Blandford Forum popularly known as Blandford is a town market located in the North Dorset district in England and is sited by the Stour River roughly 15 miles Northwest of Poole. It is also the administrative headquarters of the District Council of North Dorset.
Blandford is famous for its Georgian Architecture the result of rebuilding following the fire of 1731 which destroyed most of the town. The reconstruction work was assisted by George the second’s donation, an act of parliament and contributions from the rebuilt city center. The designs by William and John Bastard have survived till today mostly intact.
Sited on the hills is Blandford camp, which is a military base two miles northeast of the town. Population Blandford Forum civil parish and the neighboring Langton parish Long Blandford had a total population of 10,325 in the 2011 census. It is estimated by the Dorset County council that Blandford alone had a population of 10,610 in 2013 while Langton Long Bradford had a population of 120 inhabitants only.
Blandford’s built-up area extends into the civil parish of Blandford’s St. Mary south of the Stour River. Blandford’s forum civil parishes and Blandford St. Mary had an estimated combined population of 12,110 in the year 2013. Until 1981, previous census returns for the town show that it had a population of 4,000 or less. Post-1980s, the city’s population increased rapidly whereby in 2001 it had a population of 8,700 and over4.500 dwellings. 96.5% of the people in Blandford is white British, while the rest account for the other minorities which include Asians and Blacks.
However, some of the population increase is due to the boundary change which incorporated housing estates that were previously within a different parish but already existed on the town’s northern side. Tourist Attractions The Victorian Gardens at Blandford Museum Blandford Forum is renowned for its thriving market area wet in the grandeur of some of the finest Georgian buildings in the country.
It is also the headquarters of the Dorset County Council and the hub for commerce and business. Blandford Forum is always the perfect choice for families wanting the taste of a spectacular the countryside life without feeling so remote due to the presence of some of the most successful schools in England.
The town also captured the imagination of Thomas Hardy as he used Blandford Forum as the inspiration for Shottsford Forum. Historical Market Town After the great fire of 1731, the big market area was engineered around the corn exchange which hosts the weekly indoor market to date. For centuries now, there has been a marketplace in the heart of Blandford, which led to the inclusion of the Latin word “Forum” to mean market from the 16th century onwards.
With weekly markets on Thursday and Saturday, Markets remain an attractive feature of the town’s life where here is also a monthly farmers market. Among the regular stall holders include Weymouth –based award-winning chutneys and preserves. L & C Game are also stall- holders who specialize on the excellent game and are popular for their smoked and cured meat and sausages from their farm at the `Buckland Newton. On the nearby Salisbury Street, Oxfords Bakery, delivers some freshly baked product to the market. A fourth generation family member, Steven Oxford, continues to apply the traditional family recipes from the traditional cottage loaves to buns and cakes and the great fermented malt wheat bread.
The Beautiful Stour
The Stour River sweeps around the edge of the town and is responsible for giving Blandford its name; Blaen-n-ford which means the place near the Ford. The River peacefully makes its way through peaceful meadows and waterside gardens away from the bustle and hustle of the town. The riverside meadows of the ham and marsh, Langton Meadows, Stour Meadows and Milltown which are all open to the public were last year recognized nationally with the Green Flag Awards.
For visitors and locals who want to go for picnics, The Milldown is an all-time firm favorite. Milldown also provides a thriving habitat for wildlife which includes 200 species wildflower and more than 60 different species of birds.
The Dorset Wildlife Trust has designated an area of chalk grassland known as the hangings enclosed in the Milldown as a site of Nature Conservation Interest. The riverside meadows of Marsh and Ham have been the favorite choice for riverbank walks due to their proximity to the town Centre. Inspirational landscape Blandford has inspired and attracted many artists over the years with its nearby rolling Dorset Downs and the Cranborne Chase just a stone throw away. Throughout the year, the Blandford Art Society holds many exhibitions in the town.
The city will also be taking part in the great Biennial Dorset Art weeks this year when artists across the town open the doors of their workshop and studios for visitors. Annabel Valentine, the area coordinator for Dorset Art weeks and Blandford society member, welcomes art lovers to her portrait studio by appointment on the Salisbury Street. Claire Thomas, a fellow Society member, shares up her skills with those willing to brush on their qualifications during her watercolor workshops. Dorset Art week is usually between May the 24th and June the 8th. The Museum of the Royal Signals From the 18th century, there has been a military connection with the town which continues to the present day current date with the Blandford Camp, which is a working military base where the Royal Corps of Signals call home. No tour to the town would be whole without visiting the magnificent world of military communications at the Royal Signals Museum. The museum exhibits the technology that kept our armed forces one step ahead of its adversaries from dropping agents behind enemy lines and semaphore to the present day integrated communications in the field of battle and encrypted satellite communication.
The Great Dorset Steam Fair
The roads around Blandford are full of sounds, sights, and aromas of polished steam traction engines for the five days after the August Bank Holiday. They all come to take part in the great steam fair in a village nearby of Tarrant Hinton. Now in its 46th year, the family-run event attracts more than 200,000 visitors annually from all over the world. The Steam Fair has 3,000 stands and exhibitors, rural crafts and heavy horse demonstrations. The hundreds of traction engines and steam rollers are undoubtedly the star attraction of the fair. The fair was last year awarded with a Guinness world record for the biggest parade of steam rollers, comprising of 103 vintage steam rollers.