The Kingcombe Centre
Please note: the Humble Bee Café is closed until further notice due to staff shortages and illness. Apologies for any inconvenience caused.
The Kingcombe Centre is a gateway to the stunning Kingcombe National Nature Reserve, incorporating Kingcombe Meadows and Powerstock Common Nature Reserves, where you can enjoy exploring the unspoilt countryside and ancient woodland.
Know before you go
Parking informationWe have two car parks. One immediately adjacent to the Main Barn and further parking 50m up the road at Pound Cottage (turn left out of main carpark and first left). Access the Centre via the garden.
Bicycle parkingYes, a free standing bicycle rack with space for 4 bikes
Grazing animalsYes - please get advice from the staff at the centre on arrival about the location of grazing animals.
There are two marked walking trails starting at The Kingcombe Centre. The shorter of the trails, (the green route) is the easier of the two and takes approx. half an hour. The purple trail, which is slightly more challenging, takes approx. 45 mins. Both can be joined up to make a longer walk. Part of the trails can be wet and muddy so please wear appropriate footwear. The nature reserve is also part of our working farm, livestock may be grazing and also ticks are present throughout the year. To plan your walk, simply drop into the Centre and collect a leaflet to guide you.
There is disabled parking available outside the centre, and a disabled toilet inside the centre. There are also toilets accessible outside at the back of the Swallow Barn. The Centre itself is wheelchair accessible via the cafe, and the boardwalk is suitable for wheelchairs and mobility vehicles.
How to find us: From Dorchester, take the A37 towards Yeovil. Turn onto the A356 towards Crewkerne. Continue through the village of Maiden Newton. At the top of the hill, turn left, signposted to Toller Porcorum. Turn right in the village, signposted Lower Kingcombe and Hooke. The Kingcombe Centre is one mile on your right.
When to visit
Opening timesThe Kingcombe Centre is open from 10am - 4pm, 7 days a week.
The Kingcombe Centre will be closed between 31 October 2021 and 31 January 2022. The surrounding nature reserve remains open all year round.
Best time to visitAll year round. The Kingcombe Meadows Nature Reserve surrounding the centre has something to offer wildlife enthusiasts all year round, and each season holds different delights on the nature reserve, with May/June being peak wild flower meadow season.
About the reserve
The Kingcombe Centre is a great place to visit whether you’re looking to get away from it all and escape into nature for a day, or a weekend! For a day visit, enjoy refreshments in our outside seating area from the Humble Bee Café (see below for opening times) before exploring the areas surrounding the centre, including the wildlife gardens, orchards and boardwalk, or perhaps take a longer stroll on the 450-acre nature reserve surrounding the centre. The Kingcombe Centre is the gateway to the wonderful natural world that sits in the heart of the stunning landscapes in west Dorset, and it provides a place of tranquility with a true feeling of being able to get away from it all and relax.
For a longer stay, there’s a variety of accommodation options, including a traditional shepherd’s hut and the stunning self contained Beech and Pound cottages on site, or stay in the 11 room B&B option, The Cowshed, opposite the visitor centre. See below for more information. We often run art exhibitions which are displayed in the centre.
The hedgerows, fields and hay meadows that surround The Centre remain pretty much as they were when Queen Victoria came to the throne and are almost untouched by artificial fertilisers and pesticides. As a result they are home to a huge array of wildlife, some common and easy to see, others rare elsewhere in the UK.
The Humble Bee Cafe at The Kingcombe Centre
The Humble Bee Café at the Kingcombe Centre is now open!
Serving fresh, locally produced light snacks and refreshments, The Humble Bee Café is the perfect addition to Dorset Wildlife Trust’s Kingcombe Centre – and the perfect stop off after a walk around the nature reserve and Centre grounds. The Humble Bee Café even uses ingredients grown at Kingcombe and in other local places, so you can be sure they will deliver quality home-made food to straight to your table.
Outside seating with a view and takeaway is available at the Centre and the Café is open from 10am – 4pm every Thursday – Sunday.
Read the Humble Bee Café Mission statement below and visit their facebook page to see what they’re serving up and for all current events and opening times.
We look forward to welcoming you.
Hire the Centre for an event or meeting
Looking for a comfortable and relaxing venue to run your own course, meeting, or event? We have the perfect location at The Kingcombe Centre.
- Peaceful Setting - Set amongst 500 acres of ancient countryside, our tranquil surroundings offer you and your participants the perfect stress-free setting for your activity and there are plenty of footpaths and places to ponder and relax at the end of the day.
- Study room in Swallow Barn - We have a large open-plan study room that can be set out as you wish, equipped with overhead projector and screen as standard, which can seat 25 people in comfort.
- Accommodation - Our accommodation can sleep 11 people in individual rooms, but as many of our rooms are, or can be set up to be, twin rooms, we can accommodate nearly 30 people if they are willing to share bedrooms, (this is 19 in the Cowshed B&B with rooms twinned up, 9 in Beech Cottage and two in the Orchard Hut.) The Orchard Hut itself can accommodate two people (and one well-behaved dog.) We have ample car parking to accommodate you. At this time, Covid restrictions apply.
- Kitchen and cafe - Our fully fitted kitchen can supply all your catering needs, from cooked breakfast, through buffet lunches to three-course evening meals. Tea and coffee (and homemade cake,) can be provided at specific times or all day long, on a self-serve basis. We would be very happy to discuss catering options with you. Please feel free to call us on 01300 320684 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
- We can host a range of independent parties, from universities and colleges, through special interest societies to walkers, painters and embroiderers, and would be very happy to discuss your exact requirements. If you would like more information, or to pop in and see us to see what we have to offer or to discuss a booking, please call us on 01300 320684 and we would be delighted to make arrangements.
- Prices start from £40+ VAT.
Volunteer at Kingcombe
Would you like to get outside more, connect with nature, meet new friends and learn new skills? Why not join our volunteer team helping with our wildlife and kitchen gardens here at Kingcombe?
Although gardening knowledge is welcomed, it doesn’t matter if you're not an experienced gardener. The main thing is that you enjoy being outside and are willing to give it a go. There’s always a variety of seasonal activities for all abilities such seed sowing, weeding, harvesting and working as a team to develop the centre grounds to encourage visitors to learn about the amazing wildlife on our doorstep.
Volunteering can help you to towards an active lifestyle, make new friends, learn new skills and feel satisfied in the knowledge that you're providing an invaluable service for the centre and the Dorset Wildlife Trust as a whole.
If you are interested in volunteering at Kingcombe please register centrally via email@example.com.
Accommodation at The Kingcombe Centre
Escape to nature surrounded by the very best of Dorset’s wildlife where you can experience the rare freedom to roam undisturbed in this natural landscape. Situated in 450 acres of the Kingcombe Meadows Nature Reserve in west Dorset, we can provide B&B accommodation, plus self-contained cottages, Beech Cottage and Pound Cottage, and our refurbished Shepherds Hut, the Orchard Hut, where you can wake to the sound of bird song and feel closer to nature.
Snuggle up with its cosy woodburner for a taste of the outdoors while you drift off to sleep to the gentle sounds of the night. Tucked away in the heart of Kingcombe Meadows nature reserve in west Dorset, our Orchard Hut offers a truly special getaway. Once providing shelter for road workers, this stunning van has had a makeover, including a cosy double/twin bed, log stove and electricity to ensure a comfortable night’s sleep before waking to the sound of birdsong.
Guests have use of their own bathroom nearby, a private deck area and a firepit to roast some marshmallows! Full breakfast is served in the Humble Bee café (available Thursday - Monday, additional cost). Pets are welcome too and there’s space for a tent outside.
Prices from £65 per night excluding breakfast. For bookings and more information phone 01300 320684, or you can simply click below to book the Orchard Hut via Air B&B.
Originally the pound keeper's cottage on the local estate, Pound Cottage is now a perfect retreat for those wanting to get away from the hustle and bustle. Situated near to the Kingcombe Centre, the cottage sleeps up to 3 and is a warm and cosy base from which to explore the acres of SSSI nature reserve and surrounding area.
This characterful cottage boasts a log burner, exposed brickwork and original flagstone flooring. It has been recently refurbished throughout.
To see more photos and book via Sykes Cottages:
Recharge with a good nights sleep in our comfortable Bed and Breakfast rooms in Westgate Lodge (also known as the Cowshed). With 11 rooms in total all ensuite except one, our accommodation is simple yet comfortable. Guests have the use of a kitchenette with tea and coffee facilities, lounge area and WIFI. We have one ground floor room that is suitable for disabled access.
All our heating and hot water is generated on-site using sustainable fuel pellet technology and solar panels. Dogs can be accommodated in some rooms for a small surcharge.
Single ensuite room - from £54 per room per night.
Twin ensuite room - from £69 per room per night.
Breakfast is available Thursday - Monday at an additional cost of £12 pp.
To find out more about availability and prices please call the office on 01300 320684
Beech Cottage is the perfect place to get away from it all, with a private garden, fully fitted kitchen, large lounge with woodburner, conservatory and five bedrooms (Sleeps up to 9).
This self-contained cottage in Lower Kingcombe is set back from Kingcombe Road, at the end of a private drive. It has its own car park and with five bedrooms (four with ensuite bathroom) including a ground floor bedroom and separate bathroom suitable for disabled access. Dogs are welcome. Short breaks available.
Escape to nature with access to over 500 acres of nature reserve only a few feet from the front door!
Beech Cottage is part of The Kingcombe Centre run by Dorset Wildlife and is located in the heart of Kingcombe Meadows Nature Reserve. Staying at Beech Cottage offers guests the opportunity to immerse themselves in wildlife and the countryside and enjoy access to a variety of nature trails that explore this unique corner of Dorset. There are also opportunities to take part in self-led walks (maps provided!) and activities at The Kingcombe Centre.
To book or enquire about availability, visit Classic Cottages using the link below.