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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As the beautiful autumn colours begin to take over our landscape, our thoughts turn to the clocks going back, a busy term for the children at school and Christmas. I hope you can take a few minutes out from it all and see what we have been up to here on the farm, along with some changes going forward. Our Cornish Events Guide October 2019 is handy if you are heading this way with your family.
All change for the cottages from November.
You’ll see from our pricing and availability page that the cottages over the road (Tree Roots, Willow and Honeysuckle) are no longer available to book. They are still owned by us but will be rentable via Sykes Cottages from November 2019. However, they will not be part of Coombe Mill, so no feed run, train rides or crazy golf. The train and crazy golf will move over the road to remain with Coombe Mill Holidays. This will take place over the winter and be a big project keeping Farmer Nick busy. We have done this to try and widen our appeal to an audience that may not have young children. For those of you who know and love Coombe Mill please do share us with friends and remember the ‘refer a friend’ scheme saves you money as well as anyone you refer. Miller’s House will now be the largest property sleeping 10, followed by Heligan Lodge for 8.
Christmas is coming.
Love or loath the subject of Christmas in October, there is no getting away from the fact it is only weeks away. If you’d rather hand all the stress over then why not bring the family to Coombe Mill? The feed run even runs on Christmas morning with a very festive Farmer Nick and our log burners make the perfect warming backdrop to all your festivities. We run 10 nights for the price of 7 up to or from 27th or you can book short breaks on most dates over the festive period to suit you.
Activity hour ended for the summer season with making the most of the huge supply of blackberries on the farm. We squished them, pulped them, made tie dye flags and yummy muffins. The next activity hour will be Halloween, watch out for some ghostly fun if you are with us then!
Thank you for all your photos and kind words
I have been sharing some wonderful posts on Facebook and Instagram from the #CoombeMillHolidays hashtag. Thank you for all the lovely photos and thoughtful things you’ve said about your stay with us. These, together with posts to our Facebook Group and Facebook Reviews are so valuable to us as recommendations for those who have not stayed before. My favourite this month has to be from Angela Cavanagh, You couldn’t make this up if you tried! Thank you to Angela for sharing.
On the Farm
Lambo is Pregnant
Who remembers hand feeding Lambo a bottle of milk in 2018? Well we thought she would never be strong enough to carry babies and left her for the summer season as company for Rambo, our breading Ram. Nick and I were both looking at her the other day and have decided she is actually pregnant! It could be a Christmas lamb for Coombe Mill. We will bring her indoors when the weather turns and watch her closely over the winter months.
Billy has his girls back
When there is a strong whiff of goats’ cheese passing through the farm we know that autumn is here and Billy Goat Gruff is keen to visit our nanny goats. There is no fighting nature on this one and they are all reunited for the winter season. This includes Dusty who was sent to the naughty step for escaping during the summer months. Fingers crossed they all be happy together and even reward us with a kid goat in spring.
How is it September already? A new term is about to start for those of us with school age children and autumn is beginning to show its hand. I’m always sad to see summer slipping away but equally excited for the beauty of Coombe Mill in autumnal shades. We have plenty of exciting news from August to fill you in on as well as offers going forwards and our pick of Cornish events coming up for September. Do take a minute to have a read:
October Half Term
It looks like week commencing 26th October will be the big one here this year taking in all our Halloween fun. We are almost full for this week so be quick if you were thinking of joining us. If on the other hand you are lucky enough to have the week before as your half term, we’ve just adjusted the price down so pop over and have a look.
Lower Prices for New Year
We have some new lower rates and flexible booking dates for the New Year period. If you fancy a little escape after the rush of all the family at Christmas why not think about chilling with us down on the farm. Or go the whole way and come for Christmas too. We make it so much fun for the children it really takes the pressure off parents to just chill and enjoy the whole festive period.
Get ahead for next summer
We are holding the prices from this year forward to next summer. Jump on board and book your favourite week and property now and give the family something to look forward to.
A holiday for us too
We managed a week away ourselves in August splitting our kids between coming with us and managing the farm. They were helped by my niece and her family. Huge thanks to the team who kept things running beautifully for us, we are just back and full of renewed energy and enthusiasm for the autumn season.
We have had a real mix of activities tailored to the age group each week. From woodland fairies to kite making, raft racing, teepees and campfires, the children have loved their afternoons of creativity here.
On the Farm
The fishing enthusiasts of Coombe Mill told us the brambles were being troublesome along the bank of the pond. We always like to deal with any issues as quickly as possible and Farmer Nick has been digging out a bramble free section, backfilling with chippings to make the perfect fishing spot. It has been well received by all and perfect for Guy who teaches the children here to fish on request.
Plenty of autumn logs
Ash die back has come over to our country from continental Europe. Sadly, just as the name suggests, it is killing the ash trees in our country from the ends of the leaves back to the trunk. We have been hit very badly in Cornwall and especially here at Coombe Mill where ash is widespread in our wooded valley. For safety reasons Farmer Nick and our boys have been cutting down the dying trees in public places before they caused a danger to anyone by falling. On the plus side there is going to be plenty of logs to fuel the woodburners in our cottages and lodges for the winter season and some fun additions to the fairy garden too.
August is the calm before the storm. All the animals have been soaking up the sun and enjoying the last of the rich summer grazing. It is the month for putting on weight and fattening themselves up ahead of autumn – the season of love! Our Billy goat gruff is already beginning to smell of strong goat’s cheese and keen to be let in to woo his lady friends.
Lappa Valley (steam trains for kids) Grandparents Day
Grandparent goes free with full paying child
Nb: I have not been paid or sponsored to mention these places, they are just the Cornish events September for 2019 that I feel would be of interest to Coombe Mill Guests.
I hope you have enjoyed a wonderful summer and made the most of the holidays. Best wishes to all those going into a new school, class or preschool this term. I hope to see some of you here on the farm soon.
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
“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.