Abbotsbury

A IS FOR ABBOTSBURY!

A is for Abbotsbury.
As you drive towards this pretty village you will see St Catherine’s Chapel on the hill.   It is built entirely of stone, even the roof!  There are heavy stone buttresses to support the 4ft (1.2mtrs) thick walls.   It’s roof is barrel vaulted.   Abbotsbury Swannery, started by monks in the 14th century, is worth a visit.   It is to the west end of the Fleet.   The Fleet is the back water behind part of Chesil beach.   At the swannnery approx. 600 swans reside.  After Easter signs will go up to advertise “baby swans” in case we don’t know what a cygnet is!

A is for Abbotsbury

Abbotsbury swannery is a perfect place to visit.

ABBOTSBURY GARDENS

Abbotsbury garden is a sub-tropical garden and is protected by the prevailing winds by trees and it’s position.   The azaleas, camellias and rhododendrons are beautiful in the season and not to be missed.

Finally, the village itself, tea rooms and quaintness.  Little remains of the monastery except for the huge Tythe Barn.  In St Nicholas Church there are shot holes in the pulpit – said to have been the result of the civil war.

Posted by Jane at New House Farm

 

Our favourite local walk

OUR FAVOURITE LOCAL WALK

We are always being asked by guests what ‘our favourite local walk is’?  This is tricky, as there are endless stunning walks around Chideock.   We’d say our favourite local walk has to be from Chideock to Burton Bradstock.   We walk to Seatown beach via the bridleway and head up the hills heading east.  Sometimes we stop in the Anchor Inn  at Seatown for a coffee before we start!   It’s a hilly climb to get to the Thorncombe Beacon but well worth the effort.

Seatown Beach

Beautiful Seatown Beach

The views from the beacon are fabulous.  On a clear day you can see Portland to the east and Brixham to the west.  Once you are at the beacon, you will see signs leading you inland to ‘Downhouse Farm Café’.  It’s an extra 10 minutes walk to get there! But trust me, you won’t be disappointed.   The menu has lots of tempting lunch dishes.  Mouthwatering cakes for afternnon tea!  The cafe pride themselves on ‘homemade’ with locally sourced ingredients.  From the Thorncombe Beacon you head down to Eype and on to West Bay.

West Bay

West Bay the beautiful East Cliff

We love West Bay.   It’s known as the Bridport Harbour and in recent times has been named ‘Broadchurch’.  After the recent filming of the Broadchurch series.  If you like fish & chips on the beach, you’ll be spoilt for choice.   There are lots of huts selling fish & chips.  Our favourite is Rachels, which is a black and white hut on the side of the harbour facing out to sea.  Rachels serves the best seafood chowder Dorset has to offer, we think!

However, most of the time we prefer to continue our walk to Burton Bradstock.    There we treat ourselves to lunch at the Hive Beach Café,   The cafe is set on the beach and offers a varied menu with lots of choice of fresh local fish dishes.

This walk has the most amazing views of the amazing Jurassic Coast.  It usually takes us about 2.5 hours.

Blog added by Jane Warren House Bed & Breakfast Chideock.

Online Bookings for Countryside and Coastal Launched Today

Today, we have launched our on-line booking service which is accessible directly from our website. You can search for all accommodation types or specifically for B&B or self catering holiday cottages.

We are a group of friends with 12 individual B&Bs and self catering holiday cottage accommodation. Each place is very different and between us we can offer peaceful hideaways, easy access to the sea, working farms, fishing lakes on site and stunning views! The area is ideal for walking, from leisurely strolls to more challenging cross-country hiking. The ever-changing scenery never fails to delight whatever time of year you visit.

When you book from the Countryside and Coastal website you are booking directly with the accommodation owners helping us to work together and, more importantly, no booking fees for you!

Countryside and Coastal – Book Online Today!

Fond Memories of Cerne Abbas and The Naked Giant

Cerne Abbas Giant

Cerne Abbas Giant

I drive past this great, naked giant every week as I visit my mum.  He is carved into the chalk hillside above the village of Cerne Abbas.  No one knows his origin – it is possible that he dates from the Roman period – but whatever he is worth a visit, and so is Cerne Abbas.

The National Trust has the management of the Giant, and he desperately needs some attention before his left arm disappears completely.   A Benedictine monastery was founded here – the remains of the great abbey buildings can still be seen behind Abbey Farm.  St Augustine’s well is in the churchyard, and believed to have healing qualities.  The village still has stocks outside the church.

Cerne is one of the prettiest villages in the county of Dorset. The village is quaint with many thatched properties.  There are a couple of excellent pubs serving locally sourced, home cooked meals.

When I was a child I frequently stayed with a school friend and helped do the milk round.  They had a small herd of guernsey cattle. It was just idyllic – happy memories. Just beyond Cerne is Mintern Magna which offers some lovely gardens to walk round.

Cerne Abbas Village

The beautiful village of Cerne Abbas


Posted by Jane Greening, owner of New House Farm and Mangerton Lake

chideock to symondsbury

Walking in Wonderful West Dorset

I’d much rather be walking than blogging. Walking is my favourite pastime, besides eating and talking!

I walk every day, twice most days. It’s the very best exercise plus having the feel good factor. I can plan my whole day during my morning walk, great ideas come into my head as I tread slowly uphill (it never gets any easier) and across Eype Down towards to sea. I make a mental list to remember to complete a job I started, I tie a knot in my mind to remember to ring a friend to see how they are, and jot an invisible note to add something to my shopping list! It’s very healthy, walking, whatever the weather.

We’re blessed in West Dorset with glorious views and wonderful walking .. and its free!

Today’s walk is below but do pop back throughout June to join me on some of my other favourite walks:  

Iron Age Forts, Eggardon , near Askerswell

eggardon hill, dorset wikimapia.orgThis is one of my special places….. Eggardon Hill. It is an iron-age hillfort which, has, believe me, one of the finest views of any hill-fort in the county. It’s not far from Bridport, about 4 miles, and has the advantage that you’re able to drive to the very top of the hill.

I always suggest this walk to my guests that aren’t walkers because they can enjoy glorious views without the climb and the bonus is the nearby pub! I can happily recommend a visit to see the friendly landlord, Tim, at The Spyway Inn,  and enjoy the excellent food served .. but save it until after your walk round the top of Eggardon Fort!

I often travel across Eggardon to see my daughter who farms in a lovely valley near West Compton and the drive back to Bridport in the evening sun is magical – huge far reaching views of the Dorset countryside stretching to the sea in Lyme Bay all the way to South Devon and Start Point. Sometimes you just have to stop and admire and drink in the sunset.

Join me for another special walk in the next few days, so do pop back!


Pauline Bale, Highway Farm, Owner of  1 of our 12 Countryside and Coastal accommodation places.

wisteria cottage dorset

Wisteria Cottage’s Surprise Accolade

At Countryside and Coastal’s Wisteria Cottage you can enjoy fabulous views of some of England’s most beautiful countryside and sample the warmth of Dorset hospitality in our locality.

In October 2017 Wisteria Cottage won a prestigious VisitEngland Rose Award. This award showcases accommodation providers demonstrating outstanding customer service. Winners are nominated by VisitEngland (England’s official Tourism body), quality scheme assessors and is based on their comments and online feedback from overseas and domestic visitors.

In 2017 the Rose Award was given to only 36 properties in the UK categorised as Guest Accommodation providers and Wisteria Cottage was one of only three in the county of Dorset to achieve this award.

Dave who runs Wisteria Cottage would like to thank all those kind people who said such nice things on Trip Advisor which enabled him to pick up this surprise accolade.

Well done, Dave, from us all at Countryside and Coastal – a great achievement and well deserved too.

Dorchester

A Wander Around West Dorset

Jane Greening, Countryside and Coastal owner at New House Farm (with the beautiful Mangerton Fishing Lake) would like to share some ideas that she regularly gives visitors when they come to stay.

Firstly, DORCHESTER. The County Town of Dorset, and birth place of Thomas Hardy – and we are celebrating his birthday this month. There is a lot to see and do here. It is a Roman town, and there are delightful Walks – which follow the old Roman walls. These are traffic free and tree lined. Also, behind County Hall there are the remains of a Roman town house, showing underfloor hot-air ducts, mosaics and a bathroom – they were so sophisticated! To the south of the town there is Maumbury Rings, a Neolithic henge monument, which was used by the Romans as an amphitheatre. Sometimes plays are hosted there today. Dorchester also witnessed the “Bloody Assize”, following the Duke of Monmouth’s Rebellion and the Battle of Sedgemoor. 340 prisoners were tried for treasonable sedition, 74 were hanged, drawn and quartered. 175 had their death sentences commuted to transportation and the rest were imprisoned or released. Enough of history – today the high street is flanked by grey buildings – Portland Stone. There are shops in South Street and the new Poundbury Village – Prince Charles’ dream. All in all – worth a visit.

WeymouthSecondly, WEYMOUTH. The beach is very attractive – and very safe, including lovely sand sculptures. Weymouth is a typical seaside town, with Georgian-fronted houses and hotels along the Esplanade. The old harbour is full of fishing boats, yachts and sometimes a tall ship. There are 2 locations for bird watchers – Lodmoor and Radipole Lake. There is also the Sealife Centre – perfect for a wet day!

Sherborne AbbeyFinally, SHERBORNE Not only a lovely abbey – but 2 castles! Sherborne’s castles comprise one built in the 12th century and then Sir Walter Raliegh’s edition in the late 1500s. The abbey is very beautiful with the fan vaulting of the nave and choir. There are 2 reredos, the one in the Lady Chapel was designed by Laurence Whistler and fashioned in glass.

Colmers Hill

Iconic Colmer’s Hill Walk

Colmers Hill
Colmers Hill… Bridport’s iconic hill, much loved by locals and all who travel the A35.
Walk to the top of Colmers to enjoy the majesty of the Marshwood Vale. A colourful patchwork of working farms have shaped the West Dorset landscape to the delight of all.

Follow Julia Bradbury’s ITV Best Walks with a view. It’s a beautiful walk that starts inland at the lovely pub, the Ilchester Arms in the village of Symondsbury and ends on the spectacular Golden Cap.

I enjoyed the programme very much and from Highway Farm we have a fabulous view of Colmers – it’s our stomping ground! Guests have come armed with Julia’s map keen and ready to walk! We knew all the locals that Julia stopped to talk to on the way – you never know who you’re going to meet up with when walking in Dorset! The walk ends at The Anchor Inn, award winning pub at Seatown, where Julia enjoyed delicious food and a local beer. Here’s an idea.. Use the Jurassic Bus X53 to return to Symondsbury (Chideock to Bridport).

Pauline Bale at Highway Farm.

Pop back in a few days to catch my next walk.

Miden Castle

Maiden Castle Walk near Dorchester

Here’s the second of my favourite Dorset Walks ….

I’ve only just discovered Maiden Castle! It’s the largest hillfort in Britain and the most complex. Again stunning views, and walking is not too difficult. My granddaughter managed the full walk round without complaining!

At the top the site is amazingly large and was home to several hundred people in the Iron Age 800BC – AD43, now home to the local sheep population and a odd few visitors. Access from the Weymouth road, and free parking. DT6 9EY.

The Walk in more Detail, courtesy of Dorset Life

Pauline Bale, Highway Farm

jurassic electric bike tours

Jurassic Electric Bike Tours in Dorset

jurassic electric bike toursOne of the best ways to explore the spectacular West Dorset countryside is by electric bike and Jurassic Electric Bike Tours have a selection of guided tours to help you discover this beautiful area. “Our amazing bikes enable everyone, regardless of level of cycling ability or fitness, to enjoy this beautiful, if slightly hilly, part of the country..”

For more information about their guided tours, see Jurassic Electric Bike Tours’ Website