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.
September holiday news from the farm
September holiday news brings you highlights from the summer and plans for autumn on our delightful family farmstay. ... Read More
A Month of Being Open for Holidays
Reflections on a month of our holidays being open again after the Covid-19 lockdown. How our no contact holidays work & farm news. ... Read More
Finally I have a month of our holidays being open to share. It has been quite eventful here and a learning curve for us all, but I’m delighted to say the summer season is well and truly underway, we are full until the 29th August and those staying are making the most of the weather and facilities both here and out and about. Do have a read and hopefully it will inspire your next holiday with us too.
Non Contact Holidays for your Safety
I have established a system of emailing all our guests during the week prior to staying with clear instructions for a safe and trouble free non contact arrival. YouTube tutorials are being viewed and seem to be doing the job well. Once inside there is always WiFi to contact me and ask any follow up questions.
On the Farm
Social distancing on the Feed Run
The tractor and trailer with the divide screen is working well for the morning farm visits. With families swapping turns at riding, use of antibacterial spray and hand sanitizer always freely available on the tractor everyone is adapting. Being out in the open air is the biggest win for everyone. The outdoors is now recognised as the safest way to meet others. The children are still making friends while feeding the animals, which feels like the best of all worlds.
Colin the alpaca shearer has been and relieved the alpaca of their thick winter coats. It is always a treat for the guests as Colin is very skilled at his job and great at explaining the whole process to an audience of curious onlookers. As well as shearing them they receive a full M. O. T with injections, teeth and hoof filing. I always say their characters change after they have been sheared, without their thick coat of disguise they appear to lose their stroppy ways and are much easier to feed by hand. May be it is because they are cooler and less irritable, either way they seem very happy to enjoy the rest of summer minus a heavy coat.
The fleece will go to Kay at www.treneyncraft.co.uk to turn into something creative and fun for her craft workshops and fairs.
Sally has Piglets
Some days it all happens at once, on the same morning as the alpaca shearing, Sally gave birth to 4 healthy piglets. Both Mother and piglets are doing well, however she gave us a scare. Usually she has far more which is why we were uncertain if she was pregnant or just taking advantage of Farmer Nick’s generous pregnancy feeding!
Fowl actions have been suspended throughout the Covid-19 Lockdown period, but Farmer Nick was quick to go to the first new meeting and bag us some cute little guinea fowl chicks. We have had them from just a day old and they are thriving in our little shed under a heat lamp. The children love to hold them and stoke their baby fluff on the morning feeding rounds.
The footbridge over the river developed two rotten steps this month. Nick has taken this as an opportunity to replace the rotten steps and add the new non slip decking we have used over the bridge crossing to add extra strength and a good non-slip base. This avoids the need for the chicken wire covering which was forever needing nailing down. Well done our handy man farmer.
I do hope you have a good August ahead with a chance for a summer holiday home or away. If you are not tied to school holidays we have some lovely autumn breaks available and would love to see you here.
It may be well into summer but at last we can say we are open! What a delight to be welcoming back holiday guests to Coombe Mill from 4th July. It is a brave new world we are entering into, but we have your health and safety in mind for your 2020 visit.
In preparation for holidays opening – The New Guidelines
Holiday opening new check in and out times.
In order to meet new cleaning standards, check in is now 4 – 6pm and check out by 9am.
How to show yourself into your accommodation
Follow the signs from the car park to reception. Inside reception take the key from the board with your property name on it and your booking surname above. Only one family in reception at any one time please.
Write any children’s names on the paper provided for tractor rides. Please take care to make this legible as it is used to write their certificates for helping out. (These will be written mid week so they are left for 72 hours).
If you know where your accommodation is you may go straight there. If you are not sure, follow the You Tube video sent to you by email prior to arriving. If you can’t access this ring the bell on the front of the reception door and we will instruct you there.
Inside your accommodation
When you enter the property you can sign into the WiFi (code in the information booklet and on the access point on the wall). Here again you will be able to watch the You Tube video for where things are inside your property. There will also be everything you need inside the information booklet. Any problems with this and we can do a socially distant showing in with one family member.
Morning Animal Feed Run
All families are welcome to meet in the car park at 9am for the tractor ride to feed the animals. We request you stand in family groups with social distancing to wait for the tractor. The trailer can take two families at a time on each trip to the farm and 2 other families on the return journey. This will change each day. All other parties will easily keep up by walking at a safe distance behind the trailer. The tractor returns at approximately 10.30am each morning. The tractor runs every day except Saturday.
Facilities on site during your Stay
The outdoor play areas
BBQs, indoor and outside
Games room – Ping pong, Pool and Table Football
The above are all open for you to use. Please respect social distancing between families and use the anti bacterial spray and disposable wipes provided between usages.
Games Room Books, dressing up clothes, board games and puzzles
Borrow room for wellies, overalls, outdoor games and sea side essentials
Please help yourself to any of the above for the week but leave in your accommodation for us to clean before returning.
Unavailable during your holiday
The indoor play barn
Friday craft hour
The above are deemed too difficult to manage effective cleaning and social distancing.
Toys in your property
Due to difficulty in keeping toys fully cleaned between visits only some toys will be provided in toy baskets and playrooms. These will be swapped weekly to allow a week of no use.
Out and About
Remember that most visitor attractions will be observing new rules. Please ring and check if you need to book before turning up to places. Beaches and Bodmin Moor are always available to explore and enjoy.
Please ensure you are out of your accommodation by 9am on departure day. Place keys in the box in reception marked for disinfection. Do Not Lock your property to allow access for cleaning.
If you feel unwell before or during your stay
If you feel unwell in the days leading up to your stay. Please do not come on holiday. You should insure yourselves against this possibility, some of the most respected insurers are now offering COVID-19 insurance, reflecting the much improved insurance risk.
In the unlikely event you feel unwell during your stay, you should follow government guidance and leave Coombe Mill for home immediately. Book a test near to your home by phone and inform us you have left by phone. We will then handle any NHS track and trace enquiries.
News from the Farm
Hello baby fawn
We have a beautiful little fawn being looked after by our deer herd. Just the one this year, that we have discovered, but adorable and healthy.
Baby Guinea Pigs
We have another two baby guinea pigs this month with some stunning markings taking us up to 11 in the guinea pig house now. Without visitors these past few months they are very timid and shy. I think they will be quite a challenge for the children to pin them down for a cuddle, but for the patient ones they will come out.
Sally is Pregnant
Sally the Pig is definitely starting to look pregnant. She is due later in July so if you are staying you might be treated to the arrival of piglets during your stay.
If you have been holding off booking with the uncertainly of Covid-19 and now feel ready for a holiday with us, we still have a smattering of properties over the summer period and good availability into the autumn, do take a look at our availability chart and give the family something to look forward to.
Well May followed in the footsteps of April here with stunning long sunny days and no one but us to enjoy them. It looks very much like June is going the same way, but we are still hopeful of being open from July onwards. Read on and discover more of our plans as we all try to adapt to a new normal going forward.
Your Holiday with us in 2020
March to June bookings have been moved forward to later in 2020 or 2021. There is some talk from Government of hospitality beginning to open from 4th July. I sincerely hope we will be in that first wave. We are busy refining the concept of a “No contact holiday” that we came up with prior to lockdown, in order to provide peace of mind and safety for all our visitors going forward.
In essence this will include:
A You Tube video link to watch for showing yourself into your property on arrival and leaving at the end of your stay.
Details of how the animal feed run will work in the mornings
A slip of paper in your property, separate to our welcome booklet, detailing any significant additional events going on at Coombe Mill or in the area during your stay.
The Bluebells have been stunning this past month, from the farm to the woods beyond. They have now given way to Rhododendrons and Foxgloves indicating that summer feel truly here.
Support for our Key Workers
We have felt a little out of the loop with the clapping for the NHS and key workers which I know has been taking place in the village. Clap as hard as we like and no one will hear us in our own secluded valley. However I have created a little area of thanks in the Fairy Garden. This is something to make those passing by stop and give thanks as they wander through. The backdrop of the river, wildlife and countryside tranquillity adds to the message.
On the Farm in May
Our baby gosling is thriving
The little over protected gosling is looking like a real teenager now as she turns from baby to adult. Her fluffy feathers are beginning to be replaced by adult ones but she is still watched carefully by the adult geese.
We have a turkey chick
Our female turkey (hen) has been sitting on a clutch of eggs for weeks and we were beginning to fear she had just gone broody, but no, she hatched 3 adorable little chicks. We had quite a kafuffle removing Dad to giving Mum a chance to raise her young. However in the end we had to rescue the last little chick to hand raise ourselves. She is thriving and now off the heat lamp. Catch the whole saga on my weekly You Tube update.
Our local sheep shearer came on one of the hottest days of the month. I can only imagine how relieved the sheep must have been to see those thick coats go. The Ram is now separated from the ewes, with just our pet Lambo for company for the summer months and the lambs continue to thrive. See the morning highlights below.
The sheep look so content reunited with their lambs and without their thick coats.
With Lockdown gradually lifting we have enjoyed some wonderful beach days. There is definitely more traffic around, and the beach numbers are rising too. There is still plenty of room for social distancing and some beautiful hidden beaches to get away from it all. We hope you will soon be joining us discovering the best ones along the North Cornwall coast.
And just like that, May has rolled around. If you are anything like us, the hours, days and weeks have begun to merge somewhat under lockdown. Routine is out of the window, except that the animals soon make it known if we are late feeding them! I hope you are managing to stay safe, sane and enjoy the amazing spring weather in your garden or as part of your daily exercise. I have to say the farm has never looked more vibrant in spring. I’ve even taken to brining a little of the outdoors inside each day.
To those holidaying with us this year
We have now moved March, April and May bookings forward up to 12 months. Much as I’d hoped we wouldn’t need to, it does look like we will be offering this to our June bookings too. Watch out for an email from me if this applies to you.
The Easter Bunny still came to visit
Easter is one of the calendar highlights here. Our Easter egg hunt has become quite a tradition with much rushing around and clue solving. With just me here this year I had a bit of fun dressing up and creating a virtual Easter Egg Hunt. I know quite a few of you watched it; I hope you were able to follow the clues and stay one step ahead of me. If you’ve not yet tried, you can still give it a go:
On the Farm
Sally is back
Piglet has gone on holiday and Sally has returned to a lovely clean house and the freedom of her garden which she was straight out to enjoy. She has been away seeing her boyfriend for 2 cycles so we are hopeful of piglets towards the end of July. The return features in one of my weekly video lockdown updates.
Chicks on the Move
The little baby chicks have grown and moved from the small steel shed under a heat lamp into a larger half covered fox proof house where they have access to daylight, a half covered roof and a cosy bed to retreat into at night. The move was successful until we had our first night of rain. Some of them didn’t work out that half the enclosure was undercover and stood out in the rain all night. There are only 3 sensible and hardy ones remaining. I thought even chickens could work out moving into the dry, apparently not so!
Chickens all outdoors
I mentioned last month that the chickens were beginning to move from their winter home into Jurassic Park outside for summer. They are now loving the freedom to scrap at the earth and explore a much wider area. Secure perimeter fencing protects them and the ducks and geese from foxes.
Norman is in the fold
Do you remember me mentioning the young wild stag pacing the perimeter of our deer field and desperate to get inside? We named him ‘Norman no mate’ and made it our mission to attract him in with a little food each morning. Alistair (our eldest son) and I set off to try and open a gate and lure him in one evening while the rest of the deer were in another field. We were successful, but not as we thought. Norman managed to squeeze through a section of fence he had clearly been working on and missed the easy option of walking in the gate. Anyway he is now safely inside and happily running with our deer. We have patched up the fence gap, so it is it a one way journey.
Success comes to those who are patient. Goosy Gander has been diligently sitting on her clutch of eggs for weeks. It would appear not in vein, she now has a fluffy yellow gosling under her wing and all the geese are being particularly protective over her as you can see in the latest video update. She is still hopeful the rest will hatch, but I fear their time has passed.
The dry spell was a great opportunity to help the ponies with their malting coats. The loose hairs came out easily in an hour of grooming. Thanks to the bribe of carrots I even managed to trim mains and fringes. I think the ponies enjoyed it too as they have been actiting like youngsters again gallopping around the field chasing one another ever since. You can see this and more in the latest weeks video update.
With chippings to be delivered, the turkey still sitting on eggs and our lambing mid way through, there is plenty to look forward to here in May. I will continue to try and keep the videos going so you can stay up to speed with events as they happen.
Wishing you and your families a safe month ahead and hoping there will be holidays to look forward to soon.
It is officially spring this month and we couldn’t be happier. Hopefully we can say good riddance to storms and cold and hello to a little spring warmth. I hope you can take a minute to catch up on the upcoming March Events in Cornwall together with the latest holiday farm news from us.
Spring holiday availability
If you are thinking of coming away for the Easter break we are now full on week commencing 4th April but have a few spaces still in the weeks either side of this if you are quick. The same is true of the May half term week from 23rd May. We have just 2 properties still available then. If you miss out on these, remember we still offer weekend’s right through to the last week of June for a little farm escape.
February Half Term
Half term saw our first busy week of the year. It was lovely to see the farm buzzing with laughter and children running freely here. We had some lovely feed runs with Farmer Nick and myself as Farmer Fi. Later in the week Farmer Theo who took over from us while we took our triplets away to catch up with family in Sussex. It’s fair to say the weather was not always in our favour. Frequent showers meant wet weather gear was needed by everyone. That said, I congratulate all the children and adults who regularly joined the morning feed run regardless of the rain.
The train is up and running
The train has taken its first passengers on the new line this half term. The line isn’t quite complete, but we managed to get enough track laid down to give it a good test. It is now a door to door service from your lodge to the tractor and trailer in the morning, with a return trip for those completing the feed run.
More creativity for the Fairy Garden
Last month I shared the newly painted stones. This month has been all about fairy log houses. I’m so pleased with how these have turned out I think I will undercoat some smaller logs and let the children loose to create their own with poster paint here in activity hour this season.
The animals are enjoying the new season grass already and the lawnmowers have been out a couple of times already in the past month keeping the garden lawns in shape. All we need now are the first spring lambs and I’ll really feel the new season is with us.
Was that a tornado?
In contrast to the generally benign winter weather this year, Storm Ciara left her mark. We had an easy time of her apart from a freak tornado that ripped through the valley on the afternoon of the 10th February. Our chicken house was uprooted from its concrete base along with a wheelbarrow and hurled over the 8ft Jurassic park fencing. A whole line of trees came down up the ravine knocking out 2 lines of electric cable and leaving us without power until late in to the night. Thankfully we were between guest visits and only had to worry about lighting our own log burner for warmth, light and cooking. Western Electric had us back on line late evening and we spent the next day clearing debris. Thankfully the chickens were all in their indoor quarters, where they will be staying until Farmer Nick rebuilds their summer shelter. Fingers crossed for no more drama and a smooth ride into spring.
“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.