Miden Castle

Do You Know Your Long Barrows from your Henges?

The South Dorset Ridgeway is a walking area above the Jurassic Coast. It’s beautiful, interesting and in places quite remote. There are wonderful walks taking in Bronze Age round barrows, long barrows, Neolitic henges, several Iron Age hillforts, lynchets and Medieval villages.

Long Barrows were apparently commual tombs. They were made with a collection of chambers, which then were covered in earth. Henges are the circular earthwork monuments. Sometimes these have circles of standing stones. The best henge to see is Maumbury Rings in Dorchester. When the Romans came they changed its use to an amphitheatre – and remarkably its still used to day to entertain.

There are three stone circles along the Ridgeway, Kingston Russell, Hampton and the one at Winterbourne Abbas. There is always something mystical about these areas. There are also the hillforts which offer fantastic views across the south coast. Maiden Castle, just outside of Dorchester, is the largest hillfort in Europe. At Abbotsbury Castle hillfort the views are oustanding. There are others too – including Eggardon which is next to old Roman Roads which cross the county.

There is always something to do in Dorset! Field Guides are available to help you find your way.

by Jane Greening, New House Farm

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.

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.

B is for………

B is for………

Colmers Hill

The Iconic Colmers Hill which stands overlooking Bridport


B is for BEAMINSTER.  A pretty litttle market town centred round the
Market Square.  Quaint little shops and eateries.  The church is rather
unusual in that it’s tower is elaborately decorated with friezes,
pinnacles and an array of sculptured figures.
BROADWINDSOR.  Well worth a visit to the Craft Centre – ideal for a dull
day, plus a very nice restaurant.
BRIDPORT was famous for its hemp and flax producing a thriving rope and
sailcloth industry.  Lee Lane a small road off the Dorchester Road was
where King Charles II was reputed to have hidden from the Roundheads in
1651 – there is a stone monument to commemorate it.  Today Bridport has
many fine eateries and also a busy entertainment programme – something
for all.  There are open markets on a Wednesday and Saturday in the
mornings.  The Farmers Market is once a month.  There are pleasant walks
from the town along the river to West Bay, famous for its huge sandstone
BURTON BRADSTOCK is about two and a half miles east of Bridport, and is
well worth a walk round.  It has 2 really good pubs plus the Hive Beach
Cafe.  The Sandstone Cliffs above the Chesil Beach are very attractive.

Moore’s Biscuits!

Family run Moore’s Biscuit makers established in 1880 in Bridport
Moore’s Biscuits were established in 1880 and are one of Britain’s longest established biscuit makers . They are still a family owned business located in Bridport with a craft shop and gallery in Morcombelake on the A35.   Moore’s make sweet biscuits ,  granola and the famous savoury  Dorset Knob. The craft shop sells not only biscuits but fresh bread and cakes and is open Monday to Saturday and bank holidays . 

Moore's Biscuit



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 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


Robotic Milking

Have You Ever Seen Robotic Milking of Cows?

cardsmill farm cow

Efficient milking at Cardsmill Farm

At Cardsmill Farm Holidays we have 6 Robotic milking machines that are working 24 hours a day so the cows are able to be milked several times throughout the day and night. It is a computerised system with the cows being identified by there collars on entering the robot cubicle. The robotic arm uses sensors to move the arm under the cows udder, brush and wash the teats, and put the unit on. When the flow of milk has slowed down the unit comes off and the teats are sprayed to protect them from infection.

Cows that choose when to be milked

The cows can come in every 4/5 hours if they want but they choose, the ones earlier in there lactation come more often then those nearing the time to there dry period. The computer programs can also tell us information on the cows such as their temperature and their milk consistency which in turns helps us to detect illness and mastitis before it takes hold and therefore they will require less antibotics.

No pressure!

The cows love this system as although they produce more milk they are under less pressure with there udders emptying more often and resting more so there feet are better, they are really relaxed.

Robotic Milking

Have you seen robotic milking?

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

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!

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.