A rustic farmyard thatched cottage, ambling walks over rolling green hills, and loads of great dogs – read all about our day at Westwater Farm!
The Farmhouse at Higher Westwater Farm is a converted thatched cottage, standing proudly amidst rolling green hills dotted with sheep and cows. Inside you can tick off all the classic British countryside features – exposed beams, wood burning stove, inexplicable complicated staircase that you will definitely fall down, and for some reason, a bread oven.
Now, Higher Westwater Farm is technically in Devon, but since Axminster and Lyme Regis are in Dorset, I’m sticking with my title.
If, like me, you’re rocking up after a busy train ride from London, the peaceful sounds of sleepy farm animals and pastel colours of a summer sunset seem almost too good to be true.
Also, I’d just like to add for your information, that the neighbours and owners of the cottage had a puppy sheepdog that was super friendly and excited to see us.
Let’s get to it! We’ve only got a day until you have to go back to the smoke, there’s no time to waste relaxing. This morning’s walk is taking you over rivers, through farmyards and into the promised land – a farm shop cafe. Check out the route here.
Now, if you know me, you know that I’m not the biggest fan of a walk. But as a child of a middle class British family, walks are often thrust upon me. In fact, this past Christmas I was given my first pair of official walking boots, so I’m literally tied in, as it were.
So the ideal walk in my opinion is one where the weather is pleasant – not to hot or cold, and not raining – the views vary in a stimulating way between far reaching rolling hills and close knit leafy woods, and the whole thing lasts no longer than an hour. This walk ticks all those boxes, with the added bonus of a coffee in the middle.
Heads up, when you walk through Coryton Farm about three quarters of the way, you might get chased by dogs. Don’t panic, they’re friendly, and the people in the farmhouse will point you towards Miller’s Farm Shop if you’re not sure which path to take.
Miller’s Farm Shop
Shopping and food all rolled into one, Miller’s Farm Shop is the kind of place you could spend hours inside. You can tell it’s good because it’s full of locals.
Inside the shop you can stock up on fresh vegetables and local dairy and meats. My favourite section was a neat display of regional spirits, including beautifully designed bottles of Conker Gin.
Another benefit of the shop being popular with locals is the high chance of quality dog interaction. We got to say hello to an adorable golden retriever puppy while we were enjoying our coffees in the Farm Shop cafe, the Teapot.
My favourite part of the day: the food. We stocked up on cheese, crackers fresh veg and bread from Miller’s Farm Shop, which we then tucked into on the patio outside the cottage.
After lunch, take a little trip into Lyme Regis, where you can while away the hours on Broad Street popping into the boutiques and souvenir shops, or relaxing on the pebble beach, weather-dependent.
Top tip: If you buy anything to eat outside or on the beach, whether it’s pasties, sandwiches or ice cream – cover it with an umbrella. The seagulls in this town are hungry and fearless.
River Cottage Kitchen & Deli
Wash the sea air out of your hair and head out to Axminster for dinner at the River Cottage Kitchen & Deli. The deli counter is at the front of the restaurant, with the dining area in a spacious room at the back. The menu is always seasonal and the staff are extremely helpful and keen to recommend their favourite dishes.
You can tell that the main focus of the menu is local ingredients, whether it’s locally-caught fish or locally-reared beef, so that even though it has the sophisticated branding of a national chain, this restaurant feels like it’s tightly woven into the community and the area.
Westwater is a lovely part of the country for a family escape, with all the charm of the British countryside wrapped up in the nostalgia of a childhood seaside holiday.