2015 was by far the best year we’ve had in our short time providing glamping holidays on our farm here in south Devon.
The great thing has been the feed back from people staying, saying how much they’ve enjoyed their time with us and what a great position we are in being near the coast, not far from Dartmoor, and within easy reach of local towns and villages with so much going on .The other thing people comment on is that I’ve thought of everything when it comes down to the accommodation and facilities !
However I’m constantly trying to think of ways to do things better, and add new ideas, and things to do around here.
The hot tub has become very popular we had a couple stay in the shepherds hut over new year and on new years eve used the hot tub , luckily the clouds lifted that night and they were able to witness a spectacular clear starry night , all from the comfort of a beautifully warm hot tub heated by a roaring fire!! The cob pizza oven has also had a lot of use , with some very interesting dishes being created besides some amazing pizzas
This year there is extra accommodation in the form of an authentic Gypsy caravan which can sleep two people , its quite small but very cosy and romantic and I’ve got high hopes that it will prove very popular .
The farm has been going alone nicely with the South Devon cows in the barn for the winter, and their calves all weaned, it won’t be long before they calf in the spring again .
The five heifers that are due to calf for the first time are not far away now so there should soon be another group of Aberdeen Angus x calves running around .
All the cattle have been eating a tremendous amount of hay and silage this winter,and despite having plenty in stock at the start of winter to feed them I’m beginning to worry slightly that I might run short near the end, hopefully we will have a warm spring !!
The sheep have had a nightmare winter with regards the weather, they mostly lambed in November and December but it just hasn’t stopped raining and although its been generally warm they really don’t like being wet all the time !
Having said that there are some nice lambs coming on.
This year is the first time I’ve thought about bringing the sheep inside, mainly because of the damage they might do to the fields with their feet , never known it too wet for sheep to be out here.
The chickens have been doing really well in their new enclosure which gives them lots of space to roam but safety from foxes and badgers. To do this I’ve had to surround the wire netting with with 3 strands of electric fencing wire ,
2 at the top to stop the foxes jumping in over and 1 wire at the bottom just above the ground to stop the badgers from either digging their way under or tearing a hole in the netting , its not easy keeping livestock safe from predators , and made even harder this week with two separate dog attacks on the sheep leaving dead lambs and ewes. The people walking these dogs clearly think its ok to let these dog loose into the countryside and for some reason seem surprised by the resulting disaster !
Continuing on a similar note unfortunately, Ive also had unwanted visitors to the lakes. A few years ago I fenced them to stop the otter from eating all the fish , this worked really well but we still kept finding the remains of smaller carp on the bank so I had to put electric fencing at top of the existing fence on the stream side of the lakes to stop what we think is a mink climbing in over. This worked well for a year but this winter it started again and after the remains of about 12 carp were discovered I decided to go all the way around , thankfully this seems to have worked.
On a much brighter note the kingfishers are seen every day on the lakes now which is amazing to see ,the heron is also there regularly with its massive wing span . The wild life is thriving around the farm with barn owls seen nearby tawny owls, green and greater spotted woodpeckers. There is evidence of dormice in the woods and a wide variety of birds coming to the bird feeders in the yurt field including a large group of long tailed tits and also a pair of nuthatches regularly coming to feed .