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.
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.
Finally I have a month of our holidays being open to share. It has been quite eventful here and a learning curve for us all, but I’m delighted to say the summer season is well and truly underway, we are full until the 29th August and those staying are making the most of the weather and facilities both here and out and about. Do have a read and hopefully it will inspire your next holiday with us too.
Non Contact Holidays for your Safety
I have established a system of emailing all our guests during the week prior to staying with clear instructions for a safe and trouble free non contact arrival. YouTube tutorials are being viewed and seem to be doing the job well. Once inside there is always WiFi to contact me and ask any follow up questions.
On the Farm
Social distancing on the Feed Run
The tractor and trailer with the divide screen is working well for the morning farm visits. With families swapping turns at riding, use of antibacterial spray and hand sanitizer always freely available on the tractor everyone is adapting. Being out in the open air is the biggest win for everyone. The outdoors is now recognised as the safest way to meet others. The children are still making friends while feeding the animals, which feels like the best of all worlds.
Colin the alpaca shearer has been and relieved the alpaca of their thick winter coats. It is always a treat for the guests as Colin is very skilled at his job and great at explaining the whole process to an audience of curious onlookers. As well as shearing them they receive a full M. O. T with injections, teeth and hoof filing. I always say their characters change after they have been sheared, without their thick coat of disguise they appear to lose their stroppy ways and are much easier to feed by hand. May be it is because they are cooler and less irritable, either way they seem very happy to enjoy the rest of summer minus a heavy coat.
The fleece will go to Kay at www.treneyncraft.co.uk to turn into something creative and fun for her craft workshops and fairs.
Sally has Piglets
Some days it all happens at once, on the same morning as the alpaca shearing, Sally gave birth to 4 healthy piglets. Both Mother and piglets are doing well, however she gave us a scare. Usually she has far more which is why we were uncertain if she was pregnant or just taking advantage of Farmer Nick’s generous pregnancy feeding!
Fowl actions have been suspended throughout the Covid-19 Lockdown period, but Farmer Nick was quick to go to the first new meeting and bag us some cute little guinea fowl chicks. We have had them from just a day old and they are thriving in our little shed under a heat lamp. The children love to hold them and stoke their baby fluff on the morning feeding rounds.
The footbridge over the river developed two rotten steps this month. Nick has taken this as an opportunity to replace the rotten steps and add the new non slip decking we have used over the bridge crossing to add extra strength and a good non-slip base. This avoids the need for the chicken wire covering which was forever needing nailing down. Well done our handy man farmer.
I do hope you have a good August ahead with a chance for a summer holiday home or away. If you are not tied to school holidays we have some lovely autumn breaks available and would love to see you here.
If you have a child who has been missing the big games in Lockdown and hungry to discover more about the game, we may have the answer. Quarto Kids have teamed up with the football magazine experts Mundel to bring you the Big Book of Football. This is the perfect insight into both the men’s and woman’s game for budding fans. Read on to discover more about the book and for your chance to win a copy.
About the Big Book of Football
The book is specifically designed for children with a keen interest in learning tactics of the game as explained by the experts. See how to make all the best moves and find out who has really nailed them in the past. From iconic haircuts to the biggest, best and weirdest facts this book has it all. Kids can become a real knowledge base on the game with this book and really impress their friends.
What we love
Full of helpful techniques to play
Clear child friendly language in bit sized chunks
Fun illustrations on each page
Step by step learning making suitable for beginner to budding footballer.
Need to Know
7 – 11 years
Mundial Football Magazine Agency
Quarto Kids (Wide Eyed Editions)
Video preview of the Big Book of Football
Win your copy of the Big Book of Football with Quarto Kids and coombe Mill
For your chance to win this book and learn from the footie experts simply follow the instructions below. Good luck to all taking part.
It may be well into summer but at last we can say we are open! What a delight to be welcoming back holiday guests to Coombe Mill from 4th July. It is a brave new world we are entering into, but we have your health and safety in mind for your 2020 visit.
In preparation for holidays opening – The New Guidelines
Holiday opening new check in and out times.
In order to meet new cleaning standards, check in is now 4 – 6pm and check out by 9am.
How to show yourself into your accommodation
Follow the signs from the car park to reception. Inside reception take the key from the board with your property name on it and your booking surname above. Only one family in reception at any one time please.
Write any children’s names on the paper provided for tractor rides. Please take care to make this legible as it is used to write their certificates for helping out. (These will be written mid week so they are left for 72 hours).
If you know where your accommodation is you may go straight there. If you are not sure, follow the You Tube video sent to you by email prior to arriving. If you can’t access this ring the bell on the front of the reception door and we will instruct you there.
Inside your accommodation
When you enter the property you can sign into the WiFi (code in the information booklet and on the access point on the wall). Here again you will be able to watch the You Tube video for where things are inside your property. There will also be everything you need inside the information booklet. Any problems with this and we can do a socially distant showing in with one family member.
Morning Animal Feed Run
All families are welcome to meet in the car park at 9am for the tractor ride to feed the animals. We request you stand in family groups with social distancing to wait for the tractor. The trailer can take two families at a time on each trip to the farm and 2 other families on the return journey. This will change each day. All other parties will easily keep up by walking at a safe distance behind the trailer. The tractor returns at approximately 10.30am each morning. The tractor runs every day except Saturday.
Facilities on site during your Stay
The outdoor play areas
BBQs, indoor and outside
Games room – Ping pong, Pool and Table Football
The above are all open for you to use. Please respect social distancing between families and use the anti bacterial spray and disposable wipes provided between usages.
Games Room Books, dressing up clothes, board games and puzzles
Borrow room for wellies, overalls, outdoor games and sea side essentials
Please help yourself to any of the above for the week but leave in your accommodation for us to clean before returning.
Unavailable during your holiday
The indoor play barn
Friday craft hour
The above are deemed too difficult to manage effective cleaning and social distancing.
Toys in your property
Due to difficulty in keeping toys fully cleaned between visits only some toys will be provided in toy baskets and playrooms. These will be swapped weekly to allow a week of no use.
Out and About
Remember that most visitor attractions will be observing new rules. Please ring and check if you need to book before turning up to places. Beaches and Bodmin Moor are always available to explore and enjoy.
Please ensure you are out of your accommodation by 9am on departure day. Place keys in the box in reception marked for disinfection. Do Not Lock your property to allow access for cleaning.
If you feel unwell before or during your stay
If you feel unwell in the days leading up to your stay. Please do not come on holiday. You should insure yourselves against this possibility, some of the most respected insurers are now offering COVID-19 insurance, reflecting the much improved insurance risk.
In the unlikely event you feel unwell during your stay, you should follow government guidance and leave Coombe Mill for home immediately. Book a test near to your home by phone and inform us you have left by phone. We will then handle any NHS track and trace enquiries.
News from the Farm
Hello baby fawn
We have a beautiful little fawn being looked after by our deer herd. Just the one this year, that we have discovered, but adorable and healthy.
Baby Guinea Pigs
We have another two baby guinea pigs this month with some stunning markings taking us up to 11 in the guinea pig house now. Without visitors these past few months they are very timid and shy. I think they will be quite a challenge for the children to pin them down for a cuddle, but for the patient ones they will come out.
Sally is Pregnant
Sally the Pig is definitely starting to look pregnant. She is due later in July so if you are staying you might be treated to the arrival of piglets during your stay.
If you have been holding off booking with the uncertainly of Covid-19 and now feel ready for a holiday with us, we still have a smattering of properties over the summer period and good availability into the autumn, do take a look at our availability chart and give the family something to look forward to.
“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.