Out & About

There's lots to do in & around Fontmell Magna

Arts & Craft Courses
Bread Making Courses
Dorset Attractions
Longleat Safari and Adventure Park
Aerosaurus Balloons
Alison Howell's Foot Trails walking holidays
Fontmell Magna Moviola

Great Dorset Steam Fair

27th - 31st August 2014

If you're looking for an excellent fun and action packed day out for all the family, you'll love the Great Dorset Steam Fair. Traditionally this English fair is held at the village of Tarrant Hinton, near Blandford Forum in the heart of the beautiful Dorset countryside.Further directions are superfluous. Just find the village on the map, head in that direction and follow everyone else to the show.

St. Andrew’s Church

A religious site since 806, yes 806, the church as seen today is beautifully impressive and holds two wonderful fonts, one circa 1800 and the other circa 1000. In the early 14th century Stephen Prewet was the first recorded vicar. The Reverend Canon Dick Jones is a mine of information and is always happy to see you, along with his Wife Jenny, even if you just want to have a visit.

Springhead Gardens

Springhead is a beautiful seven-acre estate, offering formal, semi-formal and wild gardens lying at the foot of spectacular downland. The downs, at the north-eastern edge of the Cranborne Chase, command outstanding views over the Blackmore Vale and Hardy’s Wessex.

At Springhead’s entrance a range of thatched cottages and an 18th century mill form a courtyard with a small pool at the centre, which is fed by running water which cascades beneath the mill building to become a gentle stream flowing into the River Stour. There are roses on the cottages and shrubs line the borders of the mill.

The lakeside gardens to the rear of the buildings nestle in a horseshoe of chalk down land cleft by deep combes. At the head of the lake (where the chalk of the down meets the greensand of the vale) are several springs, crossed by a wooden bridge and overshadowed by great and ancient trees.

Springhead’s gardens are featured in ‘1001 Garden You Must See before You Die’ by Rae Spencer-Jones, published in 2007.


The Magna Yoga Sanctuary is a lovingly restored Old 18th century Chapel and School. Yoga and Meditation is taught at the Fontmell Sanctuary by Suzanne Thompson, who is also a Reiki Master and also provides Reiki therapy. Suzanne provides private and general sessions in Yoga, Meditation and Reiki which can channel spiritual natural energies of Prana, Chi and Ki for the benefit and invigoration of the recipient generating a feeling of re-energising combined with a deep relaxation and peace. We are right next door to the Sanctuary and enjoy peaceful seclusion with each other and from each other.

The Larmer Tree

Only just over a couple of hills from us and you’re there. The most wonderful and spectacular grounds boast some quite unique buildings and beautiful scenery. Walk through the lawns with peacocks on display, along the paths and smell the wild garlic. The Larmer Tree is also host to a major annual music festival in the grounds with top artists coming every year. This year sees Van Morrison take centre stage.

Compton Abbas Airfield

Enjoy a coffee and cake in the café watching the flights or take a ride yourself! Just one hill away from us.


The beautiful historic market town of Shaftesbury is perched high on a hill overlooking Dorset's Blackmore Vale - truly one of the most scenic locations for a holiday in England. On sunny days, the panoramic views from Park Walk and Castle Hill can be spectacular.

History and Heritage:
Shaftesbury was founded in circa 808 the same time as Fontmell Magna. Known as the home of King Alfred's citadel Benedictine Abbey it has remained largely unchanged since the 18th century. The famous author Thomas Hardy wrote of many of Shaftesbury's (Shaston's) streets and houses in his works. The Ox House in Bimport, behind Shaftesbury's Abbey, was the schoolmaster's house in 'Jude the Obscure'.

Shaftesbury's most famous view is of the cobbled street of
Gold Hill, known to millions as the 'Hovis' hill from the TV adverts in the 1980s. The origin of the name Gold Hill is not certain but it’s thought that it comes from 'Gild Hall' as today's Town Hall stands at the crest of the hill.

The remains of King Edward the Martyr (reputedly murdered by his stepmother at Corfe
Castle, near Wareham) were interred at the Abbey in 979 and later King Canute died here, although he is buried in Winchester. The Abbey brought wealth to the town for several centuries until its dissolution during the reign of King Henry VIII. You can experience a little of medieval life at the Abbey in the new state-of-the-art Abbey Museum and sample the Anglo Saxon herb collection.

Shaftesbury Town Museum is at the top of Gold Hill, on the left as you look down the hill. It includes original Dorset bonnets and buttons - once a thriving cottage industry in Shaftesbury - and the 'Byzant', a wonderful gold festival totem that was an important feature of the water gathering ceremony of the town. There is a delightful abundance of café’s in and around Gold Hill as well as olde worlde shoppes and outfitters.

Walking and cycling

You can take the circular day walk around Cranborne Chase or the Blackmore Vale or go to Hod and Hambledon Hills with stunning views while the chalk downlands at Win Green, here above the village of Fontmell Magna and Melbury Downs are home to rare flora and fauna as well as sensational views of the Dorset countryside. From the Fontmell Downs you can see clear into Somerset with a wonderful view over the village. Cyclists can explore the North Dorset Cycleway and Wiltshire cycle routes or go off on your own and explore!. We can provide packed lunches for you and we offer a bicycle rental service (one male and one female bike).

Stately Homes

Kingston Lacy

A family home that was apparently built to resemble an Italian Palace that holds beautifully detailed carvings and is an art lover’s dream. Paintings by Rubens, Van Dyck, Titian and Bruegel. The house also boasts the largest private collection of ancient Egyptian artefacts in the UK.


The world-famous landscape garden has at its centrepiece a magnificent lake reflecting classical temples, mystical grottoes, and rare and exotic trees, and offers a day of fresh air and discovery.

Uncover the fascinating history of
Stourhead house with an Italian ‘Grand Tour’ adventure and enjoy the unique Regency library, Chippendale furniture and wonderful paintings. The Palladian mansion is set amid ‘picnic perfect’ lawns and extensive parkland.

Eating and Drinking

The Fontmell hotel and restaurant is just around the corner from us. They have an extensive menu, excellent ales and wines and a very friendly welcome. We can book a table for you if needed. www.thefontmell.co.uk

The Cricketers is just down the road about 4 miles and offers a warm atmosphere, excellent beers, a garden and restaurant all at very good prices. Joe will give you a very warm welcome and again we can book a table for you if needed.

Brownsea Island and Poole Harbour

Brownsea offers fine walks and spectacular views of Poole Harbour, home to the endangered red squirrel. Famous for being the birthplace for Scouting and Guiding, it is a haven for wildlife, including Sika deer and wading birds. It also has trails and Tracker Packs for young smugglers and explorers. Escape the noise and stress of modern life and discover nature in this unspoilt setting.

Harbour hosts Marinas, pottery, shopping, sailing, Brownsea Island and the Jurassic coast, so much to see and do and all within an hour’s reach from our accommodation.

Compton Acres, Poolewww.comptonacres.co.uk

Signals Museum
Tank Museumwww.tankmuseum.org

We have numerous leaflets for your trip and look forward to meeting you!