Just escaping the clutches of the south coast conurbation, Wimborne Minster is an attractive market town, dominated by the twin towers of the Norman Minster church. Its history dates back to the 8th century and it is recorded in the Domesday Book as a small market town. The current population is around 15 thousand.
How To Get Here
Wimborne Minster is in east Dorset, about 5.5 miles north of Bournemouth and Poole and 20 miles east of Dorchester. From Bournemouth and Poole head west on the A35 and then take the exit at Upton onto the A350, heading north. At the roundabout, take the third exit onto the A31. Then either:
- For King Street and the Minster, take the first exit at the next roundabout onto the B3078, go over Julian’s Bridge and take the second exit at the mini roundabout into West Street. Follow the one way system and turn left into West Borough (B3078). Turn right into Priors Walk (B3073). Then turn right into East Borough and follow this road as it becomes High Street. At the end of the road, turn right into King Street.
- For Eyebridge, take the first exit at the next roundabout onto the B3078, go over Julian’s Bridge and take the first exit at the mini roundabout. Just after the hospital turn left into Cowgrove Road. Go past the turning to Pamphill on the right, and then on the left there is a small, gravelled area where you can park.
- King Street Parking Lat/Long: 50.799080, -1.9902420 Parking Postcode: BH21 1EA
OS Map grid ref: SZ 007 999
- Stour food plain Parking Lat/Long: 50.792566, -1.9963521 Parking Postcode: BH21 3DH
OS Map grid ref: SZ 003 992
- Eyebridge Lat/Long: 50.800490, -2.007556 Parking Postcode: BH21 4EL
OS Map grid ref: ST 995 000
- Map: OS Explorer 118 (1:25 000) Shaftsbury and Cranborne Chase
What To Shoot and Viewpoints
The architecture is mainly 15th – 17th century, and thanks to local planning laws is well-preserved. The River Stour flows along the outskirts where it meets the River Allen. There are excellent views of and along the Stour and it is well worth spending some time exploring the walks along its banks.
Viewpoint 1 – The Minster
Park in the car park in King Street, which is only a short walk from the Minster. There are good compositions possible from both the north and south sides of the church, depending on the time of day and year and therefore direction of light. From the south (King Street) side, however, there is a very effective composition possible, framing one of the towers under the leaves of a tree in the churchyard.
Viewpoint 2 – The Minster from across the Stour Flood plains.
Approaching Wimborne from Dorchester on the A31, instead of turning left at the roundabout onto the B3078 into the town centre, go straight across to stay on the A31 heading east. After a couple of hundred yards, pull into a lay-by on the left. From here, there are gaps in the hedges that will allow you a good view across the Stour towards the Minster.
Viewpoint 3 – Eyebridge and The Stour
Eyebridge is a wooden bridge which crosses the Stour. You can shoot symmetrical compositions along the bridge, which work especially well at sunrise, or along the river from the bridge. The water to the west of the bridge is often very still, due to a weir, and there are often perfect reflections in this part of the river. Across the bridge there are some good shots from the banks of the Stour and you can stay on the same side and follow the footpath along the bank in either direction, with plenty of opportunities to stop and take pictures along the way.
None of the locations involves much walking and can be easily reached by people of all fitness levels. Getting up onto Eyebridge is not possible for wheelchair users and the footpath to the east of the parking spot at Eyebridge does not have wheelchair access, although heading west the footpath is paved and is negotiable for wheelchair users.
Best Time of Year/Day
The Minster church can be photographed year round. The north side gets the light in the summer months and the south side during the winter. Viewpoint 2 is best as a sunrise option, especially in the spring and autumn, when there may be mist over the ood plains, or in winter, when the fields are flooded and colourful skies may be reflected. Eyebridge and the riverside views nearby (Viewpoint 3) are again probably at their best early in the morning; there are good possibilities year round, but as there are more compositional possibilities from the north bank and looking east from the bridge, the best options are probably between October and March, with the sun rising further south.