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.
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.
Well May followed in the footsteps of April here with stunning long sunny days and no one but us to enjoy them. It looks very much like June is going the same way, but we are still hopeful of being open from July onwards. Read on and discover more of our plans as we all try to adapt to a new normal going forward.
Your Holiday with us in 2020
March to June bookings have been moved forward to later in 2020 or 2021. There is some talk from Government of hospitality beginning to open from 4th July. I sincerely hope we will be in that first wave. We are busy refining the concept of a “No contact holiday” that we came up with prior to lockdown, in order to provide peace of mind and safety for all our visitors going forward.
In essence this will include:
A You Tube video link to watch for showing yourself into your property on arrival and leaving at the end of your stay.
Details of how the animal feed run will work in the mornings
A slip of paper in your property, separate to our welcome booklet, detailing any significant additional events going on at Coombe Mill or in the area during your stay.
The Bluebells have been stunning this past month, from the farm to the woods beyond. They have now given way to Rhododendrons and Foxgloves indicating that summer feel truly here.
Support for our Key Workers
We have felt a little out of the loop with the clapping for the NHS and key workers which I know has been taking place in the village. Clap as hard as we like and no one will hear us in our own secluded valley. However I have created a little area of thanks in the Fairy Garden. This is something to make those passing by stop and give thanks as they wander through. The backdrop of the river, wildlife and countryside tranquillity adds to the message.
On the Farm in May
Our baby gosling is thriving
The little over protected gosling is looking like a real teenager now as she turns from baby to adult. Her fluffy feathers are beginning to be replaced by adult ones but she is still watched carefully by the adult geese.
We have a turkey chick
Our female turkey (hen) has been sitting on a clutch of eggs for weeks and we were beginning to fear she had just gone broody, but no, she hatched 3 adorable little chicks. We had quite a kafuffle removing Dad to giving Mum a chance to raise her young. However in the end we had to rescue the last little chick to hand raise ourselves. She is thriving and now off the heat lamp. Catch the whole saga on my weekly You Tube update.
Our local sheep shearer came on one of the hottest days of the month. I can only imagine how relieved the sheep must have been to see those thick coats go. The Ram is now separated from the ewes, with just our pet Lambo for company for the summer months and the lambs continue to thrive. See the morning highlights below.
The sheep look so content reunited with their lambs and without their thick coats.
With Lockdown gradually lifting we have enjoyed some wonderful beach days. There is definitely more traffic around, and the beach numbers are rising too. There is still plenty of room for social distancing and some beautiful hidden beaches to get away from it all. We hope you will soon be joining us discovering the best ones along the North Cornwall coast.
“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.