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St. Michael's and All Angels' Church, Colehill, Dorset.

Colehill is a parish, neighbouring Wimborne Minster, in Dorset, England, with a population of 7,000 (2001),[1] reducing slightly to 6,927 at the 2011 census.[2]


The name Colehill originated in 1431 as Colhulle, becoming Colhill in 1518 and Collehill in 1547, but the origins of Colehill as a settlement predate this by a long way.

Six round barrows, which can still be seen, show that people lived here as early as 2000 BC. The River Stour would have been navigable and there is evidence that in about 500 BC peoples from Continental Europe were populating the South West, bringing with them the culture of the early Iron Age. Fortifications at Hengistbury Head and more forts inland were established then.

Part of the tracks survive, running parallel to the river from the coastal fort through modern locations such as Parley and Stapehill to Badbury Rings. It is very likely that the line of Middlehill Road derives from one of these very early tracks.

Later in Roman times Wimborne developed as an important trading centre on the River Stour, and as a junction for further tracks from Poole to Badbury Rings and on to Salisbury. Another track radiating eastward possibly set the line for what was to become in modern times the A31. Bridges replaced the fords (Canford) in about 100 AD.

There then followed the Saxon invasion and the formation of the Kingdom of Wessex. Agriculture became established and with it clearance of some small plots on the sunny heathland slopes around Colehill. Over the centuries farms grew until, with the impetus of the Inclosure Acts (1750 to 1860), they were consolidated into the estates that we know of today - Kingston Lacy, Hanham and Uddens.

Colehill today[edit]

In Colehill there are two first schools: Colehill First School and Hayeswood First School.[3] The middle school is St Michael's. There is one Primary School St Catherine's RC Primary School & Kindergarten.There is also a memorial hall, and a community library was opened in February 2013; it is run by volunteers with some support from Dorset County Council. Colehill has a pharmacy,a hairdressers and a post office.

A parish plan for Colehill was published in 2008. Many of the planned actions have been implemented, including the community library mentioned above. A website was published in November 2008; it is updated regularly[4] and all local organisations are encouraged to contribute. Colehill appears on Twitter and Facebook. Traffic calming in Middlehill Road has been introduced and the major roundabout on the A31 at Canford Bottom has been re-engineered. The latest parish initiative is a project to rebuild the Reef as a youth and community centre for the people of Colehill and Wimborne. Over £500K was raised locally and assistance given by East Dorset District Council. The building was completed in 2016 and is now fully in use and the activities are continuing to expand.

There are a few houses in Colehill dating from the 1860s and rapid expansion took place in the last century. The population rose from 1786 in 1951 to 5370 in 1971. Several large estates of modern family homes were built and there is quite a lot of infill building. The Parish Church, Church of England, is St Michaels and All Angels.[5] It was designed by Caröe in 1893 and is a half brick and half timber construction in the Arts and Crafts style. Nearby and close to the war memorial at the centre of the village are the Triangle Woods which have village green status. There are areas of common land, a recreation ground at Oliver's Park, and a Local Nature Reserve at Leigh Common. The area is well wooded and the local Forestry Commission plantation at Cannon Hill is available for recreation.

The District Council's Core Strategy, approved in 2013, placed over half of East Dorset's New Neighbourhood development in Colehill; it comprises 630 homes along the Cranborne Road and 350 south of the Leigh Road A31. As of 2014 a significant part of Colehill (including the New Neighbourhoods) was designated as a parish ward of Wimborne. In part compensation areas of Stapehill, west of the Canford Bottom roundabout, were incorporated from Ferndown in the Colehill parish ward.

Notable residents of Colehill include Tim Berners Lee,[6] the inventor of the World Wide Web and actor Michael Medwin. Footballer Roger Johnson spent most of his childhood in the village. Musician Al Stewart also grew up in Colehill. Prolific illustrator John Batchelor has lived in Colehill since 1961.[7]


There are two electoral wards within the parish (Colehill East & Colehill West).

Colehill became part of the Mid Dorset and North Poole constituency at the 2010 general election.


  1. ^ Census data
  2. ^ "Parish population 2011". Retrieved 1 March 2015.
  3. ^ Dorset for You - Wimborne Schools Archived 27 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ Colehill website
  5. ^ Church Website
  6. ^ Bournemouth Echo
  7. ^ "Out of work for 44 minutes". Dorset Life - The Dorset Magazine. July 2016. Retrieved April 7, 2018.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 50°48′N 1°58′W / 50.800°N 1.967°W / 50.800; -1.967

Media related to Colehill at Wikimedia Commons