Bed & Breakfast Accommodation near Bridport, Dorchester and Beaminster, West Dorset B7B UK

West Dorset Farmhouse Bed and Breakfast Accommodation


near Dorchester, Bridport and Beaminster

"Has to be one of the best B&Bs we have stayed at."


  supplied courtesy of West Dorset District Council

 Click map for a higher resolution version

map of west Dorset

As the above map shows, Grays Farmhouse is between Dorchester, Bridport and Beaminster, ideally placed as a centre from which to explore an area rich in interesting places to visit and things to do, in the heart of West Dorset.

Click here for a selection of nearby Interesting Places

While every attempt is made to ensure that the links are all working properly, I do not have the time to check them regularly and I hope you will be patient if some are out of date.

Agricultural Shows /  Biking off road /    Children /  Coastal Attractions  /  Cycling /     Fishing /    Fossil hunting /    Gardens to Visit /    Golf /    History /    Houses to Visit /    Museums /    Music /   Painting and Photography /   Riding /    Swimming /    Walking /   Tourist Information

Agricultural Shows

Melplash in August and Dorchester in September are the two big ones.
to list

Animals and Birds


Various suggestions are listed under "Children" which will be of interest to adults too. See also "Riding", and for wildlife, check out the local RSPB reserves and the Kingcombe Centre. Also, on this site, see West Dorset Area & Wildlife

Biking Off Road

Guests tell us that the off-road biking in the area is superb. There is ample space to leave bikes locked up and we shall be getting a power-hose so you can wash them down easily after your ride. See Cycling below.

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Dorchester Museum has an interactive Children's Trail, while the Tithe Barn, Children's Farm and Swannery at Abbotsbury are much loved by children Children love feeding the swans, especially when the signets are hatching in May and June.

Abbotsbury swannery

click above to see 360 degree image

Many children love Fossil hunting and there are excellent organised fossil walks.

Another favourite is Monkeyworld, a serious project that rescues and rehabilitates abused apes.

Rather less authentic, but popular with children, , Tel. 013052699880.) Lovers of Teddy Bears should visit the Teddy Bear house and the annual Teddy Bears' Picnic in Dorchester. Older children may enjoy The Tutankhamun Exhibition or some of the Museums

At Easter Abbotsbury hosts a Great Egg Hunt and there is a Kite Festival at Weymouth in the Spring, and on Eggardon in September. There are summer regattas and Trawler races, Red Arrow and firework displays along the coast.
The Kingcombe-Centre near us runs Children's Days for budding naturalists aged eight upwards. Tel.01300320684
Further afield is the Wildlife Park at Cricket St. Thomas Tel.01460 30111, the Sea Life Park at Weymouth, or the model railways at Pecorama, Beer.

The wonderful hillside location of Pecorama is the home of the world's foremost manufacturer of model railway track, PECO Streamline and PECO Setrack. Superbly crafted model railway layouts in many scales and gauges greet the visitor when they first enter the famous PECO Model Railway Exhibition.

The Beer Heights Light Railway, an award-winning 7¼ inch gauge passenger-carrying miniature railway, takes you on a mile-long ride through Flower-filled Gardens with stunning views overlooking Lyme bay.

For more ideas, see Family Days out in Dorset

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Farmhouse B&B

Gray's Farmhouse Toller Porcorum ....Near Bridport ,,,,, Dorset UK

map of west dorset

Satellite Map

West Dorset view near us

B&B Directions


Greetings Cards

Dorset Visual arts

Dorset Art Weeks

bed breakfast hosts

Rosie & Roger

bed & breakfast logo

Alastair Sawday Special Places

Crown Uploders near Bridport

Where to eat


Local information


Where to Shop in West Dorset








Coastal Attractions

chesil beach

photo by Allan King

Grays Farmhouse is near the World Heritage coast, which within a 25 minutes drive offers remarkable variety.  Nearest to us is the National Trust family beach at Burton Bradstock, with golden honey-combed cliffs and an excellent cafe overlooking the beach. Slightly further afield to the east are the magnificent chalk cliffs and rock formations of the Isle of Purbeck, including Kimmeridge, Lulworth and Durdle Door, and to the west lie Charmouth and Lyme Regis.

 Weymouth has a long sandy beach set in a beautiful, expansive bay, and a fascinating old harbour.  The east coast of Portland is unique, with disused, luxuriantly overgrown quarries right by the water's edge.  At the southern tip, Portland Bill has a lighthouse overlooking a wild shoreline piled with slabs of the famous stone from which many of London's grandest buildings were created.


The cliff path on Portland's west coast provides glorious views towards Lyme Regis down the Chesil Beach, an eleven-mile strip of shingle. The inland water behind it, the Fleet, is a bird sanctuary, and Abbotsbury is renowned for its swannery.  
Nearer us, the western end of the Chesil is the sandiest part.
See "Swimming".

West Bay

click above to see 360 degree image

West Bay is where "Harbour Lights" was filmed.  A three year scheme to rebuild the coastal defences and harbour piers at a cost of over £17 million was completed in the winter of 2004/2005

cliffs near Burton Bradstock

photo by Allan King

The golden cliffs to each side are quite different in character from the chalk ones east of Weymouth, reaching their highest point between West Bay and Charmouth at Golden Cap.

view towards Lyme Regis

click on image to find out about RMG Wildlife DVD of the Dorset Coastal Path


The marvellous coastal views, from Portland to the tip of South Devon, combined with the gentle folds of meadow and woodland close to a cliff edge full of tiny inlets, make this an idyllic stretch of coast.


Coastal erosion means that this part of the cliffs is forever changing.

 Charmouth and Lyme are renowned for their fossils, and Lyme in particular is a fascinating old town with its famous cobb and some tempting teashops! 
To the west of Lyme the cliffs slipped dramatically in the nineteenth century, resulting in a huge rift where almost jungle-like vegetation and sheer inland walls of stone create an environment reminiscent of Conan Doyle's "Lost World".   By then you are into Devon...

Dorset coast

For 360 degree panoramas of coast, click on image

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Even in the height of summer the lanes around us are quiet enough to make cycling enjoyable, and there are also plenty of bridle paths and tracks through Hooke Woods. Much of the disused railway line from Maiden Newton to West Bay is still accessible. Bikes may be hired at "bspoke" in Bridport, where you can also get knowledgable advice on the best places to cycle.

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The nearby River Frome is stocked with trout and some salmon. For details of fly fishing see Course fishing and trout fishing are available on various lakes in the area, including Mangerton Mill, 01308 485224. West Bay and Lyme Regis offer mackerel fishing trips round the bay, or deep sea fishing for conger, cod, skate and pollack. Fishermen are usually to be found fishing from the pier/cobb or on the beach at Burton Bradstock.

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Fossil Hunting


For 360 degree panoramas of coast, click on image
Lyme Regis and Charmouth are famous for the crumbling Jurassic rock cliffs, which have revealed 200 million-year-old fossils. For more information, contact the Charmouth Heritage Coast Information Centre, 01297 560772.
In July 2000 a 40 foot ichthyosaur was discovered at Charmouth. For a fascinating account of this, see Most of our own very modest collection has been found under the cliffs at Burton Bradstock.

Chris Pamplin in Charmouth, or Brandon Lennon in Lyme Regis offer fascinating fossils walks, either for the public or privately booked. What they offer is slightly different, so it's worth having a look at both sites.

fossils at Charmouth   amonite at Charmouth

To buy fossils, see Where to Shop
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Gardens to Visit

Mapperton Gardens, a very lovely 2 hour walk from us, has an Italianate water garden set in idyllic surroundings. The well- known garden -writer Anna Pavord describes it as her favourite garden anywhere and in 2006 'Country Life' voted Mapperton "The Nation's Finest Manor house". Open March- October, not Saturdays. Tel.01308 862645. The magnificent medieval barn houses "The Sawmill Cafe" which is a delightful place to eat.


On the coast is the spectacular subtropical garden at Abbotsbury, open and well worth seeing all year, while inland are the landscaped gardens of Minterne, with a hillside of Himalayan rhododendrons and azaleas overlooking a chain of lakes, waterfalls and streams. Open daily 10A.M. - 7p.m., April- October.

To the North West, Forde Abbey was winner of Christies Garden of the Year Award. Open Daily, 10a.m.- 4.30 p.m. Tel. 01460 221290

For gardens in south Somerset,

See also Houses to Visit as several have magnificent gardens

West Dorset Garden

Rosie can advise you on many other smaller gardens worth visiting, as well as the local village Open Garden days,and our library of garden books and magazines would keep an enthusiast happy for hours.
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There are eleven golf courses in West Dorset, many of them in stunning settings on the coast. Guests tell us that those at both Lyme Regis and West Bay are interesting courses. The local T.I. office will send you a leaflet on request.
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From the World Heritage Jurassic, fossil-rich cliffs of Lyme, to Dorchester, capital of Hardy's Wessex, the past is probably as palpable in West Dorset as in any part of England.
Bronze-age burial mounds and iron-age hill forts, Roman roads and settlements, the Cerne giant, motte and bailey castles, Norman churches, strip lynchets and farmland completely untouched by modern methods, the Jacobean facades of medieval manor houses, the 200 listed honey-coloured buildings of lovely Beaminster, the wide streets of rope-making Bridport: the list is almost endless of the way the past still makes its presence felt within moments of leaving the A35 .
Roger researched and wrote the local Millennium Community Play, celebrating four thousand years of life in Powerstock, and charting the fascinating impact through the ages of national events on this tiny, seemingly timeless, community. Powerstock parish church has a delectably asymterical & intricately carved Norman arch and interesting Arts and Crafts wall-paintings.

Powerstock church arch Powerstock church
Alastair Chisholm, a delightfully entertaining and knowledgeable extrovert, does a range of guided walks round Dorchester, and Maiden Castle by moonlight. Tel. 01305 261135

See also Museums
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Houses to Visit

Nearby Mapperton Manor was voted the "The nation's Finest Manor House" by 'Country Life' It is open in peak holiday season and bank holidays.Tel.01308 862645.
Athelhampton, built in 1485, has a magnificent early Tudor Great hall, and houses an outstanding collection of English furniture, from Jacobean to late Victorian.
Athelhampton Tel.01305 848363.

Slightly further afield, Forde Abbey, a magnificent family home since the 17th.Century, was a Cistertian Monastery, founded in 1140 (see above, but the house is only open in summer and on certain days).

Montacute houses much of the Tudor and Stuart collection of the National Portrait Gallery.

On a far humbler scale, Hardy's birthplace, Higher Bockhampton, is an idyllic little cottage just outside Dorchester . Both these last two are National Trust.
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All the local towns boast museums, and those at Dorchester and Lyme Regis are award-winning. (01305 262735 and 01297 443370 . The former houses a reconstruction of Hardy's study.

Apart from general local social and natural history, there are specialist museums to be found on such widely ranging themes as Tanks (Bovington 01929405096 ), Yeovilton Fleet Air Arm Museum, Dorchester Keep, ENIGMA (Blandford, Royal Signals Museum, 01258 482248, The Tolpuddle Martyrs, (Tolpuddle, outside Dorchester, 01305 848237), Ropemaking (Bridport, 01308 4216659), Underwater Exploration and the 'Titanic' and The Museum of Coastal Defense (Weymouth), and much more.

Honiton Lace All hallows Museum

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Music and the Arts

Our nearest Summer Festival is at Beaminster in late June. For a whole glorious week there are concerts in the church each evening, events in the square at lunch time, several exhibitions, a garden walk-about, and much else.
tel. 01308 863000.  


Abbotsbury, Burton Bradstock and Cerne Abbas also have interesting festivals. Lyme Regis has a Jazz Festival Kingston Maurward, Sherborne Castle, and Abbotsbury all host open air concerts and operas .  

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Painting and Photography

The wildlife artist, Gordon Beningfield, passionately loved this area and made regular pilgrimages to Powerstock to paint the wild flowers and animals, while the wildlife photographer, Colin Varndell, considers the wildlife around Powerstock second to none.
If broad landscape or seascapes are more your interest, the wide horizons from Eggardon, Golden Cap, Abbotsbury Castle or Hardy's Monument could hardly be bettered, while those who love to paint mellow old buildings will be spoilt for choice. Recently I have been painting Corfe Castle, Abbotsbury and Eggardon

rosie Britton paintings
my painting site

There is plenty of room to store your painting gear in my studio, and if the weather is bad, there are covered areas from which to work around the grounds.

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There are plenty of bridle ways, both following the coastline and inland, and good tracks of open countryside suitable for galloping.

Horse Riding is available at
Cattistock    01308 863006
Portisham   01305 871011
Monkton Wilde    01297 678747

Llama Trekking in the Brit Valley
Beaminster    01308 8868674
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Chseil beach

For 360 degree panoramas of coast, click on image

There are a number of good family beaches with golden sand, notably Burton Bradstock, West Bay, Charmouth and Lyme Regis, but bathers must exercise caution and read notices carefully. In season dogs are banned.
Bridport has a Leisure Centre with an indoor pool. 01308 427464
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Wet Dorset view
Grays Farmhouse lies at the heart of a seemingly endless maze of paths and tracks and is near the The Jubilee Trail. After years of regular walking, we are still discovering new routes from our doorstep, including variations on our favourite walks to nearby Powerstock, Powerstock Common, Eggardon, and Mapperton Manor.

See Aerial View

map of west dorset

OS Map scale: square = I Km.

The Wessex Ridgeway and the South-West coastal path are within easy reach.  Local T.I. Centres and the Websites given below provide details of nearly 300 guided walks, including many from the Kingcombe-Centre

See walks on Wednesday mornings

There are some excellent websites giving detailed descriptions of walks:

The Long Distance Walkers Association has a most informative list of local trails.

Walks for Softies & Walking in Dorset are fairly gentle strolls, whilst Walks in Dorset tend to be much longer.


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Tourist Information

The West Dorset District Council website is a mine of helpful information, , and in addition West Dorset produces an interesting tourist guide, along with much other information, available for order by email or at the following T.I. offices:-

Bridport    01308 424901
Dorchester    01305 267992
Lyme Regis   01297422138
Sherborne   01935 88815341
West Bay   01308422807
Weymouth   01305 785747/ 772444



In addition, the following websites are very informative:
  Bridport and Westbay Charmouth
   Dorchester Best of Dorset

Burton Bradstock & wider area

Bridport Radio

Lyme Regis Weymouth

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c) Copyright 2007 Rosie Britton. All Rights Reserved.

Site Updated May 6, 2011

Bed & Breakfast in West Dorset


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Farmhouse B & B Accommodation near Bridport, West Dorset


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