An indisputably pretty village, Briantspuddle lies alongside the River Piddle in the Piddle Valley Conservation Area, roughly ten miles from the county town of Dorchester and just over a mile from the main transport hub of the A35. A small village with plenty of spirit, Briantspuddle’s active community supports a shop/post office, a social club and a village hall alive with classes, clubs and activities. The village also hosts an annual Open Gardens event.
Historically speaking, Briantspuddle’s story is a fascinating and unique one. Though many Dorset villages can claim documentation in the Domesday Book of 1086, Briantspuddle first appeared in the Geld, a land tax assessment from 1083. Fast-forward to 1914 and the small farming community of just 12 cottages (which still exist today) was sold to Sir Ernest Debenham, grandson of Debenham’s department store founder, William Debenham. Ernest’s vision was to turn the village into a self-sufficient agricultural enterprise, with each house possessing an indoor lavatory and at least a quarter of an acre of garden. By 1929, 40 more cottages had been built in the village as part of The Bladen Estate, which included the village itself – ‘Bladen Valley’ – and The Bladen Farms, which proved particularly successful in the areas of pasteurisation, egg production, beekeeping, the selective breeding of livestock, forestry and electricity generation. Upon Ernest’s death in 1952, The Bladen Estate was broken up and sold, but the beautiful village of Briantspuddle remains, boasting no less than 35 listed buildings.