May has been a busy month of preparation for the camping season proper from May 27th, with the odd person googling us and turning up to borrow the campsite early. First on the list of to-do jobs, was an experimental picnic bench which the men of Ashfarm have put together. It is prototype and another is in the offing with a adaption to the seat and table, to make them more cost effective, although the frame is a winner.
Since new fronds are showing on the Treeferns and the threat of snow and frost now seems to be past us, they have been unwrapped from their woolly jumpers.
The kelpie and I went for a training session near Salisbury to hone our sheep herding skills. Here we are in action! Many thanks to Kevin Reeves from Lyndhurst Kelpies http://www.lyndhurst-kelpies.co.uk for his support and training.....we will be back!
The shower unit came out of winter storage and was put back in the shower cubical, so we thought it a good excuse to wash the dogs - well volunteered Dom - not sure Rowan is really enjoying it, but she did smell fresh as a daisy afterwards.
And the sheep got brought into the sheep shed to be checked over and to await shearing.
And Keith arrived to remove their fleeces and improve their comfort and wellbeing, now the warmer weather is with us and before the flies can strike.
The Portlands always have such oversized heads when they have been shorn, but it emphasises their lovely caramel coloured legs and faces and paler bodies. And the zwartbles look even more like goats than when they have their full fleeces....but they aren't, they are sheep!
Another family member joined the Airbnb club, renting out a room in her Dartmoor cottage. Look her up on Airbnb: Homely relaxed cottage near NT Lydford Gorge.
Perfect for anyone visiting Lydford Gorge or cycling the Granite Way Route 27 which goes right past the cottage
or hiking on Dartmoor
Back in Ludgvan, the Magnolia has come into flower, why do the crows want to knock the flower heads off? I have moved a noisy wind chime beside the tree, to try and deter the birds.....
and the Treeferns seem to be coping without their winter jackets,
all except one. This one did not like the frost and snow last spring and never sent up fronds in the summer, but I have left her in the ground and protected her over the winter, hoping some sort of regeneration might happen. There are now some fronds coming up from the ground, which I would love to believe were Treefern fronds but I suspect are not.
And down at the end of our fields our young Horsefield Wood trees are budding and leaves are uncurling. The footpath from Ludgvan to Manwhidden goes through the young wood and there is a bench for resting on. It is a peaceful place to sojourn and if you are camping with us this year, we would recommend a short walk to visit.
And no blog would be complete without a small hello from the horses.... who have been mowing a track between the trees for me! Morning boys!
With the weather turning decidedly springlike, the odd campervan has turned up amidst our preparations and we have had some bookings for the camping cabin too. The real camping season starts on 27th May but if you are in the area, you can always phone and see if we can accomodate you. The summer is almost upon us!
Over the winter we have been busy building the Lambing and Tractor Shed. It is finally finished and in use!
For those who camped with us in 2018 you will remember this space
Well, as soon as camping was over and we could make the site “untidy”, fashioning the space continued and over time, the shed has grown.
Sheep have grown too. We had ewes pregnant and they have been able to use new shed, instead of ousting the horses from their shelter.
We have 7 black 'Portable' lambs - so named because of the crossbreeding Portland with Zwartble - and at present they are frolicking in the paddock next to campsite.
The sheep have been grazing over the winter in the adjacent agapanthus field and doing a grand job of mowing, weeding and fertilizing! How symbiotic is that? So if there is a bumper crop of flowers this year we know who to blame.
And we are partially open for Easter, just the Camping Cabin and one camping pitch. Roll on summer!
You will have to imagine the sunshine on this beach walk. The sun did eventually reach us, having blessed the north coast and Marazion first, before rolling along the edge of England to reach the dogs and I at St Levan and then Porthcurno. But it was not cold, it was not raining and it was not windy. That'll do!
Unfortunately the photo session and pasty provisions were done and dusted by the time the sun did roll up, so the photos lack the golden orb's light, but I still think they are worth a showing, if only for the fact that the dogs and I had the luxury of the beach ALL to ourselves.
One of the many pleasures of living in Cornwall in winter. Deserted beaches.
I believe this beach was extremely well visited last summer due to some facebook advertising which went fairly viral. Today it was EMPTY save for us.
I don't mind sharing at all. Sharing is good for us, but it is also very nice, to selfishly have something all to ourselves;)
Up on cliffs we met some Dartmoor ponies employed by an environmental management scheme to eat down the moorland vegetation and they are making a good job of it.
Walking back across the cliff path the Hebe is already out, in all it's purple glory.
Stopping off at Porthcurno to have a wander on the beach, to sink my toes in the shell sand and marvel at the variety of tiny molluscs. I did have to share this beach with canoeists and surfers, walkers and a dog, watching 'his human' out on his surfboard. Still, a pleasurable place to share.
Shell sand is the comfiest sand to walk on, it sticks to your feet and legs and can be brought back home in your socks and shoes. Unlike most sand, that shifts around in your socks, uncomfortably, shell sand is simply a 'whisper', a reminder of sunshine and summer that lingers comfortably. Tiny, tiny flat fragments of what once was a living home, that attaches itself and then leaves a dusting of shell-glitter to everything..... nature can be quite wonderful.
I know this is a bit out of season, but I have a bit of a thing about mushrooms and funghi.
I love spotting them and photographing them and for anyone who has camped with us in July and August as the field and horse mushrooms start popping up all over the place on the campsite and in the paddocks of the smallholding, you will know I often 'tout my wares' as I walk through the campsite with a basket of mushrooms!
There is nothing like cooking and eating foraged edible funghi.
Well, this winter I took a little trip across the water to Germany and Holland and found some delightful members of the fungus family, some of which did get cooked.
Here are a selection of photos of them. Unfortunately I do not know the names of all of them and only one is edible as far as I know, but they are such wondrous species, that I have to share.
Winter is a time for long walks on the beach........often with dogs!
This is Lelant beach, a short walk across the golfcourse and down under the railway bridge or across the dunes with a picnic basket and the view stretches out before you to St Ives or across to Godrevy Lighthouse. Glorious in winter sunshine.
Across the estuary on the Hayle side, on an evening stroll you can watch the boats going out to check their nets or crab pots.
Another favourite spot, an unmarked lane down to a farmers field turned car park, just outside the village of Morvah and you can follow the footpath down to the wooden bridge and along the concreted bath down to Portheras Beach.
But Gwithian has the dunes. What can you say, with winter sunshine....... glorious!
From Easter to October many of our beaches are closed to dog walkers to protect the humans from rowdy dog frolics, sand in your ice-cream, barking canines and poobags or worse
Winter walks are therefore very special for those of us with dogs, because it is a time when dogs and their owners can really revel in the reality of storm shifted sand and swathes of hidden pebbles and boulders, liberated by the shifting sands to feel the sunshine on their smooth exteriors.
Praa Sands is a favourite beach. I just love the rock formations, like folded cream and toffee.
Winter is also a fine time to beachcomb and see what the seas have brought up onto the beaches.
Sadly this year there seems to be a lot of porpoise and seals washed up, but the silver lining to their demise is the gift of seeing them close up and intimately. Which makes one appreciate what special aquatic 'beasts' they are.
Storms in the winter often reshape our landscape. It is a few years ago that this tree lost its clifftop space, but it is a favourite to lean against, or perch in and watch the world go by.
And ofcourse there are the rock pools. Ever changing. You can empty all the pebbles out one day, only to see the pool refilled the next.
Pretty collages of sand, pebbles and seaweed fronds. Natures gift to art.
Even the fishermen seem to enjoy our winter walks
But not all winter walks are on the beach. Some are in the woods.
And if that is not enough to entice you to cornwall in the winter, or as soon as the campsite is open, then perhaps a sunny picture of the campsite owner and her trusty steed will. Happy wintering!
August is our rainiest month, I say it every year and every year I am corrected by learned campers who, having checked annual rainfall statistics for august, assure me that my claim is quite simply not true. But every august I apologise profusely to our campers for the weather and cringe and feel guilty as the precipitation sets in. However, this year I have to say has been different, I have not felt the same guilt when it rained, in fact I have been grateful for the rain and welcomed it with open arms - quite literally - It has helped the grassland rejuvenate and the crops grow.
One of the crops grown locally is wheat, our neighbours have grown it in the next door field and it has provided shelter for one or more deer who have been visiting Horsefield Wood and eating our saplings. I may already have said, that whilst I love the idea we have deer locally, I am not so happy they are eating our young trees.
So I am very glad that the wheat is harvested, the fields are open and exposed and not so condusive to giving the deer 'cover' and their visitations have been curtailed.
Wheat is not the only thing harvested in august. Field mushrooms start popping up in the pasture where the sheep have grazed and can be collected early in the morning, before they get kicked about by animals or eaten by slugs.
Blackberries are also now bountiful and blackberry crumble is a favourite, especially when the eldest son visits. And august is the month when the family also visit. It has become an annual event and I LOVE IT......with big their big tents - flauting my regulations this year-
Family means food and campfires and lots of tomfoolery, silly stories and laughter and dreamy evenings watching stars.
This year my brother and sister have their own family dogs,
So we had even more fun walking on the beach with a platoon of children, adults and dogs,
Beach art is always a plenty in cornwall and this rather spectacular Stonehenge was just asking for a photograph!
Our campsite is the perfect place for my niece and nephews to have fun........
and only a short hop to the beach to have more family fun.........
.......watch out for small children with rounders bats!
July has gone in a blur with camping in full swing
Our Campsite only holds up to 13-14 individuals, which is usually made up of 4 pitches for couples or families, a pitch for a single person/tent plus the camping cabin, which can accomodate one or two persons. So, although our camping paddock may not look "full" in the photos, it is!
Our Campsite philosophy is not about 'cramming as many as we can' into our camping paddock, instead, we hope to provide a happy and unique camping experience by not overstretching our off-grid facilities.
The Camping Cabin continues to be really popular as an alternative option.
When booking the cabin it is important to remember that only bottom sheets and pillows are provided and you need to bring duvets or sleeping bags. This keeps cleaning and washing minimal for me and the cost minimal for you! A solar charged lamp is provided in the cabin but a torch is always a good idea on site and although I can provide you with hot water for tea/coffee when I am on-site, your own apparatus gives you more flexibility.
The hot weather may have turned the grass yellow and reduced grazing for the animals at Ashfarm but our neighbour's hedges have been shooting some amazing succulent flowers in response
and we have had to think alternatively for our sheep who have, as an experiment been grazing an agapanthus field. This has reduced the amount of strimming, weeding and mowing that needs to be done by the Bulb Growers and provided our Portland and Zwartble sheep with some much needed 'greenstuff'.
And the wonderful July sunshine was too much for me, the tack had to be assembled
and I just had to take the horses out for some lovely short rides in order to catch some super snapshot views of St Michael's Mount - always best viewed through the ears of a horse....
And there was an unusual use of a camping airbed from the campsite....co-opted as a raft for a race from St Michael's Mount to Marazion beach, for those who live and work on the Mount, for a bit of fun. I was convinced the airbed raft would sink because of the velour covering but I was mistaken. Not only did it not sink but it won!
And finally after the hottest July we have had for years the rain clouds came....
..bringing rain and greenness and grazing at last! Oh and some lovely campers brought me a gorgeous bunch of sunflowers to ensure the sun also came out, even when it was raining.
True we have had some misty and mizzly (mixture of mist and drizzle) days but we have had some hot, sunshine filled ones too, allowing me to ride down on the beach and enjoy some local views.
Camping has commenced as a steady trickle of tents and camper vans.
And the Camping Cabin has been incredibly popular. Advertised through Airbnb, you can either book through them or direct with myself via the campsite. The cabin is an excellent alternative to a tent, with bunkbeds, table, chairs, baskets and under bed storage boxes for clothes etc Bottom sheets and pillows and cases are provided and you bring your own duvets or sleeping bags. A solar charged lamp is in the cabin and a carbon monoxide detector, but we strongly recommend to use your gas stove outside for safety and fire reasons.
There are a couple of benches on the decking to provide seating and relaxation and you share the compost toilets and shower and changing-room with other camping guests.
On the small holding the sheep have had their woolly jackets removed! The Portlands now look top heavy with their horns.
June also is the month of our county show The Royal Cornwall Show. It is an annual event for me and nowadays I often go for two out of the three days. One day is a girlie day, looking at crafts and horsey shopping as well as some main ring events.
And the second is to facilitate the young farmer in the family, networking and looking at sheep, beef cattle, tractors and farm machinery, the steam fair and all the things that boys like to look at.
This year, it also meant that 'mum' was only the taxi, so I got a whole day to wallow in horse classes and main ring watching....wonderful! And I know it is a little controversial, but I do love watching the hunting pinks and hounds go around.
Campsite opened half-term week and some lovely families have enjoyed our green and pleasant land at Ludgvan. The camping paddock has been busy with bikes and surfboards and footballs, children, barbeques and campfires.
Great start to the season. A couple of guests even turned up the night before we opened and tested the Camping Cabin and campsite out as a fore-runner to the season.....cheeky!
Campers have arrived at night and disappeared off to the beach or biking during the day
and enjoyed the walk down to the pub in the evenings, which takes less than 5 minutes.
The changing-room has been restocked with a library of cornish books and cornish stories for campers to borrow. If you like books, cornish or otherwise, Penzance and St Ives have some great book shops, often with signed copies.
The sheep have moved back into the field adjacent to camping paddock
and the ewes and lambs and rams have been checked for fly-strike and clipped around their tails to reduce the risk. We await the shearer coming mid June - should have booked him earlier........
The grass is greening up a little and the fields looking more lush, so the horses have had a bit of extra grass to eat too.
Not to be left out, the 'team of boys' have been having fun in the sun, adapting the go-kart and turning it into a lawnmower trailer
All aboard the skylark!
And the campers and I have enjoyed alfresco meals with a view
The campsite is open and it really feels like summer is here!