Ferndown is the largest settlement in East Dorset District, with a population of 16,000. It is largely a modern town, taking its prosperity from the neighboring Bournemouth and Poole, as well as its own thriving industry. The community has a modern shopping complex, playing fields and a sports centre with swimming pool and squash courts. The town is surrounded by countryside and is adjacent to the main A31 trunk road for efficient road links to the rest of Dorset in one direction and the U.K. in the other.

The origin of the town's name is obscure, but is believed to come from the Anglo-Saxon 'fiergen' meaning wooded hill. Until the last century Ferndown was spelt as two words ('Fern Down'), and its foundation as a community, and the change of name to one word, owes its origin to William and David Stewart who settled in the area as market gardeners after arriving from Dundee in Scotland in search of a less hostile climate! Their business prospered and the town owes much of its layout to their vision.

One of the largest employers is the Dorset Health Authority which has its headquarters in the town.

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