Cranborne, an ancient village set amid a bucolic landscape, is host to a B&B and restaurant with decor that defies 21st-century norms but is ahead of the game with its modern menu
We accidentally set the satnav to shortest, rather than quickest, route to Cranborne, so on the last leg of our drive the roads become narrower, the banks on each side higher, and the grass up the middle of the lane longer. I’m slightly alarmed at the thought of someone coming the other way – passing places are few – but we do get up close to Dorset’s gorgeousness: rolling meadows, flowery cottages, hedgerows exuberant with cow parsley.
Cranborne doesn’t let the side down: its 300 or so houses sit in a fold of Dorset Downs, backed by an ancient stone church and manor. On the village square, Mark Hartstone has run La Fosse, his restaurant with rooms, for eight years, using skills learned at such hallowed places as Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons and Chewton Glen.