West Parley is a parish in its own right. It has a parish council, two churches, a village hall, a first school, two shopping parades, a surgery, a sports club and sports fields, a playground and two pubs.
At the 2001 census the population of West Parley was 3532. On the most recent electoral register there are 1530 residences. 95% of the houses are owner occupied. A third of the population is aged 65 or over. Only 14% are aged 15 or below.
West Parley's houses are almost all 20th century, many of them post 1950 garden bungalows, all detached. In the centre, and on the eastern edge bordering the golf club, are larger detached houses, some of them substantial.
A feature of the village is the multiplicity of trees and the handsome grass verges to most of the roads. In the Spring, covered in daffodils and crowned with cherry trees, these can look quite handsome.
West Parley was once a small village surrounded by countryside. In the last 60 or so years Ferndown has expanded to our north, and Bournemouth has grown right up to the banks of the river Stour.
Thus the visitor or passer through who drives in 5 minutes from Ferndown along New Road and through West Parley to Bournemouth may think it is all one urban area. This is far from the true picture. West Parley is a semi-rural community bounded by green belt and farmland to the East and West, and by the river Stour to the South.
Close to nature
A walk round the parish boundaries reveals West Parley to be three quarters surrounded by beautiful Dorset countryside. On the way round the eye meets virgin fields, horse farms, two golf courses, pastures bordering the winding river, small farms and nurseries, the ancient hill fort, the old church and manor house.
To the south, West Parleys boundary is the river Stour, one of Dorset's most prized natural features, which flows right through the County. A mile of open green belt countryside, broken only by a ribbon of houses, separates West Parley from the urban spread of Bournemouth.
West Parley is a village set in an ancient environment, much of which still remains, and surrounded (except to the north) by pastoral beauty. It still retains its own identity but has to struggle to keep this in the face of housing pressures from outside authorities.