Facilities

Village Hall

When entering the village from Corfe Castle, the Village Hall is situated down the lane just past the church on the left hand side of the road. It is a classic 1930’s hall that has been well looked after and maintained. The main hall has a stage with a kitchen on one side and a store room on the other, both of which can double up as the wings of the stage. There is a good size lobby with ladies and gents toilets, and a porch over the entrance doors. Heating is provided by electric convector heaters in the main hall and curtain heaters over the entrance door and the kitchen door.

The hall is equipped with cutlery, crockery and glasses for up to a 100 people. The main hall can  accommodate 70 people seated at table comfortably, and if the stage is pressed into service up to 85 people can be seated. There is a generous car park with space for about  30 cars. The hall is ideally placed for wedding receptions being within walking distance of the church. The hall has a small marquee available for hire which can provide valuable extra space if required.

 The hall has a Performing Rights Licence, but it does not have a Liquor Licence. Anyone wishing to sell alcohol at their event must apply for a temporary licence from Purbeck District Council. The hall also has a satellite dish for showing television coverage of special events.

 Hire Charge £10 per Hour with a minimum charge of £35 (parish Residents £30). Longer term rentals are by negotaition.

 Heating is charged extra via a £1/£2 slot meter.

 Contact Angela Boon    Tel.    01929 480534   email   angela.boon@yahoo.co.uk

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Reading Room

The Church Knowle Working Men’s Reading Room was built in 1887 and given to the village by Deed of Gift in 1885 by the Mansel Family of Smedmore as a meeting place for the people of Church Knowle and the surrounding settlements, and has been maintained and held in Trust ever since. It flourished and was used until the late 1960’s, when it was used for storage by the Fete Committee.

 The publication of the Church Knowle & Steeple Parish Plan in 2007 showed that there was a strong interest in the Reading Room being brought back into general use.  With this in mind the Trustees decided to seek funding for a refurbishment plan. Although the Trusties had been able to maintain the exterior, the interior was an open shell and fairly dilapidated where the plaster had fallen from the ceiling and walls. The Trustees drew up a plan to bring the building back into use as an informal social centre, a “Drop in” meeting place in the middle of the village open to all, some ware that was warm and comfortable and a place to meet others for a chat and a cup of tea or coffee.

 A business plan was drawn up and costed. A design was created for the interior to include a small modern kitchen and disabled toilet with a mezzanine floor above for storage, and the remaining space to make a meeting room, with tables, chairs and a wood burning stove for winter heating. The next task was to find funding in the form of grants to supplement the small balance in the Trust’s coffers. After more than twelve months with the help of the Community Planning Department at Westport House the Trust was successful in acquiring a matched funding grant of £17,800 in the spring of 2008 with an equal amount in pledged voluntary work. The work started in the summer of 2008 and was completed in the autumn of 2009. The building was officially reopened on 25th September.

 The building is now used as a drop in centre for morning coffee or tea, as a venue for the monthly Lunch Club and the Friday morning Camera Club. It is fully equipped for up to 20 people at table (cutlery, crockery and glasses), and is available for hire.

 Hire Charges £15.00 per session (morning, afternoon or evening)

 

 Contact Shirley Hull   01929-480341

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Playing Field

Travelling from Corfe Castle, the playing field is at the far end of the village on the right hand side of the road, almost opposite the Animal Sanctuary. It is a beautiful tree lined space of about three quarters of an acre with a small football pitch and a selection of play equipment. Everyone is welcome and it is an ideal place to stop for a picnic whether you have children or not. There is a foot path running from the top left hand corner of the field that takes you to the top of Knowle Hill, with its spectacular views of the valley on one side and Poole Harbour on the other.

 The field was donated to the village by Miss Frances Marjorie Graves of Cocknowle by Deed of Gift to the Parish Council on the 7th March 1939. In 1962 the Trusties approved the sale of the plot to the Parish Council with the proviso that, should it no longer be required as a playing field it must revert to the estate, Cocknowle Farm, now owned by the National Trust.

 The plot is maintained on a voluntary basis by Les and Jill Bugler, who live close by and keep a close eye things. Most of the play equipment is new and was funded by a generous donation from Imerys, formally English China Clay, and a grant from the Viridor fund for good causes funded from the land fill tax. A formal reopening of the Playing Field is planned for May 2012.

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The Village Green: Betcher Common

 

Betcher Common, also known as Beshards Green, occupies a small plot of less than half an acre situated at the end of Betcher Lane, which runs past the Village Hall. It is a tree lined area with a natural pond on the left as you enter the common from the lane. It is a peaceful place, but there are no seats or picnic tables, and visitors are asked to park in the Village Hall car park. There is a way marked walk from the common to Swyre Head via West Orchard, with panoramic views of the valley and the hills on either side. Visitors are welcome to use the outside toilet situated on the side of the Village Hall, but there are no hand washing facilities at the moment. 

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References

An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset by the Commission on Historical Monuments.

A Parish Plan 2007.       www.dorsetforyou.com

Church Knowle Remembers, compiled by the WI for a History Competition in1984.

 

Margaret Green Foundation Animal Sanctuary: http://www.animalsanctuaryuk.com/

Toilet: There is an outside toilet attached to the Village Hall. Visitors are welcome to use it, but please respect it - someone else has to clean it!

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