Dorset Forest Garden

UK England South West England Dorset Bridport

  • Campfires allowed
  • Groups welcome
  • Adults only
  • Hot Tubs
  • Beaches nearby
  • Good walks nearby
Beautifully finished shepherd’s hut in a 1½-acre forest garden, each with their own private hot tub and quiet, secluded space

The idea of ‘glamping’ hadn’t even been invented when Tracy and James Oldfield bought this green piece of land, less than ten miles from Dorset’s Jurassic Coast, two decades ago. Their aim was to transform the space into a farm and forest garden – a natural, multilayered ecosystem where fruiting trees, shrubs and herbs thrive together. And, today, ‘thriving’ is certainly the perfect word. Young saplings they planted have grown into fruitful trees. There’s the aquaponics area (where fish water help fertilize the plants), the passive eco house in which they live and ducks waddling about the farm. Just like the plants, things here have been growing quickly. And now there are also two gorgeous shepherd’s huts to show for it too.

Each of the huts has its own private space within the garden, where a wood-fired hot tub also awaits. The ‘Forager’ hut faces south easterly and has excellent, far-reaching views all the way to National Trust-owned Eggardon Hill – an Iron Age fort visible in the distance and a good starting place for local walks. There’s a map showing all the nearby walks stashed inside your hut too, so there’s no excuse. The ‘Artisan’ hut, meanwhile, is surrounded and sheltered by trees, giving a private, peaceful feel. Both are built in the traditional style – corrugated tin rooftops and old fashioned metal wheels – while inside they’re furnished to a more luxurious modern standard. A king-sized bed, en-suite bathroom and toasty wood burner all ensure a comfortable stay.

Offsite, the surrounding Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty has the highest density of Iron Age hill forts in the country, a sign of the counties rich history that has also resulted in an endless number of charming old villages spread around the countryside. Nearby Beaminster is particularly quaint. It goes by the name of ‘Emminster’ in Thomas Hardy’s famous novels and has a fantastic restaurant – The Brassica – that recently featured in The Sunday Times' Top 100, while, further south, Dorset’s famous Jurassic Coast needs little introduction. A good yomp along sweeping Chesil Beach is the perfect way to tire you out before retreating to the comfort of your shepherd’s hut and a good feast around the site's shared BBQ hut.

Details

Facilities

Each hut has a small wood burner, restored furniture and vintage fittings, king-sized bed (with feather duvet and pillows), en-suite shower and flushing toilet with towels provided and plenty of candles for lighting. Outside, each shepherd’s hut has its own fire pit and hot tub and there’s a BBQ hut to share. Kitchen goodies to get you started including fresh potted herbs, organic milk, and marshmallows.

Suitable For

Adult glampers only. Tents, campervans, caravans, dogs and children – no.

Nearby

Right from the farm gate there's an extensive networks of footpaths and bridleways and each hut has its own map to help you explore. From Eggardon Hill (one of the finest views of any hill fort in the county) to Golden Cap (the highest cliff on the south coast), the guide in your hut has loads of great options. The farm is just a few miles from Hooke Park, the home of the Architectural Association and a great place for a shady woodland walk to enjoy some cutting edge wooden structures. On the coast, West Bay is 9 miles away – half way between Chesil Beach and Lyme Regis. For Thomas Hardy aficionados, Beaminster (Emminister) is part of the Hardy trail, which includes Thomas Hardy's Cottage (01305 262366) in Dorchester.

Food & Drink

The farm often has seasonal food available to cook on the BBQ. The Red Lion (01308 862364), just down the road in Beaminster, is a firm favourite, with a great chef using locally-sourced ingredients. The Acorn (01935 83228) in Evershot is another great gastro pub and a gold winner in the Dorset Tourism Award. The Hive Beach Café (01308 897070) at Burton Bradstock is loved by locals and visitors and has freshly caught seafood to enjoy by the beach. For shops, Washingpool Farm Shop (01308 459549) in Bridport sells a wide selection of produce from local farms, Samways Fishmongers (01308 424496) in West Bay is a great place to get your fresh local fish and seafood, and Beaminster has both a fruit and veg shop and a butcher, plus a small supermarket.

Opening Times

March–December.

The Owner Says

Far from the Madding Crowd - Dorset Forest Garden Glamping offers characterful vintage shepherd's hut glamping.  Set amongst fruit trees in a food forest, Dorset Forest Garden is in an area of outstanding natural beauty in the heart of rural West Dorset. Both huts have their own private hot tub.

Located close to the Jurassic coast, the two huts have stunning views across Hardy's countryside.

Inside each hut, there is a kingsize bed with sprung mattress and feather duvet, a private ensuite with flushing loo and a hot shower. The Shepherd's Huts also contain a wood burner to keep the hut cosy (complete with a supply of wood), china and cutlery, plus a range of camp cooking equipment for cooking outside or in the BBQ hut. Bed linen for two, washing up liquid and starter essentials for the kitchen including coffee, tea, sugar, and marshmallows for toasting are provided.

For cooking - in front of each shepherd's hut is a fire pit with all the equipment you need to cook a good meal. As well as this, there is a BBQ hut in the forest garden to make cooking fun whatever the weather.  A fridge freezer and electrical points are also available in the BBQ hut.

Accommodation

2 shepherd's huts with ensuite facilities, each suitable for 2 people.

Location

Contact Dorset Forest Garden, Dorset Forest Garden, Beaminster Bottom Farm, Beaminster, Dorset DT8 3SG

Show Map

Getting There

From Dorchester: Take A37 signposted to Yeovil. Just after Grimstone take the left signposted A356 to Crewkerne. Follow this road through Frampton & Maiden Newton and climb up the hill. After the road flattens out go straight on at crossroads marked Beaminster left and Evershot right then after ¼ mile take the next left just after a lay-by. Follow the lane down for ½ mile and Dorset Forest Garden is at the bottom on the right.

Maiden Newton and Crewkerne are the closest railway stations. 

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