Charlton Down shown within Dorset
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||South West England|
|UK Parliament||West Dorset|
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Charlton Down is a new village in Dorset, England, situated in the West Dorset administrative district approximately 4 miles (6.4 km) north of the county town Dorchester. It lies within the civil parish of Charminster.
The village of Charlton Down developed from the site of Herrison Hospital, an old Victorian mental hospital. In 1920 it became the Dorset County Mental Hospital, and in 1940 was renamed Herrison Hospital. This was self-contained with facilities including a church, Gothic chapel, sports facilities, allotments, a radio station, and social centre. The Herrison Hospital bus was an unusual but frequent daily service, unusual in that it was not operated under a road service licence and neither were the buses PSV-licensed. Instead the buses displayed official discs indicating that they were exempt from road tax. The service was for patients, staff and visitors to the hospital, but was also used for general local trade between Dorchester and the housing estates at Charminster.
The N.H.S. pulled out of Herrison in 1992 and Bellway Homes bought the plot and later sold off the 3 large buildings for conversion into apartments by a private developer. Each of these buildings—Redwood (built in 1864), Greenwood (1896) and Herrison House (1904)—now has about 70 apartments.
The new village now consists of these three large buildings, about 400 houses, Herrison Hall (the village hall), a shop, a fitness centre, a nursing home and 'close care' apartments.
The hospital was eventually a 400-acre site. Now cottage style terrace houses, semi-detached and detached 3, 4, and 5 bed roomed house with all modern services fill the old site. The original cricket ground has a new pavilion and there is a thriving cricket club in the summer.
Charlton Down has a Londis Shop and a cash dispenser. The village is one of the few in the area without a church or pub. The village hall is used regularly for various social events.