Among the lush pastures of the Blackmore Vale nestles the thriving Saxon town of Gillingham. With its mainline railway station, Gillingham is an ideal launch-pad for the stately delights of Stourhead, the wonders of Iron Age north Dorset, and the charms of Shaftesbury and its ‘Hovis Hill’.
Founded at the confluence of three rivers the Lodden, Shreen and Stour – Gillingham is the perfect base for walkers. The acclaimed Stour Valley Way passes through Gillingham on its way from Stourhead to Christchurch on the coast. Many footpaths give access to the beautiful rural landscape and an annual walking festival gets underway during the first week of September. Within easy walking distance of the station there is a vibrant leisure centre with a café, swimming pool and soft play facility and for outside entertainment an adventure play area and first-class skate park, a games area and outdoor table tennis facility.
Facilities at the station
At the station – £4 per day Monday to Friday; £2 per day Saturday/Sunday; £16 per week; £54 per month. Weekend tickets from 12 noon Friday £6. Pay at machine with cash; via phone to 01256 802 804 and pay by credit or debit card quoting location number 2044, no need to display a ticket; or pay at the ticket office.
In town – pay & display off the High Street (turning opposite Cheltenham & Gloucester shop) which is £3 up to 24 hours. Pay & display at the lower end of the High Street opposite the Town Meadow short and long stay. The long stay (at the further end of the park) is £1.50 for up to 10 hours.
Chantry Fields pay & display (opposite Waitrose) charges from 0800 to 1800 Monday to Saturday including bank holidays no charge Sundays. Charges from 30p for up to 1 hour; £1.50 up to 10 hours to £6 for 72 hours. Permits are available at £185 per annum or £95 per six months. Call 01258 454 111.
The booking hall and ticket office is open Monday to Friday 0600 to 1800; Saturday 0800 to 1800; Sunday 0930 to 1700.
Taxis: Various firms serve the station via a taxi rank immediately outside. A full list with telephone numbers is displayed in the window of Platform 1 Cafe.
Platform 1 Cafe
Award winning cafe serving a range of hot & cold food and soft drinks.
Seated cafe with takeaway option open Monday to Friday 0530 to 1630; Saturday 0800 to 1500.
Disabled Access: Four designated spaces available. There is no disabled toilet facility at this station. Step-free access to platform 1 only.
Cycling: There are two bike racks at the station both under cover. Most trains have cycle space in designated carriage/s. Check with the ticket office if a reservation is required.
Shopping: Local shops and supermarkets are on or near the High Street which is 5 minutes walk from the station. From the traffic lights on Station Road Lower continue straight across into Station Road Upper and the next junction is with the High Street.
First Aid: Phone 111 for advice or 999 in an emergency. Minor Injuries Unit in Shaftesbury, four miles away, within the Westminster Memorial Hospital, Bimport, Shaftesbury, SP7 8BD. The MIU is open Monday to Friday 0900 to 1800; Saturday & Sunday 1000 to 1600. Telephone: 01747 851535
Gillingham is the only ‘Walkers are Welcome Town in Dorset and has been accredited to the national Walkers are Welcome network since 2015.
The group is working to make Gillingham an outstanding destination for walkers with signed routes, walk routes guides, well-maintained paths, regular guided walks as well as the annual Walking Festival in September. A route map is displayed in the bus shelter at the station.
The Walking Festival has a Facebook page
Shaftesbury & Gillingham Tourism Services
Operating the Shaftesbury Tourist Information Centre, situated at 8 Bell Street, next to the Budgens Supermarket, should be able to help with public transport queries. Open all year, Monday to Saturday 10 am – 4 pm
Further details and information can be obtained from: Shaftesbury & Gillingham Tourism Services 8 Bell Street Shaftesbury Dorset SP7 8AE Tel: 01747 853514 Fax: 01747 850593 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.shaftesburytourism.co.uk
Alternatively, contact the Town Council on 01747 823588 for further information about public transport. www.gillinghamdorset-tc.gov.uk
Gillingham has good transport links, being 4 miles south of the A303, the main road from London to the South West, and having a railway station on the Exeter to London railway line. Salisbury is about 30 minutes away by train and 50 minutes by car. It is approximately two hours into central London, with trains arriving at Waterloo. Yeovil is about 15 minutes by train or 30 minutes by car.
Check the Dorset For You website: www.dorsetforyou.gov.uk for:
- Bus information: About bus services in Dorset, timetables, live bus times, bus stops and route maps, bus passes and concessionary travel, plus information on accessible local Community Transport schemes
- Rail information: the latest information for Dorset, including live train departure times, live travel alerts, National Rail Enquiries, Cross Country Trains, Gt. Western Railway and South West Trains.
- Twitter: Go to @Travel Dorset…’ service, an automated feed of travel and transport news.
- An A-Z bus timetable: displayed in the bus shelter at the station.
- Taxi Rank: Various firms serve the station via a taxi rank immediately outside. A full list with telephone numbers is displayed in the window of Platform 1 Cafe.
Much has been written about Gillingham Station and made reference to in many publications. The following link is to an article written last year by local historian, David Lloyd.
John Porter, author of Gillingham, The Making of a Dorset Town and subsequent books published.
- Around Gillingham – photographs compiled by David Lloyd.
- Around Gillingham, The Second Selection by Peter Crocker.
These books are available at Gillingham Museum/Library and various retail outlets.
‘A brief history celebrating 150 years of the Railway’, Ben Carver, in celebration of the opening of the railway on 2nd May, 1859. (not sure if this still available to buy but available to look at in the library/museum)
Address: Chantry Fields, Gillingham, Dorset SP8 4UA www.gillinghammuseum.co.uk
The Museum has artifacts and information about Gillingham Station. Gillingham of today.
Normal Museum Opening Times
- Monday 10.00am – 1.00pm
- Tuesday 10.00am – 5.00pm
- Wednesday Closed
- Thursday 10.00am – 5.00pm
- Friday 10.00am – 5.00pm
- Saturday 9.30am – 4.00pm
- Sunday – Closed
Closed on Bank Holidays At present, there is no entrance fee but donations are essential to enable us to continue to run the Museum.
For visits at other times or Group visits, please contact the Curator by Email at: email@example.com or write to the address below.
The Museum is governed by the management committee of Gillingham Local History Society (Registered Charity no 1014970).
Restaurant and toilet facilities are available in the Waitrose Supermarket on the opposite side of the road. The whole exhibition area is on the ground level and therefore suitable for wheelchair access. Parking (with disabled bays) is available in the adjoining public Car Park.
Gillingham Local History Society – David Lloyd · 01747 825558
Local places to visit
Gillingham, the Leddenton of Thomas Hardy’s novels, is situated in the Blackmore Vale, and is the most northerly town in Dorset. The town is in a convenient position for anyone wishing to explore the surrounding area, being only four miles from the main London to Penzance trunk road, the A303 and on the main railway line from Exeter to London. Salisbury is about 30 minutes away by train and 50 minutes by car. It is approximately two hours into central London, with trains arriving at Waterloo. Yeovil is about 15 minutes by train or 35 minutes by car.
Within a few miles are the historic market towns of Shaftesbury (famous for ‘Gold Hill’) and Sherborne, with its magnificent Abbey and grounds. Just to the north (4 miles) is the Wiltshire border with Mere nestling under the protection of the Salisbury Plain and Somerset to the west (7 miles), the bustling town of Wincanton.
Gillingham plays host to the annual ‘Gillingham & Shaftesbury Show’, which is an agricultural show held every August at the showground on the outskirts of the town. Gillingham Town Carnival is held every October. The first Friday evening in December is the Town’s Annual Christmas Parade commencing from the Town Hall to the Town Meadow.
Just a little further afield to the north is the world famous Capability Brown gardens and house at Stourhead, Wiltshire.
There is plenty to do and see within the town:
There are two designated Conservation Areas, one for the town centre and the other at Wyke on the Wincanton Road (B3081), where you will find a variety of architecture, history and building materials. Please see the HISTORY tab for more information. More details can be found at the Town Council on School Road, Gillingham or phone 01747 823588.
Gillingham has its own successful football team: Gillingham Town FC, with pitches at the end of Hardings Lane (First Team playing in the Toolstation Western League Premier Division and Reserves play in the Dorset Premier League) and the North Dorset Rugby Club at Longbury Hill Lane, now hosting 23 teams of different ages.
Sadly Gillingham does not have a market anymore apart from a weekly Friday morning market and a monthly Arts & Crafts Market on the last Saturday in the month in the Methodist Hall, High Street. Details of what is on in Gillingham can be found in a very useful leaflet called: What’s GR8 in SP8 which can be obtained from the Town Hall, School Road and found online through the Three Rivers Community Partnership website: www.threeriversgillingham.org
Over 7 miles of the River Stour and 9 lakes to fish!
Gillingham & District Angling Association
Situated less than a mile from South West Train Station of Gillingham Dorset on the outskirts of the town on the B3092 towards East Stour, the Lodden Lakes fishery is easy to find and has good access. A wide range of tactics can be used on these lakes to cater for any type of anglers. The majority of people who fish this lake are specialist carp fishermen so there are a lot of boilies put into the water. Good tactics to use for carp fishing is the standard hair rigs and the other various forms of the hair rig.
* * * *
Lodden Lakes, New Road, Gillingham, Dorset, SP8 4SR
Tickets are available from:-
Todber Manor Fisheries Shop, Todber. Telephone: 01258 820384
Crockers, High Street, Gillingham. Telephone: 01747 822900