You wouldn't know that The Byre was once a humble Dorset cowshed. Inside its stone walls, visitors can indulge in cool, contemporary living

The Byre is a former cowshed recently converted into a classy rural bolthole in Dorset's outstanding countryside. It is thought to be about 300 years old and the farmer whose lands adjoin the property can remember putting his cows in the old byre before milking.

There's a spacious 30ft sitting room, one double bedroom with en-suite power shower and bath, and two twin bedrooms adjacent to a smart walk-in shower. The Byre is fitted with a mixture of contemporary and traditional furnishings and includes a wooden burner in the sitting room, plenty of exposed beams and an Aga in the kitchen, while some original cow rings and bars still remain in a couple of the bedrooms. The patio doors open on to a pleasant garden and ornamental pond, while the large utility room has that classic country touch, a swing door.

The location

The Byre is located down a sleepy farm track off the A37, near the hamlet of Toller Porcorum. The garden backs on to open fields that are home to deer, foxes and llamas. A short-eared owl was perched on a fence during our visit. The property is attached to a 300-year-old barn, once used to store hay, but is now converted into a home.

The comfort factor

The lighting is thoughtful throughout and the beds are comfortable with matching crisp linen sheets. The roomy kitchen is light with clean lines and well stocked with utensils. There are plasma-screen televisions in the main bedroom, sitting room and kitchen and cosy contemporary leather furniture in the sitting room.

The bathroom

Both bathrooms have underfloor heating, simple fittings, power showers and a huge bath. Soaps by Gilchrist & Soames.

The food and drink

A welcome basket of local cheese, milk and wine awaits you. Excellent pubs include the West Bay Pub in West Bay and the Hive Beach Café at Burton Bradstock beach.

The people

Sleeps up to six people. Popular with couples looking for a weekend away, friends getting together or the parents, two kids and grandparents combo.

The area

The Byre is only 10 miles from Golden Cap and the spectacular Jurassic coast of Dorset and Devon, with its dramatic cliffs, ancient woodlands and hedgerows that date back to the Iron Age.

The access

There are steps down to the lounge and bedrooms, but they are not steep and are negotiable for wheelchair users with assistance. A high chair and cot are provided.

The damage

From £395 for two nights, up to six people; £880 a week.

The address

The Byre, Toller Porcorum, Dorset, is managed by Rural Retreats (01386 701177;

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