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.
The month of May has been an exciting time as Spring turns to Summer. We have started our biggest project since arriving on the farm. Wemade the decision not to just give the old gym a ‘facelift’, but to completely rip out kitchens and bathrooms in one of the larger old lodges and convert this much larger space into our New ‘Gym’. It will also be a space we can use for some of our wellbeing and painting weekends we hope to launch soon. Wehit a few hurdles on the way. In order to make the gym fully operational and safe, the electricsneeded some serious updating. This involved us having to hire a digger to dig a 20 metre long trenchto lay new cable. After this slight set back, the gym is now starting to take shape.We now have a new grey floor, new skirting boards, a fresh lick of paint and a super reinforced rubber floor area. Our guests can use the cardio equipment, ‘hit the weights’ or alternatively try out our new TRX band which extends down from the ceiling. The full gym will be ready at the end of this week, so look out for updates on our social media pages.
Highs and Low’s on the farm
On the farm we have had some highs and lows. Sadly, our two goslings that hatched didn’t make it this time. We are hopeful that we may have some more ‘poults’ on the way. Our three ponies, Skippy, Shaggy and Scooby-Doo enjoyed a bit of TLC when we had a visit from the local farrier. After their hooves had been trimmed, they seemed to have a new lease of life, chasing and galloping around the fields after each other.
Fishes are starting to bite
The increasing temperature has meant the lakes have been warming up nicely. Our guests have enjoyed watching the water come alive with swimming tadpoles, which are now just beginning to grow their legs. The carp are now fully awake and can be seen much more readily on the surface. Many more guests are now enjoying the fishing, with successful catches from both the adults and the children.
As Spring turns to Summer the warmer water temperatures have encouraged some of our braver guests to join us for a swim and a play in our river. This has been lots of fun for all those involved.
One of the best things about Coombe Mill is the freedom and exploration the children can have. Whilst exploring further up the lane, we found a beautiful hidden away waterfall…..
BBQ and Surfing Weather
Transitioning from Spring through to the Summer months, it has been lovely to see our guests starting to enjoy using our outdoor barbecue areas. As well as the children making full use of the outdoor play areas too. Many more wet suits are now being hung up on the line after a good day’s surfing in the warmer sea too! The flowers are starting to bloom, the bees are buzzing and we are very much looking forward to being allowed to open our new gym very soon.
Spring is always a joyful month in the animal calendar, but it has been an equally exciting month for us all here at Coombe Mill, as we finally opened our doors to a full house of new guests during the week of April 12th.
New Animals through the farm
Our sheep herd has continued to grow in size. Our final Spring arrivals being born at the end of the month, totalling three girls and two boys. All our ewes have been exceptional mummies, looking after and caring for their lambs.
April has been an exciting month for our ‘feathered friends’ too. Our female goose has been busy making a cosy nest for her clutch of ten eggs and has spent the last thirty days sitting on her nest. We are keeping everything crossed that at least some of these eggs will hatch and produce a few goslings. We have two females and one male Bronze Turkey. They have also been busy producing over twenty-five eggs between them. Similarly, we are hoping that a week after our goslings are due, we may have some baby poults too.
One of our most popular Spring arrivals, has been our two baby guinea-pigs. They have been enjoying some quiet time with Mum, before being introduced to our now very large family of 17 guinea-pigs. Our younger guests have thoroughly enjoyed handling and feeding these two youngsters.
Spring arrivals in the form of frog spawn, has also been multiplying in our two fishing lakes, where the children have been amazed at the ever increasing numbers of tadpoles and their progressive increase in size and shape.
Fishing at coombe Mill
Alongside a river keeper, we have been working hard cutting and pruning back a lot of the overgrown trees, shrubs and brambles. This has enabled us to create three ‘swims’ for our budding fisherman and guests to come and fish. The carp being another Spring arrival, have now started to surface a lot more as the temperatures have slowly risen. They are gradually growing in size due to their diet of dog biscuits provided by our friendly fisherman recently.
Trout and juvenile Salmon can now be spotted along our river. We pulled on our wellies and jumped into the river to make some new river pools. A salmon pool is where salmon are known to gather to rest and feed, and from where they can be successfully caught. In England, they are known as stells.
Guests Enjoying the longer evenings
Overall, it has been lovely to see our guests enjoying all the animals on the farm. They are also taking advantage of both our indoor and outdoor barbecue areas and all the outdoor play areas too. We are very much looking forward to being allowed to open our new indoor games room on May 21st too.
We are now fully booked for July and Aug but do have some availability in September.
Happy New Year to you all. We hope 2021 brings us a better year and that for our guests at Coombe Mill you have a year with less restrictions to travel. Have you thought about a 2021 staycation for your family? Read on to hear our plans and the big changes ahead.
At the end of last year Coombe Mill changed hands. Fiona and Nick who owned Coombe Mill for over 18 years have decided to put their feet up and retire and have passed over the reins to us – Anya, Emma, Millie, Sam and Sienna.
A bit about us
Emma and I are both ex – secondary school teachers and as a family have a love for the outdoors. We have moved down to Cornwall from Bovingdon in Hertfordshire where we lived for over 10 years but wanted to escape the rat race and have a slower pace of life.
The start of our journey has been a challenging one due to more Covid lockdowns but we were able to welcome a few guests from Tier 1 and 2 for the Christmas week.
Latest on the farm
We have turned on the lights in the indoor chicken shed and are feeding the chickens more food in the hope that we get some eggs in the next few days.
In the local area
Exploring the local area has been like our own little staycation. As a family we have discovered a number of child friendly walks. These will be added into the welcome pack in each lodge for you to enjoy.
We are looking forward to developing Coombe Mill in our style. Rest assured we will keep you up to date with our plans and changes throughout the year on our Instagram and Facebook pages. First up is a brilliant wooden swing down near the river and the fairy garden. This has already been fully tested by our children and proved a big success.
Arrranging your next staycation
The Christmas decorations are now down and we are fully in the driving seat. Why not beat the January blues and look at a staycation here this year. Emma and I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible over the coming year. Our children are keen to find new playmates.
What a surreal summer that was. July and August came and went in a blur of glorious busy days for us. It is wonderful to be open again and we had everything crossed that we would see the critical two summer months through without the need for a second lockdown. Yippee we did it, if you stayed hopefully you’ll agree that the careful balance of social distancing and the farm activities you love came together to make a memorable holiday. September holiday dates look like they will continue as August left off so we must be doing something right!
Social distancing to suit you
Besides the new self showing in and feed run modifications mentioned last month, social distancing is very much at your discretion. With 30 acres of outdoor freedom here, there is always a quiet corner, a time to visit our purpose built play areas alone or enjoy the wonders of nature here.
Speaking of social distancing, we have new plaques up through the orchard. It is now the “Wisdom Walk” and perfect for a thoughtful stroll. You can even stop to pick an apples, cherries, plums and blackberries along the way!
I mentioned at the start that September holiday dates were going fast. This is also true of October and all school holiday dates into 2021. If you are thinking to get away and visit us please do think ahead and book up. Currently we still have availability for summer 2021 at 2020 prices (held from 2019). This won’t last so it really does pay to plan ahead!
On the farm
The Piglets, born in July, are growing up fast and gaining weight by the day. They can no longer squeeze under the gate to free range and are competing for mum for the daily food rations.
A new baby Guinea Pig
After an evening of much commotion and squabbling in the guinea pig house my suspicions were confirmed and we have a new baby. This new baby spent much of August hiding in the lock away house with Mum guarding the entrance, but is now beginning to venture out and mix with the others. As the smallest and cuties she is the target of every Childs affections.
All the other animals are making the most of the last of the summer days and fresh grass growth fattening themselves up for the winter ahead.
Wishing you a happy and safe September. For everyone with children starting, changing or returning to school, I hope it all goes well settling in and some form of normality will return to all our lives.
I wasn’t going to post this month, after all, who wants to hear from me when you are worrying about day to day life under the strange lockdown rules we all find ourselves affected by. But then I decided, those who don’t want to hear can pass on by, and for those who want to keep up with news from the farm here it is. I make no secret of the fact spring is my favourite time of year here, I am simply sad that we are spending it alone.
Your Holiday this year.
If you are holidaying with us this year please don’t worry, we have been in regular contact with everyone as their holidays have approached. The first wave affected in March and April have had more than their fair share of correspondence from me as we have grappled with a fast changing list of rules and regulations. I think we finally have a formula going forward that should work for everyone. Essentially hold tight if you haven’t yet heard from us, you will from the time your balance is due. In essence we are delaying the time to pay balances till we know if your holiday will take place this year. If the government is still banning all holidays, then we are offering to move your holiday, up to 12 months ahead. If you choose to cancel your money will be lost unless the ban is lifted and your week re-lets. Don’t worry you will all be emailed.
If you are not yet part of our Facebook group I strongly recommend you join, it is where all the information goes first and there are some great ideas coming back from those in there too.
The Lockdown Feed run with just me and Farmer Nick
Someone in our Facebook group suggested that it would be lovely if we could live stream on Facebook or Instagram from the farm, sadly our WiFi doesn’t extent to the farm and mobile data in the valley is very limited. However I record a morning animal feed and upload it to Facebook which frankly blew me away in popularity. It will now hopefully be the first of many while this situation lasts. The kids and Nick are already bored of me filming them everywhere about their daily chores!
While Nick has been busy on the farm, I have been snowed under trying to keep pace with questions coming in from phone, email and all forms of social media concerning your holidays. Hopefully we now have it sorted. I’d like to say a huge thank you to many of our regular guests who went out of their way to say some lovely things in the face of a few tricky public messages. These are hard times for us all and no one wants to get back to normal and open the farm to visitors again more than we do.
Spring on the Farm
We now have 3 sets of twin lambs. Our best ever lambing season and no one here, it’s like nature is laughing at us. The dry weather arrived just in times for our lambs and all are yet to experience rain. We had a very near miss with one of our first twins were some walkers with a dog scared it onto our lake. Thankfully they told us straight away and Clio and I rushed over. I grabbed a stick to beat back the brambles it was trying to paddle through but the poor lamb was losing strength, Clio took the only option left and jumped in, scoped him up and handed him to me on the bank. We were just in time as he was giving up with his brave doggy paddle.
I do like a happy ending, after a worrying morning on our patio wrapped in towels he was up and about and taken back to Mum. We had a worrying 24 hours of him being accepted back but all ended well and they are a lovely family unit again. We should have 8 ewes still to lamb before the end of May.
We sadly lost our mature stag to a stomach abscess in February and were worried for the future of the heard. However we have a wild fallow deer running round the perimeter of the fields. We have named him Norman, and hope that by feeding him daily we will be able to attract him inside the gate at some point without letting our girls out.
Sally has gone to her boyfriend
Sally is currently away with her boyfriend so it is just piglet with us on the farm for now. We are hopeful for piglets in July. Fingers crossed we will be open again then and that you’ll be able to meet them.
Goosey Goosey Gander
Our goose is happily sitting on a clutch of eggs. We’ve yet to see if they come to anything, she as already rejected one. Last year both she and the turkey took turns to sit on the eggs, only one hatched, it was a goose, but we had to wait to the end to see who the mother was. This year we have moved the turkeys, hopefully now we will have at least one of each.
Finally, just before the virus lockdown took a grip, I had a lovely couple of days up in Birmingham for the annual Small Business Event run by Theo Paphitis. It is something I go to each year having won the award back in 2012. This year was as inspiring as ever with guest speaker and fellow Dragon’s Den member Sara Davies. I am full of enthusiasm to carry us through the next 12 months, though much of it for now is preparation for when you can finally visit us again.
What’s Not on in April!
Unusually I’m not going to add an events section for April as we all know too well there are no events taking place. That said I hope you have all stocked up on Easter Eggs and can manage an Easter egg hunt around your house or garden. I am really going to miss the annual Coombe Mill Easter Egg hunt this year followed by the junk model river sailing. Fingers crossed it will all be possible again soon. For now I’m leaving you with a beautiful photo from Bodmin Moor. This is within cycling range for me, always open, and an hour of solitude and exercise I value most days.
“Tales from the farmers wife” shares life on our lovely holiday farm with Farmer Emma and our 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.