Converted stables close to our main house but standing in the most magnificent setting. The cottage is only a few feet from a large fenced off pond that is about 100 metres long and 4m deep in the middle. It is fed by four freshwater springs and is the head of the Twyford Brook. The pond has Trout, Carp and Tench, fun to catch (fly, worm, sweet corn etc) and fishing is free provided you put them back. There are alternative larger coarse fishing lakes at Shearwater, Crockerton 30 mins or Todber Lakes (15 mins).
25 acres of land surround the cottage and our fields are grazed by sheep. You can occasionally see foxes, badgers, deer, buzzards, hobbies, woodpeckers, rabbits and wild flowers in the spring. National Trust land backs on to us with many footpaths. The cottage has a small garden area, but you have freedom to roam across our fields and wood.
The cottage contains two attractive bedrooms, one twin and one double. Each bedroom has its own modern en-suite bathroom with shower over the bath.
The small sitting room has lovely views of the lake and rolling hills. It has a freeview television, and Tape/ Radio/ CD player. Radios in all bedrooms, Wi-fi internet access. DVD player on request.
The galley kitchen has a small fridge with ice-box and a four-ringed gas hob, electric toaster, electric kettle, microwave and a separate roasting/grilling ovenette. You have an additional full size gas cooker, refrigerator with ice-box, dishwasher and automatic washing machine in the laundry room (access through the second bedroom or from outside).
The cottage has oil-fired central heating and radiators have individual thermostatic controls.
Shaftesbury is famous for its 'Gold Hill', the Hovis Bread cobbled street advertisement with boy and bicycle and Shaftesbury Abbey ruins and museum.
BIRD WATCHERS PARADISE The following birds were spotted between 20th and 23rd April 2012: Moorhen (nesting), Little Grebe (nesting), Tufted duck, Mallard, Common Buzzard, Raven, Carrion Crow, Rook, Jackdaw, Jay, Magpie, Stock Dove, Wood Pigeon, Wren, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Blackbird, Robin, Pheasant, Green Woodpecker, Blue Tit, Coal Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit (nesting), Chiff Chaff, Willow Warbler, Blackcap, Tree Creeper, Dunnock.
WONDERFUL WALKING - close to Pond cottage - Dorset Wildlife Trust & The National Trust. Compton Down & Melbury Hill South - This area is renowned for its eclectic display of early purple orchids and a sea of cowslips. The anthills are coloured with wild thyme and squinancy wort and may be crowned with thyme-leaved sandwort or crested hairgrass. Here also is quaking grass, crested dogstail and glaucous sedge. Melbury Hill North has clustered bellflower and bee orchids and autumn ladies tresses. Exceptional numbers of Adonis blue butterflies are predictable each June and September. Here also are seen Stonechats and wrens as well as sparrow hawks and buzzards. Grasshoppers and day flying moths such as the wood tiger, mother shipton and the black and reds of the burnet and cinnabar moths are bound to excite you when spotted. Also close by are Melbury Down, Fontmell Down & Harding's Down, are classic chalk downland turf with over 90 species of flowers and grasses present and in summer the profusion of flowers and butterflies gives you a glimpse of what was once a familiar site in the countryside. It is fitting that the National Trust bought this land in 1977 in the memory of Thomas Hardy the writer and poet (Far from the Madding Crowd, Tess of the D'Urbevilles etc). The Curlews & Burys (frog orchids, pyramidal orchid, viper's bugloss and silver spotted skipper and marbled white butterflies abound in fact 35 different species of butterflies can be seen here.) Catswhisker, Littledown (Duke of Burgundy butterflies seen if lucky), Brandis Down & Jerry's Hole (birds nest here including blackcap and garden warbler), all being close to an excellent pub/restaurant called 'The Fontmell' at Fontmell Magna. (1.8 miles from the cottage by car on the A350).
ARCHAEOLOGY Very close by on Melbury Down traces of Bronze Age field systems are discernible with a singular burial mound at the top of the slope just before Compton Abbas airfield. Note also the large and impressive Ranch Boundary, bank and ditch on the sloped of Melbury Hill to the north. The visible remains of prehistory can be seen by the two cross dykes found within the site. One dyke breaches the western fence line of the Curlews whilst a second known as Tennerley Ditch runs in an east/west direction within the wooded slopes of Catswhisker. These 2 dykes form part of a larger system of five cross-ridge dykes constructed in close proximity across this western upland spur of Cranborne Chase. They were constructed during the Middle Bronze Age period (2,000 to 500 BC) and it is thought that they were territorial boundary markers as well as cattle drove ways or defensive earthworks. Iron Age hill forts of Hambledon and Hod Hill stand proud in our Blackmore Vale.
OUTSTANDING CONSERVATION AREA Fontmell and Melbury Down is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, lying in the Cranborne Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and is part of the South Wessex Downs Environmentally Sensitive Area. It has gained European status since being designated a Special Area of Conservation in respect of its large number of endemic early gentians which flower in May. It is also a regionally important Geomorphological Site for the significance of Melbury Hill (seen from Pond Cottage) and the interlocking spurs of Melbury Down.
"Many thanks for our wonderful stay in your "little paradise". Pond Cottage is delightful and so very well equipped (even needle and thread!!). Our intention before arriving was to visit several places but found we were so relaxed and 'comfy' there, we only left it to eat out. Look forward to visiting again in the near future. (can't wait!)" DL.
"My wife, daughter and I stayed in Pond cottage in May and used it as a base to go to Peppa Pig world near Southampton. The cottage was lovely; well equipped with everything we needed and set in a truly picturesque and wonderfully tranquil location. Our host was attentive and helpful and we wouldn't hesitate to recommend this property to stay in. A hotel, or here is just a no brainer. Many thanks NB"
"We have had a lovely stay in the cottage, enjoying the beauty, figs, fishing, eggs and barbecues. We look forward to coming back sometime soon. M & J"
Thank you very much for the eggs from the chickens. We had a very nice stay in your lovely cottage. BH