Silicon Beach Bomo - Orientation Guide | Ashley Cross (Parkstone Park)

— A green space within a busy road triangle, with cafes and restaurants on all sides, a 1-minute walk from a rail station.

Ashley Cross with its surviving village green is the heart of Lower Parkstone. Historically, Parkstone was once a larger district and the various place names can appear slightly confusing. There are now two Parkstones.
Upper Parkstone: This takes its name from being on higher ground; it has its own set of restaurants, shops etc. but has no particular centre, stretching along Ashley Road running parallel to the main Bournemouth-Poole Road just to the N [see map above]. It runs from the busy roundabout just beyond Branksome Stn for over a mile W to Seaview Roundabout. For this reason, Upper Parkstone is sometimes just referred to by locals as the Ashley Road.
Lower Parkstone: The area around the green was formerly known as Parkstone Park. (The earlier form of Parkstone on the old maps was Parkson, suggesting the area was mainly designated as a park.) The newer Ashley Cross designation evidently takes its name from its now being a crossroads where most of the traffic either heads E along the Bournemouth Road or NE up Springfield Rd / North Road to Seaview Roundabout on the Ashley Road. Lower Parkstone had the local nickname "The Village". There was an attempt in Victorian times to promote it as Parkstone-on-Sea, but Lower Parkstone is too far inland from where the sea is now. (A pub just down the road W is named The Sloop as an arm of Poole Harbour used to come up as far as there, until it was filled in by 19th C land reclamation.)

Ashley Cross Green is a triangular park with fountain, benches, play areas, trees etc. The number of cafes, pubs and restaurants encircling it has been growing in recent years. The annual two-day Party in the Park is held here in late August.

The fact the Green is only a minute’s walk from Parkstone Station on the Poole-Bournemouth mainline as well as being on the main bus route makes Ashley X a commuting option. (The next station W is Poole's central station, while to the E is Branksome Stn.)

The former Parkstone Park is now ringed by over a dozen restaurants and cafes. Despite its having no car park handy, it has established a reputation in the last few years as a trendy neighbourhood for cafes and restaurants.
Right at the station and thus handy for commuters waiting to travel or needing a rest stop on arrival is The Cow, the old station hotel, refurbished a decade or so ago. Despite its unprepossessing name and appearance (it’s now painted battleship grey), it’s an award-winning gastropub/bistro with a function room and, adjoining the station car park, an outside terrace (from where, some claim, you can see Corfe Castle across Poole Harbour on a fine day).
Coming down from the station on Station Road is the Dancing Moose (bar with craft beers and deli grub), the Little Red Roaster (coffee shop), Isabel's (Michelin Guide-featured longstanding French restaurant with rear garden for aperitifs etc), and Mint (new Indian restaurant).
On Bournemouth Road /Commercial Rd running along the north side of the Green are the bistro-style pub-restaurant Le Bateau Bar & Bistro (with live music in evenings) and the Dolce Vita
restaurant. Both have some outside seating, though the fact they are on the main A35 Poole-Bournemouth road means this is never a quiet spot. Just E are Maitai Lounge Bar and Camden Bar & Kitchen.

   
More peaceful venues for sitting outside can be found around the corner to the NW, up the side road towards St Peter’s church. The Ox Hotel (bar and dining room) is right on the corner, and up the side road [Parr St] are the Bermuda Triangle pub, and over the road, The Bricklayer’s Arms with rear terrace as well as small front pub garden. This is a long-established, refubished pub - they don't offer meals, nor does the new Smugglers Cove Pub next to it. There is a tea/coffee shop, The Dancing Goat, next to the redbrick Parkstone Club, which is actually the local Conservative Club (which has its own front pub garden for members).
Hidden just behind the church is, in what used to be the refectory for Parkstone Grammar when it was based here, a nightclub with live music, Mr Kyps.
Pictured right are The Ox Hotel and (mouse over to see 2nd image) The Bermuda Triangle, a cult freehouse pub whose name suggests visitors have such fun they vanish within, and their friends have to send a search party.
   
 

Continuing W along the main road from The Ox are (besides several Chinese takeaways): The Mandarin Chef, The Gate Of India, Lotus Lounge [Thai & Chinese], Orchid Cuisine, Beppe’s [Sicilian food etc], the From The South restaurant [opened in 2017] and Chicken And Blues.
Just down a side road at a junction in the main road, in the old fire station building, is Parkstone Library [closed Thursdays].
Just beyond, down Britannia Rd, is The Brit (formerly The Britannia Inn), a large pub & "British Grill House," best described as a lively local (with live entertainment almost every day); it has a lounge area with fireplace, an event room, a restaurant section and a family-oriented back garden.

 
 The Bricklayer's Arms pub with rear terrace. (Mouse over photo to see 2nd image).
Although you may need a smartphone to navigate a zigzag walking route for the intial portion, you can actually walk SW from Ashley X to a larger green space, Poole Park, which is built around a boating lake and has a family cafe and a refurbished glass-fronted daytime restaurant with terrace. On the S side of the boating lake is Whitecliff Harbourside Park, with a foot/cycle-path W around the head of Parkstone Bay to Baiter Park; from there you can walk all the way W to Poole Quay. (Alternatively, if you don't want to walk, you could take the bus to the depot, or the train one stop to Poole central station, downtown.)

Ashley Cross Green on Google Maps satellite view. Click on map screenshot for interactive original.

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