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Check in: book a digital detox in Dorset

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Natasha Harding

16 August 2017

Alpha Farm is an environmentally-friendly small holding in a hidden corner of Wareham Forest in Dorset. Five star luxury isn’t on offer but it doesn't need to be. Indeed the self-catering accommodation is altogether more simple; open plan rooms, plain linen bedding, scrubbed wooden tables and mismatched crockery.

You’ll be pretty much off-grid for the duration of your stay which allows an opportunity to slow down and savour each and every moment without being distracted by technology. If you’re travelling alone, it’s an ideal place for introspection and reading. Couples will find they can reconnect and actually talk without the interruptions that modern living brings.

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Dogs are welcome or you can borrow a pooch down on Alpha Farm

The rooms

There are two wooden lodges on site, Sika and Star. Star was lovingly built by hand using only ecological building techniques and locally reclaimed logs. Sika, which started life as a milking shed, is slightly larger and has the advantage of a hot tub made from Norwegian wood and a huge fire pit in the garden, that doubles up as a barbecue.

There is an original Victorian roll top bath in Star which offers a glorious view of the forest through the open doors but both lodges are full of homely touches. It’s obvious that the hosts, Robbie and Rachel, want their guests to be comfortable from the extras they’ve provided; books and board games, a good supply of kindling for the wood burner and cosy rugs.

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Discover the Wareham Forest and the Jurassic Coast

The view

Wareham Forest is at the bottom of the garden. As far as the eye can see there’s green space and the pine trees that the forest is known for. Because of the lack of television, phone signal and wifi, that view, which changes hourly depending on the weather, will soon become your focus and you’ll notice far more than you ever would with your smartphone in hand. 

The forest is home to mallards, sparrow hawks, buzzards and wood pigeons and if you listen carefully you might be able to differentiate between them after a while. If you’re really lucky you might spy one of the Sika deer that roam freely in the forest.

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Choose between two wooden lodges - one of which has its own hot tub

The service

Alpha Farm's hosts are welcoming without being too in your face. They’re happy to make suggestions of places to visit and fetch more wood if required.

The couple are passionate about sustainable living and are walking the walk; they have carbon neutral heating, recycle everything they can, grow their own vegetables and buy locally on Gumtree and from charity shops. Their enthusiasm for the way they live is contagious.

They’ve got big plans for Alpha Farm and are converting their barn into a organic food school and an environmentally friendly wellbeing retreat so watch this space.

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There's no phones, no Wi-fi - just birds and stars for company. Sounds ok to us.

Things to do

The lodges are ideally situated for star gazing - and the lack of light pollution ensures the night sky is full of constellations. Grab one of those cosy rugs and sit out on the decking when it’s dark and see what you can see. Or gather round the firepit and tell stories.

Go for an early morning walk through the forest and enjoy the perfect peace as you amble through the heathland. Wareham is a favourite with dog walkers and horse riders and at its quietest first thing (you can also bring dogs to Alpha Farm or borrow the resident pooch for a stroll).

Don't miss Studland Bay. Owned by the National Trust, Studland consists of three beaches; Knoll, Middle and South. All are sandy, family friendly and make for an ideal day trip - whether the sun is shining or it’s lashing rain.

The sustainable bit

The lodges are heated by solar panels, wood burners and an eco biomass wood chip boiler which uses locally sourced trees as fuel. The showers are naturally heated, but that doesn’t mean that they’re lukewarm. The temperature is as good as any conventional shower, as long as you don’t stay in for too long.

Both lodges have electricity so you’ll be able to use your hair dryer and straighteners if necessary. There is a compost loo in Sikka which gives off an earthy smell but Star has a flushing toilet, but of course it’s still eco so uses the minimum amount of water.

The hosts encourage guests to compost their food waste. They add it to their compost pile in their garden which they use to nourish their plants and lawn. Recycling paper, card, glass and bottles is a three line whip of course.

3 reasons to book

It’s the perfect place for a digital detox. Who doesn’t need one of those?

You’ll sleep incredibly well. It’s so quiet at night and apart from the birds, you won’t hear a thing.

Dorset is a beautiful county and has beaches, the Jurassic coast and picture-perfect villages - all of which are close to Alpha Farm.

Where is Alpha Farm?

Alpha Farm is ten minutes from the A31 just near the historic market town of Wareham, If you’re travelling by train, Wareham station is a five minute drive.

Free Wi-fi? No

Children? Yes

Dogs? Yes


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