|Blandford Forum is a compact Dorset market town (pop. Circa 8000) that lies 22 miles south-west of Salisbury and 15 miles north of Poole, a port on the south coast of England. The surrounding countryside is typical of what anyone would expect who has read any Thomas Hardy novel. Rolling hills and vales inundated with hunting chases.
Other attractions in the area include the Jurassic Coast, Monkey World, Bovington Tank Museum, Kingston Lacey House, Clouds Hill (home of Lawrence of Arabia), Moors Valley Country Park and Tolpuddle (of martyrdom fame). Also of historic interest, Corfe Castle is only 10 miles away on route to Swanage with its own attractions.
|It is a pleasant and attractive town with unusual and quaint craft shops and a collection of Georgian architecture that is a direct result of the Great Fire of 1731 when much of the town was destroyed and was rebuilt at the hands of the 2 brother architects, John and William Bastard.|
|Portman Lodge is conveniently located very close to a number of facilities. Riding stables, bowling green, cricket field, tennis courts, Health Club with indoor swimming pool all lie within a 100 metre radius of the house. Another 100 metres in the Shaftsbury direction lies the Mill Down a dedicated wildlife area run by the local council for walking and jogging in pretty countryside with views over the surrounding countryside.|
|There are 2 golf courses within easy driving distance. Blandford Forum boasts of all major services. There are adequate medical services including a small hospital and 2 doctor's surgeries within walking distance of the house. Four major supermarkets, major banks and a good variety of shops and businesses service the town.|
|North Dorset Trailway - extended route between Blandford and Sturminster Newton opened May 2013
The North Dorset Trailway runs along the route of the old Somerset and Dorset Railway line and takes you through some picturesque villages of the Blackmore vale. The old railway line provides an ideal route for a Trailway as it links many of North Dorset's towns and villages.
There are four sections you can currently visit that take you through some of North Dorset's spectacular countryside, towns and villages with views of Hambledon Hill and the meandering River Stour.
The trail runs along a relatively flat, surfaced 3 metre wide track suitable for push chairs, mobility vehicles, horses, bicycles and walkers.