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.
Easter Card and Decorative Log Craft
Easter card and decorative log craft session inspired by nature and a few recycled bits and bobs. A great way to let creativity florish for ... Read More
Baby Robins Hatch in Farmer Nick's Shed
From a clutch of eggs to fledling baby robins, we have watched the plight of Mummy Robin and her brood this spring in Farmer Nic'ks shed.... Read More
Sticker World Farm, Castle, Airport
Sticker World Farm, Airport and Castle books from Lonely Planet Kids are perfect for children to learn and create on each topic. ... Read More
Don’t you just love spring? The countryside is transformed as hedgerows come to life in vibrant greens and colourful flowers. Here on the farm uplifting change comes not only from the trees and meadows but also from new life. There is something quite magical about the first spring lambs, little piglets and kid goats. However alongside our farm animals, wildlife is responding to the spring conditions too. Imagine our surprise and delight when Farmer Nick discovered a perfect little robin’s nest hidden in a cunning location within his shed. We have watched from eggs through to baby robins flying the nest.
A safe nesting spot
If finding the perfect home preoccupies us as humans, imagine how important it must be in the wild. One clever little robin opted for the middle tray in Farmer Nick’s nuts and bolts collection. We were quite oblivious to this homemaking until Farmer Nick pulled out the draw in search of a 2 inch screw only to find the most perfect nest, Mummy Robin and a clutch of eggs sitting in there. She must have taken a liking to Cornwall’s Pirate fm radio, which is always on in there, or more realistically the dry windproof conditions!
They could be Cadbury Mini Cream Eggs.
The little robin eggs really do remind me of Cadbury Mini Eggs in looks and size. I popped my ring in next to them just to show how little they are. It has given me some wonderful inspiration for my Easter crafts with the holiday makers this year!
Newly hatched baby robins
Mummy Robin continued to sit on her clutch of eggs and listen to the radio as Farmer Nick pottered about his business, until he noticed she was flying in and out more often. A closer inspection revealed 5 perfect little baby robins all reaching up for food. No wonder she had been flying in and out.
Nature is harsh
Sadly within the week, despite her cunning nesting location, there were just two baby robins in the nest. Nature can be harsh, but looking at how they fill the little nest I can’t imagine there being space for more. Curiously made me research this, according to the RSPB website site only around 57% of a clutch will make it to fledgling chicks, so our Mummy is typical after all.
Almost ready to fly
The two survivors gradually put on weight; we watched their wings grow in preparation to fly the nest.
Farmer Nick get’s his screws back.
They have now flown the nest and Farmer Nick can reach his precious screw collection again. If you wanting encourage nesting birds, recommend a trip to a DIY store for these organisational trays and a nice sheltered spot in a shed or garden to attach them!
Welcome to my monthly news highlights from March 19 at Coombe Mill holidays together with a guide for what’s on in Cornwall for April 19. A handy guide to plan your time here if you are visiting this month. We have so much going on here that I want to share it’s no wonder spring is my favourite season filled with hope and possibilities.
Last minute April 19 Easter Holiday Offer
It’s no April fool’s Joke! We are now taking short breaks to fill any remaining gaps for the forthcoming Easter holidays. These start at £569 for 3 nights. With so much to see and get involved in on the farm right now it will make the best Easter present for all the family.
Take a virtual tour of our properties
I have been replacing the carousel of 3 photos at the top of each property page with a video tour. They are only an amateur guide taken on my phone but it now gives you the chance to see our properties on film, by photo and through floor plans all on one page. We have so many different styles of properties; it is now even easier to find the one that most suits your family.
Work Complete in Honeysuckle and Willow
Over the past few months I have been updating you with upgrades to our Honeysuckle and Willow semi detached cottages, from kitchen makeover to new carpets and full wi fi. The final upgrade last month was a full rewiring which included removing the bedroom electric heaters with more substantial and effective night storage heating to keep you nice and toasty all year round. Furthermore we have taken away the meter box so all your electric usage from the washing machine to the heating is now included in the price. Speaking of price we have made all these changes without increasing any prices on 2018.
2020 prices at 2019 rates
It isn’t just Honeysuckle and Willow that are holding their prices. The weekly rates for all our properties are now up for 2020 and are currently available to book at the reduced 2019 rates. There is no guarantee this will be the case all year, so I recommend being the early bird catches the worm and booking ahead for summer 2020!
On the Farm
Lambing is one of the great joys of spring on the farm. We are now well underway so if you are staying from now until mid May you’ll have a good chance of seeing an adorable newborn taking its first steps in life.
Piglets for Sally
This year Sally took an early trip to visit Pasty her boyfriend. The result of which has been 7 healthy March piglets. Anyone who visited last year will know we were somewhat shocked to discover that all her piglets turned out to be boys. Unbelievably the same thing has happened again. This doesn’t matter apart from they will have to leave us earlier than we would like and be separated from Sally by 3 months. Right now they are adorable if growing fast and definitely a highlight on the morning feed run.
Christmas has Company
Christmas, our female Turkey has suffered a bit of an identity crises being in with the ducks and geese. Last year she even incubated a gosling egg thinking it was hers! We have taken the matter in hand and introduced 2 more female turkeys and a male. Christmas is now in good company and both the turkeys and geese are laying eggs so hopefully there will be more new life to share later in the season.
With the goats looking pregnant and the bluebells beginning to appear, it is a wonderful time to visit. I hope we will see you soon. To tempt you further here are a few of the family events on in Cornwall over April that you might enjoy:
What’s On in Cornwall April 2019
Find out more
Distance from Coombe Mill
Stately Home and Garden
31st March Opens for the season offering house tours, freedom to explore gorgeous gardens. Tea Room
There are a few signs for me that spring is really with us. First are the snowdrops and daffodils, then the lengthening days and warmth in the midday sun. Finally the big one here is the birth of our first spring lamb. This year it is Ebony, who I saved from the pot last year, and now leads the way.
A lucky escape for Ebony
Ebony was herself hand raised having been abandoned by her mother. She has proved to be a gentle and friendly sheep with our guests, but a dubious mother herself. Last year she had twins and rejected one who we raised. Lambo became the star of the farm in spring 2018 but no thanks to Ebony. Farmer Nick was all for calling time on Ebony after twice abandoning her lambs, however I saved her for one more year and now I know I made the right decision. Ebony has taken to her new son perfectly.
Born in the wild
Farmer Nick was feeding the sheep with our guests as the last stop on the morning feed run when he noticed we were one sheep missing. As there was no bleating to indicate being stuck up in the brambles we knew there was a good chance the missing sheep was in labour or just given birth. A scour of the field confirmed our suspicions as Ebony sat nursing her new born up in the trees. We followed Farmer Nick up the field as he collected the lamb to bring him down and perform the necessary checks with Ebony following close behind.
Correctly handling a lamb
It may look mean to be suspending the lamb by its legs, but this is actually the safest way, cuddling them to your body may feel instinctive to us but actually risks damaging the new born organs.
Down at the trailer the guests could admire mother and baby while Farmer Nick searched for his new born kit.
Why tail docking is recommended
In no time the tail is docked with a band below the nerve. This will just fall off in the coming weeks and is pain free. It isn’t essential, but helps prevent muck and poo that inevitably builds up when the full tail is left risking infection. Iodine on the umbilical cord is also to prevent infection and help the cord dry safely.
A move to the nursery.
We have a special field for our new born spring lambs which is more fox proof. Ebony and her lamb rode in the trailer with me to get there. The rest of the flock looked on with interest as we left them at the cattle grid.
Spray marking explained
Before we let mother and baby into their new field Farmer Nick gave them a quick spray. It is hard to see on Ebony as she is so dark, but the 11 means she is the first lamb to give birth to one lamb.
Waiting for more spring lambs
While Ebony and her new spring lamb enjoy the nursery to themselves, hopefully it won’t be long before another comes to join them. Watching the lambs make friends and skip around together is a real joy.
No wonder spring is such a happy and positive time to be on the farm. We’d love you to come and see them too. Do check out our latest availability this spring.
Welcome to my monthly news highlights from February 19 at Coombe Mill holidays together with a guide for what’s on in Cornwall for March 19. A handy guide to plan your time here if you are visiting this month.
Spring on the back of the snow
What a crazy month February turned out to be. We started the month on the national news when so much snow fell in the space of 2 hours during the school run. Everyone was caught out. Thankfully it was a happy ending and a great snow day off that followed.
Fast forward a couple of weeks and our half term guests were treated to spring with temperatures of 15 degrees. The farm literally blossomed and you could have been mistaken for thinking it was Easter.
Willow and honeysuckle cottages.
Last month I shared the kitchen and living room updates on Willow and Honeysuckle cottages. I’m now thrilled to say the new carpets are all in up the stairs, landing and bedrooms together with a few curtain and lampshade changes to lift these two spacious cottages for the 2019 season.
Inspired for business growth
I attended the annual Small Business Conference in Birmingham run by Theo Paphitis (ex Dragon’s Den star) as an #sbs winner. It is something I attend every year to network with other business owners, catch up with friends made over the years and be inspired for good business practice from Theo and his inspiring guest speakers. As always I came away buzzing with an action plan which will hopefully benefit all our holiday guests. Watch this space.
On the Farm
The end of February is a happy time for the animals, spring is in the air and the harsher days of winter are hopefully behind them.
Survival is easy for the chickens as they have been enjoying life indoors in their luxury winter home. On the back of this we have had record egg collections with up to 10 a day. I’m sure this rivals our best summer days!
R.I.P. Floppsy and Bruce
Sadly not everyone fared so well. We lost both Bruce the Wallaby and Floppsy the rabbit during February. They were both such great characters we will miss them both. Farmer Nick has his fingers in many pies trying to see if we can find anything to replace them.
Born into the snow
In happier news the guinea pigs are thriving. So much so we had two sets of babies on the same night born just as the snow arrived. We rigged up a heat lamp during the cold spell to keep them warm and they are now all thriving.
What’s On in Cornwall March 2019
If you are coming to see us this month I have a few recommendations of places and special activities you may like to visit with the family.
We all know fire is dangerous, deserves respect and care, especially when children are near. However with the fear and danger comes fun and excitement. Here on the farm, we have an annual tradition on the back of our Christmas Fun, of saving all the wrapping paper for a big bonfire party. It isn’t a big activity, never the less our supervised bonfire event is one kids look forward to.
A Trailer full of Christmas Debris
All day Christmas Day and Boxing Day Farmer Nick leaves an open trailer out in the car park with a big sign inviting guests to leave their Christmas wrapping, from paper to party hats. This has the dual advantage of not overflowing our bins whilst simultaneously preparing for a fun supervised bonfire event for the kids.
Safety is Key
Over the years Farmer Nick has created some great firework events for us at both at New Year and Bonfire night. Safety is key; especially with excitable risk taking children around. For this reason, even our Christmas big burn is a supervised bonfire event. It is all carefully set up by Farmer Nick in advance, with a few clear rules:
Only Farmer Nick starts the fire.
The fire site location is away from the farm and properties, just off the farm track.
The wind needs to be heading away from the path where people stand.
Wind strength needs to be moderate, not still or too strong.
Children are supervised by an adult at all times, as well as having Farmer Nick present.
Wrapping paper needs to be thrown from a safe distance to the fire.
Large windfall branches form the base of the bonfire. This gives substance and structure for the wrapping paper to be added.
Any near misses must be corrected by adults only.
Let the Fun Begin
Mindful of safety throughout, Farmer Nick invites the guests to join him. They can watch, or take part in, burning the collected waste wrapping paper.
Carrying cardboard from trailer towards the fire.
Watching the fire with younger children.
Throwing onto the fire from a safe distance.
Watching the fire die down to a safe level.
It is such a simple event, yet on a cold winter’s evening provides welcome warmth to the late afternoon fading light. The joy on the faces of the children joining in is clear to see. This is certainly a part of the Christmas break they will remember. As I watched the children this year I couldn’t help but remember the fun my own children would have at this event poking at the embers with a big stick long after the flames had died down.
Join our Supervised Bonfire event in 2019
Weather permitting, we will be doing it all again this year, just a part of our Christmas program here on the farm. We’d love you to come and join us.
“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.