A fund totalling £1.7 million has been made available to help enhance the landscape around Wytch Farm oilfield in Purbeck. Officially launched on 18th January, the Wytch Farm Landscape and Access Enhancement Fund is now open for applications from individuals, groups and organisations.

 Thinking of starting a local project to help older people in Dorset get active outdoors? 

Local communities can now apply for funding for initiatives that will enhance health and wellbeing for older people, including those with dementia and their carers by helping them spend more time outdoors.

Dorset Food & Drink held an event at The Lesley Waters Cookery School to celebrate Lesley joining the organisation as an ambassador to promote Dorset’s finest food and drink. 30 member businesses from across the county came to mark the occasion with Lesley, the Dorset Food & Drink team and corporate partners Porter Dodson. Dorset Food & Drink members contributing to the canape feast at the cookery school in Halstock were Dorset Pastry, Ford Farm Cheese, BV Dairy, Goldhill Organics, Capreolus, Dorset Blue Vinny, Wobbly Cottage, Brace of Butchers, The Watercress Company and Solkiki chocolates. Liberty Fields and Furleigh Estate provided a Dorset twist on the classic bellini cocktail to toast the occasion.

Lesley Launch 5
Lesley Waters, well known for her television appearances, studied French Cuisine for three years at Ealing College including time as a chef at the Waldorf Hotel. During this training period, she won one gold, and two silver medals at Hotelympia and was awarded a scholarship to the Hotel Intercontinental, Dusseldorf. She joined Prue Leith's restaurant and was quickly promoted to senior chef. She then worked as a freelance corporate chef and caterer for government officials before joining Leith's School of Food and Wine as an instructor, rising to head tutor.
In addition to her television work with Ready Steady Cook, Great Food Live and This Morning, Lesley is also the author of several Cookery Books, a qualified Fitness Instructor and a mother of two! Originally a Londoner born & bred, Lesley was quickly charmed by the beauty of the West Dorset area and inspired by the superb quality of the fresh local produce available right on her doorstep. She likes to cook seasonal food whenever possible and her simple, modern style creates dishes that are easy to recreate with stunning results. Teaching has always been her great passion and opening her own Cookery School in this amazing location is the realisation of a long held dream. Her energetic style of presentation is expertly combined with clear and simple guidance, making her classes both entertaining and informative.

Lesley Launch 3
Dorset Food & Drink is a non-profit organisation representing the very best of locally produced food and drink. Dorset Food & Drink promotes, supports, encourages and celebrates the amazingly vibrant food and drink sector in this county. With around 200 member businesses, Dorset Food & Drink covers the whole local food scene from the small kitchen producer to the county’s top brands, from street food to fine dining, farms, distributors and places to learn.
As a county, Dorset has a fantastic range of fine fresh produce, and is increasingly being known as ‘the larder of the southwest’. With outstanding protected landscapes, 8000 years of farming and fishing heritage, market towns, coastal communities, clean seas, rural villages and lively towns it is easy to see why Dorset can produce the wonderful array of local food and drink. Whatever you’re looking for, whether it be some freshly cooked sausages or seafood, handcrafted chocolates or cheese, or even a bottle of beer, cider, wine, gin or vodka, you’ll be sure to find it through Dorset Food & Drink.

For more information on Dorset Food & Drink contact: Katharine Wright, T/: 01305 228239; M/: 07584255460 or E/:

Image copyright remains with photographer Richard Budd

High res images are available on request

Editor’s Notes
Dorset Food & Drink is a member-based organisation with a special trademarked brand overseen by the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty team. It represents Dorset's food and drink business community bringing a strong and vibrant sector together under one banner. As well as promoting what Dorset has to offer, it provides excellent networking opportunities for its members and specialist advice on a number of topics, including environmental issues and support to improve your businesses environmental sustainability.
The Lesley Waters Cookery School at Abbot’s Hill Farm nestles in the heart of the West Dorset countryside. It is about fresh, simple ingredients and creating great food. But it’s not just about the cooking it’s the whole day, meeting people and enjoying the atmosphere where you can relax, learn and laugh. We pride ourselves on creating a relaxed and friendly atmosphere and you will take home with you the knowledge and the know how to create simple and stylish food with confidence and flair. No expert skills are needed you just need to enjoy food and good company. The school offers a wide range of interesting 1 day hands on days, workshops and demonstration days for all abilities, including Bread and Pastry, Cooler than Chillies, By the Sea, Seasonal and Vegetarian Kitchen. Please see to find out what Les has been up to and for more details of the courses. Or you can email us at or call us on 0844 800 4633.

Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the Jurassic Coast Team have pulled together a series of lovely short walks for you to enjoy. All of them start at bus stops along the Jurassic Coaster bus route in West Dorset. The walks have been researched, checked (and re-checked!) by our wonderful volunteers.

The Jurassic Coast is England’s only natural World Heritage Site, a unique place where the rocks and fossils reveal 185 million years of the Earth’s history.  Discover wild natural beauty, cosy seaside havens and fabulous local food and drink. While you are exploring, bear in mind: this coast looks like it does because of erosion. Erosion means that the coast is dynamic and is always on the move.

You should always keep your wits about you, whether you are out walking, fossil hunting or having a picnic. It is easy to enjoy the Jurassic Coast without putting yourself or others at risk. Don’t forget:

1. Always stay away from the cliffs (top and bottom). There is always a risk of landslides and rock falls and they can, and do, happen any time
2. Mud flows can extend across the beaches – be alert; they look deceptively like the beach itself
3. Never ignore a warning sign – they are there for your safety
4. Always check tide times before you set off along the beach. You may become cut off if the tide comes in. There are free Tide Time apps - why not download one so you can check before you go out

Sally King, Jurassic Coast and Dorset AONB Visitor, Tourism and Access Manager said: “We’re really grateful to the volunteers who helped research these walks. We plan to publish more walks along other parts of the coast and inland in the future. If you are interested in researching and checking more walks, please keep an eye out on social media and the local press – we will be asking for your help again!”

If you find any issues with any of the routes, please do let us know. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do.

Abbotsbury via the Coast Path

Brit Valley Walk

Burton Bradstock Coastal Circular

Burton Bradstock Inland Circular

Burton Bradstock to West Bay

Fleet Lagoon Circular

Over Portesham Hill

Portesham via the old Railway

Portesham Withy Beds

Short circular from Chickerell

West Bexington on the Coast Path






This Christmas you can really feast on the great delicacies that Dorset Food & Drink members have on offer. But once you've had your fill, you might want to get out and about in the Dorset countryside to blow the cobwebs away!

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