Loose Reins

UK England South West England Dorset Blandford Forum

  • Contactless check in
  • Daily deep cleaning of common areas
  • Deep clean between glamping guests
  • Individual toilets for glamping accommodation
  • Campfires Allowed
  • Groups welcome
Cabins and lodges for dog lovers, horseriding and glamping enthusiasts

Loose Reins is an outstanding glamping destination with a difference, offering accommodation in the form of luxurious cedar-clad cabins and canvas lodges, in a beautiful scenic location. Set in over 13 acres in the most beautiful Dorset countryside, Loose Reins does something magical to the human spirit the moment you arrive. The hand-crafted pioneer lodges and ranch cabins make for a luxurious and unique place to stay and all have beautiful verandas where you can relax and take in the stunning views.

Tucked away in a natural combe below the Wessex Ridgeway, they have three cabins and three lodges, all of which look out over Blackmore Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, towards the ancient forts of Hambledon and Hod Hills. Each of the lodges and cabins is set in its own generous outdoor space and can sleep up to 6 people in comfort (the cabins sleep 2+2), with just the right balance between high comfort and proper glamping – with decent furniture (Hypnos mattresses, luxury linen and even a four-poster bed in the lodges!), proper plumbing and electricity, fully-equipped kitchens with a gas oven, real loos and hot showers with plenty of towels, but they also have wood-burners and outdoor fire bowls, and overall there's a prevailing sense of discovery and closeness to nature that can only come with staying in a cabin or a canvas lodge. There's also an on-site shepherd hut shop selling essentials, fresh milk, eggs, local sausages and bacon, even home-cooked ready meals for the evening and marshmallows for campfire-toasting. Plus they take dogs, and supply beds, bowls, towels and treats for good measure.

If you have your own horse, even they are welcome at Loose Reins on a DIY livery basis. The equine facilities are outstanding with grazing outside your accommodation or stabling in the light airy barn, Marc knows all the best places to ride hereabouts, and there are miles of beautiful trails to explore at whatever pace you like. If you're more into the idea of a walking or cycling holiday, the site is within easy reach of some of the best walks, cycle paths and bridleways in the Southwest: there's nearby Blandford Forest and the Wessex Ridgeway, and the North Dorset Trail Way passes right through the village; and the Loose Reins folk will always point you in the direction of a choice of pubs within hiking distance.

Failing all that, you could just hang out on your front porch and watch the buzzards circling; and come the evening, grab a beer and light the fire and do a spot of stargazing: it's a beautiful spot, and you may find it suits you just fine to stay put here for a few days.

*Due to COVID 19 Loose Reins have implemented some sensible precautions to ensure they are protecting guests and their holiday, to find out more information please see their website.

What’s special about our place?

Glampers only, with no additional tents or caravans allowed. Large groups permitted but must book entire site (sleeps 30). No stag parties. Two well behaved dogs welcome. Horses welcome.

What’s special about our area?

The campsite is located in the Blackmore and Sparkford Vale – made famous in Thomas Hardy's literature. It's around a half hour drive to the author's cottage (01305 262366), just outside Dorchester, now owned by the National Trust. While there, visit St Michaels Church, featured in Tess of the D'urbervilles and now home to Hardy's grave. Dorchester itself is packed full of museums – perfect for a rainy day – and fabulous architecture for daytime wanderings. Closer to base, explore the ancient hill forts of Hambledon Hill and Hod Hill or visit the UK Bike Park (07719 335076) in the woods just behind Loose Reins for some seriously extreme downhill cycling. The site is also around 45 minutes from Dorset’s Jurassic Coast, home of countless famous natural landmarks including Durdle Door, Kimmeridge Bay and Lulworth Cove – drive to the coast then walk a stretch of the coastal footpath. Also nearby, the Tank Museum (01929 462359) in Bovington and Monkey World (01929 462537) near Wareham are around 25 mins drive away.

Best local places to eat and drink?

A welcome pack is provided in the kitchen for your arrival, plus cooking essentials such as oils, condiments, foils, films, bin bags, washing up stuff and sauces. Guests will find fresh herbs growing in a pot on their porch and your hosts will have popped a few bits and pieces in your fridge or cupboard for a drink and nibble when you arrive. For fuel you will have a basket of logs and kindling on the porch. A small, onsite honesty shop has all your other camping basics – bacon, sausages, eggs, beans, milk, butter, juice, preserves, cereals, bread, rice, pasta, marshmallows, chocolate and a range of wholesome meals freshly made and frozen ready to pop in your oven. Pub-wise, the nearest is The Old Ox, a 15 minute walk away in Shillingstone village, or The Royal Oak (01258 861561) in Okeford Fitzpaine – nearly two miles by the wiggly roads, but about a one mile walk by footpath.

Why stay with us?

Cabins feature a king size bed plus a single bed easily created from the seating area. A kitchenette includes sink, oven, hobs, fridge and all the dining and cooking equipment needed for a couple or a family of three (or four if two little ones are happy to ‘top & tail’). A wood burner, lighting and sockets, private internal bathroom with flushing loo, sink and shower. Covered porch with rocking chairs, a dining table and benches. Plus basic larder essentials are provided as well as everyday kitchen consumables. The Canvas Lodges feature a large kitchen, dining and sitting area with sofa, armchair, chest of board games, dining table and benches, wood burning stove, combination microwave, hob, fridge and all the dining and cooking equipment needed for six people. A raised king size cabin bed with children’s play area underneath and opposite, through a sliding door, an internal bathroom with flushing loo, sink and large shower. Two further separate sleeping areas, one with a four-poster, king size bed and one with two singles. The lodge has wood partition walls and curtains to separate the sleeping areas. Bedding, linen and towels provided in all accommodation. Dogs (£25 per stay) and horses (£30 per night) are welcome. See website for full details.

Accommodation

Three pioneer cabins – Trappers, Gold Panners and Ranchers – each sleeping 2 + 2 people; plus three canvas lodges – Foresters, Hazel Meade and West Coombe – each sleeping up to 6 people.

Canvas Lodges

Safari tent Sleeps 6
Canvas lodges in a beautiful scenic location

Price

Cabins cost from £780 a week in low season to £1,100 a week in peak season; lodges £1150–£1,675. Weekend and midweek short breaks available, too. There is grazing or stabling for you to bring your own horse at £30 a night.

Opening Times

Cabins are available all year, lodges only from March to October.

Location

Contact Website  01258 863 533  Loose Reins, Loose Reins, Ridgeway Farm, Shillingstone, Dorset DT11 0TF

Show Map

Getting There

Following the A357 to Shillingstone, take the first right after the Old Ox pub into Gunn Lane; from the south, enter the 30mph speed zone and take the 3rd on the left. Continue on Gunn Lane past Everetts Lane on your right and Wessex Avenue on your left and take the next right turn into Brodham Way. Continue for about half a mile, and at the T-junction turn left into Lanchards Lane. Loose Reins is right at the end of a no-through-road on Lanchards Lane, so keep on going to the very end. On arrival, take the left-hand gate into the yard and park on the concrete apron by the little shepherd's hut. Follow the signs to the reception where we will give you your keys and show you to your accommodation. No cars are allowed near the cabins and lodges but there's a guest car park a couple of minutes' walk away on clean gravel tracks and each cabin or lodge has its own handy trolley.

Train station on the Waterloo to Exeter line is Gillingham (08457 484950) in Dorset. Taxi’s are £23 or Loose Reins sometimes arrange a collection for the same money if arranged in advance.

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