About the Stours

East Stour and Stour Provost are the larger parishes each having in the region of 250 dwellings with populations of around 550. West Stour has about 80 dwellings and a population of approximately 200. Todber is the smallest parish with around 55 dwellings and an electorate of about 140.

Stour Provost parish comprises the villages of Stour Provost and Stour Row and the smaller community of Woodville. It also contains the majority of the Woodland Trust’s property at Duncliffe Wood, the remainder being in East Stour.

Within the parish council area there are many working farms, and equestrian businesses including an event arena at West Stour. There is a small business park, two sets of commercial fishing lakes and a butchery as well as numerous small local enterprises including car sales, garage, plant sales and a hairdresser.

We have Stower Provost Community School (note the spelling) which is a local first school with a pre-school also accommodated at the premises. It is located in Woodville within Stour Provost Parish.

There are parish council managed playing fields at East Stour and Stour Provost.

There are four parish churches:

  • Christ Church, East Stour;
  • St. Michael and All Angels, Stour Provost;
  • St. Andrews, Todber;
  • St. Mary’s, West Stour

There are village halls in East Stour, Stour Provost, Stour Row and West Stour.

There are three pubs all with restaurants and rooms: - The Crown and the King's Arms in East Stour and the Ship in West Stour. In addition there are a number of Bed & Breakfast establishments and some holiday accommodation.

The A30 road runs through the parish area and situated on it is a petrol station with a shop and café in West Stour and the Udder Farm Shop in East Stour.


Here is a map of The Stours area and parish boundaries


We have about 130 footpaths across our four parishes which can be seen on this interactive map. Information about rights of way can be found on the Dorset for you website. You can also contact our Footpath Officer Martin Hibbert by phone 01747 838272 or at stours.footpaths@gmail.com

Our Villages

The Mill at Stour Provost

East Stour

East Stour is a small ancient Dorset village with an area of 1,786 acres and a population of approximately 500 situated around 5 miles west of Shaftesbury. Over the centuries agriculture has provided employment for men, women, children and itinerant workers until the advent of tractors and mechanisation. In 1085 the Domesday Book recorded and taxed 17 hides in East Stour and West Stour and with mills, pasture and meadow it was already an established village.  A century ago, to supplement meagre incomes, women of East Stour made gloves for companies in neighbouring Gillingham and buttons for suppliers in Shaftesbury.  The parish church of Christ Church was rebuilt in 1841-42.

The East Stour Village website (East Stour Village Hall - Sheila Squire 01747 838488) and East Stour Facebook page have more information.

Stour Provost

Stour Provost village is at the western edge of the parish, clustered on a rise that slopes down to the River Stour. The Mill on the river is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 and for a time following the Norman Conquest the village and church belonged to a Normandy nunnery, but for 500 years until 1925 much of the land and houses were owned by King’s College, Cambridge. The Church of St Michael and All Angels dates from the 13th or 14th century and is Grade 1 listed. The streets and village have changed little in recent decades and include many fine buildings. Indeed, several writers have considered the centre of the village as one of the most attractive in north Dorset. More information can be found at the award-winning ‘Micro Museum’ housed in the Red Telephone Box at the entrance to the village. 

You can find out more at the Stour Provost Village Hall page or on the Stour Provost Facebook page. 

Stour Row

Stour Row is situated beside Duncliffe Hill 3 miles (4.8 km) southwest of Shaftesbury. It lies within the parish of the neighbouring village of Stour Provost. Stour Row has approximately 150 houses and 300 residents. It has a village hall which is used to run regular social events. Today it has few other amenities but it had a petrol station, pub and shop prior to the early 1980s. It has a church, All Saints, which was built in 1868 but which has now closed due to falling congregation numbers. The last service was held in the church on 15 October 2015. Stour Row lies within the SP7 postcode area on the edge of the Blackmore Vale.

Stour Row residents (and anyone else!) can now find news and information on the Stour Row Community website or about the Stour Row Village Hall from Sarah Marks (01747 838709)


Todber is a small parish, covering 378 acres and with a population of 140 at the Census in 2011. The Parish Church of St Andrew was rebuilt, with the exception of the tower, in 1879, by Elizabeth Marchioness of Westminster. The tower contains bells dated 1736-7, one of which was recast in 1879. The register dates from 1653. The main commercial activity in the Parish is farming, with a coarse fishery business established at Todber Manor, providing recreational facilities and holiday cottages.

Residents of Todber are receiving parish notices by e-mail via 'mailchimp'. If you would like to sign up to the circulation list please click here or email your request to Todber.parish@gmail.com

West Stour 

West Stour Village Hall - Viv Jeffery 01747 838245