I enjoy any excuse to head over to Wimborne and yesterday was no exception.
Despite the threat of an autumnal rainy day, I jumped into my car, camera in hand,
and zipped off to explore the beautiful Deans Court.
Greeted by Ali Hanham, who owns Deans Court with her husband William, I was delighted to be given a tour of the grounds and a chance to explore the expansive walled kitchen garden. The garden was the first organic garden in the country to be accredited by the Soil Association and provides organic vegetables, salads and fruits enough for the family, the cafe onsite and vegetable boxes for local residents. The garden is so big in fact that it has spilled outside the beautiful serpentine walls to include an abundant pumpkin patch and an orchard that hosts both mature trees and new varieties and allows Deans Court to grow more than 30 varieties of apples in its grounds.
Not satisfied with just fruit and vegetables, Deans Court also grow their own flowers which adorn their cafe, their holiday cottages and set the backdrop for the weddings that happen in the grounds during the summer months. They also have a number of chickens who provide eggs aplenty (used in their own baking and sold to eager members of the public for £2.50 for 6) and they even keep their own bees, providing them with honey for their cooking, pollination for all their delicious produce and they sell the extra honey in their shop.
The house itself was built in the 8th Century and lived in by the Abbess of Wimborne until it was converted into a Dean in the 12th Century. It has been in the Hanham family since the mid-16th century and has been lovingly maintained and added to since then with its gorgeous Georgian facade and Victorian south and west sides.
Whilst the house is very much lived in still, the grounds are used for garden tours and weddings with holiday cottages which can be rented too. The old squash court, originally built in the 1920’s but since left for derelict, has recently been turned into a lovely little cafe and vintage/antique shop. This was where I was treated to lunch and a chance to talk to Ali and her daughter Lottie.
The cafe and the shop share a lovely little courtyard and a break in the rain allowed us a chance to sit outside and enjoy our salads, fresh from the garden accompanied by handmade tarts and quiches. My courgette and chard quiche was warm and buttery – delicious next to the fresh vegetables, dressed lightly in a vinaigrette. The menu changes depending on what is seasonally available in the garden and includes a range of soups, salads, tarts, quiches and handmade scones. Also on display are a very tantalising array of handmade cakes and I was also allowed to indulge in a piece of blackcurrant and lemon cake – both sharp and sweet and the perfect accompaniment to my macchiato.
Deans Court should be applauded for their efforts in sustainable and organic living and for creating many ways for others to enjoy the fruits of their efforts too. Deans Court is a beautiful part of Wimborne, both for its history and its contribution to the bustling town centre, and a great place to enjoy a quiet moment …and a bloomin’ great lunch.
2 Deans Court Lane
t: 01202 880515 (estate)
t: 01202 849314 (events)
|Invited by PR company?||No|
|Guest of chef/restaurant/owner?||Yes|
|Restaurant/outlet knew ahead we were bloggers?||Yes|
|Was the meal complimentary from the restaurant?||Yes|
|Any complimentary items provided by restaurant/outlet?||No|