In a county full of fabulous hospitality businesses to be recognised for one award is a real honour but to be recognised in two different categories is a sign that a business has put in a great deal of hard work following a vision over several years.
Dorset Forest Garden set into the hills above picturesque Beaminster has this year achieved just that; receiving a Gold Award in the Glamping category and a Silver Award for Ethical Responsible and Sustainable Tourism.
Sustainability is right at the core of their business. Husband and wife Tracy and James Oldfield took over their 20 acres of rural Dorset in 1998 and have over the subsequent 20 plus years planted over two thousand trees, built their own eco home based on the principles of a ‘passive house’, and installed solar panels, amongst a myriad of other green initiatives. A key aim has always been to leave the land they feel so fortunate to steward a little bit better than when they arrived.
They started their Glamping business in 2016 using permaculture principles (a philosophy of Earth Care, People Care and Fair Share) and a plan created as part of Tracy’s course in permaculture completed in 2013. The design married together the environment with aesthetics and comfort so as to ensure the best of all worlds.
All three shepherd’s huts are designed to be unique – with antique furniture and local crafts married together to create individual quirky spaces, each surrounded by its own private outdoor space with fire pit and wood-fired hot tub as well as expansive views over unspoilt countryside.
In the words of a recent guest, “This was our first holiday away together due to all that happened this year and we both agree it’s the best holiday we’ve ever had in England”
The latest bespoke Astronomer hut made by Blackdown shepherd’s huts is totally unique – with its panoramic roof window over the king sized bed in a copper ceiling. This special hut has all its weekends booked for months ahead.
The Forest Garden (sometimes known as a food forest) was created as part of Tracy’s permaculture plans, and includes layers of food producing trees, shrubs and herbs as well as plants to help the local wildlife thrive. Working with nature can sometimes be a slow process. They said “We added an Owl box to our barn over 10 years ago – it has only just become colonised. Seeing that barn owl swooping in and out of our barn makes it all worth while!”
A key part of a stay at Dorset Forest Garden is the location – based right on the Hardy’s Way – the network of paths and bridleways will keep even the keenest walker busy. The rolling countryside means it is only a short walk from the farm to see views all the way to the Jurassic coast. At night time the Milky Way visible in the dark skies are a feast for the eyes in the peaceful remote location. Away from the farm there are so many wonderful places to eat and visit within a short distance – including three different award winning restaurants within 2 miles. This is all part of the mix that has enabled Dorset Forest Garden Glamping achieve the awards it has this year!