Well hello there and welcome to the new Beaminster Area Team website. We’re a group of 15 Anglican churches in the Beaminster area of West Dorset.
The Beaminster Area Team Ministry was established in 1979, and is part of the Lyme Bay deanery within the archdeaconry of Sherborne, in the diocese of Salisbury.
The Team covers some fifty square miles of largely unspoilt and beautiful countryside in rural West Dorset. The peaceful area is well served for country pursuits, farming and other rural industry, and the arts. It is just a few miles inland from the World Heritage Jurassic Coastline, which offers excellent walking and opportunities for geological studies.
The town of Beaminster (population about 3000) is at the heart of the Team area and is surrounded by the fifteen villages and hamlets of the Team, most of which are served with their own church building. Alphabetically, these are: Blackdown, Broadwindsor, Burstock, Drimpton, Hooke, Melplash with Mapperton, Mosterton, Netherbury, Salway Ash, Seaborough, South Perrott with Chedington, Stoke Abbott, and Toller Porcorum.
Historically, life in these communities centred around agriculture for many centuries. However, over the last thirty years the numbers employed in farming have fallen dramatically; at the same time the district has become highly prized as a peaceful retirement area. This has led to some social problems relating to housing costs, and an imbalance in the age distribution. These social issues have been partially addressed by areas of low cost and local authority housing, and by some increase in work opportunities in the wider area, not least at Bridport. Whilst employment opportunities locally are somewhat limited, there is a tremendous vitality and entrepreneurial flair within the area, with companies such as Clipper Teas and PH Hardwills, the diversification within farming, and the establishment of small business parks throughout the area. There is also a core of local families who have lived in the area for many generations.
The comprehensive school in Beaminster, with 750 pupils, is fed by six good Church of England primary schools, four of which are within the team area, at Beaminster, Broadwindsor, Mosterton and Salway Ash.
The villages surrounding Beaminster make up the rest of the Team and they are varied in size and character. Broadwindsor, where the Team Vicar and her family live, is a large village (population about 1300) three miles to the west of Beaminster. As well as its parish church and primary school, it has a modern village hall, a good pub, a village store and a large craft centre. The smallest village is Seaborough (population about seventy). Many of the villages have their own halls, some of which are modern with good facilities, a variety of clubs, and an active community social life (there are at least nine pubs in the villages).