Houghton is sometimes referred to as a 'linear' village because it follows
the course of the river Winterborne. This was originally a small stream
rising in Higher Houghton at the head of the valley. Now, for most of the year it is fed from a
borehole supplying the
fish farm at the lower end of the village. (Winterbournes
The main approach is from Winterborne Stickland,
the neighbouring village. This is a winding single track road running beside the
care - there has been a serious accident at this spot recently.
Moorhens, egrets, herons and occasionally,
kingfishers can be seen along this stretch of water.
With increasing frequency, unwary drivers can also be seen with a wheel
stuck in the stream! Even articulated lorries (probably following
sat nav!) have been spotted reversing down to the next village, unable to
turn round in Houghton. Entertainment for the locals, misery
for the driver!
To the west
of the village, behind the private road to Higher Houghton, chalk down-land rises to over 700ft above sea level.
Houghton farm sits almost at the head of the valley.
People born in the
village are known as Houghton Owls!
Thomas Hardy on 'Houghton Owls'
'owl' motif appears in several places in the village -
For example on the pond seat -
that one owl is winking!
owl carvings can be seen in the church and also on the seat beside
the telephone box.
for details of the 6 listed
buildings in Winterborne Houghton
found in the Images of
site; then enter
in the Quick Search box
and click on
here for the Online Parish Clerk web site which has links to
past census returns.
village centre close to St. Andrew's Church contains 20 households
within the conservation area. There are a further 65 in the remainder of the
village. The oldest dwellings date from the 18th century and
several have wells sunk to a depth of 20 feet or more. Even in recent
winters, the high water table has also resulted in springs appearing inside
some of these homes. An example is Michaelmas Cottage on the left of
this picture which has appeared in recent magazine articles on Dorset.
This is the view of St. Andrew's Church
from within the conservation area.
The telephone box at the village centre
stands in front of an old cattle pound that has been converted to a
is the view of the Church from the
showing the original sign. The present sign incorrectly refers to
'Higher Winterborne Houghton'.