Found exactly between Lyme Regis and Seaton on Devon’s south east Jurassic coast, Rousdon Estate is a Victorian gated village with 350 acres of farm, parkland, private land and nature reserve, with its own private access to a pebble beach.
Our cosy cottage on Rousdon Estate
There are 104 homes on the Estate, some smaller holiday homes, some employed as holiday lets, and we stayed in a cosy little cottage which we found on airbnb.
According to its description, the mid-terrace cottage was originally lived in by market garden workers, and is attached to a series of similar cottages.
Our host Caroline left a key for us to get in, and a few tasty surprises once we were inside, including organic eggs and butter from a local farm, and homemade marmalade, bread, chocolate brownies and carrot cake!
The cottage also had a wood-burning stove with logs provided, which we lit pretty much every night we stayed to make it extra cosy.
The weather wasn’t amazing whilst we were there, but since it was still early spring we were prepared with our wellies and waterproofs. The web page for the cottage had promised great walks on and around the estate, so we set off to find the south west coastal path to the pebble beach.
History of Rousdon
We were very curious about the history of the gated village. The earliest records of Rousdon Estate date it back to the 12th century, when it was known as Dona. The name then morphed through Dune, la Dune, Doune, Rawesdon, Doune Rauf, Doune Rafe, Downraff, Downe Ralfe, Rowston, Rowsedown and finally Rousdon.
The row of cottages ours was in seemed like they were built for farm workers or perhaps staff. I did some research and it seems the manor was commissioned in 1872 by Sir Henry Peek, who also had the church and local school rebuilt.
Since it was quite far from the village, Rousdon Estate had to be totally self-sufficient, so it was built with its own laundry, coach houses, harness rooms, wine cellars, bowling alley, rifle range, china stores, bake houses, larders, museum, observatory, walled garden, tennis courts, farm buildings and all the cottages needed to house the Estate population of about 600. [source]
The Coastal Pathway
The beach was a 40 minute walk from our cottage, down rickety wooden stairs and through overgrown woodland. If you’ve read my posts about Lisbon or Dubrovnik you know I’m not really a fan of walking, but sometimes
you just can’t seem to avoid it it’s worth it.
Once we got to the beach we did a spot of fossil hunting, but the weather quickly caught up with us and we had to rush back into the trees, which sheltered us for most of the walk back.
When we got back we really felt we’d earned our homemade goodies left by our host! We spent the rest of the weekend sheltering from the weather, eating delicious locally made and sourced food, cosied up by the fire and watching films.
We also ventured out to Lyme Regis, which is only a 10 minute drive away, but the weather was still so awful we spent the trip huddled in a coffee shop! But you can read about Lyme Regis in a post I did about our family’s stay in Dorset, just up the road near Axminster.
Staying on Rousdon Estate is a great getaway for a couple or a family, especially if you like outdoor activities in the British countryside. We didn’t do much outdoors, but I actually really enjoyed relaxing by the fire with the wind and rain blustering against the windows! I thoroughly recommend our cottage, but I’m sure you would have a great stay in any of the other holiday homes in the Victorian gated village.