There’s a special atmosphere permeating the hidden Purbeck gem of Burnbake.

Nestling in woodland, halfway between historic Corfe Castle and Studland, this little piece of tranquility with a stream running through, is home to a campsite and luxury lodges and at £4m, one of the biggest recent investments in Dorset’s tourism sector. It’s a rather modern twist in an area once described as being of ‘unresolved enigma and dark secrets.’

It’s a place to escape the mad rush of the world and largely the vision of one woman, Philippa Ryder of the Ryder family, owners of the Rempstone Estate on the Isle of Purbeck. Philippa founded the Burnbake site back in 1975 with her landowner husband Ben and his twin brother James. Then you would have found her working night and day to make it a success, doing everything from scrubbing the toilet block to checking in guests with the colour coded booking system. Today, you may find her watering the plants at Burnbake and planting greenery, to keep our site looking immaculate.

“I never worked so hard in my life when we set out,” Philippa explains. “When I look back at it now, I wonder how we did it all. It has been an amazing journey.” The land that now houses the campsite and lodges was originally a patch of burnt out heathland, known for centuries as Burnbake. With trees planted for shade in the hot summer days, it was the start of many subtle changes.

“We may have come a long way, especially recently but Burnbake is still very much rooted in the family and it’s why people come back year after year I think.”

In the 18th and 19th centuries, the Rempstone Estate stretched in a broad sweep across the Isle of Purbeck from the southern shore of Poole Harbour to Winspit and Worth Matravers.

The Rempstone parish has been described in his historical terms as an area of unresolved enigma and dark secrets. The name is thought to have come from one of the original Lords of the Manor, Robert Rempston, in the 15th century.

The estate changed hands many times over the centuries. In 1861 the census noted that Rempstone Hall had ten resident servants, two footmen, two ladies’ maids, a cook, a cookman, a scullery maid, a butler and a carpenter.

In 1927, the hall was inherited by Major Douglas Claude Dudley (Jack) Ryder and his family. Jack was Lord of the Manor for 50 years. He served as a Purbeck district councillor for 35 years where he served as chairman between 1959 and 1968. He also was a Poole Harbour Commissioner. Jack died in 1986.

He was the father of Ben and James. Philippa and Ben married in 1960.

Rempstone Hall was requisitioned by the Defence Ministry and only returned to the family in 1949. It has been claimed though never confirmed in any document, that the D Day landings were planned here.

Today, the site is managed on behalf of the Ryder Family, by our General Manager, Zoe Pattison.

Burnbake lodges hot tub

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