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.
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.
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.
“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.