Philippa is a TV producer. She lives with husband Martin and daughter Emily on a farm near Beaminster, where they host the annual Buckham Fair every summer.
We arrived in West Dorset in 1998. We didn’t really have any plans to move to the country at all. We went to a wedding of a friend near Corfe Castle and neither of us really knew Dorset at all.
But we absolutely fell in love with the area and really, we were looking for a property half-heartedly, just for an excuse to come to Dorset every weekend!
We were looking for a little cottage. We were really very urban in central London. We had a great flat right in the centre, on the river.
Then we realised that you don’t just find really nice houses in West Dorset, because everything that comes up is right by a main road or something.
So we got a househunter and ended up with a really big — far too big — house for weekending in Powerstock, but absolutely loved it; we had the best time there.
We then realised, as people seem to — it seems to be a common story — that once you are bitten by the Dorset bug, you just want to be here more and more.
Then we had a daughter and the choice was: Where do we bring her up and send her to school? And there didn’t seem to be any argument at all.
So that was when we pretty much moved down full time.
There wasn’t really a plan to move here at all; it was about having a little weekend place and now our whole lives are here.
Our daughter, who is 15 now, is Dorset “born and bred”!
Then we got bitten by the horse bug.
I was always very, very horsey growing up — I didn’t have a horse but I was always obsessed. Then we had a daughter whose first word was “horse” and she got in to horses from the age of two.
And then we realised the second hardest thing to get in Dorset after your house, is to get land.
So we thought we needed to find somewhere with more land, so that’s how we ended up with the most beautiful farm — we think — in the world.
We feel very lucky and we never thought that we would go from a two-bedroomed flat right in the city of London to 130 acres in Dorset — we didn’t see that coming!
The fair started when we had been on the farm for about a year. Our neighbours wanted to run a little gymkhana for Riding for the Disabled and a tiny dog show.
Then Martin thought that we should do something ourselves, so we would have control over it. Martin used to, and still does, get asked to open every fete, every weekend, which he did do, masses of them, but we realised that we didn’t really have any weekends to ourselves.
So although he obviously does lots of other stuff, we thought that if we have our own fair, dog show, horse show, everything, each year, and choose our own Dorset charity, it makes us feel better about being able to turn down other things.
But again, it has turned in to something bigger than we ever thought.
We didn’t set out to be one of the big events in the calendar here, but we are thrilled that it is.
We have a really tight-knit team that runs it with us. We literally are hands-on.
We are five people now and we are all over it, we do it all ourselves.
I think part of its charm is that it feels very sort of old-fashioned and not corporate and not big, although a lot of people come.
It’s great and we have raised £250,000 so far. And it seems to get bigger each year.
We do enjoy it, but it is really, really hard work. Our daughter loves it, and all our family come.
And people really do love it. People love the fact that they can bring their dogs — we had about 800 dogs last year!
Martin is there all day and he meets everybody — he is so hands-on and I think people love that too.
We get out to Beaminster and around all the time, we really, really feel part of that community.
So all in all, a good move from the two-bedroomed flat!
Sometimes I think: Gosh, what would we do at weekends if we had a flat with no garden and no animals?
We have four dogs, two cats, 14 horses and chickens. We have someone to run the farm, but when Martin’s at home he really does like to get stuck in!
at Buckham Down, near Beaminster (DT8 3SH) in aid of the Julia’s House children’s hospice, will be held on Sunday August 23, starting at 9am.
Adult entry £5, children under 16 free. Tickets are only available on the gate.