Top Tips for visiting Fort Newhaven

Posted on March 17th, 2017 -

Down on the south coast and commanding a great position overlooking the sea and town, Fort Newhaven is a must visit for anyone with an interest in our war time history.  Built originally through fear of French Invasion in Napoleonic times, the Fort has undergone a number of war roles and is now listed as part of our English heritage. 


Top tips for visiting Fort Newhaven


We arrived on a cloudy and cold February day, despite this the views from the car park were rather impressive. We took in the surroundings, read the information boards and made our way to the entrance. I thought £25 for 6 of us to go in was very fair.


Arriving at Fort Newhaven for a family visit


No sooner had we entered into the fort than the children were given quiz sheets to work though and met by a local volunteer with a table full of war memorabilia for the children to examine.


Testing war items at Fort Newhaven


The poor volunteer looked rather taken back that Guy knew just how to operate the air rifle, I felt obliged to explain that we lived on a farm in Cornwall.


Guy testing the old rifle at Fort Newhaven


We joined one of the cinema viewings of the history of the Fort which was excellent and kept the kids enthralled.


Kids watching a film of the history of Fort Newhaven


There are a number of rooms leading off the main square each kitted out with different war time functions.  The children are all enjoying history at school and studying world war one so the visit felt like perfect timing.


The war exhibit rooms at Fort Newhaven


Interesting as the history was, it didn’t take the kids long to spot the playground. This was new since we came with our older children a few years ago and a welcome break from the educational aspect of the day and a perfect way to warm us up too.


Enjoying Play area at Fort Newhaven


 No visit to Fort Newhaven can be complete without a visit to the big guns. There are a number of paths, steps and tunnels that all interlink to the top. The kids took great pleasure in running up and down them, jumping in and out of the bunkers and around the guns.


The Guns and battlements at Fort Newhaven


Despite the murky day, the views from the top stretched for miles out to sea and inland.


Views from the top of Fort Newhaven


The sea looked a long way down. Yet there was a secret passage with more steps than I care to count to take you right down to the beach. Exploring down here was one of the highlights as the children were sure if they looked around hard enough they would find a door or window without padlocks where they could climb out onto the beach.


steps to beach level at Fort Newhaven


The secret entrance eluded them but they did discover a great spy game I may have to try and replicate at Coombe Mill. Coloured string was criss-crossed in a tunnel to represent electric wire and the challenge was to pass over and under the string without rattling the bells attached at either end. Fluorescent lighting added to the fun and kept them entertained for quite some time.


Testing the Spy Game at Fort Newhaven


For 3 almost teens who were quite indifferent to the prospect of a fort as a day out, they all reluctantly admitted that it was actually really rather fun and worthy of abandoning snap chat for a few hours!



Tips for visiting Fort Newhaven

  • Fort Newhaven is well signed on brown tourist signs as you enter the town

  • There is a height restriction to the car park, but our 9 seater mini bus just snuck under.

  • Family tickets work out best value and OAP rates are available too. I thought £25 for 6 of us was very fair.

  • It is worth checking the official website for any special event days.

  • There are toilets and a very adequate if not modern or glamorous cafe.

  • The steps make it unsuitable for wheelchairs and difficult with a buggy, though there are ramped alternatives to many of the key areas.

  • It is windy and exposed on the cliff top so dress accordingly even in summer.

  • I would say the Fort is most appreciated from age 8 upwards.

  • It is an educational day out but highly visual and a fun way to a little about our past.



Country Kids

Disney fans will love Moana now on DVD  

Posted on March 13th, 2017 -

We all love a bit of Disney fantasy; a story that ends happily ever after and provides good clean family entertainment. The Disney hit movie Moana was nominated for numerous awards including a BAFTA this season for its motion pictures, sound and more. Now you can let the animation unfold in your own living room with an afternoon of family entertainment as Moana comes out on digital download on 27th March and on Blu Ray and DVD on 3rd April.

Moana Range

Moana the Story 

Moana is a teenage girl from Oceania with a mind of her own and a taste for adventurous. She sets sail on a voyage across the ocean in search of a mythical island full of hope and determined to save her people. Along the way Moana meets Maui, her hero, who also happens to be a demi-god. Together, the two take on an epic adventure, encountering enormous fiery creatures and impossible odds. As well as seeking to save her people the journey becomes one of self-discovery for Moana, empowering her to find her own identity.  There is beautiful and powerful message for audiences of all ages and genders making this action packed adventure perfect for all the family.


Movie Stills from Moana

The Animation stars    




Auli‘i Cravalho


Dwayne Johnson

Moana’s father, Chief Tui

Temuera Morrison

Moana’s Gramma Tala

Rachel House

Moana’s Mother

Nicole Scherzinger


Jemaine Clement

Rooster Heihei

Alan Tudyk


The inspiration behind the Disney Moana Animation


According to directors, “Moana” was inspired by the great explorers who first navigated the Pacific, discovering the islands of Oceania. “Voyaging is a real source of pride for many Pacific Islanders, a part of their identity,” says Roy Clements. Many experts believe that about 3,000 years ago, those deep-sea exploratory voyages halted for about a millennium before resuming. This rebirth of exploration sparked the filmmakers’ imaginations and the heroine at the heart of the story. “The idea of a teenage girl who dreamed of becoming a navigator—considering the abilities of her ancestors—was so appealing,” explains Musker.


Set sail with your own adventure like Moana

Here at Coombe Mill we are all for bringing fantasy to life. Why not have a go at making your own mini sail boat and then set your very own character off on an exploration to new lands. All you need is a farm egg, old milk bottles, a little imagination and a spirit for adventure.  

Sailboats on the lake


Disney Moana Disk Need to Know Tips



Digital Download / Blu Ray / DVD

Bonus Features

Varies by format to include

  • Theatrical Short Film: “Inner Workings,”.
  • Music Video: “How Far I’ll Go”.
  • Audio Commentary.

Run time DVD

1h 40 – 1h 47




PG  (Bonus material not rated)



Win your copy of Disney’s Moana on DVD with Coombe Mill


Win Moana on DVD

If you fancy a little Disney animation family fun to watch at home, why not enter to win the Moana DVD with us. Simply follow the instructions below.  





We will be receiving a complimentary Disney DVD in return for this post. This can be borrowed by our holiday guests from the Coombe Mill Games Room.


Epidavros and the healing powers of Asklepios

Posted on March 12th, 2017 -

If you have been following my Greece series on the blog, this is the 5th post recounting some of the places we visited last summer taking our older boys on a post GCSE and A level trip. We began in Athens, Explored the Acropolis, headed down the the Peloponnese staying at Kantia where we visited Nafplion before heading out on a historic journey to Epidavros. It is the the power of the Gods in Greek mythology and the healing powers of Asklepios that brought Epidavros to our attention.

Ancient Greek civilisation and their belief in the power of the gods are responsible for so much of how Greece was developed. Between chilling out on the beaches of the Peloponnese it was a golden opportunity for us to explore some of the impressive history of the area. Epidavros is right up there as a top cultural destination being home to one of the most impressive ancient Greek theatres remaining today and it was only a 40 minute car journey for from our base at Kandia.


Top Tips for visiting Epidavros in Greece

I arrived at Epidavros with very little prior knowledge, but a helpful leaflet and signs all around the site soon bring a lay person like me up to speed.  The Epidavrians founded the site as a centre for healing based on its fresh water springs and influence of the gods. The healing powers of the gods at Epidavros actually dates back to the Myceanean period when the sanctuary was first established. However having been overthrown twice it is Asklepios who really developed the healing qualities and reputation for the sanctuary into a vast community by the 6th century BC; the ruins of which can still be seen today.

Exploring the ruins at Epidavros


Visits to the sanctuary became big business with a whole welfare program for the ill who paid to stay. Healing rooms and recovery rooms can still be seen. Myth has it that the gods would visit patients in the night and they would wake either healed or knowing the treatment they needed. Snake venom was a common ingredient in medicine and the snake became a sacred symbol depicted with Asklepios. Having a beard was also seen as a mark of power and intelligence. From the number of olive trees I’m sure olive oil had to be involved too.


Asklepios with snake and healing rooms at Epidavros


Typical treatments were carved into stone so that they could be followed by healers. Instruments recovered from the site suggest that the healing moved from myths and belief to basic surgery over time.

Medicial instruments in the museum of Epidavros


Wellness of mind was considered an important part of the healing process and a whole running track and seating can still be seen. Major athletic events were hosted here.


Epidavros ancient running track


Without doubt the highlight of the ancient sanctuary is the well preserved theatre. This is still in use today and a play had been shown the evening prior to our arrival. There was clearly a hanging involved as the props for this were still there. I would love to have seen the theatre all lit up at night. It is said that if you drop a penny on the central stage you will hear it at the top of the theatre thanks to the amazing natural acoustics of the arena. To be fair we failed that test but could hear a basic hand clap with ease.  


Theatre and props for performances at Epidavros


Despite being THE centre for healing, the site pays little regard to catering for disabled visitors with steps everywhere. Even in the theatre, there are some token wheelchair seating marked up to the 5th row. Quite how those in needs might access this is far from clear; a little lie down in the healing room to wait for divine inspiration first maybe?


Disabled Access at Epidavros Theatre

Tips for visiting Epidavros

  • Avoid the middle of the day in summer as it is very hot. We set off early retreating back to the beach for lunch time.

  • Entry prices: 6 euro for Adults 3 euro for children.

  • Do visit the museum before you go round the ruins to make sense of what you are seeing and see the reconstructions of how life was in the sanctuary.

  • Only take a small bottle of water, there is a fresh water tap to refill there and we had no trouble all week drinking tap water where ever we visited.

  • Wear sensible shoes, as the surface is rough and in places slippery around the ruins.

  • Do brave the steps to the top of the theatre, looking down is the most amazing sight and you are rewarded with a good breeze at the top.

  • Parking is easy and free.

  • Toilets are well serviced.

  • Wheelchairs and prams are not practical.  
  • A visit is a half day excursion at best.


First baby lamb of the season

Posted on March 11th, 2017 -

I remember wakening in the early hours of the morning to the sound of rain pattering down on the roof window. Snuggling down under the duvet, I was quite unaware that out in the field a baby lamb was being born. Timing was not great, in the open, the wind and the rain, on the bleakest of March mornings.

Hello Baby Lamb 

first new born lamb 2017

It would be a few hours later before I would discover the little lamb in the distance whilst on my morning farm checks. Racing round to check the other animals had survived the wild night I ran back for my camera and a closer look. At a distance I couldn’t see the mother close by.  Returning the lamb was still stood in the same place, looking lost and lonely in the field. I approached with caution, hoping this might reveal a protective mother and I was indeed met by a ewe at the hay feeder who began to walk towards her new born lamb. I retreated and crouched down with my long lens camera. All looked well as Mum nuzzled her lamb.

Ewe identifying her lamb by smell in the field

Out on the feed run it was a very muddy trek for our little visitors to get a better look. The rain was still present and the wind whipping around us. Separating Mum and Baby from the rest of the herd turned out to be much harder than it should have been as a vital post gave way under the muddy ground.  Finally we edged them into a little field of their own with field shelter that would hopefully keep them dry and safe from foxes and badgers. It was Farmer Nick’s newly build shed we really wanted to use but this was just too far from where they were and the ground too soft to take the stock trailer across the meadows to move them.  

I was back and forth all day checking up on them, moving the little baby lamb inside out of the rain; they seem to have precious little common sense! Finally I caught them through the shelter slats enjoying the hay and looking very united. In case you are wondering about the orange stripes, this signifies the 1st lamb to the 1st Mum. A twin would have had 12 sprayed on and Mum has a single line for first mother.

Baby lamb with orange stripes inside the field shelter

We should be lambing from now until mid May. It really is an exciting time to visit the farm and hopefully with a little sunshine the fields will be less muddy!  


Country Kids 11th March

Posted on March 10th, 2017 -

Welcome to Country Kids from Coombe Mill

Country Kids is the original outdoor family fun linky designed to:

“Encourage family fun outdoors, in an age where technology and screens are such a draw to a sedentary indoor life”

Welcome back if you are a regular to Country Kids and if you are new please join in. You will find plenty of inspiration for enjoying outdoor space and please do share your own adventures. We support the National Trust 100 things to do before you are 11¾ along with all other ideas for family fun outside. 

Country Kids 11th March. Stoking a chicken

The chickens are back on the lay 

It must be spring, the chickens have notices the longer days and milder temperatures and are laying enough eggs for all the children staying. That said our outdoor fun as been very much with raincoats and wellies this past week. Not that this has stopped our little helpers who have been so brave turning up for the tractor rides each day despite the rain.  I hope it has been a little drier where you are and that you have some adventures to share on the link up below. 

Guidelines for Joining in: 

  • Post must be predominantly outdoors such as in the garden, the park, the woods or the beach with crafting, learning, exploring or playing.
    • Despite the title, both countryside and urban outdoor adventures are welcome.
    • Unheated covered areas like a barn or tent count as outdoors.
  •  Please comment on my host post and a minimum of 3 others of your choice.
    • If you use #CountryKids when commenting the post owner will know where your found them and hopefully come back to visit your post.
  • Please take my badge, without it you won’t be considered for winning the lovely Rockfish Wellies.
  • Linked posts should be written and made live within the last 2 months.
    • I understand sometimes you need to do catch up posts and write about something from a couple of months ago but the publish date should be within 2 months.
  • By joining in with Country Kids you’re giving me permission to email you weekly as a reminder.
  • There is no restriction on the number of posts that can be linked up, however please be sensible, if you have more than 3 consider linking over a few weeks.

My top commenters from 4th March:

  1. Helen from The Princess and The Pickle who commented on 29 posts.
  2. Karen from Stopping at Two who commented on 28 posts.
  3. Sonia from Mamma’s School who commented on 27 posts.

We have no guilty bloggers linking up this week, I’m so glad we’re back to everybody sharing some blog love.

Rockfish kindly sponsor Country Kids 

Win a pair of wellies from Rockfish Monthly

You Could Win with Rockfish Wellies and Country Kids from Coombe Mill 

I am delighted to have Rockfish as the sponsor for Country Kids. Rockfish are a local Cornish company specializing in stylish quality wellingtons for all the family. We have been offering their country wellies in our borrow room here on the farm for over a year and they are always popular for their style, comfort and durability.

Each week my favourite #CountryKids posts, which include my badge or a link back here,  will be considered for a free pair of Rockfish Wellies at the end of the month; the perfect way to enjoy the outdoors whatever the weather throws your way. Keep your posts coming, it could be you winning next!

For more more information on the Rockfish Wellies on offer with us and terms and conditions to win see here.  

Favourite posts from last week added to the shortlist for winning the March Rockfish Wellies:

Top Commenter : Helen from The Princess and the Pickle who turned their day out into a whole heap of Muddy Fun at Mottisfont Abbey.

If you are a Daniel Craig / James Bond fan,  the countryside in post from Are We Nearly There Yet will have you reliving scenes from Skyfall

The snowdrops have been beautiful around the countryside this spring. Little Hearts Big Love went on an adventure to find some

Country Kids Communities 

I’d love you to join me: 

Pin on the Pinterest Board Just ask for an invite to pin and include Country Kids on your pins for me to stop by on your boards too.

Follow Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays’s board Country Kids  from Coombe Mill on Pinterest.


Join the growing Country Kids Instagram Community with #CountryKidsFun.

I'll like and comment on all and share my favourites from the week with a tag on a Friday on Instagram and Twitter. With over 2080 posts this community is flourishing with outdoors photos.

My favourite photos from the week came from @miltonkeyneskids @mudpiefridays & @organisedjo. Please do check out these lovely folk on Instagram if you are not already following.


#countrykidsfun features for the week going to @miltonkeyneskids @mudpiefridays @organisedjo Thank you for all the lovely tags #wildandfree #outdoors #kidsoutdoors #childhooddays #outside #countrylife #countrykids #countryside #daysout #daysoutwiththekids #fairies #kidsplay #meadows #stocks #nationaltrust #cliffwalk #lakeside #water

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Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall 

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