Here at Coombe Mill we never let the grass grow under our feet. 70% of our holiday business is from repeat bookings, and every year those returning remark in wonder at the changes Nick and I have made. Managing that change is a delicate process. There is an “essence of Coombe Mill” which we strive to maintain. This is along the lines of
Freedom for children within a safe environment.
Preservation of the natural features and beauty of Coombe Mill
A sense of peace and tranquillity from the moment you arrive.
However in order to maintain this “feel” we actually need to inject change to move with the times and add more of the features that make a family holiday here extra special. This includes updating and replacing and rebuilding of properties, new and more exciting play areas and equipment and maintaining and developing the whole farm experience for our holiday guests. Last year the big changes were the introduction of the Coombe Mill Railway and the Coombe Mill Gym. This year we are focussing on a new luxury cottage to sleep ten and some changes on the farm.
I gather my ideas from suggestions of those staying here and from all over the internet including my Country Kids linky here on the blog. Reading the many posts of children having family fun outdoors each week is the perfect place for me to form new plans for Coombe Mill. I have a Pinterest board for Aspirations for Coombe Mill and it is growing all the time. Sadly the funds and time restrict us from doing everything and so prioritising becomes essential. Putting aside the new build for now, I thought I would share my ideas outside for the farm this year. Watch out Farmer Nick you could be busy!
A Plan of our farm
Our daily tractor rides are just about to become a whole load more exciting. Nick has worked tirelessly for the past month creating a new and exciting path around the top lake as shown by the dotted line from the car park above. We have had plenty of boys toys on site and the older children have been helping too.
The route until now would run from the car park and stop short of the lake returning home the same way after feeding the animals. The new circuit begins this week taking in all the beauty of the lake, the river Camel and surrounding meadows and woodland and gives me a whole new possibility to implement some of my budding ideas.
Testing the new tractor route; it will be blooming by spring.
I have seen many magical Country Kids posts covering nature trails, Gruffalo walks, fairy hunts and geocaching and I would love to bring in a taste of this on the farm. In the woodland section I see a gnome and fairy den with little delights just waiting to be found and some gathered woodland food such as acorns mixed with edible glitter for the children to scatter.
Following the new tractor journey along the wooded pathway and around the lakes and along the stream I would like wildlife information boards. I believe I can create these from painted wood cut by Nick to keep the cost down and make them specific and educational to the Coombe Mill habitat; added interest for the children as they travel or later in the day to return with parents on foot.
Across on the front lawn by the train and the play boat and trampoline becomes very crowded as people congregate and play before and after the afternoon rides. Something else for the very young to enjoy and to build confidence ahead of the train rides would be the introduction of these lovely toddler roller coaster rides. I think two would look perfect and be in constant use. I can see races being set up and if they don’t watch out they will miss the train! They look safe and easy for little ones to manage which is always a prerequisite for me.
Inside our ride on play area we have a lovely play house which Nick built. However to me it still lacks the finishing touches. I would love it give it a paint and make it look like a real little fun cottage and inside replace the void space with a play kitchen and table and chairs for the children. Here they can ride outside playing the farmer and then go indoors for their lunch. A great way to spark imaginary play while the parents chill out on the chairs and watch knowing the whole area is safely fenced in.
The Play area Now
Ride on Play Area with Cottage make over
30 acres is a long way to travel if you have little ones. While an all terrain buggy is ideal, and we have back carriers free to borrow in our reception, how about the introduction of one of these choo choo trains to help little ones zoom around the farm? A Coombe Mill car sticker on the front and back and this would make an investment to be enjoyed by many.
The Fun way to Travel around the farm
I would dearly love to add these additional features to the farm over the coming season however time and money are always key.
My Financial targets to a £750 budget:
Choo choo £139.99
Toddler Train £129.99 *2 = £259.98
Play Kitchen £99.99
Play Table and Chairs £49.99
Wood and paint for the nature trail £50
New plants round the lake, fairies and gnomes for the fairy garden £150
Edible Glitter for the fairy garden food mix & brown bags to carry £20.00
Mine and Nicks skill and labour £10 per hour £3000 made with love for Coombe Mill.
This blog post is an entry into the Tots100/Activity Toys Direct garden makeover competition
“Tales from the farmers wife” shares the funny and interesting happenings on our lovely holiday farm with Farmer Nick and our 6 children. A behind the scenes look on balancing family, farming, the holiday business and cooking for all.