Friday afternoons are always exciting for kids, big kids like me and the normal sized ones. The start of the weekend brings an air of relief that the week is over, and intrigue about what’s to come over the next few days. I’d clocked off work an hour early to pack-up our car, fit to bursting with bags, scooters and bikes we picked up Jasper and Daisy from school and hit the road. This was going to be a weekend to remember!
Driving South we headed to Silverlake Dorset, a new development of sustainable holiday homes from Habitat First Group. We’ve stayed at Lower Mill estate in the Cotswolds a number of times so we knew we were in for a wonderful weekend, but this felt different, even more of an adventure.
It was late by the time we arrived at the gates, with darkness falling we couldn’t wait to see for ourselves the development that we’d heard so much about. Slowly winding down the roads the countryside appeared before us in the evening light. We could see evidence of new development hidden behind hedges and trees, with wide expanses of lakes amongst the hills and undergrowth. Our little cottage, No. 23 was on a quiet road, brand new and immaculate. We jumped out of the car and peered into the windows to see the luxurious interior, spotless open plan kitchen and comfortable sofa facing an inviting wood burner. There seemed to be no-one around as we unloaded, the quiet peace, difficult to maintain as our kids ran riot exploring our new home for the weekend. Locking out the cold night air we settled in for the evening, pizzas in the oven fuelling up for a big day of exploring tomorrow.
Anyone with kids will know lie-ins don’t exist. As painful as that is sometimes, it didn’t matter here. We were all up early, dressed and ready to head out to discover what Silverlake had to offer! The development is in its infancy, there’s plenty more to come, but now was a great time to see the place. The layout of the site means the houses are all set out in certain areas and encroach very little on the wildland around. It was only a few hundred meters from our front door before we were standing on the edge of a lake, desperately holding back Jesse, our youngest, from filling his wellies! Looking out across the water on the far bank we watched a group of Dartmoor ponies grazing happily. There is a herd of these ponies on the site that carry out the maintenance of the vegetation in the vast areas that are difficult to get to. They are conservation grazers, and take their role very seriously! Semi-Wild you can’t get up close as they need to remain in those wild areas, but they are amazing to see from a distance.
Moving on we wound our way down paths, between growths of trees and hedges of gorse, the tiny yellow flowers in full bloom. The site is so very different to Lower Mill Estate. You can immediately see and feel the difference in vegetation and topography. Silverlake is set within a far more varied landscape with exciting things to discover around every corner. In a grove of trees screams of excitement rang out as Jasper and Daisy discovered a tree house climbing frame and when we thought excitement couldn’t be peaked, a zip wire right over a pond! A happy hour was spent clinging to the rope, speeding out across the water, laughing as we all had a go holding on for dear life. It really was a great start to the day and a fantastic surprise for our young family!
Over the course of the weekend, we discovered more of what this superb place had to offer. Constant requests to head to the brand new Hurricane spa meant we swam every day in the beautiful, heated outdoor pool which we had completely to ourselves. There’s not a single thing I could think of to change about that pool, gym and spa, it’s perfect in every way. From the views to the rustic, luxurious decor with wood and stone panelling, it’s a pleasure to even be in the building or floating in the warm water looking out over the nature reserve. Needless to say, we couldn’t stay away, but there was still so much to do!
A highlight for our family is always a wildlife discovery, luckily, there are many to be had. We discovered a mass of toads crossing a track one afternoon and to the delight of the kids, we stopped to help them on their way. The prize of all prizes, however, basking in the sun we spotted a beautiful slow worm, which slinked off into the undergrowth as we approached. These legless lizards aren’t everywhere so to spot one so easily was such a treat for us, clearly showing the suitability and diversity of the species that thrive there in the nature reserve.
Our visit was on a very cold spring weekend. We sat there as a family, by the side of a lake fishing in the cold air. Most of the time I spent untangling the lines as the kids tried their best to snag ‘A whopper’. We didn’t catch a fish, but when we retreated back to our cottage to warm up in front of the wood burner, we were deeply happy. Our weekend had been filled with exciting discoveries, outdoor activities and relaxing moments indoors in beautiful surroundings. Silverlake is a remarkable place to spend time, as it develops it will only improve and we can’t wait to watch its progress and visit again.Back to news