When somewhere calls itself a licensed feasting house, curiosity is already piqued and you’re wondering exactly what you’re going to get – but yet again, when we ate there last night, the Rusty Pig delivered in spades.

Based in Ottery St Mary, a lovely market town near Honiton – it would be very easy to miss the Rusty Pig if you were just wandering past – a shopfront window, a neon light, an upside down pig sign – it’s a bit like a secret club that only the lucky know about.  Established by Robin Rea, an Ottery born and bred local – it seems only right and proper that the Rusty Pig Ethos is all about “local – sourcing, flavours and people” and from humble beginnings in 2011, it is now rightly one of the sought after Devon foodie destinations.

therustypig4 - The Rusty Pig at Ottery St Mary near Honiton

We first went there a number of years ago and the breakfast we had is still at the top of our dine-out breakfast rankings. Robin has always sourced and cured his own meat and it was top-quality stuff.  We raise our own pigs, and often find the meat lacking when we dine out – but not in Robin’s case, the meat here has always been inspirational.

Rolling on a few years – the additions of Mark, the extremely talented chef and Agata, who runs front of house have taken this from a great place to eat to an amazing place to experience food – and for me there’s a subtle difference. Truly great food isn’t just about the food, it’s about the atmosphere of where you’re eating it, the service and the accompanying beverages – and when you get those four pillars working together – it goes off the scale.

therustypig3 - The Rusty Pig at Ottery St Mary near Honiton

So about last night…

We booked a table for 5 and the warm welcome started as we approached the door, it was thrown open and we were ushered in out of the cold night air and then shown to our table upstairs. It’s a quirky layout with tables spread over 2 floors and a brilliantly electic collection of art and kitchenalia providing an interesting backdrop to your meal.

Our table was a repurposed door, complete with escutcheons and candlelight – with vintage cutlery and serviettes aplenty in the heaped drawer on the tabletop.  Drinks orders were quickly taken – local juice, local bitter, local cider from Branscombe and my gin & tonic choice for the evening was Tarquins, a Cornish artisan gin – and arrived promptly.

therustypig6 - The Rusty Pig at Ottery St Mary near Honiton

So to the menu, one of the things we like about eating here is the innovative approach they have – “Pig & mix” which was a tapas-style journey through some excellent dishes was a particular favourite on a previous visit. Tonight we have “Surprise, surprise!” – 2 or 3 courses on offer and although Aggie offers some clues if we really want them – we decide to go with the flow and just see what arrives.

therustypig 1024x1024 - The Rusty Pig at Ottery St Mary near Honiton

The starter causes some consternation on arrival – parsnips – with 3 non-believers around the table, this might be a challenge! Presented beautifully in a cast-iron skillet – the parsnips have been coated in a pea flour & tonic water batter (and so are gluten and vegan friendly)  and served with a side pea pesto and a rich and unctuous tomato sauce. Luckily our boys (and that includes hubby) will try things and they were so glad they did – pronounced delicious by the whole table – this course was a big hit. 1-0 to Mark, he wins this round…

therustypig2 - The Rusty Pig at Ottery St Mary near Honiton

Now for the main, big chunky slices of excellently cooked pork leg nestling on a bed of crushed fried potatoes, buttered green kale and black lentils in a tasty sauce – lentils caused a bit of an eyebrow raise with hubby, but the meat tempted him in and yet again Mark proved that even ingredients you don’t particularly care for can be transformed into essential elements of your meal. This really was a superb plate of food, and little moments of treasure appeared whilst eating in the form of crisp crackling nuggets and flavour combinations that really work. 2-0 to Mark…

therustypig5 - The Rusty Pig at Ottery St Mary near Honiton

We were sufficiently full really, but the lure of a pudding surprise was too much and we all indulged and oh my goodness, that was such a good decision!  Marmalade brioche bread and butter pudding with caramel sauce and cream – served again in a skillet, could we fit this in and continue our run of clean plate courses. Why dear reader – it was too sublime not to finish, the slight bitter bite of the marmalade cut through the sweetness of the caramel with the two flavours really bringing out the best in each other. This was one of the best puddings I have ever had – I nearly asked for a slice to take home it was so good. 3-0 and total victory to Mark.- clean plates all round.

Throughout all of these courses, Aggie and her lovely assistant were professional, engaging and made it a really enjoyable experience – informative and funny, their careful and attentive ministrations of us made all the difference.  Excellent service is effortless and never that easy to achieve – here you can see that your experience is at the heart of everything they do.

So to the bill, two round of drinks for 5 and 3 delicious courses each came to an excellent value £30 per head – the innovation and customer service weren’t priced separately but are an invaluable and integral part of the Rusty Pig and are what keeps us coming back on a regular basis.  This is one of those places I am almost loath to write about in case too many people discover it – hats off to Robin and the team, it is pigging superb!

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Here at Dimpsey, we love to help people create special moments in their life – sometimes we do that just by sharing the peace and the views that our shepherd’s hut affords and other times we are privileged to get even more involved. From birthday flowers to hidden presents to cakes and surprises, we love being part of the secret squirrel planning that goes on.  Every occasion is special and often a number of our local friends help us out too, so as our lovely guests suggested that we could share this one, we thought it might be a good time to recognise them and say a big thank you.

So, it all started with a response to our booking confirmation for a Canopy & Stars guest – asking if we could help out with planning a proposal, but with a twist as our guest wanted a gift in the shepherd hut on arrival, which would actually say “Will you marry me?” – so we put our plotting heads on and came up with a few suggestions and the chosen gift was a handmade Harvest Mug from nearby Barrington Pottery. We love Paul and Marion’s pieces and have quite a few in our collection, so it was lovely to be able to work with them.  They were quite happy to produce a commissioned item and our guest approved the design.  I have to admit to a slight worry when I knew the pot was in the kiln – but Paul & Marion kept us informed and we took delivery of the mug on the appointed day.

alisonproposaljug 768x1024 - Proposals at Dimpsey Glamping

Our guest also wanted some flowers – so we worked with Cottage Flowers in Ilminster and armed with the information on flower colours and types from our guest, we decided on a small harvest posy to for the Harvest Mug and then a larger bouquet of lilies and seasonal flowers. We picked the flowers up late morning, ready for our guest arrival at 3pm – as you can see from the photo, Cottage Flowers did us proud.

barrington pottery jug - Proposals at Dimpsey Glamping

Finally, the finishing touches were champagne and chocolates of course. The Somerset sparkling wine was from a local vineyard a few miles away and one of our favourites – Wayford Vineyard – and is always well received by our guests.

champagne alisonandcarl - Proposals at Dimpsey Glamping

We’re very happy to report that the lucky lady said yes – and here’s what they had to say in their review on the Canopy & Stars site :-

“Well what can I say , this was a stay with a difference, the idea was I was going to ask my partner to marry me in a special way , Emma was at hand right from the start to find the ideal way to do this. She had a jug made with a special message on it , supplied flowers bubbly and chocolates and it all went to plan , the hut itself was brilliant nice location and well setup and Emma was on hand for everything we needed , nothing was too much trouble even on her birthday

Thanks Em”

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Dimpsey Glamping has struck gold again, winning the category of Glamping and Alternative Accommodation at the Bristol, Bath and Somerset Tourism Awards held at Somerset County Cricket Club last night. Dimpsey also won the 2016 award.

After 6 months of assessing evidence and judging by a panel of experts, the winners were announced by Laura Rawlings from BBC Radio Bristol, who was joined on stage by Marcus Trescothick MBE.
The winners were all presented with individually crafted hand inscribed awards by Will Shakspeare, from Shakspeare Glass in Langport.

Somerset based organiser Nell Barrington said: “These awards showcase the best that Somerset, Bristol and Bath have to offer visitors; from food and drink to attractions, experiences, accommodation and new for this year, guided tours. I hope that as many as possible can go on to win in the South West and then VisitEngland Awards, to raise the profile of this magnificent area.”

Dimpsey Glamping is a high-end shepherd hut accommodation located on a farm at the foot of the Blackdown Hills in Chard. Dimpsey has been up and running since 2014 and boasts a hot tub, outdoor kitchen and luxury living space. Created by Blackdown Shepherd Huts, and nurtured by owners Emma and Andrew Warren, Dimpsey has gone from strength to strength as a luxury couple’s retreat, with year-round bookings.

Emma says: ‘To win gold is a real accolade and testament to the hard work we put in to make Dimpsey the very best glamping experience possible. We are small, but perfectly formed, and are always looking to improve what we do. I have a great team, and we love our guests – their experience and feedback is everything. Thank you to Booking.com who sponsored this award.’

Dimpsey will now be fast-tracked into the South West Tourism Excellence Awards in February 2018 and then possibly on to the National Visit England Awards later in 2018.

www.dimspey.co.uk

Dimpsey BC IMG 7568 HDR 1024x682 1024x682 - Press Release: Dimpsey Glamping in Somerset Wins Gold at the Bristol, Bath and Somerset Tourism Awards 2017/18

 

Photo Credit: Ben Carpenter Photography

ENDS

For further information, images, or an interview, please contact claire@nichebrands.co.uk / 07734 702653

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We like to check out all the local eateries in a bid to ensure that we can recommend somewhere to suit you, your tastes and your budget if we are asked by our guests – and after a good meal at The Firehouse as part of a Christmas party we were invited to, we thought we would go along and try them out again.

With wooden beams and contemporary fireplaces, they describe themselves as “a village pub that has been restored with a modern twist yet full of traditional charm” – and that’s definitely the feeling you get when you walk in there. 

The Firehouse Somerset - http://thefirehousesomerset.co.uk/

Photo Credit: The Firehouse Somerset – http://thefirehousesomerset.co.uk/

From steak to calamari, there truly is something for everybody on the menu, including vegetarian options. Not only is there fine dining, you can also enjoy homemade, rustic pizzas which you can watch being made on the pizza oven as you walk in. As you can imagine, the smell of good food as you walk in is delightful and certainly makes you hungry.

Using the finest, local produce, as well as local cider, we can truly say you are in good hands when it comes to The Firehouse Somerset, and definitely worth a try, whether you want to experience the delicious food, or to simply enjoy the experience by sitting by the wood burner. The good news is that The Firehouse is only 25 minutes away from Dimpsey Glamping, so your next special meal isn’t that far away!

Firehouse 7u5c0957 1024x682 - The Firehouse Somerset

The Firehouse Somerset – http://thefirehousesomerset.co.uk/

The Firehouse website: http://thefirehousesomerset.co.uk/

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Somerset has been famous for making good scrumpy for hundreds of years. The local dialect for a strong or sharp tasting cider, made in Somerset is ‘scrumpy’ and has been consumed and made within Somerset as well as being distributed around the world for centuries. With Somerset being one of the biggest cider counties in the UK, the West Country is known for the traditional method of cider making, using original, sharper types of cider apples. But, where did the cider process come from and how did it become so vastly enjoyed in Somerset?

Cider and cider production have been established in the UK since the Roman era, with Cider being recorded in history from the 11th Century onwards, with Kent, Hampshire and Somerset being the three main apple growing and cider producing counties in England. Since the 11th Century, most houses were producing cider and selling cider to the public as well cider being used as a wage for workers. Also being noted in various medical folklore as a health supplement, cider and cider apples were enjoyed not only as an alcoholic beverage, but also as a beauty luxury, with ointments and facial washes being created and sold due to apples having health properties which was used to smooth and clean the skin, causing a boom in the sales of cider.

apple 2535260 960 720 - A Brief History And The Making Of Somerset Scrumpy Cider
Cider Apples

Being loved throughout history, there is no surprise that cider is still very popular in Somerset in the present day. Despite most cider producing companies now farming their apples abroad, true Somerset cider can still be enjoyed with some famous cider companies such as Sheppy’s and Thatchers still using their apple orchards and cider breweries in Somerset. Good on them!

Cider is produced using a pulping, pressing and fermentation process, where the juice is extracted from the apples and mixed with yeast. The first step taken when creating cider is crushing the apples in order to remove all pips from the apples and to make the pressing stage easier. This stage is carried out within a large mill, with the pulp almost resembling apple sauce.

ciderwheel - A Brief History And The Making Of Somerset Scrumpy Cider
Traditional Cider Wheel

The extraction of the apple juice is the second stage, with the pulp being placed in a tank and mixed with other pulps from other variations of apple. Up to as many as 6 different types of apple can be combined in this stage in order to create the desired taste, depending on what type of cider is being made. The pulp is then layered in forms, a piece of nylon cloth with apple pulp on top, ready for the extraction process to take place. The nylon cloth is removed, leaving behind a square of apple pulp. This stage is repeated around 10 times in order to create a stack blocks of apple pulp, also known as a cheese. This stack is then placed in a tray and pressed by a hydraulic pump.

Preservatives are passed through the juice as the mixture cools down as well as the juice being pasteurised if it isn’t being fermented. If the juice is being fermented, the chemicals needed to start the fermentation process is added to the juice, which can take up to a month to fully ferment. After fermentation, the last stage is packaging ready to be shipped to the stores that we love. So next time you sip an ice cold glass of scrumpy, remember that you a drinking a little piece of Somerset history!

cider 822266 960 720 - A Brief History And The Making Of Somerset Scrumpy Cider

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Today is National Coffee Day and on Sunday it is International Coffee Day so we thought we would celebrate the only way we could here at Dimpsey Glamping, with Coffee Cake 😉

IMG 5909 1024x1024 - Recipe: Coffee cake with coffee buttercream and coffee glaze

 

INGREDIENTS

For The Coffee Cake

  • 200g unsalted softened butter, plus an extra 10g softened butter for greasing 
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 4 medium free-range eggs
  • 3 tablespoons coffee essence
  • 250g self raising flour

For The Coffee Buttercream

  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 200g icing sugar
  • 2 teaspoons coffee granules
  • 1 tablespoon boiling water

For The Coffee Glaze

  • 2 teaspoons coffee granules
  • 1 tablespoon boiling water
  • 100g icing sugar

 

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Grease and line a 23cm cake tin.
  2. Start to make the cake by adding the butter and sugar to a bowl and beat and mix until fluffy and lighter in colour
  3. Add the eggs and carry on beating and mixing, add the coffee essence, mix in and then sieve in the flour and fold the flour into the mix until mixed thoroughly.
  4. Pour the cake mix into the cake tin and gently shake the tin so settle the cake mix.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes until golden brown and risen, but start to check the cake after 20 minutes and cook until golden.
  6. When baked, remove from the cake tin and allow to cool.
  7. Now make the buttercream by adding the softened butter in a bowl and whisk until fluffy, then sieve in the icing sugar and whisk again. Dissolve the coffee granules into the boiling water and then add to the buttercream and whisk once more. Then leave to stand.
  8. To make the glaze, dissolve the coffee granules into the water, then sieve in the icing sugar and whisk until mixed. Add a little more boiling water a few drops at a time if required so that the glaze is spreadable and pourable.
  9. Slice the cake horizontally into 3 slices. Add buttercream to two of the slices and then assemble back together to make a coffee cake sandwich with 3 layers of cake and 2 layers of buttercream. Pour or spread over the glaze on the top of the cake and allow to cool. Serve once glaze has set.
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As the nights draw closer and the very first few leaves start to drop from the trees, you can just start to feel a little chill in the air in the evening here at Dimpsey Glamping. I always feel that with each season Dimpsey comes to life with it’s very own sense of comforting magic. Autumn is no exception, with the nip in the air, the deep golden sunsets, the bronze and copper leaves as they change from the lush summer vibrant green and the stars shining brightly as the sky becomes clearer at night. All these things herald the start of Autumn.

The Dimpsey Glamping Shepherd’s Hut is built to last. And as the oak cladding changes colour, just as the leaves do at this time of year, the hut ages into a majestic dwelling nestled in the Blackdown Hills that is warm and cosy yet full of whimsy and luxury.

So next time you visit Dimpsey in the Autumn time, why not spend some time just enjoying all the wonder and colour this season brings. Light the campfire, watch the stars, take a dip in the woodfired hot tub or cook a meal in our outdoor kitchen. Autumn is here….

dimpseyautumn - The Autumn Equinox at Dimpsey Glamping

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As the Summer fades out and the rainy season fades in, there are still plenty of things to do in South Somerset even with an umbrella at the ready. Dimpsey Glamping is situated in the Blackdown Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in South Somerset and even in the rain the Blackdown Hills are an amazing and beautiful place to visit. But there are many attractions and interesting places to visit that are inside and therefore not affected by rain, so your holiday can continue with all the fun and relaxation that you need, whatever the weather.

dimpseyrain - Rainy Day Activities & Attractions Near Dimpsey Glamping South Somerset

Chard Museum & Heritage Centre – http://www.chardmuseum.co.uk/

Distance from Dimpsey: 1 mile

Just around the corner from Dimpsey Glamping is the delightful Chard Museum & Heritage Centre. Full of exhibitions and artifacts from the local area, this little local museum receives rave reviews and always a well worth visit. The museum is open until the end of October.

 

The Cider Works at Perry’s Cider – http://www.perryscider.co.uk/visit-us/35/the-cider-works

Distance from Dimpsey: 6 miles

Soak up the atmosphere of real working cider mills, grab a cider or a bite to eat in their tea room & eatery, before checking out the local foods, drinks, gifts and art in the farm shop, or just stock up on your favourite ciders which can all be tasted before buying.

They also have a small museum on site – housed in the original 16th century thatched cider barn where the company first started from. The barn is stocked to the roof full of old cider making and farming equipment, as well as two hydraulic presses that they still use every autumn to press their ciders.

 

Shakespeare Glass – Taunton Gallery – https://www.shakspeareglass.co.uk/pages/taunton-gallery

Distance from Dimpsey: 14 miles

Based in the heart of Taunton, Shakespeare Glass and it’s Taunton gallery has a large range of contemporary artists as well as their own glass. Their stock is always changing but they generally have a selection including unique glass jewellery, ceramics, textiles, paintings, prints, wood turning and stone carving. Along with all this, there’s a large display of Will’s work, from his brand new Coasts and Somerset ranges to our ever popular baubles and goblets.

 

The Museum Of Somerset – https://museumofsomerset.org.uk/

Distance from Dimpsey: 14 miles

Set in the heart of Taunton, the Museum of Somerset lies within the 12th Century Taunton Castle and tells the county’s story from prehistoric times to the present day, using real objects, interactive games, eye-catching film projections and the words and voices of Somerset people, past and present.

 

Fleet Air Arm Museum – http://www.fleetairarm.com/default.aspx

Distance from Dimpsey: 21 miles

Representing the Royal Navy In the Air, the Fleet Air Arm Museum is a must for all air travel enthusiasts. With four exhibition halls, over ninety aircraft and over 2 million records and 30 thousand artifacts, the Museum is Europe’s largest naval aviation Museum. In addition. it houses the first British Concorde which you can go on board, view the cockpit and visit the award winning Aircraft Carrier Experience.

 

So whatever the weather, you’ll always find something to do…

 

 

 

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Although Summer is starting to slowly drift away, it doesn’t mean the that relaxing holiday time is at an end. At Dimpsey Glamping, no matter what time of the year it is, there is always something to enjoy and ways to let your stresses slip away.

We are proud to be based in the Blackdown Hills, and so now that the nights are starting to draw in quicker, the end of Summer is the perfect time to relax under the stars, and with our stargazing maps this couldn’t be any easier.

Dimpsey0417 BC 9S9A7098 1024x683 - Lazy Hazy End of Summer Days at Dimpsey Glamping Somerset

Photo Credit: Ben Carpenter Photography

But why not make a complete romantic evening out of it? Nothing beats cooking a homemade meal with fresh produce in our Outdoor Kitchen, and then unwinding in our Wood Fired Hot Tub

Dimpsey Glamping - Luxury Glamping Somerset UK - Photo Credit © Ben Carpenter Photography

Photo Credit: Ben Carpenter Photography

Whether you want a quick bite to eat or a full Sunday Roast and you enjoy watching the world go by, the Quantock Belle Dining Train is a must! Not only do you get to indulge in good food but also a lovely view as you travel from Bishops Lydeard to Minehead and back, plus a constant waiter service for tea or coffee.

Throughout the transition between Summer and Autumn, we definitely suggest walking or cycling around the Blackdown Hills. The Blackdown Hills AONB is beautiful at all times of the year, but there is nothing quite like walking or cycling through the leaves that have just started to fall, listening to the birds and wind rustling through the branches. To make a complete day out of it, why not take a picnic with you and relax with the outstanding natural beauty that the Blackdown Hills has to offer, we can even help you prepare your picnic.

blackdownhills - Lazy Hazy End of Summer Days at Dimpsey Glamping Somerset

Photo Credit: Visit Somerset

If the sun isn’t shining as much as you would like, don’t panic. Taunton, which is only 14 miles away from Dimpsey, is full of interesting things to do – including a Town Tour in the Museum of Somerset, ideal for those slightly duller days. The tour is filled with information about the history of Taunton, including a little meet up with the inspiration of Frankenstein!

Forde Abbey House & Gardens is just around the corner from us here at Dimpsey and is open until October.  Home to the stunning Mortlake tapestries, woven from the internationally famous Raphael cartoons, now housed in the V&A, the Abbey has a rich and varied history spanning 900 years. 

From food to relaxation and from adventure to days out, there is plenty you can do, even when the Summer sun leaves us eventually.

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Nothing gently whispers in your ear ‘relaxation’ like a hot tub, so you can imagine how delighted we are at Dimpsey Glamping to have our very own woodfired hot tub. Just like the rest of your Dimpsey Glamping experience, our hot tub is there to help you wind down, chill out and make your stay at Dimpsey a peaceful, idyllic getaway. But what makes our hot tub so different and so special?

Our hot tub comes from the luxurious Swedish Company Hikki who bring their inspiration from not only Swedish relaxation methods but also Native American. Hikki’s wonderful difference to their hot tubs is that they are woodfired hot tubs and not electricity powered. Making their hot tubs more natural and at one with the surroundings which seemed a perfect fit as an addition to our shepherd’s hut and the whole Dimpsey Glamping retreat.

2016 06 17 18.26.27 e1502441659289 1024x1024 - The Dimpsey Glamping Hikki Wood-Fired Hot Tub

Made from salt-water resistant aluminium and oak wood, Hikki hot tubs can hold any type of water and won’t erode, so you can be assured that our hot tub will last and be here every time you come and stay. The hot tub holds up to 600L of water, so you can start heating up woodfired hot tub and then start prepping your dinner. Our hot tub is next to our beautiful outdoor kitchen, so you can prepare, cook and eat a delicious homemade meal and by the time you have cooked and eaten, you will be able to float your stresses away. Being just over 2m long and fitting two people inside at any one time, it’s perfect for a romantic evening, just the two of you. Of course, a bottle of chilled Champagne is also the perfect companion to a night under the stars in our woodfired hot tub. Enjoy…

Dimpsey Glamping - Luxury Glamping Somerset UK - Photo Credit © Ben Carpenter Photography

Photo Credit © Ben Carpenter Photography

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