mily and Simon’s journey to Old Bidlake Farm
Since getting married in 2021, Emily and Simon have been exploring the SW and looking for the perfect location to expand their work and love of creating community. Here is their story in brief!…
On a bright March morning in 2023 out of the blue our daughter-in-law, Ellie, shared with us the details of an enchanting place, nestled in the Marshwood Vale. Set in 8.5 acres of beautiful farm land, this smallholding captured our imagination and encouraged by friends we immediately set out to travel to Dorset to view it.
We fell in love as soon as we set our eyes on the place and it was clear what a magical space Old Bidlake farm was. The land, the campsite business, the house, they all aligned with our vision and values and we immediately put our house on the market with a view to buying Bidlake. Sue, the previous owner, was hugely helpful and we spent several lovely hours with her getting to know the place and the vision that her and her husband had had for the place.
With our work and life experiences, we built on our vision of adding to the magic of Bidlake and as we took stewardship of the land at the beginning of September 2023 every one we spoke to about it became equally enthused and excited for the vision that is Bidlake. So let us introduce ourselves…
Emily: – I have always enjoyed festivals, retreats, camping and getting away. I love to support people as they make changes in their lives, my work as an emotional resilience coach and long time meditator have lead to me working with people 1-1 and in groups. More recently Simon and I have run retreats and well-being days and we have a shared love of quiet, soul nourishing retreats. I am also a massage therapist and reiki master and look forward to offering campers the opportunity for sessions on-site here at Bidlake in the Treatment room (aka the Potting Shed)
And Simon: My career has taken me around the world and back again, and then more recently into education where I taught woodworking at a local college. From there I became deeply involved in student’s wellbeing and safeguarding, realising the importance of nurturing both the mind and soul. I have a passion for building community and love offering mindful woodwork sessions for small groups of people. I have spent time both in Kashmir and in the UK helping people both practically and emotionally through making with their hands or accessing meditation through calming Sound baths using the gongs, Tibetan bowls, and gentle percussion.
We both love immersing ourselves in Nature, whether that’s birdwatching, getting to know trees, meditating on the sounds of the waves at the beach, pondering the different shapes of clouds in the big Dorset skies, or getting stuck in creating a beautiful garden.
We also have a cocker spaniel, Rosy, (the only dog allowed at Old Bidlake Farm) who is nine years old and loves following her nose and cuddling up in the evenings.
At Bidlake we want to create a magical haven from the busy frantic world, where people can rest in the tranquility of nature, wake with the sunrise, enjoy the delights of the Dorset countryside, treat themselves to a massage or reiki session, or join in a spoon carving workshop, Sound bath or meditation class on-site.
We offer eight gigantic pitches, outstanding facilities and the warmest of welcomes all set within the spectacular location of the AONB Marshwood Vale.
It is our aim to tread lightly on the environment and to allow the landscape to take centre stage, so we don’t provide hot-tubs or electric hook ups and we have just a scattering of solar fairy lights at night to preserve the mystical starry skies. With the help of the Dorset Wildlife Trust we have been working to make our land a small oasis for wildlife amongst the surrounding farming landscape. After visiting Knepp Estate in Sussex and learning more about re-wilding and the need for managed disruption and structure in order to create a natural environment we have cut back the hedgerows a little so they can bounce back and bring more life to their centres creating new rich habitats for birds, small mammals in turn their predators. We have also planted more oak trees and a wildflower meadow.
We place great importance on our campers’ comfort. At each pitch we provide a rocket stove and a picnic bench. There is a communal field shelter with a covered dining area on the meadow. The Barn houses two kitchen areas, two shower rooms, four flush toilets and our magical ‘Rainy Day Room’ full of books, guides, games, toys and other treasures.
In the Potting Shed we have a calm space for treatments – massage and reiki, as well as a communal space for meditation classes and Sound baths. Spoon carving workshops are also available with Simon.
Old Bidlake Farm is set in the idyllic location of the Marshwood Vale, an area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB) and is rural and sublimely quiet. We have minimal light pollution (for stunning starry skies) and the air is gloriously clean; and yet, within ten minutes drive you can be in the vibrant culturally packed town of Bridport. Whether you are a foodie, music or art lover, bargain hunter or book worm there is lots to explore and much to do; and the Jurassic Coast with it’s glorious beaches is just another 5 minutes away.
For the 2024 Season there is a minimum two night stay and flexible arrival days.
Group bookings are limited to a maximum of four pitches and groups must always make themselves known at the time of booking.
We are all available for hosting Exclusive Hire Bookings for all eight pitches.
As a quiet site in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty we operate a strict no amplified music policy, and all noise must be kept to a minimum after 10.00pm.
Please note that without exception we do not accommodate dogs.
If Old Bidlake Farm sounds like the campsite for you why not book your stay.
Beneath the starry skies
..where your story begins