Today I finally got around to doing something I’ve been meaning to do for years; we walked up the coastal path from Eype to Down House Farm for coffee and cake.
Lots of people have told me I must do this, and now I know why! We parked in the beach car park at Eype, which is £4 all day, and walked up the coastal path to the west (turn right as you look at the sea!). The path is well marked and easy to follow, and takes you along the edge of the cliffs with absolutely spectacular views along the whole Jurassic Coast, with the long, low Portland in the distance, and the unmistakable shapes of Burton Bradstock, West Bay and then, to the west, Golden Cap. Today it was clear enough to easily see the white cliffs at Seaton and the red cliffs at Sidmouth.
You don’t have to, but we walked up to the top of Thorncombe Beacon, which, I must admit, involved quite a few ‘scenery’ stops! It is very steep, and the whole walk is not for anyone with any mobility problems, but the good news is you can also drive to Downhouse Farm (I didn’t tell my kids that until we’d got there!) The fields around the beacon are grazed by the farm’s flock of organic Badger Faced Welsh Mountain sheep, which have fantastic markings and lambs with very unusual eyebrows. They farm 380 acres organically, also rearing Aberdeen Angus beef and Large White/Duroc cross pigs, the meat from which is all available to buy.
From Thorncombe Beacon, you follow the signs inland, across two fields and through a small wood to Downhouse Farm. The children found a swing overlooking such a Famous Five view of meadows and the cliffs to Golden Cap, it was almost too good to be true.
Downhouse Farm is tucked away in a nice sheltered nook, and has a charming outdoor eating area with a covered pergola-style area in case of bad weather. We were only out for coffee & cake today, but the lunch menu looked well worth a return visit, and I liked the emphasis on homemade, local and generally feel-good dishes. Their own pork, lamb and beef were represented, along with some good fish & veggie options.
The children had a cream tea, despite it being well before noon (just wrong), which was delicious, and the hot chocolates were equally generous and well-made.
I had a coffee, and in the name of research thought I ought to have a slice of Dorset Apple Cake – huge, warm, and absolutely chock-full of juicy Bramley apples, it was pretty perfect, I must say.
I definitely think we’ll go back, probably for lunch, and with the option to drive there, you could pop in for a quicker morning coffee, or meet less actively-inclined friends there once they’ve driven in! (You drive via the Eype turn-off on the A35 just west of Bridport, take Higher Eype Road then first left).
We walked back to Eype on an inland route, which took us through some flowery meadows back to the lane, and would have been a much gentler walk to get there, if you don’t fancy the cliff path (although you’d be mad not to see the views).
All in all, I have a new favourite place, and the only bad thing I can find is that I didn’t get there years ago.