When did your jaw drop? Was it as you chugged your way through the Dorset lanes past 15th-century churches and honeyed houses along twisting lanes unchanged by the passage of time? Was it as you entered Totnell at the foot of Dorset’s chalk hills? Or was it when you hopped out to swing wide the wooden gate to Hazeldene?
Beyond it, Hazeldene sits in a cloak of seasoned timber, a newly minted Dorset hideaway hiding away behind some lovely oaks and elms. Crunch up the gravel drive, unlock the door and open up the cosiest of all cosy worlds. A professionally designed one of exposed oak, floor-to-ceiling windows, throws, rugs, cool greys and off-whites.
Get down to Sherborne Farmers’ Market and get dinner going on the Falcon dual-fuel range cooker, wash it down with a little aqua vitae from Vineyards of Sherborne, and pop a Netflix binger on the TV. Wake up in plumped-up beds and plan a romp around Sherborne or Shaftesbury, or blow away the blues on the Jurassic coast.
Your car crunches up the gravel here. Pick a place to park from five. Then survey the scene: pasture fields and woodland stretching away to the far horizon. Over to the west, the Blackmore Vale that so inspired Thomas Hardy dips and dives.
Inside the fence, you have an acre of Dorset all to yourself. Grab your haul from Sherborne Farmers‘ Market and sizzle your supper on the charcoal barbecue in the clean country air. You’ve tables and chairs outside both the main house and studio. As day turns to night, wrap yourself in a blanket and get cosy around the Indian fire bowl.
This is a living room so pleasant you’ll want to live in it forever. The clapboard ceiling’s vaulted to high heaven. The pale greys and off-whites are as calm as the deep blue sky that invades the floor-to-ceiling windows. And the exposed oak beams have been sand-blasted within an inch of their lives. They’ve got a clean, beachy, driftwood feel.
There’s no point trying to get stressed here. So switch off your phone and roll with it. Get all Danish hygge around the logburner in the open-plan family room. Get the whole gang together in the separate sitting room with woodburner, or create a rebel splinter faction out in the studio. Just as calm and collected, just with fewer people.
Settle back for a Netflix binge on the large-screen TVs, or get all old-school over cards or charades. Blast out some tunes on the BOSE Bluetooth speaker. You’re pretty rural here, so how’s the wifi? The wifi’s doing just fine. Stream and surf away on the ultrafast 900mb/s BT Fibre.
Switch off the 21st century to raid the bookshelves or sing along after your supper around the grand piano. Hazeldene’s as switch-on or zoned-out as you want it to be. Join in, log off, go with the party flow or jog off with a blanket, a book and a hot chocolate and simply absorb the silence and the serenity.
The Falcon dual-fuel range cooker with five-burner gas hob and two ovens stands ready. But what will you prepare? You’ll get the best fresh, local fare at the weekly Sherborne Farmers’ Market. Or head down to the coast to plunder sustainable oysters, scallops and cuttlefish from the Brixham, Lyme Regis and West Bay day boats.
You’ll get a convivial eight around the dining table with the double doors open onto the landscaped gardens. Butter the bread; pass the wine. Or head out to the terraces to enjoy the crackle and spit of steaks and sausages on the charcoal barbie. The main house comes with two sets of tables and chairs; the studio has another.
Eating out? Sunday isn’t Sunday without a roast at The Chetnole Inn. Or peruse the menu at The New Inn and let your mouth water at the thought of garlic and thyme-baked Somerset camembert, white onion jam and brioche. And that’s just for starters. Follow up with Portland crab of Fossil Farm 12oz ribeye.
Try some Sicilian street food at Tamburino Gold in Sherborne or head east for Indian delicacies at Rajpoot Tandoori. Or dig into the best of local English seasonality at The Clockspire. Stock up on your own victuals and vino at Ingredients in Sherborne and Vineyards of Sherborne.
Bedrooms here are oak-floored, oak-beamed, ruggy affairs with thick mattresses and the promise of deep, delectable sleep broken by soft morning birdsong. Professionally styled Hazeldene’s main house sleeps eight, with another two adults in the studio.
Bedroom one is a superking with luxurious en-suite and dressing room. Bedroom two is a kingsize with en-suite, while bedroom three is another king that comes with its own balcony.
Bedroom four is a flexible affair for families, with a double that unzips to create twin beds. The one-bed studio wraps things up nicely with a superking, en-suite, kitchenette and living room with woodburner.
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