We all know how it goes. New Year’s resolutions are made at a time of year when hope springs eternal, when the world is bright and new (okay, wet and new) and the possibilities for change seem definitely . . . probably within reach.
So we share with our nearest and dearest our wishes and goals and they repeat theirs back to us and we all proceed with a bullish sense of determination. Gym clubs up and down the country know this and make their best offers at this time of year. As do numerous slimming operations. They’ll take your dollar for a year’s worth of gym time and you will work out that if you go three times a week it comes out at £1.50 a throw, which is an absolute bargain!
Sadly, in March, when your visits are down to one a month (if you can be arsed) each visit will now be costing around £45.
Is it only people that make and break resolutions? We got to wondering if your dog is secretly willing him or herself to be a better dog by making some resolutions of their own. So, in the spirit of the times, here’s a few they might be contemplating:
1. I resolve, when wet, to shake myself dry OUTSIDE the house, car, pub rather than just after I get inside.
2. I resolve, as a white-haired dog, not to roll in any other business (you know what I mean) which is invariably never white.
3. I resolve to sleep in until my human does, regardless of my strong urge to go into the garden and stand there for ten minutes doing pretty much nothing at all.
4. I resolve to let somebody else near the most convenient heat source in any given room/house.
5. I resolve to bark only when the situation demands it, and not merely for fun at, say, other dogs in other cars.
Your dog will, we are sure, start with the best of intentions, fully intending to become a better, more responsible dog. And of course they will fail. Just like we do.
Best just accept ourselves and our dogs for who we are! Happy New Year!
As Winter approaches, we agree with John Boswell, who described Winter as “ . . . a lingering season . . . a time to gather golden moments.” Here’s 5 reasons why you will gather golden moments with a Winter stay in the heart of Dorset.
1. The Countryside - Let’s start with our wonderful natural asset, the countryside. From the spectacular Blackmore Vale to the Cerne Abass giant, we are situated in the heart of one of the most beautiful counties in England. Our Seven Heavenly Walks booklet will point the way to some fabulous Winter walking. Take your time on a crisp Winter morning, knowing there’s a warm welcome waiting back at The Fox.
2. Dog friendly - If you are worried about leaving the dog(s) back home, then don’t! We love dogs here and are proud of our reputation as Dorset’s most dog-friendly destination. She can stay in the room with you, and there are bowls of water and dog biscuits at the bar. But our crowning glory is our brand-new Doggy Wetroom, complete with shower, grooming table and dog dryer to clean up after your muddy ramble!
3. Accommodation - we pride ourselves on our deluxe but cosy accommodation. All our rooms have en-suite facilities making it a comfortable, stylish stay at our historic Inn.
4. Seasonal Menu - here in the heart of Dorset we are blessed with an abundance of locally-sourced food, which we put together in our varied seasonal menu served in the restaurant, ensuring good, hearty food that will tempt the choosiest of palettes, whilst also providing more traditional pub grub if that’s your fancy. And don’t forget our Winter Warmer Sunday Carvery - famed County-wide!
5. Getting Away From It All - switch off your electronic devices and share some magic moments with your nearest and dearest, right in the heart of an idyllic Winter landscape. You’ll be glad you gathered some golden moments when you stay at the Fox Inn at Ansty.
Our fully equipped dog wet room is now finished and open for business!! it has a shower, which is set at a moderate temperature so your pampered pooch can be assured of a pleasant shower, a dryer, grooming table, towels and shampoos.
The wet room is available for all our guests free of charge and for non-guests for a minimum charge.
Brilliant for this muddy autumnal weather.
The doggy wet room was built by Mike Whicher or Whicher Decor and photographs of the build taken by Keith Rendell.
Our new doggie wet room is coming along well. The images above show the new dog shower being built.
This will be available for all our furry friends after they've enjoyed a walk in the beautiful Dorset countryside!
The words ‘dog friendly’ are used a lot these days and that’s great, except there few ways of telling exactly how dog friendly a bar, restaurant or hotel is? This is important, because it’s your best friend we are talking about here!
So we decided to ask our own dogs, George and Milly, for their perspective on how friendly we are at The Fox.
“It’s great when new people arrive with their dogs! We love meeting new dogs! We like to greet them into our hotel and show them around so that they know where all the water bowls are. We also let them know that there are dog biscuits at the bar - very important!
“Then there are the regulars - people, that is. They all like dogs and are very friendly. A lot of them have their own dogs with them too, so there’s lots of company.
“We dogs love our humans though, so it’s good to know that we can stay with them in their (our) room and sleep safe. Plus, there are three eating areas in the restaurant, so we are allowed to be in one of them with our owners when they are eating - it has even been known for our owners to cook something special for our doggy guests!
“What’s more, the countryside around here is like a dog paradise. It’s just brilliant for walks and our owners can show guest owners some really great ones from a special book. At the end, all you want to do is sleep!
“The next thing our owners are doing for our dog guests is building a wet room just for dogs. Lush! Special showers and proper dog dryers will be ready at the end of October!”
So that’s what George and Milly think, but why not try for yourself? Bring the dog or dogs for a lovely Autumn break - we have lots of special deals too, like three nights for two in November!
PS. Just to say, we have rooms and restaurant space that are dog-free if you wish. We wouldn’t want to discriminate against humans, now would we!
Pictured above are the lovely ladies of Ammy's Delight- who stayed at the Fox Inn with their dogs for the WoofstockUK festival from 21-aug until 24-aug.
"We had a marvellous stay and would like to thank you again for your hospitality."
Ammy's Delight is a small business which makes home made dog biscuits. All biscuits are made using the best ingredients we can get. That means free range eggs from our own chicken, free range chicken breast and no added artificial ingredients, sugar or salt. We use only 100% natural ingredients.
Summer in Bournemouth is inevitably busy. As the nation’s top resort it pulls in a whopping 4.7 million tourists each year, swelling the 450,000 resident population of what is now one of the fastest growing conurbations - with Poole and Christchurch - in the UK.
So it can feel just a bit crowded, and yes, it’s nice to throng with the masses on the beaches and in the shops of this bustling town, for a while.
But, whether you are a visitor to the town, or lucky enough to be a resident, there will come a time when you long for the peace and tranquility of a traditional country Inn, set in the middle of nowhere, where you can sit with a glass of something refreshing before relaxing over a delicious meal, cooked to order.
And there is such a place! Right in the heart of the beautiful Dorset Downs, yet closer to Bournemouth than you might think, The Fox at Ansty is an inviting, traditional 250 year-old pub, boasting it’s own restaurant serving a full menu to suit all tastes, from The Fox Burger and home-made fish and chips to its specialist Countryside Fayre menu, which changes according to the season! You can even email ahead to find out what’s on that day!
If you are coming for the day, and we would recommend it, you’ll find our 7 Heavenly Walks booklet will lead to stunning views of the surrounding countryside for you to discover, before returning you to The Fox to relax and unwind.
And don’t leave the dog behind. We pride ourselves on being completely dog-friendly. In fact, we love them so much we have them in their own rogues gallery on our website! There’s even free dog biscuits at the bar!
Set the satnav to DT2 7PN, or download the map from the website, and you’ll be with us in less than an hour, which is not bad when we guarantee you’ll be a million miles away from the crowds!
When it comes to describing this mythical, magical land of Wessex where we are lucky enough to be situated, there is no better exponent than Thomas Hardy. His novels, set in 19th century Dorset have come to define the area, and thanks to the slow pace of life hereabouts, it is easy to imagine when you visit that nothing has changed.
The beauty and majesty of the Dorset countryside certainly hasn’t. And that’s why sourcing locations for the 2015 film version of Hardy’s first published novel, Far From The Madding Crowd, was not difficult. In the novel, in which Hardy resurrected the old Saxon name of Wessex, the main action takes place in the village of Weatherbury. He is thought to have based this fictional place on the quaintly-named Dorset village of Puddletown. The other town mentioned is Casterbridge, based on Dorset’s County town of Dorchester, made famous in its own right by another of Hardy’s novels, The Mayor of Casterbridge.
Modern day locations for the latest of four film versions of the novel to be made used Dorchester as a location, but other scenes were shot in the Dorset towns and villages of Mapperton, Beaminster, Sherborne, West Bay, Durdle Door and Eype.
If you haven’t read the book, the story centres on Bathsheba Everdene, a strong, independent woman who attracts three very different suitors; the dependable Gabriel Oak, prosperous and mature William Bolderwood and a reckless sergeant, William Troy. The novel sets the story of romantic entanglement against the background of the rural life so beloved of Hardy.
Here in Ansty, we are lucky enough to be situated in the heart of all the locations mentioned in the book and the film, both literally and imaginatively. In fact, his cottage (pictured) is to be found just a few miles down the road from us at The Fox!
Come and see Far From The Madding Crowd’s locations for yourself and immerse yourself in the beating heart of Hardy country. The peaceful charm of the area will draw you in as the novels do and will make for a wonderful, relaxing stay.
We are really proud to have won the 2014 Award of Excellence from Booking.com as honoured by our guests.
Thank you to everyone, who has stayed with us at the Fox Inn, for your fabulous reviews. We really appreciate your support.
Do come and stay with us again soon!
When it comes to game birds, I suspect most of us think instantly of Grouse, coming into season in the middle of August - the 12th, of course - and cooked with earthy ingredients to accompany the heather notes of the bird. Of course, it’s always best to use produce that is bursting with life at the same time, to preserve your seasonal flavour, so beetroot and cabbage are perfect, as are wild mushrooms and, surprisingly, blackberries.
During the Summer season, the humble pigeon is at it’s fattest and tastiest. Often found in a warm summer salad, they are a delightfully different take on a seasonal staple.
Moving into the Autumn, pheasants, which largely share the same type of environment as Grouse, will often be accompanied in dishes featuring late growing fruits. Apples and hedgerow berries are perfect, after alongside parsnips, sometimes made in a mash with apples. The pheasant is the most plentiful of Britain’s game birds, available fresh between October and February.
Certain fruits and game birds seem to complement each other perfectly - for example, partridge is most often paired with, er, pears! But this bird will also fit well with red cabbage, leeks and root vegetables. Partridges are small birds, serving one or two people.
Duck is the other of our game birds to relish a pairing with sweet fruit sauces. Oranges, raspberries, cherries and cranberries being amongst the favourites to enhance the Duck’s rich, full flavour.
Other meats include Rabbit, which is widely available throughout the year, although those between three and four months old are the tastiest. Rabbit is low in fat and so perfect for marinating and in casseroles.
Venison is close to fat-free, with a wonderful flavour, and is cooked in a variety of ways. Good for roasting, frying or barbecuing, Venison is also widely available all year around.
Below is a rough guide to Seasonal produce, month by month:
Vegetables Beetroot, red, white and green cabbages, celeriac, kohlrabi, leeks, onions, potatoes, spinach and chard.
Fruit and nuts The last of the English apples, pears and nuts.
Game Matured partridge, pheasant, mallard, pigeon, rabbit and hare.
Fish Brill, cod, flounder, John Dory and scallops.
Cheese Bonchester, Sharpham and Appleby Cheshire. From France - Bresse Bleu, Cantal, Pont l'Eveque and Roquefort.
Vegetables Brussels sprouts, Brussels tops, salsify and shallots.
Game Feathered game now at an end, except for varieties of wild duck. Plenty of wild rabbit and hare.
Fish Lemon sole and other flat fish. Wild salmon season begins.
Cheese Farmhouse Cheddar, blue Cheshire and Cotherstone. From France - Brie de Meaux, Tomme Arlesienne and Bleu des Causses.
Vegetables Calabrese, purple sprouting broccoli, carrots, spring greens, spring onions.
Fruit The first rhubarb.
Game Pigeon, rabbit and hare.
Fish Mackerel, halibut and bass. Flat fish are beginning to spawn now, so their quality declines. Wild salmon and sea trout.
Cheese Cotherstone, Wensleydale, Coulommiers, Comte, Banon and Roquefort.
Vegetables Spring cabbages and carrots. All winter root vegetables are now on their last legs, but the first new potatoes from Jersey are in. Leeks and the first lettuces and other salad leaves. The short morel season begins.
Fruit Height of the rhubarb season.
Meat Welsh lamb.
Game Pigeon, rabbit and hare.
Fish The first crabs, salmon trout, lobster and shrimps.
Cheese Single Gloucester, Double Berkeley, Beaufort and Gapron. Fresh goats' milk cheeses.
Vegetables The asparagus season. The first broad beans, spinach, sorrel and primo cabbage.
Meat New-season lamb continues.
Fish Spring lobster, haddock and prawns.
Cheese English soft cheeses, Sharpham, Bonchester and Wheatland. From France - Reblochon, Bleu d'Auvergne and Chabichou.
Vegetables Asparagus continues its short season. New potatoes, the first courgettes and globe artichokes, green beans, salad leaves, mange-tout and watercress.
Fruit Strawberries, cherries and gooseberries.
Fish Hake, crab, lobster, prawns, sardines and whitebait.
Cheese Farmhouse Cheddar. From France - Saint-Marcellin, Sancerre and La Bouille.
Vegetables Broad beans, peas, green beans, garlic, cucumbers, lettuces and salad leaves, radishes and watercress.
Fruit Black, red and white currants, strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries, cherries, bilberries and blueberries.
Fish Grilse (young salmon), plaice just beginning and squid from Scotland. The best month for crab, lobster, prawns and shrimps.
Cheese Goats' milk cheese from Britain. From France - crottin de Chavignol, Valenay, Saint-Remy and Tomme Vaudoise.
Vegetables New beetroots, courgettes, peppers, potatoes such as Pink Fir Apple and Ratte, sweetcorn and tomatoes.
Fruit Plums (Early Laxton, Czar and Opal), cherries, apricots, loganberries and melons.
Game Grouse from the 12th onwards.
Fish Dover sole, grey mullet, haddock, herring, pilchards and red mullet.
Cheese Farmhouse Cheddar, Chaource, Valenay and Charolles.
Vegetables Salad leaves continue, sweetcorn and tomatoes. Wild mushroom season begins. New-season beetroots, cauliflowers and carrots.
Fruit Greengages, plums, figs, blackberries, grapes, melons. First English apples - Worcester, Pearmain and James Grieve. Wild sloes, elderberries, hawthorn and rowan.
Game Wild duck, partridge, teal, pigeon, venison and grouse.
Fish Clams, oysters, mussels, pilchards, plaice, prawns, sea bass, skate, turbot and Dover sole.
Cheese Farmhouse Cheshire, double Gloucester, Carré de l'Est, Brie de Meaux and Boulette d'Avesnes.
Vegetables Cèpes, chanterelles and a great range of other fungi - parasol, oyster, blewits, horse and field mushrooms. Broccoli, autumn varieties of cabbage, marrows and squashes, potatoes and young turnips.
Fruit and nuts Fresh walnuts, sweet chestnuts, hazelnuts, Kentish cobs, quinces, crab cooking and eating apples and pears.
Game Pheasant, woodcock, partridge, grouse, guinea fowl, hare and mallard.
Fish Brill, cod, Dover sole, mussels, oysters, squid and turbot.
Cheese Caerphilly, Vacherin, Gruyère and Cabrions de Macon.
Vegetables Parsnips, turnips, beetroots, red and Savoy cabbages, carrots, cauliflowers, celeriac, celery and leeks.
Fruit and nuts Apples, pears, quinces, medlars, almonds, chestnuts, hazelnuts and walnuts.
Game Pheasant, partridge, mallard and grouse. Hare and wild rabbit.
Fish Halibut, herring, sea bream and sprats.
Cheese Ribblesdale, Saint-Nectaire and Caprice-des-Dieux.
Vegetables Brussels sprouts, curly kale, Jerusalem artichokes, leeks, garlic, pumpkin, swedes, chard and spinach.
Fruit and nuts Much the same as November.
Game The same as November, plus goose.
Fish A whole turbot or sea bass makes a nice change from poultry over Christmas. Carp, conger eel, Dover sole, mussels, oysters and skate.
Cheese Stilton, Vacherin Mont d'Or, Tomme de Savoie and Brie de Melun.
The team from the Fox Inn Ansty.
How to find us...
The Fox Inn, Ansty, Dorchester, Dorset
DT2 7PN - Click here for Google Map
Tel: 01258 880328
Click for our Enquiry Form & Email
Our Usual Opening Hours:
Hotel: Check-in - 3.00pm Check-out: 10.00am
Monday to Saturday: 12.00am - 11.00pm
Sunday: 12.00am - 11.00pm
Carvery: Sundays - 12.00pm until 3.00pm
Afternoon Teas: Mon to Fri 3 to 6pm, Sun 4 to 6pm
Food Served: 12 to 2.30pm and 6 to 9pm
Breakfasts are served each morning from 8.00am to 9.30am. We will cater for non-residents.