Accommodation Countryside

The Difficulty In Buying A Rural Starter Home In The UK

Couples just starting out might often consider giving up the hopes of any kind of rural life in the UK. Starter homes – the kind with small square footage and low investment needs – are hard to come by. Some families are lucky enough to own some property that they can pass on, but mostly, there is little encouragement to first-time homebuyers to move to the country and build homes.


Quite often, local and countrywide ordinances prohibit the construction of any new homes in rural areas. This can be a real problem for farming and ranching families that want to keep the kids close to the home property.

Not only does construction of new homes need a boost, but infrastructure does, as well. School, transportation, and roads need planning and construction, yet there is no support for this kind of construction.

Some politicians are wanting to change this in the UK. With reformation of planning laws, some villages in England will be allowed to build starters. This will help to bring in young people who are just getting started in their lives and careers. George Osborne, Chancellor, is trying to reform these laws, providing more affordable living for first time home buyers.

Chancellor George Osborne speaks during the Conservative press conference with Theresa May, Home Secretary, William Hague, First Secretary of State and Leader of the House of Commons, Sajid Javid, Culture Secretary and Nicky Morgan, Education Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities at Altitude 360, London.

Under Osborne’s plan, first time home buyers will receive a 20% discount on properties priced under £250,000 outside of London. Inside London, the discount is applicable up to £450,000.

One of the problems with the current plan is that when the government does approve a starter home in the current plan, it is as a replacement for other affordable housing. Osborne wants the rural homes to be build in addition to the affordable projects.

Osborne says that rural purchases or rentals are cost prohibitive. This drives young people to the cities, creating a burden for the cities and a handicap for smaller villages.

The government is called upon to enforce and strengthen requirements placed on developers, requiring them to build affordable homes.

Environment Secretary Truss also calls for better infrastructure for rural areas, adding internet, mobile phone service and better local government to the suggestions from Osborne. She wants, also, to review current restrictions to barn construction and renovation, which keep family owned businesses from expanding.

Of course, one of the biggest fears with this kind of loosening up of restrictions is that the bucolic English countryside may become over developed. They are afraid, too, that villages will be overrun and their quaintness ruined.

Another drawback is that it is feared that local families would be quickly outbid on such housing. The discounts will go to commuters who are looking for less expensive housing and who will ultimately return to the city. The same discounts will not apply upon resale of the properties.

Finally, the discount of 20% is still not enough for some of the poorer rural areas. This increases the likelihood of abuse of such programs, leaving local young people without the help they were expecting.

Activity Countryside

Losing Weight In Beautiful Dorset

Dorset is a beautiful area, inspiring to the heart and mind. The bracing air, natural wonders, and reat hiking and water sports available make this a great place to recover your health. That is why a weight loss boot camp in Dorset may be just the thing you need to lose weight and get in shape.

Physical Activity

One of the major draws for boot camps in Dorset is the wide variety of outdoor activities in which you can participate. Rocks formed during the Early Jurassic era are just waiting for you to climb them, and sea cliffs make for excellent cliff diving.

There are three main rivers in this area. You can go swimming, canoeing, or kayaking to keep fit. You can also enjoy the beach, with surfing and coasteering available for the more adventurous. Exercising on the beach is a favorite for many who look for variety and invigorating surroundings when they work out.

Over 53% of Dorset is specified as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Since this is a rural county, you will find plenty of open spaces.

Boot Camp in Dorset

People who run boot camps in Dorset know how to take advantage of this great area. They will often plan morning yoga and stretching out in the heather, as the sun rises. The great surroundings supply most retreats with fresh, locally grown produce. Fresh fish are in every market and every itchen as are locally grown farm animals.

When you are in Dorset to get in shape, you will find the fresh air and bucolic surroundings inspiring. You won’t even notice how hard you are working, with such beautiful surroundings.

Will Power

It takes a lot of will power to exercise and lose weight. However, if you live in Dorset, you have the whole world available to you. Start with meditation to get accustomed to the beautiful sunrises over the ocean or pastures. Just walking through the heather is invigorating, and can get your heart rate up.



If you are attending a weight loss boot camp, you’ll have meals planned for you, as well as plenty of exercise, yoga, and stretching. The workouts are usually designed to give you the maximum benefit for the tie you are there.


While the boot camp may be necessary to lose the weight in the first place, maintenance is something you can plan for. You’ll be inspired by your surroundings, and an often schedule a weekend holiday to get you back on track. You’ll end up with an improved BMI, and feel better when your blood pressure goes down.

Most of these retreats offer comfortable rooms, often bordering on luxurious. You will have access to massages and spa facilities in many retreats. Your body image will improve, and you’ll find your self confidence boosted. With frequent maintenance holidays, you will maintain the progress you gained during the boot camp. And, with a destination like Dorset for your holiday, you’ll enjoy the journey all the more.

Countryside Decoration

Spice Up Your Rural Garden With Stylized Planters

Garden planters are a fantastic way to spice up your garden. Even a rural garden can benefit from a special “punch” that a well-chosen planter will provide. Gone are the days of having to choose from between plastic and terra cotta pots for your plants. Advances in manufacturing have made it so that all different kinds of materials can be used for making flower pots and planters. Here are some ways that planters can make your garden look even better.


Metal Planters

Metal planters are easier to find than ever before. Whether you are attracted to enameled steel or copper with a beautiful patina, you’ll be sure to find metal that will look just right with your garden. If you have a rustic, rural garden, a wooden planter that is sheathed in corrugated tin can be an eye-catching look for those hollyhocks. Yes, tin degrades over time, which will make it even more rustic looking, adding to the atmosphere of the garden.

Copper is another favourite metal for building planters. A copper pot looks quite natural in a rural setting, and when filled with peonies, can be a great focal point. Let the copper turn green, developing the patina that makes it so special.

Wooden Planters

You can even find wooden planters. Granted, you have to keep in mind that most wood will rot when exposed to water for a long time, but some woods, such as red cedar and teak, are quite durable in wet environments. And, these woods can make beautiful rustic planters in the midst of your rural garden. Rough cut timber, and the natural grains of certain woods, give a lovely texture to the garden, as well as some additional colour.

Why Use Planters?

Using garden planters in your garden gives you more design options. First of all, you can elevate plants, etting them up past shade or other plants. This can create the illusion of terraced plantings, even if you have planted on flat soil.

You can also spotlight a special planting with an attractive planter. A black mimosa tree in a large, stone pot can provide a striking focal point in your garden.


Planters can also control otherwise invasive species. Many people want a bamboo screen in their garden, but bamboo is a terribly prolific invader to the garden. However, if you contain the plants in large, sealed containers, you can enjoy your living bamboo screen without having it take over your garden.

Different sized planters can be placed in your garden to create depth of field Forced perspective can make huge gardens seem more cozy, and small gardens look more spacious. All of this can be accomplished with various sizes of planters and carefully selected plants. For example, shorter planters with fine-leaved greenery, placed at the back of a shallow garden, will make it look deeper.

So take the plunge! Spice up your rural garden with some well chosen planters.



Surfing In Dorset UK

Growing up in the 60’s, I always envied those athletic, free spirits who made up the surfing scene. I also envied the fact that they lived so close to the ocean. Now, as an adult, and a “mature” adult at that, I’ve discovered that surfing in Dorset UK is just about the best fun I’ve ever had.


Age Appropriate

The breaking point for me was when I saw people of all ages surfing. I thought only young, trim, fit 20-somethings could surf! But no, there were little kids and grannies, all enjoying the waves. Sure, there were some skilled people ripping across waves way off shore, but there were more people in swimming distance, lying on boards, kneeling on them, or simply straddling them, and enjoying the water. I realized then that I was just the right age to take up a new activity, and that activity would be surfing.


What made this possible? The answer is the most basic you could imagine – instruction. Surfing schools, such as Cornwall Surf School, provide skilled, patient instruction for people of all ages. Not only do you get training on how to enjoy the water with a surf board, you are fitted with a board that will maximize your abilities. Surfing schools have analyzed the physics of interaction between the human body and surf boards, and can come up with varying lengths, weights, and thicknesses of boards to help you surf successfully.

Great Conditions

Along with great instruction, the surfing conditions around Cornwall are ideal for surfers of all skills levels. Sennen Cove, for example, has waves almost all the time, regardless of the season. You can get some really good waves, up to ten seconds at a time. Beginner surfing is also available here, as well.

Falmouth and Plymouth are also great locations, but can sometimes be crowded. The up side of this is that there is plenty of lodging available, and great cafes and restaurants abound.

If you want more rugged conditions, consider Bideford or Swansea. Much of the land in these areas is National Trust, so it is not as developed. However, you’ll have to camp out or drive in.

You can find waves that run 5 feet, consistently, at Crackington Haven and Summerleaze, and 4.5 feet at Treyarnon and Polzeath.



Cornwall Surf School and other shops all offer surfing gear for rent. You’ll want a wet suit, at the least, along with wetsuit socks and maybe a helmet. Gloves are great, too because they can keep your hands from getting chilled.

Other Water Sports

Your surfing school will probably teach other types of water sports, too, such as stand-up paddle boarding and kayaking. Many of the will also allow for group bookings. This is great for your employees, if you want to do a holiday for them, or for family get togethers. There is something for everybody when it comes to surfing, and your family can have great times together.


Making Your Garden Fit Historical Dorset

Dorset has some of the most fascinating history in the UK. From Dorset’s first inhabitants – hunters from the Mesolithic age – through the Romans and Normans, through the Saxons, Tudors, Georgians, and onward, Dorset has become richer and richer in history. Plants, animals, and culture from all over the world have found their homes in Dorset. Architecture in ancient buildings reflect the rich histories of each area, with chapels, castles, and monasteries numbering in the structures that can still be explored in the area. Take all of this history, and combine it with the love of nature evidenced by those who call this area home, and you have some of the finest lawns and gardens in the world. With that in mind, here are some tips for making your own garden fit in with historical Dorset.

Formal Gardens


Much of the history of gardening in Dorset as to do with formal gardens. These include huge expanses of lawns, which were symbols of wealth, since they required constant attention from gardeners. Remember, there were no lawnmowers in 1500 years ago In addition to lawns, there were the hedges. They were used to help protect property from marauders and served as fences for livestock and wildlife. Some of the most impressive hedges were used in the formation of mazes, many of which were legendary.
Your own home can demonstrate some of these same characteristics. It is much easier today to maintain a lawn, and the benefits to the planet are bountiful. They create green space that converts more gasses into oxygen, lowers the ambient temperature, and provide micro-habitats for all kinds of creatures.
Hedges are still a popular feature of local gardens. Many times, they will line the foundation of the house or the outer boundaries of the property. They are not as monumental as they were hundreds of years ago, but they keep the spirit alive.


Stone planters are another way to pay homage to the gardening history of Dorset. Stone is notably present in Dorset architecture, serving as the main building material for castles, roads, homes, fences, and bridges. By using stone planters in your garden, you elicit the permanence of this valuable building material. You might not haul wagon loads of stones to your home in order to build a fence at the street, but you can certainly use well-placed stone garden planters to create a sense of boundary. This is not only functional it is beautiful, as well.

Large outdoor plant pots can contain invasive species, such as bamboo and Mimosa. The dramatic impact of such a planter with a towering canopy above can frame your patio or driveway, yet hearken back to ancient times of established gardens.

Small stone planters can border your patio or porch, or line your sidewalk. You can grow multitudes of flowers in these stone planters, without having to till and amend soil.
Making your garden fit in with historical Dorset will make it look more permanent, as well as beautiful.


Furniture Production In Dorset

Dorset, located in Southwest England, has some of the finest furniture makers in the country. Not only can you find cabinet makers for remodeling jobs and new construction, you can find craftsmen who build custom furniture and cabinets that will not only be beautiful, they will become heirlooms. Becoming an heirloom takes quality materials and quality construction – something you don’t often get with “big box” furnishings.

True Craftsmanship

Let’s get this out of the way – furniture that you assemble yourself, like the pieces you get from IKEA, are less expensive than quality stuff. That being said, there is a reason to buy quality items, even if you have to make your purchases a few at a time.

Craftsmanship makes a difference in durability and appearance. Drawers, for example, need to be properly built or the front will eventually pull off. A craftsman in furniture production in Dorset will use finger joints or dovetails when assembling a drawer. These joints are simply stronger and more stable, keeping the drawer from coming apart or developing torque. A craftsman will build furniture and cabinets that are structurally sound.

You’ll also have more handsome furniture and cabinets when they are built by a craftsman. Finishes make all the difference. With DIY furniture, you’ll apply a wood-toned tape to the edges of shelves. A wooden furniture maker will attach  strips that have been planed and shaped specifically for the item, and that fit and finish perfectly.

Quality Materials

Have you ever purchased a DIY bookshelf, only to notice that the shelves bow after they are loaded? That’s because it is cheap stuff. The MDF used by IKEA and other companies can’t stand up to the static loads of books. They can’t even resist the pull of gravity, eventually developing a bow even if they are not overloaded. Cabinetry in the kitchen and bath tends to de-laminate in the constantly humid conditions, and you often cannot even sand and paint the cheaper materials.

Furniture and cabinets that are made by a real furniture maker, however, will be made of quality materials, with quality construction techniques. When a cabinetmaker routers the edge of a counter, it helps to prevent chipping and splintering during heavy use. Furniture made of hardwood, such as oak, maple, or mahogany, will not dent from everyday use. A ring left by a damp glass can buff out of a piece of fine furniture, while it would cause water damage to a laminated material.

Save Money

You can fill your house with cheap, self-assembled furniture – and replace a piece every few months. It is simply not made to last. It is made to “get you through.” You may be able to buy a boxed end table right now, but are you willing to replace it when a leg gets kicked out from under it? You save money in the long run by purchasing quality items from the beginning.

Just as a few good foundation pieces in your wardrobe will last and never go out of style, so will your fine furniture serve you for years to come.


Dorset: A Beautiful Well Kept County

The UK has one of the greatest assets for attracting people on holiday. That asset is its countryside. Besides national and city parks, there are forests, heritage coasts, lakes, woodlands, waterways, farms, fells, and many other unique and beautiful natural areas. The county of Dorset is leading the way in managing these valuable areas and the wildlife that inhabit them. As a result, Dorset is a beautiful, well kept county.

Maintenance Staff

The County of Dorset has set aside a significant portion of its budget dedicated to the preservation of nature. In fact, residents of the area who like working outdoors can usually find a job with the county maintenance division. Walking, hiking, and biking paths are routinely cleared of brush and debris, and gullies that cross roadways filled.
In addition to maintenance of walkways, the maintenance staff also keeps public facilities in good working condition. This makes the areas you visit more pleasant and sanitary, while protecting the beautiful countryside.

Landscape Maintenance

Damaged trees in forested areas are pruned as needed, and treated to prevent the spread of disease. Public areas are groomed, when required, so that people can enjoy being outside. Landscape specialists study each section of the Dorset countryside to see which native plants will thrive. This enables them to plan a planting strategy that maximizes available planting space in each area. This smart planning increases the survival rate of new plantings, reaching a 98% survival rate in many areas. Native trees, shrubs, and grasses have been reintroduced to abandoned farmland, creating a setting more akin to true English heritage.

Wildlife Management

Wildlife is monitored and maintained to reduce clashes between humans and animals. Proof of the success of this management department can be seen with the increase in the rabbit and fox populations all across Dorset. Other small animals, such as opossum, raccoon, and ferrets have returned to the countryside, as well, providing exciting animal sightings as you travel through the countryside. Deer have even made a comeback, gracing the countryside with their agility and speed.

Lawn Care Specialists

Lawn care specialists and landscapers also play a significant role in the maintenance of the County of Dorset. Anywhere there is a lawn or meadow grasses, the lawn care specialists have done their magic. They constantly test soil quality, amending the soil wherever they can to reduce die-off of lawns and grassland. Turf is crucial for conditioning soil and catching rainwater, and with proper lawn care, the soil will once more become fertile. The roots from lawn and ornamental grasses break up soil so that an entire ecosystem is created. The soil absorbs water more easily, provides a home for small rodents and insects, and eventually feeds water into underground aquifers.
A healthy lawn also keeps soil from eroding. This protects human and animal habitat equally, and keeps runoff from polluting reservoirs. Who would have thought that lawns would be that good for the ecosystem!

Other counties have seen the success of Dorset, and are now striving to successfully reclaim their public and private spaces.


Experiencing A Stay In A Barn Conversion

When I was a kid, I knew a family that lived in a barn conversion. Nearby was their old house, where the farm animals lived. The story was that the farmer, known for his miserly ways, refused to upgrade the family house with climate control and proper plumbing. But, when it came time to build a barn, he spared no expense. His wife saw that the animals were living better than she was, so she moved into the barn, and told her husband he could have the house and the animals.


Today’s barn conversions may not have a funny story behind them, but they often have fascinating stories. The wood, itself, in these old barns often tells of busy farming and ranching chores, with half-moon scrapes on the walls where harness gear has swung, and gouges on the floors from hoofs of cattle, sheep, and horses.

You can almost hear the squeak of pulleys used to hoist bales of hay into the loft. The soft filtered light that once found its way through the siding and roof is now replaced with discreet indirect lighting, but the effect is the same: you feel like you are in a world apart.

The actual scents of hay, feed, molasses, and manure may be long gone, but anyone who has worked in a barn will remember these smells fondly. When you stay in a barn conversion, you may have a rug on the scarred wooden floor, but you are still walking on the same surface trod by many hoofs in years past.


Most barns are tall, providing storage in upper lofts. This makes for a great chance to enjoy high ceilings and skylights in a barn conversion. The battered brick and wood of the building is often cleaned and sealed. This serves a dual purpose: to seal in any odors and to protect the surface from any further wear and tear.

You’ll find different types of barn conversions depending on the part of the country you visit. This is because of the types of farming, crops, and livestock that are important to various locations. The oldest barns used timber framing not Timber cladding. the timber framing has been preserved through the conversion.

Barns listed with English Heritage must be upgraded with only certain changes, with pre-approved materials. When you stay in a barn conversion, the conversion should have been done to preserve as much of the original ambiance of the property as possible. The extent of work done on the place is based on a number of factors outlined by the English Heritage society.

Converting a barn into a living space requires a lot of study and plenty of permits. If you add on to a barn, it has to be done with the same kind of materials, but with modern construction. You also need to make sure that you own or have access to the road leading to your barn.

Whether you are buying a barn for conversion or staying in one for a holiday, you will enjoy the atmosphere and sense of history.


Natural Planters A Hazard?

Beautifying a village with natural planters and other landscaping is normally seen as not only desirable, but eco-friendly as well. At least, that is what the residents of Broadstone thought when they reclaimed a spot taken over by loitering teenagers.

The site in front of an empty haulage depot, once clogged with rubbish, was cleaned up by the Broadstone Community Watch. Once they had the area cleaned up, they placed 4 rubber tyres there, with flowers and greenery, bringing a little color and freshness to the Lilyholt Road location.

In fact, judges for the Anglia In Bloom contest so admired the transformation that they awarded Broadstone with a silver award for their troubles.

However, the teens soon returned, and poured oil over the flowers killing them. The Community Watch had plans to replace the flowers, unwilling to surrender the location. That was, until the Cambridgeshire County Council received complaints about the presence of the 4 tyres. It seems that some people think the tyres present a threat to pedestrians, and others think they impede access to the highway. The County Council has ordered the Community Watch to remove the tyres.

Benwick Community Watch has collected 26 signatures on a petition in support of the natural planters, but it have received no response from the parish council.



Accommodation Ideas For Staying In The UK

Anyone traveling in the UK can find just about any kind of accommodations they would like. You can have luxury, or “rough-it”, and just about anything in between. Here are some suggestions for finding the best accommodation in the UK.


There are, of course, hotels. These are usually chains that have predictable amenities, services, and pricing. Travelers often elect to stay in hotels for the convenience of knowing what they are “getting into.” Each hotel in a chain is usually under separate management, though, and while subject to the oversight of the brand name, is still run by the local manager. Here is where you get into trouble with cleanliness, bed bug infestation, and other local problems in the hotel. About the only recourse you have with problems with your hotel stay is to contact the hotel chain main office. If you manage to speak to the right person, your message may be passed on and something might be done. There are a lot of “maybes” there, but that’s the way it is with hotel chains.

Unusual Accommodations

Besides hotel chains, there are numerous private hotels and lodging facilities that offer some very ingenious entertainment opportunities. For example, have you ever stayed in a gypsy camp? What about spending your holiday in a castle? These wonderful-to-wacky accommodations can be worthy of a holiday all their own, regardless of location. You can stay in fur-lined rooms, or in a room with a leather floor and a brass tub beside your bed. Or, you can stay in a wagon, reading by candlelight. There are hotels that feature themes such as famous movies, actors, or music groups.

Bed And Breakfasts

Bed and breakfasts lodgings are often considered to be the pleasant compromise between run of the mill hotel stays and outrageous lodging. This is usually because you get the comfort and amenities of a nice hotel combined with the fact that the facilities are not usually as crowded, as in some of the strange accommodations mentioned.

You can find B&Bs that are set-up in themes, if you’re more adventurous. Many people think that B&B is equivalent to cluttered, overly-feminine Victorian lace and poufy pillows, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. The B&B has come a long way, and you can find just about any kind of décor you would prefer, from country cottage to contemporary chic. In addition, most B&B owners know that travellers prefer their own en-suite bathrooms, so remodelling has been done to accommodate. Your B&B suite will often have an airflow tub and a private patio.

The privacy and seclusion of The Carew Arms and most B&Bs make them very attractive to travellers. Even the units located in urban areas usually have private gardens. And, by their very nature, the number of people in the unit at any one time is quite limited, so you don’t have the noise that accompanies hotel stays.

Keep in mind, too, that the meals are personally prepared, and often with special dietary needs considered. So give B&Bs a chance. They can provide the best of both worlds.