Saturday, 2 August 2014

new calf - a Little White Bull


Welcome to our newest arrival, a happy healthy little white bull calf born ten days ago.

Mum and calf doing well in this long fabulous Devon summer sunshine at Watermill Cottages rural coastal retreat.

Now, what shall we call him?  Any ideas?  

Monday, 14 April 2014

ten rescued ducklings

'There are ducklings all over the lawn, quick come and help' so we ran to the rescue ith buckets, fishing nets, wellies and anything we could find...  

A mallard had nested in a clump of pampas grass by the bridge,and her ducklings were leggily darting down the bank into the stream and being washed away.  they pooled in the eddies by the lawn, ran to the grass then back into th stream as we approached them.

The flow under the bridge was too strong for them to swim back upstream to their mum who called them to join her and the few duckling who'd entered the river well above the bridge.
We collected ten of them and put them in an open-topped box where we hoped thier mum might join them and encourage them out.  She didn't.  So John rigged up the poultry heat lamp in the chickenarium he built for hen chicks last year and we made a warm nesting box at one end with a dog-bowl pool and food at the other.  They were there for a week before the whole construction was sodden - 
mallards ducklings love to splash!

They're now in the dog kennel with a heat lamp and a large baking tray pool in the sunshine - it doesn't matter how wet everything there gets.  We crush corn and pellets for them, give them grass too.  They are thriving! And very fast.

A few more weeks of heat lamps and they can join the muscovies and ducklings.  So far so good....  

It's spring at Watermill Cottages!

Monday, 3 February 2014

February - walk round Slapton Ley National Nature Reserve

Oh what a beautiful day!

For weeks, I've been meaning to walk round the National Nature Reserve (NNR) just down the lane from Watermill Cottages at Slapton Ley and today was the day, with the first spring birdcalls in the air and a beaming sun.
Slapton Ley towards Torcross


A fabulously crammed fresh crab sandwich and a cuppa at The Start Bay Inn at Torcross for lunch then a walk round the Ley - the colours, my goodness. 


And as I rounded a dip in th path at the edge of the lapping Ley, nine young swans preening - I couldn't believe my luck.  Some of the young from last year - 2013 was such a good swan year.

view from hide at Ireland Wood
The view from the hide at Ireland Bay, round the walk from the bridge on the Slapton road is magnificent -  looking over reed beds to Ireland Farm which was evacuated in preparation for Operation Tiger in 1943, a rehearsal for the D-Day Landings in World War Two.  The inhabitants didn't ever return.
boats beached at Slapton Ley

first celandine
over the ring seat to the monument 
commemorating Operation Tiger
A Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) the Reserve is managed by Slapton Ley Field Centre and is home to otters, birdlife, butterflies, including bitterns, Cetti's warbler and kingfishers.  The Gara brook that runs through the garden and valley of Watermill Cottages feeds the Higher Ley, which is why we take so much care of our land.

Monday, 20 January 2014

January = Brunch on the beach at Blackpool Sands!

Every picture tells a story so I've kept the words to a minimum...

... a bright blue sky, sun dripping onto waves which were tipping onto beach...  kids, dogs (because it's winter and you can...  from the end of March you can't), smiles, walks...

... and a delicious bacon bap with local bacon and organic tea out of the breeze and in the sun at Venus Beach Café...
Venus Beach Cafe at Blackpool Sands

I felt like I'd been away on holiday - and I live here! 

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

spring refreshment

I saw our first snowdrop in flower last week, several more this week, and the wild heliotrope is blooming in great pink tufts of flowerheads all over.  

Green flames of harts tongue ferns and fans of more usual ferns sway in the woods, bulbs are rising fast and hazel catkins lengthen as quickly as the daylight does.  

Primroses stud the verges and I'm on the hunt for the first early violets.  In the wetlands there's a slight scent of wild garlic underfoot as the new growth surges.  Old trees glow with pale almost luminous lichen - a sure sign of the purity of the air here.

The first cyclamen are in flower in Rose Cottage's lawn.

So far we've had very little wintry weather at Watermill Cottages and the beautiful South Hams - blustery storms have wind-pruned some big old trees which have fallen fortunately and opened up new vistas,  as well as offering new logs to harvest for the cottage woodburners.  As some of the fallen trees are dead they'll season quickly once John has cleared them with his favourite hobby tools of quad bike, winch and electric chainsaw.
cyclamen in Rose Cottage lawn

An odd ground frost and that's it so far.  Marigolds and roses from last summer are still in flower, the Gara has stayed in its bed despite the storms and spring is already showing off her new clothes in the valley.

Our Muscovy ducks know it too - several are laying already - and I've seen camellias in flower in Slapton village.

A lovely time for re-energising in a cosy old stone cottage with the sap rising all around you and the slanting light showing the muscles of the land.  Hedges are being trimmed before the birds nest and a few very early lambs are about.  The beautiful South Devon Coast and Coast Path are so dramatic at this time of year.  Come for a refreshing few days or stay longer and really let the spring seep into your bones! 

We've decided to hold our prices for 2014 so they're the same as 2013 and still include all logs for the woodburner, electricity and bedlinen - a three night weekend short break for two people is just £245 until Easter.  Come during the week and it's four nights for the price of three for two people.

And don't forget we welcome dogs and are flexible on number.  Picturesque, comfy, cosy eighteenth century stone self-catering cottages round an historic watermill, private gardens and thirteen acres of unspoilt coastal valley to enjoy.

Call Christine on 01803 770219 or email us