West Parley Heritage Open Day

The recent Heritage Open Day at Parley Sports Club produced a lot of interesting discussion amongst residents who attended. Old maps, photos and books were on display to show residents the long history of the village and to prompt memories.

Mr and Mrs keavey with a 5000 year old flint
Mr and Mrs Kearey with their 5000 year old flint find

Residents brought in some interesting finds from their gardens that an expert Archaeologist helped to identify and explain what they were. The most important item was a late Neolithic 3 inch worked flint found 2 years ago in Birch Ave. This find was in perfect condition and was just as it had been made 5000 year ago. It was explained how the tool had been formed and that it would have been used as a general scraper and to cut animal skin and meat.

Residents offered a huge amount of information on what life was like in the village. Many were born or have lived in West Parley for 60 or more years. One resident brought in details of the 1939 sale of building plots for what was called the Pine Hills Estate, now Chine Walk, Dudsbury Road and part of Glenmoor Road, that was then no more than a dirt track across to Ferndown.

Details of some of the more interesting features were highlighted. The location of the small WW2 prisoner of war camp was confirmed as south of Crescent Walk. Some residents remembered it and the Italian prisoners held there and it was shown in a number of 1947 aerial photos on display. These photos also showed how little of the village had been developed at that time with the outline of the current main and most of the side roads clearly visible but with very little housing around.

Further work with County Archaeologists who will help check out local features on maps and records and agree the age of boundary features such as ditches, banks, stones and posts. Some current boundaries may seem fairly recent but many are likely to go back to very ancient times.

As the result of recent publicity about the heritage project, a local metal detecting group has come forward to help the research needed to get more information about the older parts of the village. Agreement from landowners is now needed for these land searches and fieldwork to go ahead.