Year of the Pig. Gung Hay Fat Choi!

Year of the Pig

Chinese New Year is the year of the pig (the 12th animal on the Chinese calendar) so we felt it was only right that we rounded up a few porcine places for you to get snout and about during your holiday!

The South Hams, (as our corner of South Devon is known) is an area of outstanding natural beauty encompassing large swathes of Dartmoor and stretching down to the coast. Home to vibrant and historic towns, quaint villages, hidden valleys and picturesque countryside, intersected with scenic rivers, the South Hams are a little corner of paradise

Pennywell Farm is home to the work famous Pennywell Miniature pigs, specially bred to be small friendly and exceedingly cute! Pennywell farm is a fantastic day out for families (especially young children), and visitors are welcome to cuddle the pigs and experience the thrill of pig racing every day at 2:30pm!

The Pigs Nose Inn for a totally different way to spend Chinese New Year, head over to the Pigs Nose Inn in the village of East Prawle- the most southerly point of Devon. This traditional 16th-century inn serves classic pub grub and real ales amid snug, quirky interiors. Sit by the fire and try your hand at some knitting from the knitting basket, play board games or pool- dogs and children are very welcome. There is regular live music in the adjacent hall which has seen everything from the Wurzels to Atomic Kitten!

The Pigs Nose and Gammon Head are also points on the south west coastpath, follow this circular walk (stopping at the interesting visitor centre at the coastwatch) before heading to the pub for a drink!

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/east-portlemouth-to-prawle-point/trails/prawle-point-walk

For a delicious Chinese meal (either takeaway or sit down meal), we highly recommend the food at Café Asia, in Kingsbridge. Lovely friendly staff and a delicious menu of South East Asian cuisine.

Blue Monday

January 21st is dubbed blue monday….apparently the gloomiest, most depressing day of the year!

We awoke to try and glimpse the total eclipse of the Super Blood Wolf Moon, followed by the sun rising over the Devon hills, illuminating the grazing sheep and sparkling off the calm seas.

We certainly do have blue days in devon… blue skies, blue sea and wide horizons where the two meet. Living by the coast engages all your senses and we constantly appreciate each daily gift and ever changing view and are looking forward to  sharing it all with our guests in the year ahead.

So, if you need something to look forward to in 2019 book yourself some time away from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Our cottages are an ideal retreat and somewhere to spend  time with family, friends, loved ones – or even just with the dog!

Our special offers are available until the end of March with short breaks from just £210. Contact us for details.

Veganuary

Veganuary

With over half a million people in the UK eating a plant based diet, veganuary has become a New Years Resolution for many wanting to try a healthier start to the year. South Devon has many brilliant vegetarian and vegan friendly places to visit and many menus in our local restaurants and pubs will cater for vegans.

Harbour house Café, Kingsbridge

Our favourite eatery in Kingsbridge, this is a hidden gem in the town. Serving the most delicious homemade vegetarian and vegan breakfast ad lunches in a relaxed atmosphere. Both the food and the setting is feast for the senses! Expect friendly service, indulgent salads and delicious cakes!

Willow Vegetarian Restaurant, Totnes

Possibly Devons oldest veggie restaurant, this restaurant has been tucked away in Totnes for over 30 years now. Willow serves up delicious and imaginative vegan and vegetarian dishes from locally sourced producers.

Riverford Farm Café, Buckfastleigh

Famous for its huge selection of organic veg which are the star of every plate (and the deserts are delicious too!!) Experience flavoursome feasting on fresh seasonal produce from the Riverford Farm.

Seeds II, Totnes

This vegetarian café has a lovely variety of healthy and hearty food, in an “all you can eat” service, grab a plate and fill up from the buffet style selection.

The family here at Beeson Farm holiday cottages wish you a healthy and happy New Year!

Dog friendly Devon

There is no greater pleasure than running around on the beach- whether you are on 2 legs of 4!

South Devon is a dog lovers paradise, dogs are welcome in nearly all shops, pubs and cafes (some even have their own dog menus!) and the beaches are a dog walkers dream!

Here is our guide to the best dog friendly beaches in South Devon.

Beesands

Less than a mile from Beeson Farm, the traditional fishing village at Beesands is home to a mile long shingle beach from which you can take the coastpath towards Hallsands or Torcoss (both of which are also dog friendly).  Both the pub (The Cricket Inn) and the seafood café (Britannia at the Beach) offer the most amazing food, serving fish and shellfish caught in Start Bay. There is no lovelier spot to sit and eat whilst looking over Start Bay under the watchful gaze of the lighthouse. Beesands is dog friendly all year round.

Lannacombe Beach/Mattiscombe Sands

Start Point one of the most explosed penisulas on the coast and one of the best coastal walks in South Devon. The dramatic cliffs and coastal path forms a mile long headland running for almost a mile until you reach Start Point Lighthouse which has guided vessels along the channel for over 150 years.  To the west of Start Point you will find Mattiscombe Sands and Lannacombe Beach (the latter of which has a small carpark with parking for approx. 10 cars). Dogs are welcome on these beaches are you are likely to be rewarded with spotting seals basking on the rocky outcrops along the coastpath.

Torcross and Slapton Sands

Slapton Sands is a three mile long stretch of shingle beach which runs from Torcross heading towards Dartmouth. Completely level with easy parking (or walk from Beesands over the coastpath), dogs are welcome all year round. There are some great eateries where your dog will be made very welcome. Discover the fascinating WW2 history where the beach was used to practice for D Day or head into Slapton Ley nature reserve for a stroll in the shade of the woods alongside the Ley, the largest freshwater lake in the south west. Slapton Ley is a site of special scientific interest. The nature reserve covers 490 acres of woodland, marsh and reedbed habitats making it a wildlife haven for all types of birds and wildlife.

Mill Bay

Sitting opposite the waterfront town of Salcombe which lies across the water of the estuary, the beach at East Portlemouth is dog friendly all year round. A beautiful stretch of golden sandy beach (with a National Trust car park) it is easy to see why this is a favourite with locals and holiday makers alike.. The shallow and sheltered turquoise waters of the estuary are a great spot for paddling or a swim for you and your pooch. A favourite pastime with all children is to try and dam the stream which runs along the beach and into the Estuary. After a day on the beach hop on the passenger ferry and head over to Salcombe, one of the prettiest towns in the area and a water sports ad sailing hotspot.

Gara Rock/Rickham Sands

Park at Gara Rock itself or choose to leave the car at Mill Bay and take the scenic coastal path or the pleasant woodland walk up to the top of Gara where you will find the fabulous Gara Rock hotel (open to non residents) with its spectacular panoramic clifftop setting and delicious menu, its an ideal spot for a bite to eat. Head down to Rickham Sands, a beautiful secluded cove and a staggeringly beautiful coastline, dogs welcome all year round.

Bantham and Bigbury

Some of the most expansive sandy beaches in our area, both beaches are sandy with shallow waters but both are renowned surfing spots (both have excellent surf schools should you wish to learn!).

Bigbury (seasonally dog friendly) is home to the famous Burgh Island, which is accessible on foot at low tide or by the sea tractor when the tide is in.

Dogs are not allowed on Bantham beach from May-September but are allowed on the estuary at the southern end of the beach all year round which you can get to at low tide. As the tide rolls out at Bantham you will discover plentiful shallow rock pools perfect for adventures with little ones. Don’t forget your bucket and spade! Lifeguards are on duty from May to September.

After a day on the beach you can buy refreshments at the Gastrobus or head to one of the local pubs. Bantham has excellent facilities including a large carpark and public toilets.

 

Choose to stay at Beeson Farm in either the Trap House, which has a private garden , or one of our other dog friendly cottages and you will have the ideal base for exploring these beaches with your pooch. We would love to see photos of your dogs enjoying South Devon- feel free to share your photos to our Facebook page!

Simple Pleasures and Adventures to Treasure

Regardless of whether you want a romantic couples break, a special celebration with friends, or family holiday adventures, South Devon is place to make special memories and to experience lifes simple pleasures.

There are a few things we think all our guests should enjoy including:

A walk to the beach at Beesands (dogs welcome), a sweep of coastline which is watched over by the Lighthouse at Start Point. Choose to set off on a walk along the South West Coastpath or relax at our local friendly pub, The Cricket Inn, which serves the freshest seafood caught in the bay outside.

Enjoy the peace, tranquillity and calm of our local beaches. With stretches of sand or shingle shores South Devons coastline is dramatic and awe inspiring, perfect for the dogs and children to burn off their energy! Get out and about on the coastpath and you may even spot seals or dolphins. The local beaches are ideal for paddling, body boarding or swimming or book in to one of our local surf or watersports schools and learn a new skill!

Try wild swimming in the sea, with proven health benefits make sure you take the plunge this year! We never regret a swim in the sea and have a small selection of childrens wetsuits available to borrow.

Crabbing and rockpooling are childhood pastimes that everyone should experience! There are numerous locations for crabbing but we especially recommend the quayside in Kingsbridge, the harbour in Salcombe or New Bridge on the way to Kingsbridge. Perfect rock pools at low tide can be found at Lannacombe, Mattiscombe and Bantham. We have nets available for guests to borrow.

Discover the fascinating local WW2 history of Torcross and Slapton Sands, find out where Agatha Christie lived and visit Burgh Island (the setting of And Then There Were None) or head up to Dartmoor in search of the Hound of the Baskervilles! There are numerous National Trust properties in South Devon to discover.

What would a visit to South devon be without a cream tea?! Just remember its cream first, not jam!  We recommend the Walkers Hut at East Soar Farm, Stokeley Farm Shop, South Allington House or the Seabreeze Café at Torcross.

Watch the sunset- sit on the beach with a bbq (don’t forget the marshmallows!) and watch the sun go down- or drive up to Start Point Lighthouse with its sweeping views over Start Bay.

Come and stay at Beeson Farm holiday cottages, we hope that you make some special memories on your holiday this year, and maybe add some more to this list… we would love to see your photos, feel free to share them to our Facebook page!

South Devon Diary 2019

2018 was quite a year in South Devon! From playing in the snow (a real rarity here- the South Devon rolling hills took on a new thrill!) to endless days basking on the beach in the summer heatwave, there was something new to do in every season.

Below is a taster of whats on offer through 2019, but please check our facebook page for more! In addition we run our own activities on the farm throughout the year (including a childrens Easter Egg hunt and supervised pond dipping sessions in the summer holidays)

Endurance Life Coastal Trail Series (2nd February)

The original coastal trail series race, choose a 10K, half, full or ultra marathon along the the coastpath and countryside of our local area of outstanding natural beauty.

Big Day out on the Farm (28th April)

Head over to East Soar Outdoor Experience with the (National Trust) and meet the animals, explore the farm trail and join in with the family friendly activities on offer.

Blackawton Worcharming Festival (5th May)

The quirkiest of all our local festivals! Use any tactics you can to charm as many worms from your designated plot of earth as you can! Register at the event. Also includes dog show, music and beer festival and events for all the family.

Dart Music Festival (10th – 12th May)

This family friendly event is free to attend with over 100 live acts performing at various venues around the town.

Prawle Village Fete (26th May)

Devons most southerly village is full of quirky charm. The fete on the village green is one of the highlights of our year. Traditional family fun with everything from Maypole dancing to knobbly knees contests, skittles, swingboats and our favourite- the slippery pole! Refreshments available from the Pigs Nose Inn, a wonderfully unique village pub.

Kingsbridge Food and Music Festival (31st May – 2nd June)

The best of local food and drink combined with live music on the Quayisde. Free to attend

Kingsbridge Fair Week (20th – 27th July)

Kingsbridge Fair gets the holidays off to a great start! Events including the hilarious raft race, carnival procession and lantern parade, teddy bears picnic and 10K run there is something for everyone during the week.

Dartmouth Shakespeare Week (23rd – 27th July)

The Inn Theatre Compant bring Shakesepare to the open air in the stunning surroundings of Dartmouth Castle.

Salcombe Town Regatta (3rd – 10th August)

Salcombe Town Regatta is the biggest event in the town, with lots to do for all ages on an off the water, finishing off with a spectacular fireworks display.

Frogmore Regatta (11th August)

Held by the waterside in the local village of Frogmore there is lots of fun to be had for all the family (including events on the water!)

Dartmouth Royal Regatta (29th August – 31st August)

A popular and busy Regatta with rowing races, street food, childrens activities, fireworks and more.

Kingsbridge Show (7th September)

A wonderful event in our calendar, celebrating all that is great about South Devon life! A great for a day out for all the family with a full programme of activities, attractions, local crafts, agricultural equipment and animals on show. Our children absolutely love a day out at the show!

Dartmouth Food Festival (18th – 20th October)

The best of the South West is on offer during this weekend in the heart of the town. One of the UKs top food festivals you can attend cookery workshops, demonstrations and talks or just wander the town and sample the food and drink that is on offer.

Candlelit Dartmouth (29th November – 30th November)

Father Christmas arrives in South Devon (by boat of course!). Start your Christmas shopping in the market and watch the atmospheric lantern parade.
Kingsbridge Celebrates Christmas (7th December)

A one day Christmas celebration with shopping, craft market, street food and farmers market, rounding up with the lantern parade down the high street.

Festive Fun on the Farm (15th December)

Join in the festive fun at East Soar Outdoor experience (National Trust) and make your own natural decorations  and help the wildlife through the winter by making simple feeders.

Recipe: Wild Garlic Pesto

The South Devon hedgerows around Beeson Farm Holiday Cottages offer an abundance of edible flora whether its Sloes in the Autumn for gin or elderflowers in the early summer for making cordial.

This spring the hedgerows are bursting with wild flowers and lots of wild garlic. Our favourite spots to forage for wild garlic are Stokenham Woods (up the lane opposite the church) or Loddiswell Woods (by Avon Mill Garden Centre), though wild garlic, and its cousin, three cornered garlic, can be found in virtually every lane where there are bluebells.

We love the Riverford Organic recipe for making wild garlic pesto which you can find here https://www.riverford.co.uk/recipes/view/recipe/wild-garlic-pesto

This pesto is wonderful served through warm pasta, with jacket potatoes, roast lamb or as an accompaniment to summer BBQs. This recipe makes 1 large jar which will keep for at least a week in the fridge

Ingredients

  • 100g wild garlic
  • 50g Parmesan grated
  • 50g hazelnuts, skinned & toasted
  • Olive oil
  • Lemon juice, to taste
  • Salt & pepper

Method

  1. Thoroughly wash your wild garlic and place in a food processor, blitz until fairly well broken up.
  2. Next add your Parmesan and process further, this will help to break down the garlic leaves.
  3. Finally add your hazelnuts. When the nuts are added you will want to have your olive oil to hand; turn the machine back on, and add olive oil to your desired consistency.
  4. Add salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste.
  5. Enjoy your taste of South Devon!

National Walking Month

May is National Walking Month, so if you fancy packing your walking boots and booking a holiday at Beeson Farm  we’ve pulled together a quick guide to our favourite 5 walks for you!

There are numerous footpaths and bridleways to explore in the local area and throughout May they are lined with the most beautiful wildflowers- and often offer tantalising glimpses of the sea. The South West Coastpath runs through Beesands (less than a mile from Beeson Farm) and offers some stunning walks along the coastline, where you can discover shipwrecks, the Lighthouse, lost villages and hidden coves.

Each cottage at Beeson Farm has an ordanance survey map and a folder of local walking routes and maps.

Walk 1: Beesands to Hallsands 3.5 miles (and closest to Beeson Farm) Children particularly will love this stroll past the ‘Village that Fell into the Sea’. It is easy to understand the massive power of the ocean on a windy day here, when the waves crash on the rocks, dashing spray high in the air, and there is the muted roar of the shingle being dragged back and forth on the seabed. ‘Hallsands looks as if it properly belonged to the sea,’ wrote James Fairweather in his 1884 Guide to Salcombe, ‘and had only been borrowed from it for a time.’ 30 years later a massive storm (combined with the effects of dredging the sea for shingle to build the dockyard at Plymouth) The route follows a number of ancient lanes, and is also the route that the children in the lighthouse took too and from school in the small hamlet of Huccombe every day. it may be wet or muddy in places, so wear good footwear. There is free parking at Beesands

Dowload the walking guide here https://www.southwestcoastpath.org.uk/walksdb/83/

Walk 2: Slapton Ley Nature Reserve (family trail 1.5miles)

Slapton Ley is the largest natural freshwater lake in the south west, separated from the sea by a shingle beach. As a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) it was declared a National Nature Reserve (NNR) in 1993. The Nature Reserve is 1.5 miles long and covers over 490 acres of natural woodland, marshes and reedbed habitat, making it a wildlife haven for all types of birds and vegetation. Slapton Ley is a great day out for families, wildlife enthusiasts and anyone with a passion for nature.  Check the Slapton Ley field study centre website as there are often free activities and events happening throughout the year on the reserve and the beach to help you learn and understand more about the environment Parking is available nearby at 3 car parks (the Memorial Carpark and in Slapton Village).

Download the trail here  http://www.slnnr.org.uk/media/3737131/2195-Slapton-Ley-walks-leaflet-2016.pdf

Walk 3: Start Point Lighthouse Walk 1.2miles

A short 1.2m easy walk from Start Point Car Park to Start Point and the Lighthouse – part of the South West Coast Path. Start Point is the most southerly tip of Devon, with stunning coastal scenery across Start Bay and lots of wildlife to spot, including seabirds and the odd seal. See the remains of Hallsands Village, wrecked by storms on 1917, the Day Mark Tower on the Dart Estuary, and on a clear day, you can see along the coastline to the Isle of Portland. This short walk takes you from the Start Point Car Park down to the Start Point Lighthouse, built in 1836 to protect the ships sailing around this coastline. There is a steady descent down the old lighthouse road to the headland. It is suitable for many mobility scooters, and push chairs. Parking charges apply. The Lighthouse is open to the public on selected weekend and in school holidays (height restrictions apply to climb the tower and admission is cash only)

Walk 4: East Soar and Salcombe 7.5 miles (challenging)

Follow the well marked paths to visit the exotic garden at Overbeck’s or discover hidden coves for a quiet dip or picnic. Either way you’ll be rewarded with dramatic seascapes, estuary views and miles of green, rugged cliff-tops grazed by beautiful Highland cattle or in the summer, Dartmoor ponies. This walk showcases the dramatic coast around Salcombe, walking from East Soar to the charming secluded beach at Soar Mill Cove. After a rest on the beach, journey around the jagged rocks at Bolt Head and discover fantastic views as you walk up the Salcombe Estuary

The walkers hut at East Soar Outdoor experience is a great place to stop for homemade cakes and treats!

Download the trail here: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/salcombe-to-hope-cove/trails/bolt-head-walk

Walk 5: Charleton and Frogmore Creek 4.5 miles

The Salcombe – Kingsbridge Estuary is a glittering jewel in South Devon’s crown. This walk explores one of its loveliest creeks, teeming with wildlife, along with some of the areas ancient green lanes. Be sure to pop in to Springfield farmshop afterwards for a cream tea and to stock up on locally produced goodies!

http://www.southdevonaonb.org.uk/explore/walks-trails/charleton-and-frogmore-creek

Banish backseat travel boredom

We know many of our guests this Easter will be travelling a few hours in the car to get to South Devon. If your family is anything like ours then the thought of your little darlings stuck together on the back seat with impatient cries of “are we there yet?!” is the only downside of going on holiday!

Many families these days have in car entertainment but here are some ideas for good old fashioned travel games for when the kids are tired of the tech or sick of screens.

20 Questions This easy game is great for younger children thanks to its straightforward rules. Player One thinks of a person, place or thing. Everyone else takes turns asking questions that can be answered with a simple yes or no. After each answer, the questioner gets one guess. Play continues until a player guesses the answer correctly.

The Holiday Game A memory based alphabet game for all ages. One player starts off with the line “I went on my holiday and I packed….” followed by an object beginning with the letter “A”. The next player has to repeat all that went before and add an item beginning with “B” and so on all through the alphabet.

The Number Plate Game Children loved to make up stories and this game is great for inspiring creativity and imagination. Each player chooses a passing car and looks at the last three letters of the number plat.  Now make up a story using those letters- the first letter decides the main character, the second letter could be a place or an item in the story and the third letter could be what the character is doing. Alternatively, get everyone to make up a phrase or word using the letters on the numberplate.

The Word Game One person starts by saying a word then each person has to come up with a new word that starts with the last letter of the word given.  For example, player one says ‘car’, player two says ‘rabbit, player three says ‘tree’, player four says ‘elephant’ and so on. Quick-thinking is key – the faster the pace the more fun the game

Who’s Next Door? Traffic jams – an inevitability of motorway travel but not a good combination with restless kids!  Play the game of nosey neighbours-  everyone chooses a window to look out of and takes a quick peek at the person in the car nearest to them. Don’t get caught staring! Its then up to each player to decide what sort of person they are… their name, job, decide where they’ve come from or where they’re heading, what their favourite food is and so on. Give points for the most outrageous or funny descriptions.

We hope all our families have safe, fun and easy travels to Beeson Farm this Easter!