A couple of years back, we were looking for something a bit different for our first break as a family of four – we don’t tend to go away much, because Ali and I work opposite hours, so we decided it needed to be as stress-free as possible. I’d seen a piece in a magazine about eco-breaks, and fallen in love with a heavenly-sounding log cabin called Sika Lodge on Alpha Farm, in rural Dorset; complete with hot tub, log burner and sunny veranda, it was everything we were after.
The décor was right up my street. Owned by Robbie and Rachel, Robbie had built the lodge himself, and most of the furniture in it as well – it had a beautifully comfortable rustic feel, which made it easy to settle straight in.
Sleeping five or six, the main room housed the double bed, as well as a balcony area with another double bed accessed via a pretty solid and easy-to-climb wooden ladder. My eldest, Ben, decided immediately that he wanted to sleep up there, and was in his element in his own little hideaway.
In the corner of the same room was a large sofa-bed and coffee table, which we sat at in the evening to read and watch movies on the laptop. There’s no WiFi or 3G at Sika Lodge, so we went well prepared with a couple of the kids favourites for winding-down time in the evening. Though after racing around the country and beach all day, they never actually made it through a whole film!
The emphasis of Sika Lodge is on sustainability and environmental awareness; the wood for the cabin and the furniture was largely reclaimed or recycled, and most elements of our stay had been designed to limit our impact on the environment.
The water for the shower was heated by solar panels on the roof, or by the log burner – a days worth of sunshine would have been enough for us all to have hot showers in the morning, but unfortunately we didn’t have a days worth of sunshine for the entire time we were there. This meant that we had to set an alarm to get up and get the fire going in the morning. It wasn’t too big a deal though – we don’t have a log burner at home so, for me, lying in bed with a good book watching the flames flickering was a real treat!
The eco-theme continued with the composting toilet, which was basically a huge hole in the ground with a toilet on top. The idea is that once you’ve done your business, you pour a scoop of sawdust down on top, and you’re done – no flushing, no wasting water, and surprisingly, no smell!
Alpha Farm is situated in Wareham in Dorset, and the lodge itself has a large gate which backs onto the forest – if you’re lucky, a trip out exploring will bring you face to face with some of the Sika deer. There’s also a front and back veranda, a large paddock for games and sunbathing, a vegetable patch and of course, the wood fired hot tub – combined with a few good books and the radio, you could easily come here for a holiday and not need to leave the entire time!
Get the look:
Here’s a collection of great homeware buys if you want to recreate the look in your own home. Or you can shop directly from the curated collection from the Roost Shop at the bottom of this post.
1: Large log basket in hemp – Decorators Notebook | 2: Reclaimed storm lantern – The Little House in Town | 3: Koli round baskets – Traidcraft | 4: Dhurrie cushion cover – Traidcraft | 5: Limited Edition recycled wool blanket – Decorators Notebook | 6: Old industrial lamps – Re-found Objects | 7: Vintage white French enamel coffee pot – Oates & Co | 8: Short coffee cup in red stripe – Decorators Notebook | 9: Indigo drop serving bowl – Nkuku