Family farm holidays in Cornwall magical for children, toddlers and babies.
Coombe Mill Blog
"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.
Happy New Year to you all. We hope 2021 brings us a better year and that for our guests at Coombe Mill you have a year with less restrictions to travel. Have you thought about a 2021 staycation for your family? Read on to hear our plans and the big changes ahead.
At the end of last year Coombe Mill changed hands. Fiona and Nick who owned Coombe Mill for over 18 years have decided to put their feet up and retire and have passed over the reins to us – Anya, Emma, Millie, Sam and Sienna.
A bit about us
Emma and I are both ex – secondary school teachers and as a family have a love for the outdoors. We have moved down to Cornwall from Bovingdon in Hertfordshire where we lived for over 10 years but wanted to escape the rat race and have a slower pace of life.
The start of our journey has been a challenging one due to more Covid lockdowns but we were able to welcome a few guests from Tier 1 and 2 for the Christmas week.
Latest on the farm
We have turned on the lights in the indoor chicken shed and are feeding the chickens more food in the hope that we get some eggs in the next few days.
In the local area
Exploring the local area has been like our own little staycation. As a family we have discovered a number of child friendly walks. These will be added into the welcome pack in each lodge for you to enjoy.
We are looking forward to developing Coombe Mill in our style. Rest assured we will keep you up to date with our plans and changes throughout the year on our Instagram and Facebook pages. First up is a brilliant wooden swing down near the river and the fairy garden. This has already been fully tested by our children and proved a big success.
Arrranging your next staycation
The Christmas decorations are now down and we are fully in the driving seat. Why not beat the January blues and look at a staycation here this year. Emma and I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible over the coming year. Our children are keen to find new playmates.
We are delighted to be coming out of lockdown and open again this week. Cornwall has been assigned a tier 1 status along with just the Isles of Silly and Isle of Wight. If you are going stir crazy from a November indoors, then come and enjoy the safely of the space and freedom at the farm this winter.
Speaking of Christmas Festivities….
Christmas and New Year availability
We still have Trebah to sleep 4 available this Christmas and a good selection of different sized lodges for New Year.
Take in the picturesque harbour towns and villages of Cornwall with some quirky independent shops. Breathe in the sea air with some glorious coastal and beach walks or explore the beautiful moorland on our doorstep. Marvel at the most magnificent sunsets and then cosy up indoors with the family around the log burner.
Christmas planning underway
We have been getting into the festive spirit and unpacking our Christmas trees and lights. It may not be the full party season we have had in the past at Coombe Mill, but we are determined to make your family break as special as possible. Santa will definitely be stopping here and our BBQ hut is perfect for a festive treat night.
What if you are not in tier 1 yourselves?
Our current understanding is that anyone can travel for the 5 days of Christmas, regardless of their tier classification. If this means you need to alter your dates with us please do get in touch via email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (01208 850344). Clearly this could change at any stage with Government advice; rest assured we will respond accordingly regarding your holiday. I hope you can join us soon as a tier 1 classification.
Sharing the best of lockdown autumn beauty.
November is one of the prettiest months on the farm. The colours in our wooded valley have been quite spectacular this year. If you follow me on social media you will have seen my daily posts. If you have missed out here are a few of the scenes we enjoyed.
Winter on the Farm
All clean and gleaming
We are in the process of working our way around a big seasonal farm clean. This involves mucking out the pigs, chickens and guinea pigs who have indoor houses and providing plenty of fresh bedding in anticipation of the colder seasonal weather. No one is a big fan of the back breaking shovelling involved but the animals really do enjoy pushing their little feet through a clean home and kicking up fresh chippings or sawdust.
The Field shelters are being cleaned and stocked with a good straw base for warmth on frosty nights and a dry haven for wet days. The goats are particularly important as their coats are not designed for prolonged periods of wet weather.
While the days are dry and sunny the animals have been enjoying roataing between their fields and grazing the footpaths and lakeside. This has the double benefit of a varied diet for the animals and a saving in winter hay for us. They are as keen as ever to see Farmer Nick in the morning with a breakfast top up, however we look forward to have the tractor and trailer back out and some little helpers for Farmer Nick again this month.
On that note, whether you are spending the festive period here or at home,
This month all our thoughts turn to Christmas, and whether or not we will be allowed to see loved ones. We personally have two kids away at university wanting to come home, two mothers wanting to visit, and who knows what will be allowed with a second lockdown upon us. I’m sure you must all have your own concerns. As we work through the weeks ahead, remember this won’t last forever and fun times and holidays will come back. In our case they will be running from December right through the festive period and into next year, COVID restrictions permitting. Stay on line and read about the fun and events over the past few weeks and the plans we have ahead along with availability that may be just right for your family bubble.
Christmas and New Year availability
In these difficult times everyone need a little time out. Whether it is a long weekend or a festive break we have that COVID safe outdoor fun holiday waiting for you. The second wave of lockdown may have scuppered your November plans, but winter availability after is good. We have just Trevarno lodge left for Christmas but a selection of properties for New Year. Gather your family bubble and give yourselves a little Cornish farm break.
Improved Wi Fi for your convenience
We have become aware of your increased need to stay online during your holiday. Whether it be emails for work, looking up days out or streaming favourite programmes. We can’t help being at the end of a long copper line down in a valley, but can make the most of our limited resources with a new line. Hopefully this will mean fast speeds for all our guests.
A new style Halloween for Covid
Halloween is one of the notable fun days here on the farm. In previous years we have gone all out with creative ideas to keep families entertained all day. This year had to be different. Cancelling everything felt too harsh, so with a little thought and determination we came up with a COVID safe Halloween event at the end of half term for our guests. Fancy dress, pumpkin carving and a creative reverse Trick or Treat gave fun for all whilst maintaining social distancing.
From the Farm
The chickens are now indoors
The chicks we have nurtured from day olds are now looking like grownups and moved into their winter indoor house. The remaining few established ladies from the field will join them this week for the winter season. Their airy but dry home with lighting should ensure a few eggs over winter for us all and a fun stop on the tractor ride for our guests each morning.
The Rut is underway
We have two young stags this year. The one we were raising up for the job and the one that we brought into the field by default a couple of months ago. So far there is no fighting as we enter the rut. however they are becoming predictably skittish and hiding from us, then darting round in a loop for everyone.
Rambo is back in business
Summer is a long layoff period when you are a ram; all that sunning yourself and munching grass. However he is back in business having been moved into a new field with a new ewe entering his field each week. Rambo is very happy with the situation. Hopefully we will have lambs from late February through to May next year.
Autumn Storms take their toll
I always hold my breath when the wind and rain whistles through our wooded valley on a stormy night. Why do they always come overnight? Anyway, this time it was a huge tree down in the ravine causing a problem by cutting off the chickens fresh water feed. Farmer Nick has the genius solution of a pipe system over the path from his shed (man cave) gutters down to the pond. A good shower and the pond is now full of fresh water. The chickens may be going indoors but the turkeys, ducks and geese are very grateful.
This second wave of lockdown feels harsh with the short days of November, but I hope you can protect your family bubble and come and visit us after.
Fancy a chance to escape the reality of day to day life, a chance to marvel over the changing colours of nature, soak up the october autumn sun and then cosy up by the log burner in the evenings? Come and read what’s on offer with us going forward this autumn and beyond as well as catching up with farm life during September.
Autumn / winter availability
We are looking forward to a busy autumn season here. Our lowest prices combined with flexible dates and the difficulty of travelling outside the UK has brought Coombe Mill right up the agenda. Join us in your legally safe family bubble this autumn, Christmas, New Year, or brighten up your January. we only have 2 lodges left for Christmas so don’t delay!
A fishing revival
Our fishing lake has received renewed interest this season. It has to be the perfect COVID friendly pastime. Sit in the most tranquil surroundings with only the sound of the river and wildlife for company. Fishing is free to all our guests, including the use of equipment if required.
We have now been running all season without the use of the indoor play barn, train or activity hour. Looking to the future, with the latest second wave of the virus now among us, we have decided to remove the train and activity hour completely. Those of you who stayed when the cottages over the road were part of Coombe Mill and the train running there will know how popular it was. However moving it over the road has proved very problematic. Moles have dug up the track during the prolonged period of enforced disuse. This combined with our kids, the engine drivers, now away at college and unable to drive the train means it is time to move on. Similarly with activity hour, with no one to help me run the event and the difficulty of social distancing and sharing equipment we have decided to look to new activities.
We are working on adding more independent, family bubble friendly facilities such as the crazy golf and the new Wisdom Walk. These will be available for you to do at your leisure in your own time. The Play barn will remain; hopefully we will find a way to reopen this in a COVID friendly way soon. I’ll be sharing more on this over the winter season as we firm up our plans.
On the Farm
Autumn is the season of love for the animals. They are all at their most fit and healthy at this time of year and depending on gestation periods they are beginning to think about spring babies.
First off for October our Billy goat Gruff smells like a mature ripe goat’s cheese. It might make the children recoil in disgust, but to the nanny goats it is like Hugo Boss! Here’s hoping it works.
Baby guinea Pigs
We had two more baby guinea pigs born in September, I guess the seasons don’t count when you are indoors all year! These are fast becoming the children’s favourite animals here. Many an hour is spent in their house feeding them grass and giving cuddles, a mutually beneficial exchange.
An Indian summer
September saw a prolonged spell of the most beautiful weather allowing our guests to enjoy the farm and local area at its best. For the animals it has meant an extended spell of lush grass. The only downside has been persuading them to come and see us on the tractor ride for breakfast. That said an apple usually temps them!
Wishing you and your families a safe and healthy October.
What a surreal summer that was. July and August came and went in a blur of glorious busy days for us. It is wonderful to be open again and we had everything crossed that we would see the critical two summer months through without the need for a second lockdown. Yippee we did it, if you stayed hopefully you’ll agree that the careful balance of social distancing and the farm activities you love came together to make a memorable holiday. September holiday dates look like they will continue as August left off so we must be doing something right!
Social distancing to suit you
Besides the new self showing in and feed run modifications mentioned last month, social distancing is very much at your discretion. With 30 acres of outdoor freedom here, there is always a quiet corner, a time to visit our purpose built play areas alone or enjoy the wonders of nature here.
Speaking of social distancing, we have new plaques up through the orchard. It is now the “Wisdom Walk” and perfect for a thoughtful stroll. You can even stop to pick an apples, cherries, plums and blackberries along the way!
I mentioned at the start that September holiday dates were going fast. This is also true of October and all school holiday dates into 2021. If you are thinking to get away and visit us please do think ahead and book up. Currently we still have availability for summer 2021 at 2020 prices (held from 2019). This won’t last so it really does pay to plan ahead!
On the farm
The Piglets, born in July, are growing up fast and gaining weight by the day. They can no longer squeeze under the gate to free range and are competing for mum for the daily food rations.
A new baby Guinea Pig
After an evening of much commotion and squabbling in the guinea pig house my suspicions were confirmed and we have a new baby. This new baby spent much of August hiding in the lock away house with Mum guarding the entrance, but is now beginning to venture out and mix with the others. As the smallest and cuties she is the target of every Childs affections.
All the other animals are making the most of the last of the summer days and fresh grass growth fattening themselves up for the winter ahead.
Wishing you a happy and safe September. For everyone with children starting, changing or returning to school, I hope it all goes well settling in and some form of normality will return to all our lives.
“Tales from the farmers wife” shares life on our lovely holiday farm with Farmer Emma and our children. Step into our beautiful 30 acres and experience nature close up with farming and educational crafts in stunning North Cornwall. Family, fun and adventure start here.