The TMSTH Area Forum was setup for YOU, the local residents to air views, raise issues and attend meetings about the development of the area in which you live.

The area forum has a committee of local residents who meet on a regular basis.

If you would like to become a committee member e-mail:

The committee members organise public meetings which are currently held 3 times a year and these meetings give you the opportunity to discuss any local issues and listen to invited speakers. However, if you are unable to attend the meetings, you can still contact us to raise any concerns you may have.

Saving the Cob Barn

Our history

In the village of Holdenhurst stands a poignant reminder of Bournemouth’s deep past. Thousands of people pass it by unawares every day as they head north on the A338, and yet it has stood there for hundreds of years; long before the town of Bournemouth was even thought of.

When it was built in the late medieval/early modern period, the Cob Barn took its place in a largely agricultural landscape, bordered by meadows and marsh closer to the Stour and areas of heath to the south. Small settlements dotted the land around, from here in Holdenhurst itself, west to Throop and then Kinson. To the east lay the market town of Christchurch. The Barn, made in the traditional ‘cob’ manner mixing soil, water and fibrous organic material, had its place and its purpose; it stood through the centuries as change took place around it. Up unto the early 1990s, as some of you may remember, it was one of a group of lovely thatched buildings. Fire swept all the others away.

Today, the Barn seems sadly unloved. Its walls are peeling in face of the elements; graffiti and bramble cover them. It is topped by a functional but depressing corrugated iron roof, slowly rusting.

The campaign against the A338 flyover

The plight of the Barn came to prominence during the recent campaign against a flyover on the A338. Friends of Riverside local action group – of which I am a coordinator – worked with many others – including Holdenhurst Parish Meeting - to oppose this environmentally and culturally damaging scheme, and colleagues brought close to 90 people together for an event celebrating the Barn and calling for its restoration.

Hopefully, the flyover will never be built, but the Barn continues to deteriorate. Seeing this every time I walk or cycle by makes me both sad and angry; I’m sure other people feel this way too. And so, last year, I decided to try and re-energise our earlier efforts.

In the last few months, I have been talking to local residents and both BCP and Throop and Holdenhurst Parish Council councillors. All have expressed an interest in restoration.

Saving the Cob Barn - Recent Campaign Against A338 Flyover Event

A better future for the Barn

The Barn lies on the route of the Stour Valley Way, the long-distance footpath which follows our river from its source at Stourhead to the sea at Christchurch. I’ve walked almost all of it myself and along the way I’ve passed Christchurch Priory, Holdenhurst and Throop villages (including the Mill), Julian’s Bridge in Wimborne and Sturminster Newton Mill, all fascinating historical sites.

With restoration, the Barn could also play its part. An information sign might tell passers-by about traditional agriculture; a mural might depict Holdenhurst’s past; the Barn might be brought back into re-use (something that had been suggested by the graziers currently renting the adjoining land). Local residents and their children could and should take part in this work.

These are just a few ideas to spark conversation. There may well be many others, but whatever we might achieve together should bring pride, joy and education.

How can we work together?

With a commitment to go ahead, ideas and their costings, publicity and fund-raising will all need to be considered. If you would like to get involved, please contact me at the address given below.

We can achieve something positive together

The Cob Barn is part of our cultural heritage, something we should cherish. Indeed, what does it say about us if we allow our history to crumble away without care? It is true that our town, like many others across the country, faces challenging and sometimes dispiriting times. With goodwill and commitment, the story of the saving of the Cob Barn could become something brighter to look forward to and then long look back upon.

Thank you.
Conor Niall O’Luby, Coordinator, Friends of Riverside

Throop and Holdenhurst Village Council

Upcoming Throop and Holdenhurst Village Council Meetings

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Strouden Woods Group - information sought:

If anyone knows about the Strouden Woods Group, please get in touch with us.

We'd like to learn more about how they've helped protect this beautiful part of the town.

The "Big Society!"

Through the Localism Bill, the Government plans to give communities more power to control their own environment.

The Throop, Muscliff, Strouden, Townsend and Holdenhurst Area Forum is a voluntary, non- political, non-partisan platform for local people to have their say.

New Committee Members Needed

Do you love your home and local area?

Could YOU help support our beautiful area by volunteering for the Committee?

We hold 3 Public Meetings a year and need more help to keep this well-respected Forum vibrant.

Come to Forum and speak to any Committee Member. Email:

TMSTH Area Forum aims

> TMSTH Area Forum is a non-political, non-partisan platform for Forum Members to make their views known and discuss issues affecting them. All Forum Members have equal rights, irrespective of age, race, religion, disability or sexual orientation.

> TMSTH Area Forum will encourage community participation in the actions and policies of Bournemouth Borough Council, Regional and Central Government and other organisations, by identifying local issues, providing access to information and ensuring all sides are fairly represented.

> TMSTH Area Forum will collate the collective opinions within Forum and take them forward to Local, Regional and Central Government and other organisations, as determined by the Forum.

> TMSTH Area Forum will maintain strong links with local Councillors, Council Departments and Officers, Member of Parliament and representatives of other organisations, to ensure a two way flow of information.

> TMSTH Area Forum will work to improve links with public sector partners, e.g. Police and Safer Neighbourhood teams, Fire and Ambulance Service and to promote public service information.

Please read our Constitution

If it's happening, it's happening in your area and it's happening now!