The Dorset Historic Towns Project report on Cranborne.
The Historic Urban character of Cranborne is closely bound up with its landscape setting and the quality of its historic fabric. The medieval town plan survives virtually complete. The location of the church and market are significant in terms of the medieval character. The manor house and gardens are of national historic and architectural significance. The built character of the central part of the former town reflects its urban history, whilst the northern and eastern fringes have a rural feel, reinforced by the passage of the chalk stream through Water Street.
The good survival of the historic structure is complemented by the large quantity of historic buildings. The survival in the historic core of many unbroken groups of buildings, with little disruption from modern development, is a major factor which highlights the contribution made by historic elements to Cranborne's urban character. The consistent use of local brick is a unifying feature within the town.
The large number of large mature trees within the town are a significant component of its character and provide many of the prominent landmarks. They provide a visual link with the surrounding woodlands and emphasise the sense of enclosure of the town.
Here is a summary (pdf, 103kb) (opens in a new window) . The full report (February 2011) is below. We would welcome your comments. Please send any feedback to the Senior Archaeologist (Promotion and Liaison).