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Things quietened down after the middle of September, and in taking stock of the holiday period it proved to be a very good one, and I met some wonderful people, but people still took home a lot of shower tokens which I will have to replace for next year. They cost 82p each when I bought them two years ago. Occasionally the tokens are posted back to me or even brought back the following year. Lost of toilet rolls has always been a problem. I always leave out two in each toilet every night. Sometimes the spare one has disappeared by the following morning! Maintenance in and around the site is always on going (1, 2, 3) and I always try to keep as much colour as possible around the cabin and remove the flowers that are over. (4)


There has been a lot of comings and going from the field to the yard in order to treat 3 animals for bad eyes and one for a lame leg. Treatment had to be done 4 days in a row for the cow with the bad leg (5). We had to bring all the animals each time even though we were only treating a few. I did manage to get a photo of the calves together in the yard (6). On the way back into the field the cows tried to detour via the apple trees to have a meal (7). Daisy is growing well. I still haven’t weaned her from 2 buckets of milk each day (8). This should have been done after 2 months. She is eating a lot of the calf pellets now and barley straw. The turkeys arrived last month and are doing very well (9). I am hoping to hire a bull shortly to be with our cows for 6 weeks. Not many farmers nowadays are in the business of bull hire, so it is proving difficult to locate one. Many of my geese are getting really big now (10), but these same ganders start bullying the smaller ones as they go through their goose house door to be penned up and create havoc most nights with geese flying in all directions!


There is still a lot of colour in the garden. I am still cutting sweet peas, but the last of the sunflowers were sold last Saturday. Even though we have had frosts the dahlias are still beautiful (11) and the roses still blooming (12). The Horizontalis Cotoneaster seems to spread further every year but is a blaze of colour (13). These yellow daisies spread rapidly but are good for cut flowers in the autumn (14). A friend gave me this Hydrangea called Pinky Winky for my birthday which is destined for the campsite (15).


Cider making is fast approaching and some of barrels had completely dried out (16) so the taps had to be knocked out (17) in readiness for filling them up with water to make them “plym” (become water tight). It was necessary to put the barrels into big silage bags to contain the water inside the barrels until they were water tight (18, 19). Unfortunately some of the silage bags leaked although they were new. We have picked up some apples towards the cider making in November.


Alisha is doing well at her horse riding. The horse does not need to be on a lead anymore and she has progressed to a rising trot. Adjusting the stirrups at the end of the lesson is all part of the course. As Alisha is involved with football (she has represented her school), netball, dance and pantomine rehearsals it is sometimes difficult to fit in horse riding too, (20, 21).


At the beginning of October a brand new requiem was performed in St Mary’s church in Bridport. It was composed and conducted by the brilliant young composer Matt Kingston.. (22, 23) A Requiem is a Roman Catholic church Mass celebrating the dead. In a non religious context the word refers simply to an act of remembrance. A quote from Matt stated “Most of the musical ideas in the Requiem evolved from sitting at the piano and playing until my fingers stumbled across something worthwhile”. The Requiem text provides contrasts – from the death of darkness, to the warm glow of eternal light. Amid the despair of death the words always offer hope and comfort. Matt had followed a musical path since being a choir boy when he was six. He wrote a Christmas carol for the choir just before his eighth birthday and a Magnificat the following year. He spent his twenties arranging, rather than composing, which he considered to be a fantastic apprenticeship. It wasn’t until he was in his mid-thirties that he actually wrote anything again. Matt comes from a long line of musicians in that his grandfather and great-grandfather were both musicians and composers.


At the beginning of October Wootton Fitzpaine held another of its popular exhibitions about the village and surrounding areas. Many hours on the Friday beforehand were spent putting up around 40 display boards and arranging historical farming and other artefacts (24, 25, 26). During the weekend more than a hundred people came to view the exhibition (27, 28). There were also folders covering many different aspects of village life over the years which created a lot of interest (29). I even came across a Court Leet document signed by my great grandfather John Chedd, who was the Estate Carpenter at the time for the Marshwood Manor (30). The Court Leet was the forerunner of the parish council system.

There have been many exhibitions over the years but it all came about because of two local people, Guy Bryan and Elizabeth Fortescue who discovered that they had a joint interest in local history and decided to work together to find out more. This culminated in the formation of the Wootton 2000 Group which was for people interested in the history of Wootton and in recording the present, for the future. By the end of 2002 Guy Bryan decided to take on the difficult task of translating the work from the display boards into a book. It was decided that the book would mainly be about farming in Wootton since prehistory. The book “Wodetone a Wooded Place” was launched in 2004 and was a great success. Copies are still available from the 2000 Group. (31)


Berehayes Farm is situated in the middle of the village of Whitchurch with 9 acres of pasture stretching up behind the house (32). The historical origins of the farm date back to 900 AD. The name Berehayes means Barley Enclosure. The present buildings date from the year 1500 and are built of local stone. The farmhouse retains an inglenook fireplace, bread oven and a fine oak pointed-arched doorway. It was owned by the church until sold in 1946 to Mr and Mrs Marlow after Mr Marlow had retired from the Army. Within the farmyard, the west range comprised the main barn and there were cowsheds, a piggery and stables in the north, east and south ranges. These buildings were mainly of stone. By 1983 the buildings had ceased to be used for agricultural purposes. The roofs which had once been thatched had been replaced with corrugated sheeting. The barn had lost its original roof structure because of a fire in the late 1950s and had been reduced in height. David and Stephanie Parker fled the rat race in Hampshire (from being a Senior Engineer and Teacher) and came to Whitchurch in 1983 with their two sons who were then aged 8 and 5, to do something totally different.

They planned to completely renovate the farm buildings and convert them into seven holiday cottages each with a Wind in the Willow name. (33) In the planning stage the venture had a lot of opposition from the local parish council due largely to fear that the scheme would create a noise nuisance in the area and that the local drainage services would be inadequate for the increase in occupation. Planning Permission was finally granted on 12 March 1984. The renovation took less than a year with both David and Stephanie being involved with the building and renovations. (34). Just before the complex opened at Easter in 1985 Berehayes had an open day when villagers came to look around and they were very impressed. The Parkers added an indoor swimming pool complex in 1988 which was also available for non residents to use. They ran Berehayes until 1993 after which they moved to Woottoon Fitzpaine and did a very similar conversion at Champernhayes.

Both complexes continue to be very successful and the Parkers feel justifiably proud of being the forerunners for 5 star self catering cottages in West Dorset.

The present owners Kevin and Hayley Clausner (35) moved from Buckingshire to Berehayes on 1 July 2014 and went straight into the summer season, throwing themselves in at the deep end – having had no experience with holiday cottages. During the next winter they did some renovations. Both the farmhouse and the barn were rethatched (36). All the cottage kitchens were renovated and three new bathrooms have been installed. All the cottages were renamed from the “Wind in the Willows” theme to Apple Cottage, Cider Barn, Smugglers Cottage, Squirrels Drey, Barley Store, Hayloft, Honeypot Cottage and Dairy Barn to try to take some of them back to what their original purpose was. The indoor pool was renovated and a special stretched ceiling was fitted. This very thin dark blue membrane looks like a mirror which reflects light and the new LED lights (37).

At the beginning of this summer they were contacted by a charity, Youth Dorset, who provide learning opportunities to improve life and employability skills to disadvantaged young people. They made and fitted a 6 metre Mongolian yurt in the paddock (38). The yurt is considered a perfect choice for the eco conscious holiday seeker who wants to camp in comfort – “glamping”. Guests could either sleep inside the yurt (39) or under the starts with the three Alpacas (Dorcas, Betty Buttercup and Camila) (40). Kevin and Hayley sold some short breaks to families during the summer weeks and all the profit (£1017.71) went to the charity. This photo shows the cheque being handed over to Luke who is a beneficiary of Youth Dorset. (41)

The farmyard which acts as the central courtyard for the cottages retains some of the character of a farm yard with a few agricultural artefacts in place (42) and a timely warning for those who don’t shut the gate (43). Kevin and Hayley have enjoyed the experience of a very sharp learning curve and say that they have not only fallen in love with Berehayes, the village and the fantastic location, but the people who have given them such a warm welcome. (44)


Thank you to the people who helped with research for this newsletter: Carol Lee, Susanna Grant-Brooks, Kevin and Hayley Clausner, David Parker, Matthews Kingston, Amanda Streatfield. Elizabeth Fortescue, Marion Brooks and the Wootton 2000 Group.

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