(Contributed by: C. Moxham local resident)
Bryanston village has an intimate community of just 178 dwellings, and some are well spread over farmland.
Its central and only amenity is the village Club which was the old Powerhouse supplying electricity to Lord Portmans mansion up until 1923. The mansion is now one of England’s top ranking boarding schools.
Both lower ends of the village show off their characteristic Victorian red brick cottages and easily recognized farm buildings, and the village club displays many replicas and facts of its past on the walls for all visitors to see.
The Bryanston school adjacent to the village owns a good proportion of village land, so boasts first class education especially in sports, and high employment numbers for local residents of the town and surrounding villages.
From Blandford travelling north, the Stour Valley Way footpath takes you up New Road, originally laid and named by Lord Portman himself for use by his employees rather than his elaborate private driveway you’ll see under the arch at Blandford used today for the School.
Once at the top of a mile long straight road lined with Portmans flint boundary wall, turn right into the main village to see old farm cottages on your left and newer houses on your right, which meander down through the trees, until you reach the clearing by the phone box to open farmland and picturesque views.
Take the field path down to the old Powerhouse and make a pit stop on those picnic benches to absorb the peace and tranquility.
From here you will make out the model farm below built in the 1840’s. Try to picture the old Mill, Blacksmiths, Laundry, and Forge which were there……you’ll see how the buildings were cleverly set into the hill to assist heavy materials being transported more easily downhill.
The hive of activity in the late 1890’s was in this part of the village. All the farm hands worked and lived here for the Portman family.
The village eventually held popular dances in the rooms above which welcomed some well known bands of that time!
As you walk down to the bottom of these properties, you’ll find yourself travelling out of the main village, past the original stables, up around the back of the school grounds, and out the other side of Bryanston woods where you will pick up the single track road over to Durweston village.
The Stour Valley Way path through our village is not for the faint hearted, hills, rough terrain and few pavements on roads, so wear bright clothing to be seen!