco` Nevertheless, Ferndown retains its green and clean appearance. The town centre is easy to access with free parking and level walking. A shop mobility service operates on Thursdays for less able-bodied people. A modern shopping precinct and sensitive landscaping and planting has given the centre a light and airy feel. Incorporated in the shopping precinct are the Barrington Centre, the Library and the Medical Centre.

About a quarter of a mile from the town centre lie the King George V Playing Fields. These are a very large area of open space set aside in perpetuity for sport and recreation for the people of Ferndown. This well maintained recreation area includes many facilities to suit all ages. A large children`s playground with equipment for children with special needs, 6 tennis courts, 4 football pitches, cricket pitch, excellent bowling green, boules area, croquet practice lawn and a fully equipped Skateboard Park. For more information and bookings visit the KGV Fields page. You can find information on the many clubs that use these facilities in our Sports and Leisure pages.

An area has been developed into a place to rest, picnic and enjoy, known as the Millenium Park. Adjacent to the field is another sports area linked to the Ferndown Leisure Centre and beyond is yet another large open space, Ferndown Common. English Nature and the Herpetological Society manage this area to retain some of the local rare wildlife, including the Dartford Warbler, the Smooth Snake and the Sand Lizard. Whether you want sporting, leisure or cultural activities, Ferndown has them in abundance.