Writer Sue Kittow, West Country travel expert and author of the Flowerpot Days blog, reviews the delightful – and dog friendly – Tamarisk Farm, established in the 1960s as one of the UK’s first organic farms.
If you’re looking for a dog friendly Dorset holiday Tamarisk Farm is the perfect secluded spot, near Chesil Beach. My boyfriend’s childhood holidays were spent camping near Burton Bradstock, so he was longing to show me this part of Dorset which is rich in green rolling hills, golden ridged cliffs, ancient hill forts, and plenty of walking along the South Dorset Ridgeway and beaches.
Tamarisk Farm, in West Bexington, was one of the first organic farms in the 1960s, run by the Pearse family who let six (dog friendly) cottages. Whispering Pines didn’t look so inviting on the website, but walking up the narrow winding path, through a secluded garden of apple trees and stone sculptures, we stopped. For there in the middle of the lawn, surrounded by tall pines, was our cottage. We fell in love.
Whispering Pines was perfect for our needs: a kitchen/diner has a sun-filled lounge with french windows that open onto the lawn, there is a children’s bedroom with single and bunk beds, and a double bedroom with large bathroom next door. Mollie Dog was given a very fetching bright red lead with bag of treats, and dog bowls were supplied. Sue Pearse had picked a huge jug of wild flowers and left us homemade honey, biscuits and lemon curd: we were spoilt before we started.
It was a treat to sunbathe on the patio, listening to the lazy buzz of the bees, watching the dragonflies darting around, and the swallows swooping above. Exploring the area was also a joy, with Chesil Beach and West Bexington a few minutes walk away. We drove to nearby West Bay for fish and chips and walked along the old train tracks, then continued into Bridport for the market on Wednesdays and Saturdays. We found plenty of dog friendly Dorset pubs and cafes, as well as an arts centre and more walks along by the river.
My boyfriend enjoyed exploring the Dorset County Museum, while the old hill fort outside Dorchester was a perfect place to walk Mollie at sundown. At Abbotsbury we walked up to St Catherine’s Chapel, and enjoyed a drink at the Ilchester Arms Hotel, then spent a happy afternoon at Lyme Regis fossil huntinng.
We couldn’t have had a more peaceful, comfortable break, and relished the secluded garden with its plentiful wildlife. We enjoyed it so much we went back in February, and have already booked for next September.
How to get to Tamarisk Farm without flying:
From Dorchester, take the A35 towards Bridport for 8 miles. Take a left to Litton Cheney, and follow the lanes for 4 miles to Puncknowle, through Swyre and turn left onto the B3157, then immediately right opposite the Bull Inn onto the road signposted for West Bexington.
From Bridport, take the B3157 towards Burton Bradstock and Weymouth for 6 miles to Swyre. Turn right opposite the Bull Inn.
The nearest station is Dorchester or Weymouth: if travelling by train let the Pearse family know as buses are limited.
Writer: Sue Kittow for Feet on the Ground
Images: Sue Kittow