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February Half Term

Family days out that are tried and tested by us!

This half term even though the weather may require you to do a bit of forward planning there is plenty to do out and about in South Devon.

Pennywell Farm: Always a favourite with families, the gates open for the 2020 season on Saturday 15th Feb and with your admission ticket you get a return ticket valid until 23 Feb to visit as many times as you like! There have been lots of new arrivals joining the world famous miniature pigs over the winter, including heavy horses, miniature ponies and donkeys. There are lots of animals to meet, feed and cuddle as well as rides and performances throughout the day. There is lots of indoor space for picnics ad play undercover, just in case there is the odd Spring shower when you are there!
Woodlands Family Theme Park: With the UKs largest indoor play centre, exciting rides indoors and out as well as a zoo and falconry centre, families can easily spend a day exploring Woodlands. Catering for all ages (from babies to adults) there is also live entertainment throughout half term. Dress up as a princess or a superhero and children get a free return ticket making a day at Woodlands amazing value for money (tickets just £7.50 pp)
Greenway House (National Trust): Join the countryside ranger for a walk through the beautiful gardens at Greenway, once the holiday home of famous crime writer, Agatha Christie. This is a free event included with normal admission ticket, selected dates available. Wear weather appropriate clothing and sturdy walking shoes to explore the grounds. Dogs on leads are permitted.
Forest and Beach Activity Days: Drop the kids off at Forest and Beach activity centre (on the hillside behind Beeson Farm!) for a day playing in the woods, lighting fires, shelter building and cooking outdoors. The ethos of Forest School encourages children to explore the natural world through practical, hands-on experience, learning new skills through play.
There are also the same year round activities that families can also enjoy over half term including the South Devon Steam Railway, a River Dart cruise, surf school or paddleboard lessons, the Art Cafe in Kingsbridge, crabbing off the Quay, the local cinema, Dartington country estate, the tour of Start Point Lighthouse and of course all our lovely local beaches!

South Devon Beach Guide

South Devon is unique as it combines expanses of rolling green countryside, quaint villages, waterfront towns and picturesque beaches offering visitors a taste of the best the UK has to offer!

Taking your dog on holiday with you is one of the benefits of holidaying in the UK and relaxing on the beach is a perfect day out for all the family!   Here is our showcase of the best beaches in South Devon where your dog is welcome too…

Beesands: Our local mile long shingle beach with award winning pub and seafood cafe, watch the fishing boats come and go in the shelter of Start Bay, and its lighthouse. Everything you need for a day out! 2 mins drive from Beeson, 0.7 miles

Slapton Sands: A golden arch of shingle beach that stretches 3 miles along the coastline and is bordered by a National Nature Reserve. Pubs and eateries at Torcross plus good parking.  8 mins drive from Beeson, 3 miles

Mattiscombe: More challenging to access (walking only) but serene, unspoilt and with a good chance of seal spotting. 11 mins drive from Beeson 3.4 miles

Gara Rock beach: Seacombe sands is an unspoilt sandy cove nestled under the Gara Rock hotel, which is perfect for a lunch stop with the most spectacular views, 14 mins drive from Beeson, 5.8 miles

Mill Bay East Portlemouth: A privately owned beach open to the public with National Trust Car Park. Beautiful sandy beach with stream, woodland and clifftop walks opposite Salcombe. 14 mins drive from Beeson, 5.9 miles

 

Blackpool Sands: One of South DEvons most popular beaches, with cafe, watersports hire and sheltered swimming. Dog friendly throughout the winter. 18 mins from Beeson, 7.8 miles

South Milton: A National Trust sandy beach looking over the iconic Thurlestone Rock that all the family will love- even the dog! Food available at the beachhouse. 25 mins from Beeson 9.6 miles

Bantham: Golden sands, rolling dunes, surf school and a great selection of food from the gastrobus in the carpark. 30 mins from Beeson, 11.9 miles

North and South Sands Salcombe: Only a few minutes from Salcombe town centre, sandy beaches that are perfect for traditional family fun  and with places to eat. 25 mins drive from Beeson, 12.7 miles

Bigbury on Sea: A family friendly beach with surf school and vast expanses of golden sand. Walk over to Burgh Island at low tide for a drink at the Pilchard Inn (or use the sea tractor if the tide is in!) 41 mins from Beeson, 15 miles (dog restrictions apply)

 

National Cream Tea Week

Its practically an unspoken rule that on a holiday to Devon you should indulge in a traditional Cream Tea!

Of course, there is great debate about what should go first….the jam or the cream?!

In Devon there is only one way to enjoy your cream tea, and that- of course, is cream first, jam on top!

We have a wonderful selection of tea rooms, farm shops and cafes for you to choose from when going for a cream tea, here are some of our favourites:

  1. The Seabreeze Cafe, Torcross. A delightful cafe on the seafront at Torcross, we love the coastal themed interior and their generous sized scones! Enjoy your cream tea whilst listening to the sea lapping at the shore!
  2. Stokely Farm Shop Cafe. An excellent farmshop where you could buy all the ingredients to make your own – or simply enjoy sitting outside amongst the greenery and sample one of their homemade cream teas!
  3. Avon Mill Garden Centre. A lovely garden centre with excellent cafe, why not build up an appetite walking along the banks of the River Avon before filling up on a cream tea!
  4. South Allington House. A privately owned country house and campsite, enjoy a cream tea on the lawn.

Wherever you decide to have your cream tea, we hope that you savour every mouthful….and please remember the cream first!

 

Group bookings

Beeson Farm makes the ideal getaway for a weekend or longer with a group of friends, family or for a special reunion and in 2019 this seems to be a particularly popular option.

Our cottages are all centered around the old farm courtyard, which is ideal for gathering outside in the summer months and lighting up the BBQs whilst enjoying a cold glass of homemade Beeson Farm Cider from our orchard.

Children will love to play in the table tennis room, have a game of badminton or enjoy the freedom of running around the field and playarea.

Sleeping 22 guests (plus babies in cots) throughout the five cottages there is enough accommodation for everyone. The Linhay and Dairy have downstairs bedrooms and accessible bathrooms making our cottages perfect for a multigenerational holiday.

The courtyard catches the sun all day long and the beach is a short drive or a mile long walk through the village down to Beesands. The pub has an extensive dining area and also benches overlooking the sea with views towards Start Point Lighthouse.

The local area offers plenty of ideas to entertain all ages, from adventure theme parks to National Trust properties as well as the picturesque waterfront towns of Salcombe, Kingsbridge and Dartmouth.

Book your group holiday and reconnect with those friends and family youve been meaning to hang out with!

A day in Kingsbridge

Our local town of Kingsbridge, just over 6 miles from Beeson Farm, is a wonderful local hub that sits at the head of the Salcombe Estuary.

In summer children love to sit on the embankment with their crabbing lines and watch the boats come and go. The estuary is well used by boats, kayakers and paddleboarders as well as the Kingsbridge-Salcombe ferry.

Kingsbridge town is a lovely mix of independent shops, galleries, antique/vintage shops, places of worship and cafes.

Start off your day at the very top of town at the Cookworthy Museum where you can discover the history of the local area. After your visit pop across the road to the worlds smallest nightclub, housed in a telephone box!

Head down fore street stopping at the community garden on the way.  Walk under the Shambles (an old market hall on raised granite pillars dating from Elizabethan times) and you will come across the old town hall, now the towns cinema. The cinema is one of the most recognisable buildings in the town, with its distinctive clock face which has only three faces- the fourth faced the old workhouse and so wasn’t added to prevent the inmates from clock watching!

Discover the eclectic mix of shops and galleries that line Fore Street. With something for all ages from toy shops (The Trading Post and Non Such) to independent clothes shops (Posh Totti, Cocoa, Spotted, Mint Dress Agency), galleries (the Mayne Gallery, Tidal Gallery and The Art Cafe where you can paint your own pottery) and the wonderful Harbour bookshop.

Coming off the highstreet you can find many little alleyways lined with cottages – often with fascinating names such as Squeezebelly Alley. As the name suggests it is too narrow for more than one person to pass through at a time!

Pass the entrance to the estuary and hop on the miniature railway to the end of the line where you can disembark for the recreation ground (with excellent childrens playgroud) or walk on down for a drink at the Crabhsell Inn overlooking the water.

Kingsbridge has a thriving antiques scene with the Antiques and Craft Centre on Ebrington Street and the eclectic Two Rooms on Lower Union Road (a bazaar of the bizarre, full floor to ceiling with treasures and well worth a rummage!), as well as numerous charity shops.

Kingsbridge Information Centre sits on the town square and the staff are very  happy to help  with recommendations for places to eat and things to do.

No matter what the time of year there are plenty of local events in the town to choose from, incluing the regular farmers market, Kingsbridge Food and Music Festival (June), Kingsbridge Fair Week (July) Kingsbridge Show (September) and Kingsbridge Celebrates Christmas (December)

Kingsbridge also has an indoor pool and sports centre.

Eating Out

Kingsbridge has something to suit all tastes and also numerous takeaways. For families we recommend eating the Art Café, the Crabshell Inn, Cool Beans Coffee shop, La Ranchera (amazing Mexican food) or the Fat Monkey.

For light lunches we can recommend Harbour House Café at the Arts and Yoga centre which has a delicious menu of vegetarian and vegan food, new arrival Fika, a Scandinavian inspired coffee house, and the Old Bakery which has a beautiful courtyard.

For a special meal head to Wild Artichokes (run by chef Jane Baxter) or Twenty Seven run by Jamie Rogers

Whatever you get up to on a day out in Kingsbridge we hope you enjoy it!

Start Point Lighthouse

Trinity House has completed the modernisation of Start Point Lighthouse in Devon, upgrading the site’s aids to navigation and control systems to provide simplified maintenance and reliable performance that will extend the life of the station for a further 20 years.
Start Point Lighthouse—located on the most southerly tip of Devon—was built by Trinity House in 1836 and automated in 1993.  The peninsula runs for almost a mile out to sea on the south side of Start Bay. The walk up to Start Point Lighthouse is breathtaking – dramatic cliffs and landscape, and the South West Coast Path runs along this stretch of coastline. There are great walks towards Beesands and Torcross, or East Prawle and Salcombe. You may even see seals or dolphins out at sea – and a host of sea birds and birds of prey.

The lighthouse provides a navigational light comprised of three white flashes every ten seconds that can be seen from Prawle Point to the west and across Start Bay to the east, as well as a red sector light that marks the Skerries Bank, a shallow area to the east of the lighthouse. A hazard warning signal sounds during low visibility conditions that blasts once every 30 seconds when visibility drops below one nautical mile.

Start Point Lighthouse was modernised in 2019, upgrading the site’s aids to navigation and control systems to provide simplified maintenance and reliable performance, including the installation of new LED lamps for the main navigation light and a new hazard warning signal.

The lighthouse is now monitored and controlled from Trinity House’s Planning Centre in Harwich, Essex.

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.

Thirst quenching Devon

South Devon has some hidden gems of breweries, distilleries and vineyards.  Whether you want to take a tour or just sample whats on offer you can make some great holiday memories whilst quenching your thirst.

Salcombe Gin

Salcombe is South Devons yachting haven and what better ritual to adopt than that of the “sundowner”- a refreshing gin and tonic after a day on the water! Salcombe Gin opened the doors of its distillery in 2016. Located on Island Street, Salcombe Gin has since scooped numerous national and international awards. Their gin is hand distilled from 13 carefully selected botanicals and blended with pure Dartmoor water in a 450L copper still using a traditional “one shot” method. Visit the Distillery for a drink in the bar or book in to the gin school to create your own unique blend of gin and take home the ultimate 70cl souvenir of your holiday!

Salcombe gin is available at many of our local pubs, including the Cricket Inn and is for sale locally at Stokeley Farm Shop, Chillington Post Office and Kingsbridge Wine Rooms. https://www.salcombegin.com/

Salcombe Brewery

Salcombe brewery is located in the countryside near Kingsbridge looking towards the Salcombe estuary. The site has its own borehole which supplies the brewery with its own source of pure Devonian water perfect for the brewing process. The Brewery has 4 fermenting vessels capable of making 350 casks every week. Visitors are welcome for tours or brew days. The Brewery Shop is open during the week from 10am to 4pm, on some Saturdays 10am -2pm (seasonally), and sells beer, gift packs and branded merchandise. https://www.salcombebrewery.com/

South Hams Brewery

This 10 barrel plant is run by the Brooking family on the site at Stokeley Farm Shop overlooking beautiful Start Bay. The family have a real love for real ale and are the small brewery that’s very big on taste! Popular classic ales such as Eddystone, Wild Blonde and Devon Pride can be found alongside seasonal ales for sale in Stokeley Farm shop and many local establishments.  http://southhamsbrewery.co.uk/

Sharpham Vineyard

Just two miles from Totnes, The Sharpham vineyard overlooks the River Dart where the soil, climate and grape variety combine to make a unique regional wine.  Sharpham are at the forefront of vine growing and wine making in the UK and have won numerous Regional, National and International medals. Visit the vineyard to sample their wine and take a tour of the vineyard.  Sharpham wine is available to buy at Stokely farm shop and Kingsbridge Wine Rooms. http://www.sharpham.com/

Beeson Farmhouse Cider

Beeson Farm has always produced its own cider from the apples that grow in our orchard. Each year the apples are harvested, pressed and fermented on site. Guests are very welcome to join in with the process- especially the tasting! We work closely with Orchard Link, a south Devon organisation set up in 1998 by apple and cider enthusiasts concerned about the disappearance of traditional orchards in the area. Our traditional farmhouse cider is available to buy from the farmhouse door, enjoy a cold glass of cider whilst sitting in the courtyard in which the traditional stone cider press is now a decorative focal point.

Shop Local this Christmas

South Devon knows how to kick off Christmas! Both Dartmouth and Kingsbridge have wonderful Christmas fairs. Dartmouth opens the festive season with a unique Candlelit evening (November 24th-25th) lantern parade and Christmas market.  Kingsbridge Celebrates Christmas is the first weekend in December and showcases local artisans, food producers and independent retailers.

This year I have decided to focus our Christmas shopping locally as well as crafting our own gifts. If I cant make it I am going to buy it in the South Hams – indeed I think everything on this list can be found within a 10mile radius of Beeson Farm!

Here are our top gifts that can be found in the South Hams:

My Sister in Law recently had a baby,  so we decided to buy something practical, beautiful and handmade from Wifflepigs (based near Start Point Lighthouse) who make beautiful handmade baby clothes in quirky and colourful fabrics. Prices start at £8 for a pair of leggings. https://www.facebook.com/wifflepigs/

Naturemake is run by local artist Naomi who also offers workshops locally throughout the year. She sells kits online to make your own sculptures from natural materials (think unicorns, fairy houses, boats, tree houses made from wood, shells, petals etc). Our children have found pure delight in her workshopsand the Christmas scene we made a few years ago is now a treasured Christmas heirloom. Her kits make ideal Christmas gifts for children (and adults) of all ages. Its great to know that the recipients of these gifts can make something special, unique, eco-friendly and beautiful. Prices start at £7.50 for a small robin kit https://naturemake.co.uk/shop/

For a happy Ginmas what better than a bottle of locally produced Gin? The perfect drink to get you through the long winter nights in front of the log fire!  Salcombe Gin distillery opened in 2016 and its Start Point Gin has won numerous awards.  A ticket to the Salcombe gin school would be a fabulous experience for a gin lover and a bottle of Salcombe Gin is definitely on my list of Christmas list! https://www.salcombegin.com/

My son is a chilli fiend- the hotter the better! So this year I am off to the South Devon Chilli Farm for some Christmas shopping. Everything spicy from Chilli Chocolate to a grow your own Chilli plant is available in store or online.  https://www.southdevonchillifarm.co.uk/

My daughter and I love to collect sea glass from our local beaches and have been following the work of devon jeweller Olivia Joy Jones (who started off in Beeson) for a few years. This year we both want one of her stunning sea glass necklaces which she sells from the Gallery at Avon Mill Garden Centre. The Gallery also stocks a beautiful selection of cards, ceramics, art and other unique pieces. https://www.facebook.com/The-Gallery-at-Avon-Mill-1673482926234362/

Another local artist we have been following on social media for a while is Hallsands Hidden Treasures. She makes beautiful decorations for the home using scavenged drift wood and natural materials from the beach, as well as plastics which have washed up, which she sells on Etsy. Her decorations really add something uniquely Devon to the Christmas tree- we especially love her hanging jellyfish made from limpet shells! https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/HallsandsTreasures?ref=search_shop_redirect

This year we bought some of graphic designer Jennifer Cooper Designs beautiful pictures of the local area to adorn the walls of our cottages. Her designs feature local landmarks and towns such as Burgh Island, Overbecks, Salcombe and Kingsbridge. They make a beautiful gift for someone who has Devon in their blood, or to remind you of a holiday well spent in Devon! Prices start at £15  https://www.jennifercooperdesigns.com/

This Christmas avoid the battle of the highstreet. Shop local, shop ethical, shop unique and see what your local community has to offer.

 

Family fun in the winter

Thinking of booking a holiday but worried what to do if the weather isnt too good? Dont fear, South Devon has plenty to offer the whole family off season!

One of our favourite adventures is to Woodlands Family Theme Park,http://www.woodlandspark.com/ near Dartmouth. A short drive slidealong the beautiful coast road, Woodlands boasts one of the UKs largest indoor play areas and has enough variety to entertain all ages for a whole day. The are big family rides, an awesome indoor play centre (with slides, ball pools, mazes, climbing nets, rides and adventure play).

 Outside you will find a zoo-farm housing everything from Meerkats to cuddly rabbits, snakes to shire horses.

Kingsbridge and Dartmouth both have indoor swimming pools and cinmeerkatsemas and the towns offer everything from toy shops to art galleries, soft play to boutique and antique shopping.

The National Marine Aquarium at Plymouthhttp://www.national-aquarium.co.uk/ is just under an hour away and is the UKs biggest aquarium. Our children were equally as enthralled by the seahorses and lobsters as they were by the huge sharks!jellyfish

The Art Cafe in Kingsbridge http://theartcafekingsbridge.co.uk/ is always a popular choice for pottery painting- the perfect souvenir of your stay in South Devon!

artcafeIn your cottage you will find a comprehensive guide of whats on offer locally, as well as a selection of books, dvds and toys should you wish to stay in and relax! We even provide childrens wellies should you wish to get out and do some exploring along the beach – winter is the perfect time for beachcombing, you never know what treasure you might find!

So, book a stay this Winter- we would love to share all this and more with you!