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.
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Bringing the History of ‘Ye Olde’ English Houses to life
I love my children to learn whilst having fun. This is the whole premise of our farm holidays and I try to extend this with our own children whenever we are out and about. Nick remembered visiting a place from his childhood with showcase houses from long ago that clearly made an impression with him and he was keen to return. We packed up a picnic and set off on our adventure to Weald and Downland Open Air Museum. The children and I had no idea what to expect, but Yia Yia (Grandma) and Nick were confident it would be perfect. As we parked up, paid and headed on in the open space before me and picnic tables told me at once it would be perfect for my Country Kids.
On the 50 acre grounds sits an extensive collection of restored houses, recreated with real people dressed to the era covering the last 600 years. No wonder Nick remembered it from his childhood. There was a write up on every building from the architecture to the lifestyle of the people who lived there. The volunteer workers were on hand in their period dress to answer questions and even let you have a try. The children were captivated by fireplaces with no chimneys, fires in the centre of the floor in the room, old toilets and bed pans, beds and cots and kitchens. It was a real eye opener and fascinating at any age.
Clio tried her hand at ironing a Victorian dress; perhaps she would be more inspired if we had one of these at home?
The Water Mill caught the children’s eye and Nick explained that this was a real working example of Coombe Mill back in the 16th Century.
There is only so much culture and learning a boy can do and before long the younger ones were drawing a crowd at the lake where Guy had decided he was going fishing by removing his shirt and tying the arms together to create a net encouraged by his siblings. By the time we came out of the 16th Century house to see what was happening it was all too late to do anything but laugh. I have to hand it to him for rolling up his trousers and removing his socks and shoes first!
They showed off their tree climbing skills leaving those on the lower branches watching in awe, and every parent there cursing my kids for tempting their own higher!
Coffee from the lovely cafe and a picnic and we were ready for more learning.
The interactive houses gave a chance for candle making and brass rubbing. Clio tried her hand at the candles and then took her time badge making and helping weave a mat from hessian and old scraps of material.
Back outdoors there were strips of willow to help make the garden fences and animal pens, though Nick was less than impressed with keeping their pig in the leaky old style sty which must endlessly need repairing. Modern materials certainly came in handy for building ours.
Perhaps the biggest highlight, apart from Guy’s escapades, was the construction house. Here there were demonstrations on how to build a community from house beams to bridges was so carefully thought out and held the attention of all my children and their Dad as they worked their way round each experiment, even jumping up onto the counter to sit on their bridge just to make sure it really was strong enough to hold a person as claimed in the building instructions!
This was a day out we will remember for many years to come and well worth the entrance price, though I recommend taking a picnic or you could spend as much again on food. I wonder if any of mine will return in the future with their children?
Joining in with Country Kids
If you have been out with the family enjoying the outdoors from the garden to the beach please come and share your fun here on the linky. It can be an adventure, learning activity, crafting or play, just so long as it is away from screens and sofas and making the most of some fresh air time. Every week there are some wonderful ideas so please take some time to read other posts linked up. They are so often the source of our next adventure. Please grab the badge code below or create a link back here to help others enjoying the linky.
Just a few of my favourite posts from huge link up last week:
Two posts from right here at Coombe Mill, I love to see a day on our farm from a different perspective. In this case from Wild Family Fun and Maris World
One of the highlights of half term for us was meeting up with family. We spent a few days in Sussex with Nick’s Mum (Yia Yia to the kids) and his sister who came to visit too. That made nine children all in one house and so as soon as the rain cleared we headed out. Where better with a rowdy bunch of boys and Clio than the freedom of the south downs? We packed hammers and coats and set off to discover what had been preserved in the chalk for centuries. The children were glad of the space and as soon as we parked the car ran ahead playing in the open fields heading towards the chalk pit.
The younger children were quite taken by the animal homes they found, we suspected rabbits lived down here.
There were some seriously boggy sections to negotiate and the children discovered the mud under them was infact clay and began to mould it in there hands as well as trample it underfoot. My Rockfish Wellies had changed colour by the time we reached firm ground again!
Then it was hammers to the ready as the children smashed and chiselled at chunks of Rock. A little tuition and they were soon slicing sections and examining them for shell and worm shapes. Nick was wonderful explaining to them all what was and wasn’t a fossil.
An explanation of what they were looking for from Dad
The keen continued to search why the adventurous tested my nerves climbing up the pit and waving, running and playing near the top. It was a delight to see our children helping their younger cousins, or maybe that was leading them astray! Either way they had a wonderful time together with all ages mixing in a way that is so effortless in a family group.
On the way back half took the car while a party of us took the scenic walk back over the downs where the views were breathtaking in the late afternoon light.
We crossed Lewes golf course which Jed found fascinating and insisted on investigating the flags and lying on the greens enjoying the afternoon sun!
When we reached the other side the town was visible below. We followed a wooded path with a few opportune trees to swing from.
On we marched through the town centre conspicuous in our chalky state next to the last of the shoppers and onto the park where we cleaned our boots in the raging stream.
And finally back home to catch up with the others. A wonderful afternoon with children caked in debris from their adventure without a care in the world.
Joining in with Country Kids
How have you been enjoying outdoor time with the kids? If you have a story to tell of a day out, some outdoor crafting, learning or playing from the garden to the beach please grab the badge and come and join me here on the linky. Country Kids can be urban or country based so long as it involves the outdoors and a break from central heating, sofas and screens. Please take time to read the other links here, each week there are some great ideas for outdoor fun.
We have enjoyed a lovely six weeks of family weekends here on the farm. The children have been helping us with the animals in the absence of our little holiday helpers and we have benefited from some great days out with the bonus of two days for the weekend. As we embarked on our first changeover of the season last Saturday it was all hands on deck ensuring the properties and grounds were tip top for our new guests. Thankfully the last of the bad weather had passed though just in time, but not without leaving much work to be done on a busy day. Farmer Nick and Felix were in charge of operation trees with branches in the lane to clear before our guests could drive down the hill and another massive tree through our sheep field fencing.
The younger ones cleared the outdoor toddler play area of debris from fallen branches, swept and cleaned the ride on toys and made bundles of kindling for the shop. I turned a blind eye to Clio who had selected herself a pair of new Rockfish Wellies from our borrow collection that were almost waders on her!
It wasn’t all work though as I caught them hard at play many times riding the play equipment over to the water hose, zooming down the car park and pretending they were still small enough to fit on the little see saw!
Eventually it was a good job complete and they were off to play.
They even enjoyed a musical moment together down by the river. I think perhaps they were inspired by the busking in Plymouth a couple of weeks ago; it was adorable to me as a parent, but they have a way to go before they will be playing on the streets!
Meanwhile Ally was left in charge of log burners ensuring each property was lovely and welcoming for our guests.
Arriving to the first dry day for weeks many of our younger guests were quick to stretch their legs after long car journeys and discover our play areas. My own children soon caught them up and joined in too.
Those here by 4pm could hop aboard the Coombe Mill Railway; it is always a pleasure to see the excitement when Guy draws up from the engine shed and invites everyone to board.
Come Sunday morning I was thrilled to be sharing our farm once again with visitors and in continued glorious sunshine. Guy and Clio came along to see if there were potential playmates staying and to help the younger children overcome any fear of the animals. Their ability to catch the ducks and chickens is a real advantage as Farmer Nick is never quick enough.
It has been such a delight to see happy faces enjoying Coombe Mill again and playmates around for my own children over the half term holidays. Let’s hope we have seen the last of the wild winter weather now.
Joining in with Country Kids
Country Kids is all about enjoying the outdoors. Taking advantage of those days when the weather is kind to take the kids on a family outing, enjoy time in the garden or the park, go for a walk, explore, create and learn about the world around us. Coming back indoors with tingling toes and rosy cheeks is a lovely feeling. Capture those moments on the camera, grab the badge and share here on the linky. If you take a little time to discover some of the other posts linked up I know everyone will appreciate a comment and it is the perfect way to be inspired for your next outdoor adventure.
“Tales from the farmers wife” shares life on our lovely holiday farm with Farmer Nick and our 6 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.