Monday, 11 September 2017

Wondering and Wandering at Wool (1)

Wool is a large village, civil parish and electoral ward in the Purbeck district of Dorset, England.
In the 2011 census the parish, which includes Bovington Camp army base to the north, had 2,015 households and a population of 5,310. The village lies at a historic bridging point on the River Frome, half-way between Dorchester and Wareham.
Woolbridge Manor House (no longer a hotel - fbb), a 14th-century building, is a prominent feature just outside the village and the location (as Wellbridge Manor) of Tess's honeymoon in Thomas Hardy's Tess of the D'Urbervilles.

Nearby, to the east of the village, are the ruins of Bindon Abbey, which was demolished in the Dissolution of the Monasteries of 1539, the stone being used to build castles in Portland, Lulworth and Sandsfoot.
It is the station on the line between Weymouth, Southampon and London to which fbb drove, having deposited Mrs fbb at Bere Regis for her twice-yearly ladies' prayer and bible day.
Wool used to have a very attractive station building on the "down" side ...
... and a meaningful wooden shelter on the up. If you are an "N" gauge railway modeller, you can buy a laser printed Wool station building.
There was obviously a bit more to the structure that is apparent from the photo above.
Today's building is boringly utilitarian ...
... but the "usual offices" were available and a real person sold fbb his ticket after a bright and breezy welcome. fbb was pleased to see self-same ticket clerk out and about picking up litter in the public areas outside the building and not just "rail side".

All mention of Southwest Trains was gone; everything in and on the station was labelled "South Western Railway" in their chosen dull and dismal style; at least the trains were still in bright and cheerful Stagecoach colours. The 1045 to the Big Smoke collected a substantial batch of passengers.
The former goods yard has gone but the sidings on the north of the line still exist; but the rust crust must suggest that they are little used ...
... although on-line evidence does show modern wagons parked there.

There are two trains an hour between Weymouth and London, the slower of the two being the one which calls at Wool.
There are rumours that it is the "stopper" that will be taken over by South Western Railways new service from Weymouth to Portsmouth, one of the features of their franchise commitment. Full details have yet to be revealed but it looks very much as if there will be big changes to the whole network timetable from December next year. Watch this pace! Will Wool lose its service to London.

Right next to the station is a bus layby, used in both directions, making Wool a very well equipped place for integrated transport.
fbb will explore the bus/rail interface in tomorrow's blog. In the meantime this is what greeted your cheery blogger after he parked the limo in the small but free car park.
 Railings, peeps with back packs, peeps in high viz vests and a big blue bus!
And there was a sign.
Until recently, the Bestival was a feature of Isle of Wight life, being located at Robin Hill Adventure Park. 
In December 2016, it was announced that it would be moving to Lulworth from 2017 ...
... and fbb was able to observe the last dregs of party people making their way their on Saturday morning last.
What has fbb missed?
No, absolutely no idea; except, perhaps, the idea of "interesting" food! Is a "Feast Collective" a food tent?

Tomorrow we will take a look at the integrated transport facilities on offer at Wool.

 Next Woolly blog : Tuesday 12th September 

1 comment:

  1. As past provider of Wool's local buses to Lulworth and Bovington - albeit 30 years ago now - I look forward to tomorrow's update Peter