We first visited Studland Bay earlier in the year. At the time the region may have been under redesign, as it was primarily a snowy island, a little hilly in places, and with a few trees. A dirt track ran around the island, a trail for a team of horses and their carriage to follow, but there was little else to be found.
Since then, this Homestead region, designed by Eliza Quixote, has been enhanced to offer – at least at the time of our most recent visit in mid-March – it offers a pastoral setting still held by winter, making it an ideal visit for those who might otherwise be missing the allure of snow.
The landing point is located close to the island’s lone house, a be-porched farmhouse with barns close by and a frozen pond behind. The house is cosily furnished and offers an attractive break from the snowbound landscape, should the latter get to be too much (the house doesn’t appear to be a private residence). It also includes some highly acceptable rules for the use of the porch.
The most obvious way to explore the region is to follow the track. This loops its way around the core of the island, sometimes branching, including to find its way through one of the barns. It offers a comprehensive routine around the farmlands, the path well-rutted by the passage of the cart with its team and by the tractors available for farm use.
The fields here are mostly devoid of fencing, adding to the feel of openness in which the local cattle can roam in search of grass on which to graze – the snow being of a depth where the grass is not too heavily covered. Should it turn out that the snow falls again, there is plenty of hay that can be spread as required. The one fence on the island serves to ring a group of sheep, who similarly graze through the snow, and which are watched over by an eager collie.
The walks along the tracks will also reveal the surrounding regions in the estate, however, while these may appear inviting, the majority appear to be private, so be wary about being tempted to hop over an take a look.
Easy on the eye, with the opportunity to ride a horse-drawn carriage and plenty of places amenable to photography and with a easy, well-suited sound scape, Studland Bay makes for a restful, easy visit.
- Studland Bay, Studland Bay (rated: Moderate)