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.
Welcome to the festive month of December. It feels rather like the whole country has gone Christmas crazy and Christmas spirit is well and truly buzzing. I hope I can interrupt your planning for the big day with a little update for you from the farm, an offer you can’t refuse for next year and of course all the best local events in Cornwall for December if you are joining us.
Reserve any 2020 holiday this December for FREE
I know this one made a big difference to many of you last year, so we are bringing it back again.
Secure your favourite week in your favourite property next year by simply placing the booking:
Online: Write “Pay March” in special instructions. Pull out when asked to pay a deposit. I will see your booking at this point and confirm that I will hold it for you until the end of March. I’ll email you at the start of March to remind you about the deposit payment.
By phone: just call 01208850344 and secure the booking by phone.
By email: provide your name, when you last came (if you’ve stayed before) phone number, address, number in the party, week and property wanted.
If your booking is in January or February you can still book in December but pay January. Just write “Pay January” instead of “Pay March” in special instructions
Holiday news from the farm
The Chickens have come indoors
After October half term the chickens have all moved to their indoor quarters. This will keep them dry and cosy with a deep wood chip floor and electric lighting to compensate for the short daylight hours.
Free Range Goats
The goats are enjoying free ranging the tractor route while we have no guests staying. This has the benefit of munching down all the brambles and overgrowth, reducing our animal food bills, natural pruning of the pathways and a varied diet for the goats. It’s a ‘win win’ situation for everyone. Most importantly Dusty, or Houdini as Nick now calls him for his ability to escape all but the ‘Sin Bin’ field where he has ended up in isolation over the summer, is now reunited with his friends. Even Dusty can’t escape over the river.
Cottages over the road
Camel Side Cottages comprising of Tree Roots, Honeysuckle and Willow are now separated from Coombe Mill with gates and its own sign, website and booking system.
The train is in Farmer Nick’s shed waiting a new lick of paint, while the train track has all been lifted and stored. The plan is to run it along the path of the lodges and Farmer Nick has begun the trench for this. We hope to have it up and running as soon as possible in spring.
This has to go to Lucy Williams. Lucy and her family have been coming to Coombe Mill for many years. Family holiday memories have built up to the point where their latest family addition now has her middle name as ‘River’ after the river Camel running through Coombe Mill. How wonderful is that? (Photos from Lucy’s last visit in October half term)
Christmas and New Year
All that remains is for me to wish you and your family a very Happy Christmas and New Year. We have a last minute cancellation in Eden if you can take advantage and space over New Year if you fancy a little country escape. Otherwise don’t forget to take us up on our December offer for next year.
The Coombe Mill Halloween Fun Day is one of the farm annual highlights. It has developed and grown over the years into a day that holiday makers return for year after year. This year followed the highly success format of 2018, but with a few additions to keep things fresh.
Halloween Fancy Dress Feed Run
Our usual morning tractor and trailer ride to feed the animals was turned into a fancy dress feed run. The trailer really looked the part and even Farmer Nick joined in with fancy dress.
Perhaps the highlight of the feed run was discovering spooky Halloween chocolate eggs in place of farm eggs at the chickens
Families then had the middle of the day free while I moved decorations from the Trailer to the train tunnel and added to them and prepared the pumpkin crafts for the afternoon.
Last year we provided pumpkins for carving as part of the carts. It was so successful I thought I’d extend it to this year but instead of just handing out pumpkins I hid them in the fairy garden so the children’s first task was to go on a pumpkin hunt.
Armed with a pumpkin each the children set about designing their pumpkin and then carving. We had plenty of adults on hand to help out with this. When it came to scooping out the middle, we reserved the seeds and flesh for baking.
We made pumpkin cakes indoors, very similar to the blackberry cakes of a few weeks before, but substituting the blackberries with grated pumpkin flesh.
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
This is one of my favourite things to do with pumpkins. The seeds are so easy to roast. Simply clean them in water and pat them dry, then transfer them to a roasting dish, add salt and pepper to taste and drizzle with olive oil before roasting in the oven or under a hot grill for around 10 minutes or until golden. It is worth shaking the seeds mid way through cooking to ensure they toast nicely on both sides.
The children filled jars with the toasted seeds and made spider tops from cereal boxes while the cakes cooked.
Halloween Party Games
We cleared away the baking tables and turned up the Halloween music for a bit of fun with musical statues and musical bumps. The children were so good it was hard to catch anyone out, even with a wide age range. In the end I had them spinning and bumping to make it harder for them and easier for me! There were treats for all so everyone was a winner really.
Daytime turned to night times during our games and the children were really excited for our last two events, the Ghost train and Trick or Treat. We made our way over to the train station by torchlight and everyone enjoyed at least two round of train riding in the dark with a spooky tunnel of fun.
The evening ends in style with a huge trick or treat procession. This is totally unique and very Coombe Mill. We go from property to property as an organised group. Weonly stop if there is a pumpkin lit outside. Between the ones we carved together and extras created by families in their own time there were some real works of art
Trick or Treat challenges my voice. My trick is to keep order, keep everyone safe and ensure the little ones have as much of a chance to call at each house as the bigger kids. Excitment is full on as this is the real highlight of the evening for the children.
My thanks to all the parents for the wonderful treats and decorated properties. I think this might have been the best trick or treat ever. One little one told me as much which was totally spontaneous and adorable.
With Halloween just passed, Bonfire night coming up and Christmas festivities on the horizon this feels like a busy time of year for families. With this in mind I have a snappy to the point newsletter for you with updates from the farm, ideas to keep holidays in mind and the latest on November Events Cornwall.
Halloween Fun Day
Hot off the press our Halloween fun day was another year of spooktacular fun and games. From the morning fancy dress feed run to evening trick or treating, this remains probably the most popular event of the year. Jump ahead to book October half term next year and be part of fun.
The Golf Course has moved!
I mentioned last month that the train and golf course would be coming across the road as we separate Honeysuckle, Willow and Tree Roots cottages. The train was waiting till after Halloween so that we could run the ghost train, but the golf course has moved. It is now located where the under 5’s ride on play area was and Farmer Nick is working on a fun 7th hole into the little house.
Come and stay for New Year
Christmas is almost fully booked (unless you are a family of 4?) but we still have good availability for New Year. Come and join us for anything from 3 nights upwards. A holiday here is a perfect chance to walk off the Christmas calories on the farm and local beaches before warming up by our cosy log burners.
An imaginative Christmas Present
Don’t forget we have gift certificates from £50 upwards if you are looking for a different sort of gift for a family member this year. You can use our gift certificates with our “refer a friend” scheme saving you, and those you refer, £50 off your next booking with us.
Guest post of the month
This wonderful post came through to me on Facebook messenger. The family are now all grown up but still have fond childhood memories here with us. The property is long since gone and the pig field moved, the rest is very much Coombe Mill. Please do share your posts and pictures with me on social media using #CoombeMillHolidays or direct to our group or via the page or email.
It is such a wonderful surprise when I receive an enexpected message like this. “Hi Fiona and Nick. I wanted to share some photos I found of my two on holiday a few years ago now. What fantastic times we had too. Hope your both well and thanks again for … https://t.co/49SDAMczmdpic.twitter.com/dk3rvErU9N
We have so many baby guinea Pigs that we are going to need to re-home a few. Just ask if you fancy taking one home with you after your holiday. They make the most adorable pets.
We are now entering the Rutting season when Rudolph can become quite unpredictable and as such we are recommending that guests only go through the deer field with Farmer Nick on the morning feed run. Rudolph is however looking his most magnificent for his ladies with a full set of antlers.
Nb: I have not been paid or sponsored to mention these places, they are just the Cornish events November 2019 that I feel would be of interest to Coombe Mill Guests.
As a last note I will just say that we are open right through November and December if you fancy a long weekend break before the rush of Christmas. Have a good month whatever your plans and I hope we all enjoy some crisp sunny winter days.
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.
“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.