For those relocating to Dorset there are so many beautiful areas and towns to consider and choices to make. Would it be the historic town of Lyme Regis with its fabulous sea views, towering cliffs and growing food scene? Or perhaps it would be the well-connected county town of Dorchester which is surrounded by stunning countryside? Maybe you would consider the upmarket Sherborne with its boutique shops and cafes, beautiful architecture and twin public schools? Or buyers might turn their attentions to Beaminster.
Beaminster, pronounced Beh-minster, is a perfect example of a small west country town. It is pretty, without being chocolate box, and authentic. The honey coloured stone is a trademark of the many listed buildings in the town.
The heart of the town is the square which is surrounded by gorgeous Georgian stone houses. Leading from the square are a number of quiet, sometimes cobbled, lanes with charming stone houses and cottages. The below outlines why Beaminster is one of the Best places to live in Dorset.
Facilities in Beaminster
For a town of just 3,000 people Beaminster punches above its weight in terms of shops, restaurants and other facilities. There can be few towns of this size that could match it.
The shops are well supported by the locals and include a butchers, bakers, a patisserie, a grocer, art galleries, gift shops, post office, interiors shop, deli and several cafes. The eateries and hostelries of Beaminster are a joy and embody the reputation West Dorset has as a foodie hot spot.
Brassica, set on the square, is a favoured restaurant that receives rave reviews on a regular basis. It’s the sort of place you want to have time on your hands so you can settle in to set the world to rights. The Ollerod, which means cowslip in the Dorset vernacular, is set in the town’s oldest building which feels somewhere between a manor house and a coaching inn. It is a fabulous restaurant with rooms and oozes charm and style.
As befits any top class town there is no shortage of good quality pubs, some in town such as the Greyhound Inn and Red Lion, and some nearby to be enjoyed after a good walk such as the New Inn, Stoke Abbott and The Half Moon, Melplash.
Beaminster’s location is off the beaten track enough to feel peaceful and rural, but not so remote that you feel cut off. It is the rural charms and authenticity that attracts me, the sense that it is not quite anywhere.
Beaminster is not on the way to or from anywhere, and it hasn’t yet been overrun by the second homers and the holiday market. Its identity is intact and unblemished. But it is far from being truly remote, for those who don’t want to be too far away from the action, the coast is just 7 or 8 miles away and can be reached in 15 mins, as can Lyme Regis and Bridport. The larger towns of Dorchester and Yeovil are just 30 mins away.
The countryside around Beaminster is stunning; rolling hills with green meadows and livestock, high hedges and birdsong. The town is surrounded by four of Dorset’s highest peak providing some of the best scenery and walks in the county. This is Hardy country at its least spoilt.
As author Arthur Mee put it “Beaminster lies among the heavenly hills of West Dorset, a charming little place in a rich valley”. The River Brit rises in these hills, passing through the town and onto the marvellous Palmers Brewery before making its way to the coast at West Bay. The Brit Valley Way is a lovely 10 mile walk from West Bay to Beaminster and is part of the much longer Hardy Way.
The population of Beaminster, which is approximately 3,500, is unchanged in 150 years and whilst the architecture and buildings have remained the same the personnel and community have evolved. This is a proper working town with a huge number of individual businesses, including the well-known Clipper Tea business. There is a very strong sense of community and local support, hence the plethora of local shops that are surviving in the face of wider retail woes.
This is a thriving yet unpretentious town, it works hard to keeps its vitality. It is a tremendously friendly town too, and new arrivals talk effusively of the welcome they receive and the speed with which they made friends. There are over 50 societies and groups in the town and there a number of festivals and fetes. Two of the most anticipated events of the calendar are the Beaminster Festival, an Arts, Literature and Music festival; and Buckham Fair, an old-fashioned style fair hosted by Martin Clunes and family on their farm.
Property in Beaminster
This part of West Dorset remains popular and house prices reflect a slight premium to neighbouring areas such a central Dorset, or Somerset and East Devon (non-coastal). Charming, character two bed cottages in the heart of Beaminster start at approximately £250,000. While larger character family homes, four beds plus, start at approximately £700,000 (prices as of Spring 2020). There is a healthy discount for non-period properties.
Best Kept Secrets in West Dorset
Mallinson’s Treehouse in the very west of Dorset, just 9 miles from Beaminster, is one of the most brilliant and unique places to stay anywhere in the UK. It’s luxurious too, with a hint of fun – it has a sauna, hot tub, open-air tree shower, a revolving woodburner and stainless steel slide. The workmanship is incredible and no expenses have been spared. A wonderful break for those wanting a treat.
Mapperton House just outside of Beaminster may not be a secret, it’s been in several films such as far From The Madding Crowd and Emma, but it should definitely be on any list of places to visit in Dorset. Country Life voted it ‘The Nations’ Finest Manor House’. It is a glorious Jacobean manor overlooking a romantic 15 acre garden with orangery, topiary and borders, descending to ponds and arboretum. The grounds also offer outstanding views of the Dorset hills and woodlands.
Property Finders in Dorset
Of all the towns to consider in Dorset, Beaminster is definitely one worth considering as a place to live. Our team of local property finders have extensive knowledge of all the towns in Dorset and would be delighted to assist with a search for a home in a town or anywhere in the county. To talk to us about your plans to buy a property in Dorset or to learn more about our services please do contact us.