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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.

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.

The Tale of the Whale

February 23rd may have brought Storm Doris to the UK, however in South Devon we were blessed with a sunny day (although windy) that brought an unusual visitor to our coastline.

By midday there were reports that a whale had been spotted off the shore of Slapton Sands (a 10 minute drive from Beeson Farm). It was initially thought to be a Minke, but has since been confirmed by Brixham Seawatch as a Humpback- a rare sighting for the South Coast of Devon which initially lead to concerns that it may be in trouble since it should be much further North out in the Atlantic.

In the early morning sun on the 24th Feb we spotted the whale at Slapton Sands, where it was close enough into the shore to see it spouting water and breaching the waves. The children were beyond excited as they watched with their classmates before school in the morning and again in the twilight as the lighthouse beamed across the bay. Once again we marvelled at how blessed they are to grow up in natures playground where they have the chance to run free on the beach where they have previously spotted seals, dolphins and porpoises.

Over two weeks later the whale is swimming strongly up and down the coastline and appears to be feeding on the glut of sprats, accompanied by porpoises, seals and gannets.  Quite the wildlife show every day!  The British Divers Marine Life Rescue have stated that it is healthy and is feeding in the shallow waters on shoaling fish. They also state that “in recent years there has been an increase in sightings around the UK.  Most of these have been in Scotland where they would be expected, but humpbacks have also been recently spotted off the coasts of Cornwall, Devon, Kent, Suffolk, Norfolk, Yorkshire, Northumberland and the North West.  This may be due to a good supply of prey, but also may indicate a recovery of the population since the whaling moratorium in the 1980s, with animals returning to feeding haunts of old”.

The whole local community are enjoying the spectacle of this living nature documentary! The memory of the day the whale came will stay with our awestruck children for the rest of their lives, reminding us all to love and protect our beautiful coast and marine environment.

Humpback whales range in length from 12 metres to 16 metres and weigh about 36,000 kg. Sadly, there are very few Humpback Whales left, with scientists estimating that there can’t be more than 15,000 of them in the world.

Photo credit to our friends at Forest and Beach http://www.forestandbeach.co.uk/– an outdoor education centre and forest school provider in our village of Beeson.

The Lost Village of Hallsands

A century ago one of our local fishing villages was struck by disaster. South Hallsands was one of several small communities dotted along the coast that relied on the sea for its living and supported 128 inhabitants, 39 houses and a pub.

In the 1890s it was decided to expand the Naval dockyard at Devonport,  Plymouth for which sand and gravel was needed.  Dredging of the shingle bank began offshore from Hallsands in 1897 and soon up to 1,600 tons of shingle was being removed each day. Much to the alarm of the villagers the level of the beach at Hallsands began to drop. In the storms of the 1900s some of the sea wall protecting the village washed away, causing villagers to petition their member of parliament and complaining about the damage to their properties. In 1902 the dredging licence was revoked and the beach level recovered somewhat.

On the fateful night of January 27th 1917 a combination of strong easterly gales and an exceptionally high tide ripped through the village. Seawater swirled through the houses, enveloping the village and wreaking a trail of devastation. By midnight four houses had gone. hallsands2The inhabitants gathered the few belongings they could and assembled on the cliff tops above to watch the horror unfold. By the end of the night only one house was left standing. Miraculously no-one lost their lives.

The villagers fought for compensation for years and many resettled in North Hallsands and Beesands.

Today, there is a viewing platform at Hallsands where visitors can learn the history of the village and look out over the ruins.

To commemorate the centenary of the disaster the occupants of the remaining house (used as private holiday home) allowed guests to come in to the old village (at their own risk!). It was a suitably atmospheric day- thehallsands3 sky was grey and the wind bitingly cold. It was fascinating to step back in time and to visit the old village, to pay respects to those who had their hallsands4livelihoods taken from them and to consider the impact mans actions can have on the natural environment.

You can listen to the dramatisation of the catastrophe on radio BBC 4 extra here http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0076cd9

Young readers may enjoy “Wings to fly” by Patrick Cooper, a touching story about the night of the storm.

 

 

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!