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The former market town of Fordingbridge is a bustling community with a population of approximately 6,000, located on an historic crossing point of the River Avon. The town was recorded in the Domesday Book and the name has naturally evolved over the years from ‘Forde’ and ‘Bridge’. Harking back to medieval times, the eponymous first Great Bridge still gracefully spans the River Avon and greets residents and visitors alike as they enter the town from the east.
Having suffered a major fire in the early 1700s that destroyed the bulk of the original medieval town, much of the existing centre can be traced back to the latter half of the Eighteenth Century and holds Conservation status. Fordingbridge possesses a heritage as a once an important commercial centre within the region and was home to thriving brick making, pottery and textile trades. On a less industrial - though no less enterprising – note, the town was also renowned for its smuggling and the infamous Captain Diamond, the ‘Smuggler King’, was known to have frequented a local riverside hostelry, with and without his loot!
Nowadays Fordingbridge has developed a more inviting reputation as not only a wonderful place to live but also to visit. Its position on the edge of the New Forest National Park makes it the ideal gateway for exploration of the beautiful New Forest and Avon Valley, and the scenic Avon Valley Footpath winds its way around the town before continuing its journey to the coast. The verdant rolling downland countryside of Cranborne Chase is similarly accessible a short distance to the west of the town and provides a lovely contrast to the moor, heath and woodland of the forest.
The town’s traditional High Street hosts a cross-section of independent retailers and the community and satellite villages further afield are well served by a raft of reputable local schools, recreational and health facilities. Of sporting note is the town’s football club, Fordingbridge Turks FC, established circa 1868 and as such one of the 50 oldest football clubs in England.
Geographically, Fordingbridge is well placed for access to the larger commercial and employment centres in the area. The B3078 skirts the uppermost northern tip of the National Park to supply a convenient link with the M27 at Junction 1 for Southampton, the M3 and London beyond. The A338 passes through the Avon Valley and provides direct and commutable access to Salisbury, Bournemouth and Poole. There are international airports at Southampton and Bournemouth and mainline stations to London (Waterloo) from Salisbury and Southampton Parkway.
Fordingbridge Rugby Club