Our corner of the world is no longer quite the hidden gem it once was: the National Trust now looks after the Iron Age fort of Hambledon Hill; Hauser & Wirth have opened a gallery in Bruton, the well-known Cork Street gallery, Messum’s, has opened in nearby Tisbury to much acclaim and glossy magazines never stop extolling the virtues of the Cranborne Chase: “the new Cotswolds”, apparently.
Clayesmore is a great place to go to school. The landscape is beautiful and the area is among the sunniest in England. It is rural, unspoilt and peaceful, yet accessible from everywhere, The school is part of Iwerne Minster, a picturesque village halfway between the small markettowns of Blandford Forum and Shaftesbury, at the heart of the Blackmore Vale. There are places to stay and to visit, good pubs, and plenty of countryside to explore. The Jurassic Coast, Poole Harbour, Sandbanks and Studland are all nearby. The beautiful city of Bath with its classical terraces and Roman remains is within an hour’s drive and Oxford and London are near enough for us to make educational trips to both.
And Clayesmore itself is a place of wonder. The main house was designed in the nineteenth century by Alfred Waterhouse, who also designed the Natural History Museum and the National Liberal Club in London as well as buildings at Balliol College, Oxford and Pembroke College, Cambridge. The grounds, including the lake give the pupils a real sense of space, and Hambledon Hill, a neolithic hill fort whose ramparts are largely intact, provides a majestic setting to our school.