Compton Abbas Airfield
Just a walk up the hill! Compton Abbas Airfield is located in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. They are a busy airfield with a popular bar and restaurant with a runway terrace giving fantastic views of the aircraft and surrounding countryside. Flight vouchers are available for that extra special treat. Open daily for flying from 09.00 with the restaurant opening at 0930.
A few local towns
Shaftesbury (10 minute drive) is the site of the former Shaftesbury Abbey, which was founded in 888 by King Alfred. Adjacent to the abbey site is Gold Hill, the steep cobbled street made famous in the 1970s as the setting for Ridley Scott’s television advertisement for Hovis bread.
Blandford Forum (20 minute drive) is one of Britain’s best preserved Georgian towns, having being largely rebuilt after a fire in 1731 by architects the Bastard brothers, apparently their real names.
Sturminster Newton’s (20 minute drive) restored and fully functional mill is lovely to see in action.
Sherborne (30 minute drive) is a historic Ham Stone town nestled in green valleys and wooded hills. With its abundance of ancient and beautiful buildings, superb Abbey, world famous Schools, picturesque Almshouse and two Castles, Sherborne makes for a captivating visit.
Salisbury (30 minute drive) is a medieval cathedral city in the southern English county of Wiltshire. It’s 9 miles south of the iconic prehistoric stone circle at Stonehenge, which stands on the grassland of Salisbury Plain. The city’s ornate 13th-century cathedral has a 123m spire, a working 14th-century clock and an original copy of the Magna Carta (the Great Charter), a key document from 1215 A.D. Also good for shopping.
There are lots of places to go and a huge choice for a day out with the family. There’s also dramatic coastline, unspolit countryside and beautiful gardens for a fix of fresh air and chance to let off steam in the great outdoors. Dorset has a long and proud tradition of large estates and grand country houses and gardens. Local families have carefully preserved these over the centuries. In the modern era these families have had to find new means of survival and many of these houses are now open to the public. The National Trust has a good range of interesting historic houses, including Thomas Hardy’s and Lawrence of Arabia’s original homes, as well as spectacular landscapes including a number on the fossil filled Jurassic Coast.
Longleat Safari and Adventure Park
(Half an hour drive) Longleat opened in 1966, Longleat was the first ever Safari Park outside Africa. Your drive-though safari adventure will take you unbelievably close to creatures you’ve only dreamed about. So mind the zebra crossing, five the rhinos right of way, watch out for the wolves and beware of the meddling monkeys! At Longleat, you can go back in time and experience over 450 years of history exploring Longleat House. Hear ghostly tales of the Grey Lady, marvel at priceless antiques and walk in the grounds and gardens created by the renowned Capability Brown.
Stonehenge (45 minute drive) is perhaps the world’s most famous prehistoric monument. It was built in several stages: the first monument was an early henge monument, built about 5,000 years ago, and the unique stone circle was erected in the late Neolithic period about 2500 BC. In the early Bronze Age many burial mounds were built nearby. Today, along with Avebury, it forms the heart of a World Heritage Site, with a unique concentration of prehistoric monuments.
Larmer Tree Gardens
A tranquil 20 minute drive, set in the outstanding landscape of the Cranborne Chase, these beautifully laid out gardens were created by General Pitt Rivers in 1880. Recognised by English Heritage as a Garden of National Importance, they were first privately owned gardens to be opened for public enjoyment. As well as being a beautiful garden to visit, it also holds award winning quirky festivals the Larmer Tree Festival, and End of the Road.
The Jurassic Coast
Just a 50 minute drive from the world famous and beautiful Dorset coastline. Walks down there are breathtaking, and there are many pretty towns to visit, and activities to do. The Jurassic Coast is England’s first natural UNESCO World Heritage Site and ranks among the Great Barrier Reef and the Grand Canyon as one of the wonders of the natural world. Corfe Castle ruins is also one to visit, and it’s breath-taking views across Purbeck!
Bread Making Courses
Cann Mills (5 minute drive) sign up for a bread making course at the Panary at Cann Mills, a traditional water mill just half a mile from The Old Forge. Learn the finer dough arts from master baker Paul Merry – from sourdough and pain rustique, to a good old fashioned bloomer.
Bovington Tank Musuem
The Tank Museum (35 minute drive) brings the history of tanks and tank crews to life, supported by the world’s best collection of tanks, and action packed live displays during the school holidays. Our exhibitions tell the story of armoured warfare spanning almost 100 years of history. As you explore the museum’s six large halls, you will come face to face with vehicles that have seen action in all the major wars of the 20th Century. Exhibitions including “The Tank Story”, “The Trench Experience” and “Battlegroup Afghanistan” brings war time experiences alive plus don’t miss our Tank Action displays during the school holidays; life-like explosions, thundering engines and expert commentary. And of course home to one of the true heavyweight stars of Brad Pitt’s recent World War Two film ‘Fury’.
Monkey World (35 minute drive), the chimpanzee rescue centre, based in Wareham, Rescue and Rehabilitation of primates world wide.
Arts & Craft Courses
Higher Green Farm at Twyford (5 minute drive), near Shaftesbury is a converted farm in a stunning rural setting, for the teaching of all forms of Art and Craft. There is workshop, gallery and studio space set within four acres of inspirational grounds and beautiful surrounding countryside, creating that peaceful ‘away from it all’ feeling.