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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So the summer holidays are well underway and we are excited to be full of families enjoying the best of farm life and Cornish attractions. Do take a minute to check out what we’ve been up to during July and see the Cornish events we think you’ll like during August 2019.
Last Minute Availability
We still have a couple of spaces on 17th and 24th August. If you have yet to sort anything this summer and perhaps only have a few days available, get in contact and we’ll see if we can sort something out for a short break. Full weeks are still directly bookable online.
If you are not tied to the school holidays, September is a lovely time to visit. The prices come down and you can book any 3 nights upwards to suit your family.
A heat wave for Cornwall.
We have been enjoying some amazing summer weather this year with long sunny days and real warmth in the sun. Our guests have been relishing the lovely weather and taking advantage of the beautiful Cornish beaches. The little train track on the other hand has been less happy and the expansion joints failed in the heat. Thankfully Farmer Nick is a bit of a DIY superstar and came up with a new engineering solution that he had implemented and running within the day so that no one missed their evening train ride.
Everyone loves a good wedding
Remember Farmer Amber? We’ve always stayed in touch since she moved on last summer and were thrilled to be invited to her wedding in July. Right in the middle of the Cornish heat wave it was a very happy day. We attended in shifts whilst simultaneously managing changeover here at Coombe Mill. Amber and Mo certainly had a fairytale start to what we hope will be a long and happy married life together.
Roar; it’s a Dinosaur!
Activity hour was based around a dinosaur theme for July. We had great fun making medals, painting models and completing a dinosaur trail that finished with finding dinosaurs set in ice that the children had to chisel out. If you are with us for August, don’t forget to sign up in reception. We will be looking at raft races and piñata making.
On the Farm
No news is Good news in summer
July is a quiet month on the farm. The animals have all been chilling out and basking in the summer sun. However, despite the lush pastures down here in the valley they are still happy to come and meet the children from the tractor each morning on the feed run.
The most notable activity of the month was watching the alpaca shearing. Our shearer covers the whole of the UK and Northern France. We have to wait our turn and typically the poor alpaca endured the first round of summer heat with their winter coats still in place. Finally their date arrived and Colin, with his usual swift and competent handling, had Toffee and Caramel looking super smart and lightweight in no time. The difference in their appearance is amazing, as is the way Colin takes time to explain to the children what he is going to do so they understand and are not afraid.
Our Polish Banthams from May have been rehomed locally and we have Mummy Hen and her newborns now occupying their fully enclosed home. Mother and all 8 chicks are thriving in the beautiful summer sun and becomming very accustomed to a daily cuddle.
Cornish Events August 2019 local to Coombe Mill
If you are feeling inspired to visit us in August, here are a few of the local activities you might want to plan your visit around.
So we are in the height of summer and loving it here on the farm. Some of the rain in early June followed by the heatwave at the end has brought out the best in the hedgerows and flower boarders. The farm, lakes and gardens are all looking lush.
We’d love you to take a minute and check out what we’ve been up to in June, opportunities for your next holiday here and things out and about to inspire you with our Cornish events July 2019 family guide.
Short Breaks from 31st August.
We have opened up the end of August into September for short breaks. I know many of you are tied to school holidays and find the mix of higher summer pricing and difficulty of taking a full week away from work a problem. A short break from 31st August could be the answer. From just over £500 you can enjoy a short break and recharge the batteries as a family ahead of the new school term.
The Royal Cornwall Show
This is always a highlight in the farming calendar. Not a week to try and reach anywhere the other side of Wadebridge as a holiday maker, but a great day out if you enjoy county shows. It is chance for Nick and I to be inspired by new ideas and we enjoyed a lovely day out there.
Foot Bridge over the Camel under repair.
Farmer Nick spotted the wood starting to rot on our foot bridge and quickly declared it out of bounds. Instead of doing the easy option of just replacing the wood, he deployed a more complicated but superior system of replacing the wood with non slip plastic decking similar to that used successfully on Heligan’s deck last year. With the help of our eldest two sons they had it all completed in a week. Not only does it look smart, but the non slip surface is much better than the old system of wood with wire mesh over the top.
We have been making bow and arrows and having fun hitting homemade targets in half term. It is always a popular activity although it does get quite competitive! If you are joining us in July I’m looking at mindfulness and the kindness trail and nature photo frames.
On the Farm June 2019
Friendly the deer gave birth to a gorgeous little fawn to set things rolling. The little one was up and running with Mum within a week delighting all who spotted her. We now know there is at least another two and are hoping there are more we haven’t yet discovered.
Turkeys on the Move
After the disaster of losing both of our Turkey chicks last month the Turkeys have begun to lay again, however it seemed the crows were the beneficiary of their efforts. Farmer Nick and the guests moved them from Jurassic Park into the old aviaries where they have plenty of space, a wilderness to chomp through and a totally enclosed home open to the elements but not the crows! Fingers crossed for good news to follow.
With the stop start rain in early to mid June, keeping the sheep dry ahead of shearing was quite challenging. We managed it with a quick team effort to lead the flock indoors ahead of another downpour. Thankfully they only had to spend one night indoors before our shearer was on hand to relieve them of their winter coats. Timing crossed perfectly with the morning feed run giving a wonderful chance for the children to stop on their rounds and watch an expert at work.
If you are feeling inspired to visit us in July, here are a few of the local activities you might want to plan your visit around.
Cornish Events July 2019 local to Coombe Mill
Cornish Events July 2019
Find out more
Distance from Coombe Mill
Classic car show with family entertainment, food stalls, bouncy castle etc
The year continues with so much happening here, I can’t wait to fill you in on the exciting news from the month and share some of the events coming up for June I think you’ll enjoy. Have a scan through, there’s sure to be something to catch your eye.
Booking with us
We have very few summer holiday spaces left now, but if you can come week commencing 17th or 24th August you could still be lucky. Outside of this June, early July and September still has some availability and some cracking prices, so pop on over to check them out if these weeks or short breaks work for you.
Our Den building zone was created around 5 years ago. It has been greatly enjoyed by the children here who have rebuilt and created in there week after week. However the large structural branches had begun to rot out and break and the whole area needed a rethink.
Spare branches are not hard to come by here and farmer Nick gathered a whole new set which we used during an exciting Activity hour to recreate the den building area on the site of the old bug hotel. The bugs never used their purpose built space, preferring to house themselves under the fairies toadstools! The space was perfect for a fire pit and den building zone. We enjoyed a happy afternoon building the first camp there and making garlic bread from wild garlic along the river bank on the fire pit. It is now ready for children to enjoy and redesign to their hearts content.
Over the other end of the farm, the zip wire wooden cross beams suffered a structural split. This has always been popular with the children and Farmer Nick wasted no time in ordering up new wood to rebuild this. It took a little help from our older kids to help him lift everything into place, but it is now up and running again. Now everyone can enjoy a safe ride with the added feature of a non slip starting platform.
I had the pleasure of being the first to test ride it and ensure it the wire was correctly tightened for the perfect ride.
On the Farm
This month has been all about new arrivals with nature’s usual tale of winners and losers.
Last month I mentioned we had been keeping the chickens indoors as Toulouse the goose was incubating her eggs in their outdoor field shelter. Sadly it turned out all the eggs were in fact infertile. The chickens are now enjoying free ranging for the summer and Farmer Nick is looking for a new Gander for Toulouse.
Christmas the Turkey on the other hand hatched 2 live chicks from her clutch of eggs. Despite placing Christmas and her chicks in a lovely safe indoor house with plenty of bedding, food and water she lost both chicks in the first week leaving us stumped as to the cause. Our little day old Lavender Pekin chicks on the other hand are all thriving to the delight of the guests.
Scruffy has babies
I was feeling quite sorry for Scruffy the guinea pig towards the end of her pregnancy, she was looking twice her normal width and I knew she was carrying a few. Turns out we have 3 little mini me’s running round the guinea pig house. Unlike rabbits they are born looking perfectly formed with eyes open and fur. Scruffy has her work cut out now keeping the inquisitive little ones under control. Scruffy and babies.
What no antlers!
Out in the deer field Rudolph has shed his antlers for summer. We went on a hunt and found the first. The following day he did a hop skip and a jump right in front of us on the morning animal feed run and dropped the second. That was a once in a lifetime sight we’ll possibly never witness again.
Remember I said we had a full house of boy piglets again this year? Well it turns out that was just a case of trying to sex them too young. In fact they are fairly evenly split. In an attempt to wean the boys and separate them from mum, Nick thought they might enjoy some of the beautiful May sunshine in the “Sin bin” field. The piglets were in heaven, but they were churning the field into a soup before our eyes therefore their time there had to be limited. Chasing them back in to the pig sty on concrete was amusing to watch! They are now looking to be re-homed so that Sally and the girls have more space for the summer. Anyone want a piglet?
That brings us up to date with events on the farm this month. We are looking forward to the arrival of fawns in June and enjoying the lovely long evenings which are perfect for BBQs, watching the kids out playing and sipping wine in the beautiful gardens here. There are also some great family Cornish events June 2019 locally we think you might like. Which will be your favourite?
What’s on Guide Cornish Events June 2019
Events June 2019
Find out more
Distance from Coombe Mill
Music by the River with Silver band,food, drink and kids activities
For our final week of Easter Holiday activities I decided on a giant Den Building mission and a campfire bringing the children back to basics with some wild garlic cooking. It was an ambitious undertaking with a large group, however with so many older children so keen to take part it felt like the right activity.
It’s all in the preparation
As always with my activity sessions, preparation is everything. Farmer Nick had been talking about moving the Den building zone for some time and this prompted the activity. The old zone had been standing for many years and the branches were becoming so dry and brittle they were beginning to snap. Since we were talking about re stocking with new trees and branches we also agreed on a new location which I knew would be popular with the children.
The Bug hotel next to the fairy garden was a bit of a white elephant. The bugs never inhabited, preferring instead the giant toadstool seats of the fairy garden to hide under. Nick took it all down and spent a morning anchoring supports for a new Den building area in its place. He then chopped a load of branches and placed them all outside ready for me to use with the children. Felix, who was home from university, set up a lovely stone fire pit and seating for me and I prepared some cheesy bread mix. It all looked so natural I was delighted.
Excited den building kids
The children all came home from their days out super excited by the den building task ahead. Everyone had been eyeing up the growing mound of branches and couldn’t wait to see where they were going to take them. One by one the children dragged the branches to Felix at the Den building zone who took them from the children and agreed with them where each would go.
In no time at all the den was forming and Felix was struggling to keep pace with the arriving branches
We were racing against the rain too and keen to get a good canopy over our den. It all worked a treat and easily housed all the children.
Felix explained to the children how to start a good campfire with dry wood and firelighters. He showed the purpose of the stone surround and let them help develop the fire once it was lit.
There is nothing quite like a campfire to excite children and they all crowded round adding firewood.
Cooking with wild garlic
Wild garlic is one of my favourite foraged herbs in spring and we have plenty on the farm. The children collected and chopped the wild garlic, then mixed it into a chunk of cheesy bread dough. Finally they wrapped it round a stick.
By the time the kids had prepared their garlic bread onto the sticks the fire was ready to cook on. The smell was wonderful and I wish I had a chance to toast one for myself!
I love how the children were drawn back into the den to enjoy their garlic bread.
A pack of marshmallows finished off the session. After all who can resist toasting one of these on a campfire?
It was such a busy afternoon but one the kids all adored. Each took home some happy memories of fun on the farm with Farmer Nick and wild den building and campfire cooking with me.
Oh my, what a busy month April was here on the farm and we have plenty of fun going forward into May and June for you too. Grab a coffee and have a read.
Easter was a bumper few weeks for us here. We enjoyed some wicked Easter crafts with nature cards and decorative logs. The children made these to their own creative designs.
The Easter Egg Hunt on Easter Sunday was a huge success as always, give or take a few melted eggs at the end of the trail thanks to the phenomenal Easter heat wave
On the Farm
It wouldn’t be Easter without lambs and this year didn’t disappoint with twins born on Easter Morning
Baby Robins Hatch
Farmer Nick had one of his tool trays in his big shed overtaken by a clever robin who thought it made a perfect nesting box. It was suitably sheltered and protected by being locked up at night from predators. We watched with interest over the month as her eggs hatched and the baby robins grew before finally flying the nest.
It wasn’t just robins laying eggs. We have a goose nest in the outdoor chicken house that we are expecting to hatch any day. However thanks to the location of the nest, half our chickens are still indoors since their home has been taken over! Once the goose eggs hatch all our chickens will be outdoors for the summer months. On the plus side the chickens lay better indoors and there have been enough eggs for everyone staying each day.
A lucky escape for Queenie
Queenie is our lucky goat. Not only was she rescued and hand reared by us at birth, but she has now just survived a traumatic emergency caesarean section at the vets. We knew she was heavily pregnant and had her separated from the other goats waiting for her to give birth. Sadly the kid was just too big for her and breached, I did my best as midwife to correct the situation when she went into labour under the guidance of our local sheep farmer; however it just wasn’t to be. Nick rushed her to the vet who carried out the necessary c section saving Queenie but sadly not the kid. Queenie is now recovering well with Prince Charles (her kid from last year) who is in with her for company.
A little beauty treatment from the farrier
The farrier came in April and gave all the ponies a little horse pedicure. Our miniature Shetlands, Scooby Doo and shaggy, weren’t at all sure about the merits of this. I received a good kick in the thigh and suffered trampled toes a few times in protest as I tried to hold them still against the fence for the farrier; however in the end they gave in and accepted their treatment. The timing worked perfectly for the feed run and the children were treated to a commentary from the farrier about what he was doing and why. They even had the chance to keep a bit of hoof clipping as a souvenir. You really never know what you are going to learn on a holiday here!
May looks like it will be just as busy going forward, hopefully with some more beautiful sunshine, farm antics and the sound of happy children playing out on the lawns. We’d love to see you here as part of this too.
Here are a few of the family Cornish events May 2019 locally we think you might like.
“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.