August 12, 2022

The night time earlier than our journey to Dorset, my daughter Grace, seven, has only one factor on her thoughts: ‘Will the home have a secret passageway, Mummy?’

Ideally, it needs to be one accessed by a sliding wood panel — identical to the one she has examine in her Well-known 5 books.

Dorset, you see, is not only Hardy nation: it’s Enid Blyton territory, the setting for among the creator’s best-known fictional adventures. In Grace’s world, there’s nothing extra thrilling than the prospect of seeing Lulworth Cove — Blyton’s Kirrin Bay — the place the exploits of Julian, Dick, Anne, Georgina (George) and Timmy the canine happen. Or Corfe Fortress, renamed Kirrin Fortress, the place tomboy George has a tumbledown hideaway.

Maureen Brookbanks and her household head on a staycation to Silverlake (above), an unique property set in a nature reserve at Warmwell village, close to Osmington Mills

The heated outdoor pool at the retreat. 'Silverlake opened in 2017 and its success is down to a tried-and-tested formula: all the luxury you can shake a stick at, combined with a thoughtful, ecologically sensitive ethos,' Maureen reveals

The heated outside pool on the retreat. ‘Silverlake opened in 2017 and its success is right down to a tried-and-tested components: all the luxurious you may shake a stick at, mixed with a considerate, ecologically delicate ethos,’ Maureen reveals

Add to this fossil-hunting on the Jurassic Coast for her dinosaur-obsessed sister Lily, three, and it appears we’ve a straightforward win.

Dorset actually is a pre-teen dream — made much more so by our staying at Silverlake, an unique property set in a nature reserve at Warmwell village, close to Osmington Mills.

Smooth fashionable vacation properties — consider wooden burners and huge kitchen islands — are set round invitingly clear lakes. Households are inspired to canoe and paddleboard right here, having fun with the West Dorset countryside and maintaining a eager eye open for resident wildlife corresponding to wild Dartmoor ponies, sika deer, otters and limitless floppy bunnies.

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Mix this with a forest playground that includes ziplines over a lake and a wood fort, and an out of doors heated 20m pool, and the kids are ecstatic. Their dad and mom aren’t complaining both, what with the luxurious spa, sauna and health club.

At Silverlake, sleek modern holiday homes are set around 'invitingly clear' lakes

At Silverlake, glossy fashionable vacation properties are set round ‘invitingly clear’ lakes 

Families are encouraged to canoe and paddleboard on the estate's lakes

 Households are inspired to canoe and paddleboard on the property’s lakes 

For all of the creature comforts, although, it’s the proximity to nature that’s the most memorable a part of our journey. The kids enjoy being open air a lot, excitedly peering via the woodland undergrowth trying to find adders, and marvelling on the huge fish different holidaymakers catch on the property’s lake (angling is likely one of the many actions provided). And as our home has a wonderful sundeck on the roof, they enterprise up there of their pyjamas and dressing robes after darkish, to spy bats streaking throughout the moonlit sky.

Nonetheless, all this recent air doesn’t come low cost — lots of Silverlake’s clientele drive top-of-the-range Teslas, and conversations on the on-site bar appear to revolve round second properties and the perils of cryptocurrency.

A sister improvement to the profitable Decrease Mill Property within the Cotswolds, Silverlake opened in 2017 and its success is right down to a tried-and-tested components: all the luxurious you may shake a stick at, mixed with a considerate, ecologically delicate ethos.

Certainly, it has its personal resident ecologist, the splendidly named Lucy Lapwing, who hosts kids’s nature workshops in a yurt. She teaches our women to make a parabolic microphone to file birdsong (out of an previous bowl and duster, plus different issues) and takes them on a bug hunt.

'Many of Silverlake’s clientele drive top-of-the-range Teslas, and conversations at the on-site bar seem to revolve around second homes and the perils of cryptocurrency,' Maureen observes

‘A lot of Silverlake’s clientele drive top-of-the-range Teslas, and conversations on the on-site bar appear to revolve round second properties and the perils of cryptocurrency,’ Maureen observes  

Al fresco dining at the retreat

Al fresco eating on the retreat 

We tramp alongside the South West Coast Path, which takes us right down to the pebbled Osmington Mills seaside. Rugged and peaceable, it’s fantastic for rock-pooling. 

We go to at low tide and see little crabs and sea urchins. 

Our eyes are additionally peeled for relatively extra dramatic pure wonders: the seaside is a major fossil spot. Lily is satisfied she’s going to discover a 130-million-year-old instance on her first expedition.

Amazingly, after taking simply three steps throughout the pebbles, she picks up a big orange stone with an ideal fossil-like imprint. 

Dorset is the setting for some of Enid Blyton’s best-known fictional adventures - Lulworth Cove (above), for example, is Blyton’s Kirrin Bay, where the exploits in the Famous Five books take place

Dorset is the setting for a few of Enid Blyton’s best-known fictional adventures – Lulworth Cove (above), for instance, is Blyton’s Kirrin Bay, the place the exploits within the Well-known 5 books happen

‘At Corfe Fortress (pictured on the hilltop), I discover myself moved by the romanticism of this fabulous previous wreck, constructed by William the Conqueror and partly destroyed by Oliver Cromwell,’ says Maureen 

Overjoyed, she tucks it into her pocket — just for us to find later that the fossil-stone has fallen out of her pocket and is again among the many tens of millions of different rocks that line the shoreline.

We console ourselves with a stonking pub lunch at fairly, thatched Smuggler’s Inn on the prime of the hill. The kids’s imaginations are alight with the thought that it was as soon as utilized by smuggler Pierre Latour (aka French Peter).

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At Corfe Fortress, I discover myself moved by the romanticism of this fabulous previous wreck, constructed by William the Conqueror and partly destroyed by Oliver Cromwell. 

Grace silently takes within the arrow slits and ‘homicide holes’. The wildest adventures, beforehand confined to the pages of her books, have been dropped at life, right here in Dorset.