Today, Hood’s is light-infused, luxurious holiday accommodation. But it wasn’t always a dog-friendly two-bedroom property. Nor was adjacent Loaf, now a cosy rural retreat for two, quite as welcoming.
Back in the 1930s, Kingsland Farm’s milking parlour adjoined an ancient stone cart-store which leaned against a brick-built granary. Nick and Danette Morrish’s epic £225,000 plan, to build on the footprint of these agricultural relics, was the stuff that Kevin McCloud’s Grand Designs are made of.
Thinking back to the age of the Napoleonic Wars, they named their two-bedroom property after Hood, a local seafaring family. After serving alongside Nelson, some of the Hood family recuperated at Kingsland Farm, which explains the image of sailing ships displayed on Hood’s glass.
Ultimately, the completed project, creating two inviting properties that feature in Dorset Hideaways’ portfolio of upmarket holiday rentals, would have McCloud purring with delight at the Morrish’s vision and inspired choice of top-end finishes.
Yet, in true Grand Designs fashion, there was drama along the way. As seven species of bats use the roof of the former granary as their dining room, the Morrishs paid £6,000 for a bat survey. They had to assess whether the project could proceed without endangering the bats. Then rain flooded the site the day before the floor screed was due to be laid. Even when the ambitious project was complete, COVID plunged Kingsland Farm into lockdown.
Eventually, Hood’s was ready to operate as a two bedroom home-from-home. The master bedroom has an en-suite bathroom. Close to the second bedroom, a family bathroom features a bath, shower and more views across Marshwood Vale.
As we visited with our son and grandson, for a multi-generational holiday, the Morrish’s provided a cot and highchair. With a baby in residence, the washing machine in the utility room was a useful feature.
Located in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Hood’s and Loaf provide ideal bases for rural walks. Maps and guidebooks show a variety of treks. Hood’s has binoculars for spotting barn and tawny owls, kestrel, skylark, and swallows. One popular 10-minute walk is to the 65 acres of Furleigh Vineyard for a tour and tastings.
At Hood’s guests are welcomed with a generous hamper of groceries: whilst butter, cheese, eggs and milk await in the fridge. The kitchen invites guests to relax and take their time over creating a meal. It is the sort of well-equipped kitchen that looks as if it has been designed for a TV chef. Though if cooking doesn’t appeal, the property guide recommends local bars and restaurants – sometimes with discount vouchers.
Hood’s star attraction is the view from the lounge. Not content with a panorama out across Marshwood Vale and onto Colmer’s Hill, the glass doors and windows extend around the far corner to taken in an even broader vista.
Some guests park their car for a week and lose themselves in the peace of their rural retreat. For others, Kingsland Farm is the starting point for their Dorset explorations. The nearest beach is six miles south, through Bridport, at West Bay. Usually, it is less brooding than when it was the backdrop for ITV’s Broadchurch series.
Dorset is synonymous with Thomas Hardy. His Wessex stretched along a quiet stretch of rugged coastline from Bournemouth to Exmouth, taking in Corfe Castle, Lulworth Cove and Lyme Regis. Hardy’s Birthplace, near Dorchester, is a National Trust property but tours need to be booked in advance.
Dorset offers plenty of great days out such as Monkey World near Wareham. Since 1987, the rescue centre has provided a sanctuary for mistreated primates from across the planet. Beginning by liberating nine chimpanzees from exploitation on Spanish beaches, Monkey World has helped 28 governments to counter illegal primate trading. With around 400,000 people visiting annually, Monkey World now covers 65 acres providing rescue and rehabilitation for 260 primates from 25 different species.
Although Hood’s and Loaf, are quietly tucked away at the end of a farm track, they are superbly located for exploring the underrated county of Dorset.
Hood and Loaf fact file
Both Hood’s and Loaf can be booked through dorsethideaways.co.uk.
For more information on what to do and see around the county, see Visit Dorset.
If you enjoyed Hood and Loaf – the perfect Dorset hideaways, you’ll find more of Michael Edward’s UK staycation ideas on our Travel Channel.Tags: Dorset, Hood, Kingsland Farm, Michael Edwards Last modified: March 20, 2023