Start of the camping season on a South Devon farm

Start of the camping season on a South Devon farm

It is good to see the back of what has been a long and very wet season. The ewes and lambs have been munching their way through the stubble turnips all winter, and have come out the other end looking very good, considering the consistently wet weather that they have endured. I suppose it was quite warm all winter which has helped them out a little.

On the 10th March I sold four lambs that weighed in very well at about 45kg each. I took them to Exeter Livestock Market, as they were holding a show and sale of new season lambs. To my surprise one pen of two of my lambs came first and the other was third in class! (Polled Dorset’s and Dorset horns) It was a lovely surprise, as I have never entered stock into a show before; it is good to know I’ve got some high quality animal stock around.

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Things don’t always go to plan, and the week before I lost a baby lamb from one of the spring lambing ewes, luckily it happened on thursday evening so i was able to go and buy an orphan lamb the next day from Exeter Market. The trick is to convince the ewe that this really is her lost lamb. It seems a bit gory but you skin the dead lamb and put this onto the orphan lamb like a jacket, the aim is to cover up the orphan lambs smell. On this occasion it worked really well and within only a few hours she was looking after it as if it were her own, so a happy ending this time!

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The cows are still inside the barn eating hay and silage, and I am going through lots of straw as bedding to keep them clean as they are soon to start calving. First up will be the heifers that haven’t calved before. There are some that have been looking close for weeks now, which means constantly checking throughout the day and night. I like to keep an eye on them in case they have any problems. Recently I sold two steers and two heifers after a pre-movement test for TB. This was clear, and was I very pleased with how they sold as another farmer bought them, usually they are snapped up by the cattle dealers who then sell them on again.

In the space of one week the farm has totally changed, the rain has finally stopped and suddenly the fields are drying out which means everything seems to need to be done all at once. The stubble turnip field needs working ready for re-seeding with grass and clover, dung needs spreading, and the fields need chain harrowing and rolling. All the grass meadows and some fields need slot seeding to improve the grass mixtures, and last but not least, not for getting putting up the yurts a.s.a.p !!

Some days I don’t know where to start! But this really is a great time of year with everything coming to life, and the canada geese are making one hell of a racket arguing over who will nest on the island in the middle of the top lake this year. The birds are singing, daffodils and primroses really are at their very best… roll on SUMMER!!

Rocombe Retreat really is the most perfect place to come for a romantic break, you have the choice of the cosy shepherds hut or the airy yurts. Both are set in glorious peaceful countryside and because we are a small site there is plenty of space between all the accommodation; never too many people around, you will feel like the place is all your own.

All our accommodation has a wood burner that keeps it nice and cosy, and outside you have the fire pit so on a warm summers evening you can sit under the stars and just relax with a glass of your favourite tipple. Lying down and just staring up at the stars really does change your perception of the world, try it, it really is tough to beat!

For a different experience try the wood fired hot tub – the ultimate in sustainable luxury, lying back in beautifully warm water staring into the sky (or even into your parters eyes!) wonderful surroundings with a free bottle of bubbly on the side can really take you to another place whatever the weather is doing (I prefer it in the rain, its awesome to be so warm with the rain falling)

If you don’t fancy traveling in your car, takeaway meals can be delivered to the site and local wines and ciders are available. If you fancy a meal out, we are lucky here that it is not far to one of the (walkable) pubs that serve very good food and drink, or you can order a taxi to take you to one of the many restaurants in surrounding towns and villages. There really is plenty to choose from. Come and visit our Retreat from the rat-race, I know it is often said, but you really won’t want to leave us.

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