THE couple behind an award-winning restaurant are preparing to open a “rural escape” in the form of a Victorian farmhouse with five acres of grounds.

Jez and Niki Barfoot founded the Tickled Pig Restaurant and are now planning to open Abbots Court, at Winterborne Kingston, this month.

The couple’s restaurant was launched in 2012 and they subsequently added a catering business, Tickled Pig Events. They set up their own kitchen garden and acquired a small herd of Oxford Sandy and Black rare breed pigs.

They were featured in the Michelin Guide within months and received good reviews form the likes of Tom Parker Bowles, with diners including David Cameron and Mary Berry.

Abbots Court, owned by the Drax Estate, is a seven-bedroom luxury bed and breakfast with dining for guests, glamping in the form of bell tents and shepherds’ huts, a walled kitchen garden and livestock in the form of pigs and chickens.

Mrs Barfoot said: “We’ve waited a long time to find the right place and this project is filled with love and passion. The interior design has been carefully created under the sponsorship and guidance of internationally acclaimed Farrow and Ball whose beautifully hand printed wallpapers and paints adorn the walls.

“We selected colours and wallpapers that work in harmony with the natural surroundings of the house taking their influence from the beautiful Dorset countryside.”

Mr Barfoot, a Masterchef semi-finalists, said: “Our guests will be able to enjoy food picked fresh from the garden as our chefs prepare each meal using locally sourced, seasonal food.

“Guests can wander freely though the grounds enjoying the peace and quiet as well as relax with the home comforts of bed and breakfast accommodation in a Victorian farmhouse.

“At the heart of this project is an amazing walled kitchen garden with its newly-built living wall, which I created by hand using wood cleared from the site. The wall will be planted up with luscious heritage heirloom variety salads and a rich variety of fruit and veg.”

The couple say the soil at the Abbots Court is rich in minerals which produce distinctive flavours in vegetables.

Mr Barfoot added: “Our rare breed pigs will have a new home in the woodland behind the farmhouse and we hope to be curing and air drying home reared charcuterie in the cellar in the near future.”