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Around Hope Farm

Bridport is an attractive Georgian town famous for rope making, near the mouth of the River Brit. Though small it has all facilities including supermarkets and abundant pubs. The Dorset brewery Palmers run tours on their premises. There is a museum, a restored art deco cinema with brasserie and bar plus a lively street market on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The Tourist Information Centre (01308 424901) is situated in the town centre at 32 South Street. Beaminster, six miles inland and less than two miles from the Coach House, offers craft galleries, specialist food shops, restaurants and pubs in pretty Ham stone buildings. Cradled in a downland bowl, it is surrounded by wondrous high ground walking.

Almost all of West Dorset is designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Idyllic streams like the Asker, Brit and Bride meander through rolling farmland and traditional villages. On the high ground, ancient footpaths link Iron Age hill-forts. Worth visiting: Eggardon Hill Fort and Powerstock; Abbotsbury with its museum, swannery and sub-tropical gardens; the gardens and parks of Mapperton, Minterne and Melbury.

For those who enjoy walking and sea views, the Jurassic Coastal Path runs along some of the south of England's most stunning coastline. From the spectacular 618 ft Golden Cap above the village of Seatown, to the west of Bridport, the path continues on high cliffs with sea views eastward to Portland and westward all the way to Devon. After Eype, it descends to the charming little harbour at West Bay near Bridport then over cliffs again to Burton Bradstock where there is beach access. Beyond are marsh areas, a habitat for many birds. West Bexington, a popular venue for fishing, has beach access and a hotel with bar/restaurant. The Path proceeds virtually on the shore to Abbotsbury. The beach is mainly shingle, occasionally sand and forms a continuous sweep from Chesil Bank to Seatown. The nearest sandy beaches are at Lyme Regis, Charmouth and Weymouth.