Walnut Farm is a family home with 12 acres of land nestled between stunningly beautiful rolling hills in the tranquil hamlet of Hinknkowle, which is on the edge of a nature reserve. We are just 3 miles from the vibrant market town of Bridport and the breathtaking West Dorset coastline, making us ideally situated for easy access to the local area, which is rich in local attractions and activities.
West Dorset is renowned for its stunning countryside, beautiful coastline, pretty market towns and picturesque villages with hidden churches and narrow winding lanes. The Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site offers miles of stunning beaches and coastal footpaths to explore, with its prehistoric geology and fossil hunting, or for a perfect lazy day by the sea.
Our local pub The Half Moon in Melplash, with its traditional thatch, inglenook fireplace and wonderful sunny beer garden, serves fabulous locally sourced food. There is a footpath across the fields from the farm (about 15 minute walk) if you don’t want to drive. The nearest town Beaminster (5 minutes drive) is a picturesque and small town set around a square. It has a local supermarket (open 7am - 11pm), greengrocer, bakery, butcher, shops, restaurants and cafes. Bridport (6 minutes drive) is a vibrant town with a twice weekly market (Wednesdays and Saturdays) offering local farm produce, fresh fish, local crafts, bric a brac and antiques. Bridport also has many local shops and supermarkets, plenty of cafes and restaurants and a fantastic vintage quarter. West Bay with its pretty harbour and beautiful golden sandstone cliffs is just a couple of minutes drive along the road from Bridport.
A scenic coast road running alongside the Chesil Beach connects Bridport and Weymouth (through Burton Bradstock and the lovely village of Abbotsbury). In the opposite direction past Charmouth (fantastic for fossil hunting on a low tide) is the small, elegant seaside town of Lyme Regis with its impressive Cobb (35 minutes drive from the farm).
Places to explore and Things to do
There is an endless choice of things to do and see in Dorset. We have included some of our favourites below with website links where available.
Bridport Arts Centre
A host of productions in theatre, dance, music, comedy, film and a mix of exhibitions
Bridport Leisure Centre
Public swimming pool and sports activities including badminton, volleyball, table tennis and more
A rejuvenated grade 2 listed Art Deco cinema in Bridport with its unique vintage decor is now used as a multipurpose venue. It offers a broad programme of music, theatre, film and comedy with a mixture of local and national names.
Deep sea and mackerel fishing trips
West Bay 5 miles. Lyme Regis 14 miles
Deep Sea and mackerel fishing trips from West Bay or Lyme Regis. A fantastic way to enjoy the sea and coastal views as well as catching your supper for a beach BBQ or bringing back to your firebowl!
Flying Frenzy Paragliding School
Flying Frenzy is the longest established paragliding school in Dorset and offers a fun, relaxed learning environment at locations in West Dorset, with friendly instructors who inspire confidence.
Jurassic Electric Bike Trails
This award winning business enables you to see some of Dorset’s most beautiful locations and landscapes from carefully picked tours around West Dorset. The electric bike takes all the work out of cycling leaving you to sit back and watch the world go by. A great day out!
Bidlake Riding Stables
This family run business near Bridport offers riding lessons or hacks, one to one or in a group, within the Marshwood Vale.
Wine Tours at Furleigh Estate
A prize winning local vineyard in Salwayash that makes wonderful sparkling rose and white wines. They offer morning and afternoon tours of the vineyard with tips for wine making as well as wine tasting.
Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre and Fossil Hunting
Charmouth is one of the best locations for fossil hunting on the Jurassic Coast, which is world famous for its fossils. The fossils can be found along the beach at any time but real gems can be discovered at low tide among the iron pyrites, when shiny ammonites, belemnites and crinoids can be found. The Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre also offers advice on fossils hunting and houses its own fossil displays, with free admission.
River Cottage HQ courses
River Cottage HQ nr Axminster offers a range of courses including cookery, veg growing, beekeeping, curing and smoking and many more.
Abbotsbury Swannery and Sub Tropical Gardens
Abbotsbury Swannery is the world's only managed colony of mute swan and here you are able to walk among the nesting birds or join in mass feeding in the afternoons. If you are visiting around May you can also see the newly hatched cygnets, a unique experience. Adjacent to the Swannery is Abbotsbury's beautiful Sub-Tropical Garden filled with exotic plants from around the world and it has a colonial tea house and plant nursery with a wonderful choice of plants.
Mapperton House and Garden is one of the loveliest Elizabethan stately homes in Dorset. The ancient rolling countryside forms a backdrop to the Italian garden and Elizabethan manor house, the Italian garden leading to the wild garden at the bottom of the valley. There is also a small nursery and Cafe where lunches and teas are served.
This abandoned quarry in Portland has been transformed into an amazing sculpture park. As you walk around this unique setting with views over Chesil Beach, carvings are discovered hidden within the rock, including a Viking boat, fish and the famous "falling man" by Antony Gormley. Entry is free
This is the highest point on the south coast which is between Bridport and Charmouth, with the most breath-taking view of Lyme Bay and the Jurassic Coast. On a clear day you can see across Lyme Bay to Dartmoor and in the opposite direction to Portland Bill. There are 25 miles of footpaths around the Golden Cap estate, which is National Trust-owned.
Eggardon Hill Fort
Eggardon Hill, which is close to Bridport and owned by The National Trust, dates from the iron age and covers almost 40 acres of hill top. Enjoy rambling up and down its ramparts, soak up its wonderful atmosphere and enjoy the far reaching views of the surrounding countryside.
On the fleet between Weymouth and Portland, Weymouth Watersports offers kayaking, paddle boarding, and windsurfing in this protected harbour, perfect for beginners or the more experienced.
Places to drink and dine
The South West is a major food producing area with a strong tradition of culinary excellence. Below are some of our favourite places to enjoy locally produced food and drink.
The Half Moon
A cosy thatched traditional Dorset pub with inglenook fireplaces and large garden, which is a fantastic sun trap. They offer very reasonably priced lunches, main meals and a roast lunch on Sundays using locally produced seasonal ingredients.
The Bridge House Hotel
A Country House Hotel set in Beaminster with a boutique style restaurant. They offer locally sourced, seasonal food either served in the restaurant, the terrace or in the Sun Room. They also have a wonderful afternoon tea menu.
The Bull Hotel and Stable
In the centre of Bridport this is a popular relaxed boutique hotel with a varied menu. There is a pretty courtyard perfect for warm sunny days. At the back of the hotel in the converted stables is a great pizza and cider restaurant. A very popular, relaxed and informal venue with long wooden tables and benches. They offer their own take on Italian pizzas using local ingredients and a great selection of local ciders.
The Riverside Restaurant
Set in a lovely location on the edge of the river Brit in West Bay the Riverside is a great seaside venue, with a wonderful menu of local fish. Very friendly with great service. You will need to book in advance.
Sladers Yard Café
A sensitively restored warehouse in West Bay is home to this excellent cafe specialising in Mediterranean and Moorish cooking with daily seafood specials. They also offer wonderful cream teas and bake their own delicious home made cakes. Adjoining the cafe is an independent art gallery which has fantastic exhibitions, well worth a visit.
The Hive Café at Burton Bradstock Beach and The Watch House Cafe at West Bay
West Bay 5 miles, Burton Bradstock 6.5 miles
Fantastic food, especially the fresh fish, these sister cafe/restaurants are both hugely popular. Both venues are situated on the Chesil Beach front. Both offer fantastic coastal walks great so a great stop off to take in the area.
The Anchor Inn
This pub has a beer garden above the beach with wonderful views of the coastline. Charmouth beach is a great place for fossil hunting or a walk up to Golden Cap so a perfect location for a well earned pub lunch. Perched on the cliff just above the beach at Seatown, next to Golden Cap with great views along the Jurassic Coast and out to sea.
Alexandra Hotel Cream Teas
A boutique hotel in Lyme Regis that we highly recommend for cream teas. Set in a fabulous location with beautiful private gardens and magnificent views over the famous Cobb harbour wall and Lyme Bay. Really worth a visit!
Hix Oyster & Fish House,
This renowned seafood restaurant has one of the most stunning panoramic views of Lyme Bay and the Cobb – this is easily one of the most picturesque spots to be enjoy fresh British seafood on a special occasion.
The Harbour Inn
A popular beachfront pub in Lyme Regis serving a good range of pub food. There is seating on the beach overlooking the bay and Cobb - wonderful on a warm afternoon or evening.
Town Mill Bakery
A friendly sociable cafe at the old mill in Lyme Regis where they make their own wonderful bread, pizza cakes and jams as well as a good choice of savoury dishes. Serves breakfast lunches, teas and supper in a great location surrounded by small independent shops.
River Cottage Canteen and Deli and River Cottage HQ
River Cottage HQ 14.5 miles, Axminster, 16 miles
Experience Hugh Fearnely-Whittingstall's unique dining experience using locally produced food at his cafe in Axminster or at the HQ Park Farm restaurant on Friday and Saturday evenings.
Crab House Café
Weymouth fleet, 20 miles
A fabulous place to enjoy fresh oysters, crab and lobster overlooking the Chesil Beach from a wonderfully relaxed seaside garden. This renowned cafe is worthy of its reputation and a must if you are a seafood lover