Loose Reins offers luxury glamping in three cedar Pioneer cabins and in three safari style canvas lodges. The cabins are named Trappers, Gold Panners and Ranchers whilst the lodges are named Foresters, Hazel Meade and West Coombe.
The accommodation is spread out along the upper edges of a natural coombe which nestles at the base of Shillingstone Hill within the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Loose Reins is located on the edge of The Blackmore Vale adjacent to the ancient hill forts of Hambledon and Hod Hills and it has far reaching views across to the Saxon hilltop town of Shaftesbury and beyond.
Arriving at Loose Reins
Directions to our site accompany your booking paperwork and they are also available on this site. Loose Reins can be found at the very end of the ‘no through road’ end of Lanchards Lane. Drive until the road runs out and then look right – we have a wide and well signposted entrance – take the gate to the left of the large Loose Reins sign, pass the barn, keeping it on your left, and park on the concrete just beyond the barn.
Guests are asked to park on level concrete outside our reception office when they arrive. They are greeted by the owners or by a member of staff who will assist as their luggage is transferred to our on-site buggy for the onward journey to their accommodation. Guests are then asked to park their car in the Guest Car Park which has its own entrance, separate to the main yard, which is locked at night. Up to two guests may accompany the driver in the buggy which will take you to your door. Additional guests must walk to their accommodation using unlit, gravel paths. The paths are a mixture of level, gently rising and steep gradients, depending on which accommodation is chosen.
Guests are encouraged to arrive between 4pm and 6pm when assistance with luggage will be available. Those arriving later than 6pm will need to park in the Guest Car Park and walk to their accommodation with their luggage (and a torch if it is dark) out of consideration to the other guests on site. It is advisable to arrive in daylight hours to get your bearings and so you may be shown how things work easily and it is essential that at least one of your party is met by a member of staff for this reason. There is no exterior lighting on site in order to preserve the special attraction of the site and to comply with our own environmental policy.
If you require assistance with luggage on your departure day please ask the day before you go and be sure to have everything ready to move early because after 9.30 am our cleaning team commandeer the buggy and no manner of sweet talking will wrestle it back from them.
Access to the Cabins
Our cabins are surrounded by level gravel paths which lead to two wooden steps onto the covered porch. The wooden plank porch is 6m x 3m in size and contains a dining table, benches, rocking chairs and small tables. There are two more steps into the cabin itself where you will find a kingsize cabin bed, a seating/dining area which converts into a single bunk measuring 1.8m x 0.9m. A bed base measuring 1.8m x 0.8m, a ladder, mattress and safety rail to construct a second bunk above can be found in a storage cupboard under the kingsize bed. The cabin also has a small kitchen containing a Belfast sink, gas cooker, three burner hob, fridge, shelves and storage cupboards. In addition, there is a small wood burning stove which is surrounded by fire proof walls and it has a safety guard should it be required. Through a door on the same level you will find a bathroom with a standard sized shower with inward folding door, a small sink and a flushing toilet. A gas boiler provides instant hot water and electricity is supplied in several lights and sockets. Light bulbs are LED and beds have reading lamps for convenience. Candles are supplied and there is an excellent wind-up torch should you need it. The cabins enjoy access to our Guest Wifi and there is good mobile coverage for most networks.
Access to our Lodges
Our lodges are all accessed via short but steeply rising gravel paths. Foresters has one step to access the deck whilst Hazel Meade and West Coombe have level access. Each lodge has a large deck on which a four-seater sofa and two armchairs can be found. All decks have an over-hanging electric lantern for ease of use but candles are also supplied if off-grid lighting is preferred. Foresters has step lighting that comes on automatically at dusk and goes off at dawn. Hazel Meade and West Coombe have an additional hanging electric lantern adjacent to the access point of the deck. Access to the lodge itself is through a canvas drop down door into a large living/kitchen/dining room. The size of the lodge overall is 9m x 5m and the whole lodge floor is level and wood planked.
The living/dining/kitchen area has a four-seater sofa and armchair around a wood burning stove which is contained within a secure fire screen. A coffee table or chest houses board games and there are electric standard lamps for additional lighting. Wall lighting is available throughout and all bulbs are LED. A large dining table with seats one side and a long bench the other provides plenty of space for six plus people to eat comfortably. The kitchen area has a four-burner gas hob, a sink and drainer and a combination microwave oven. Shelving and cupboards provide storage for the full complement of kitchenware and tableware as well as provisions. An under counter fridge with freezer compartment is provided and a long strip light illuminates the whole area for food preparation.
The lodge has wooden partition walls creating separate sleeping areas and an indoor bathroom. There is a single corridor leading past a king size cabin bed, underneath of which is a children’s play area housing a desk, seat, beanbags and hanging rail. Off the corridor is the private bathroom containing a flushing toilet, a vanity unit and basin with mirror above and a double self-contained rain shower with hose attachment. There is a lockable sliding door for privacy. There are two wall lights in the bathroom, one adjacent to the shower and one above the wall mirror. At the end of the corridor is a bedroom with king size four poster bed and a further room contained two single beds. Both bedrooms have full length curtains for privacy. All bedrooms have reading lights, wall lights, sockets and windows with fly screens. Candles are supplied and there is an excellent wind-up torch should you need it. Foresters and Hazel Meade enjoy access to our Guest Wifi but reception can be sporadic or non-existent in West Coombe. There is good mobile coverage for most networks.
Smoke alarms and carbon dioxide detectors are installed in the cabins and lodges and smoking is not permitted inside or on the porches and decks. A fire extinguisher and fire blanket is supplied as standard and a first aid kit can be found in the bathrooms. Full details of how to access our local GP at Child Okeford (5 minutes) and our minor injuries unit in Blandford Forum (10 minutes) can be found in the Welcome Pack information in each lodge or cabin.
We allow one dog to stay in our cabins and two dogs to stay in our lodges. There are rules in place to keep the peace and quiet of the site intact and clean for all users. Dogs are required to be kept on leads whilst on site and off beds and furniture within the accommodation. Dog beds, towels, bowls and treats are provided and there is a £25 supplement required per dog.
The areas surrounding the lodges and cabins are laid to grass with some inter-planting of native trees and shrubs. The forest surrounding the site is accessible from the public footpath running adjacent to our entrance or directly from site by rough paths hewn into the banks. These banks can be slippery and awkward to climb, depending upon the weather and all users do so at their own risk. Whilst we encourage guests to make the most of our lovely forest side location it is advised that parents keep an eye on their children whilst they play amongst the trees. The horse paddocks are laid to pasture and fenced securely with chestnut post and rail fencing. Some fences have a single strand of electric rope running on the inside of the top rail which is connected to a solar powered battery. The fence stops the horses from chewing the rails and if touched gives a mild electric shock but guests are warned not to touch the electric fence at all and to ensure children are aware and advised. At no time should guests enter the horse paddocks for safety reasons and horses must not be hand fed by guests to prevent them becoming rude and pushy. Some foods are dangerous for horses so guests are asked to check first with a member of staff before offering horses a treat. There are several immature trees on the grounds which need time to mature before they are used as swings or for tying up annoying brothers and sisters using the bull roping lasso.
All paths on site are gravelled for clean, easy walking and the area surrounding the barn is concreted or laid with road planings which have been recycled from Dorset’s famous Badbury Rings road. The area is fairly level and access into the horse barn is level bar a shallow grooved drain which is easily negotiable with a wheelchair. Entrance to the office is via a standard width door and there is a door kerb making wheeled access difficult. However, there is level access into the barn via alternative doors to the function room and then a wheelchair friendly width door to the office area. There is a public toilet in the barn with wheelchair width access and the toilet itself is suitable for disabled use. Guests share the grounds with up to a dozen horses so everyone needs to be aware of them moving around the site and children are not allowed into the horse barn, round pen or arena without an adult to accompany them. Loose Reins staff must be present when guests enter the barn.
The General Stores
Our little shepherds hut stocks everyday items and can be accessed via two wooden steps. The shop is very small, measuring about 4m x 3m. It is lit by two wall lights and accessed via a standard door which is opened during office hours and, when locked, by guests’ keys found in the lodge kitchens or on the cabin key rings. Allergens present in our cooked meals can be found in a handy file for reference in the shop.
We are situated on the edge of The Blackmore Vale in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in North Dorset. Shillingstone Village is centrally located on the North Dorset Trailway which runs for some 15 miles and follows the old Somerset and Dorset Railway. The A357 runs through the village connecting it to the market town of Sturminster Newton 10 minutes to the north and the Georgian town of Blandford Forum 10 minutes to the south. The county town of Dorchester is 30 minutes to the West and the Cathedral City of Salisbury is 30 minutes to the West. Dorset’s famous Jurassic Coast is just 45 minutes away and access to the A303 is 30 minutes to the north whilst the M27 is just 40 minutes to the south.
Discover us by Car
|London||2 hours 30 minutes via the M3 and A303|
|Birmingham||3 hours via the M5|
|Brighton||2 hours 30 minutes via the M27|
|Bath||1 hour via the A36|
|Bristol||1 hour 30 minutes via the A350|
|Reading||2 hours via the M3|
|Swindon||1 hour 45 minutes via the A350|
|Oxford||2 hours via the A34|
|Exeter||1 hour 40 minutes via the A303|
|Plymouth||2 hours 15 minutes via the A30|
Discover us by Train
South West Trains from Waterloo take just 1 hour 50 minutes to reach Gillingham, Dorset station and the journey from Exeter St Davids to Sherborne Station takes just 1 hour 10 minutes. Gillingham Station is 25 minutes from Salisbury Station for journeys from Bristol or Southampton. Both Sherborne and Gillingham Stations are just 30 minutes taxi ride from Loose Reins.
Discover us by Plane
|Bournemouth Airport||45 minutes|
|Southampton Airport||1 hour|
|Exeter Airport||1 hour 30 minutes|
|Bristol Airport||1 hour 30 minutes|
|Heathrow Airport||2 hours|
|Gatwick Airport||2 hours 30 minutes|
Loose Reins Limited
Telephone 01258 863533 or 07508 708138
Office Hours: 8.30 am to 5.00 pm Monday to Sunday