Welcome!

Inspired by some recent guests, here is my first monthly blog post, where I aim to share both business and personal adventures and observations about life at Butterwell Farm in North Cornwall.

I should first mention my source of inspiration, Melanie and Nicholas Pet Portraits. Melanie and Nicholas came to stay with us at Kingfisher Cabin in April and wrote a lovely blog post about their stay which portrayed beautifully, in words and images, what it’s like to stay at Butterwell Farm and explore our estate, the Camel Trail and other surrounding areas. Read their full blog post here and definitely check out their incredible pet portraits too.

wooden cabin and picnic table with green grass garden

Spring Lambing

As I write I am looking out of the window with beautiful sunshine and birdsong in the background. There is apple blossom on the trees, flowering camellias, bluebells and wild garlic at every turn. Having a midday nap in the sunshine just in front of Buzzard Barn is our flock of Jacob sheep and all of their new lambs (21 in total). The oldest lambs are about 5 weeks old now. For the first time in 10 years we had triplets, and not just one set, but three! After a later correspondence with Samson the ram’s owners, it turns out he was a triplet himself! So it’s been a busy few weeks keeping the triplets topped up with extra bottles and making sure they get enough nutrition alongside their mother’s milk. From about four weeks old they start to eat grass too – just in time as our grass is starting to grow nicely with the latest combination of sunshine and rain!

Meat back on the menu

With the cycle of rearing lambs at Butterwell Farm it’s meant we also now have a freezer full of fresh hogget. Hogget is from sheep between one and two years old. You won’t notice much difference to the taste of lamb. Our hogget is available for guests to buy on site. If you would like to order some ahead of your stay please just get in touch and it will be in your property ready for you. We have legs, shanks, chops, mince and burgers.  Our flock of Jacobs are free to roam our 40-acre estate on the banks of the River Camel helping us to manage our land with conservation and biodiversity in mind. Purely fed on natural pastures rich in wild grasses, flowers and herbs. It’s sustainable, local, small scale, free range, high welfare meat with very low food miles. In a bid to use every part of the animal the latest skins have been sent off to Devonia Tannery on the edge of Dartmoor to be processed and will come back to us in a few months. Again, available for purchase. Devonia is Britain’s oldest established sheepskin tannery and still employs traditional processing techniques.

Cock-a-doodle-doo!

This month we also welcomed our first cockerel to our brood. Strawberry – he came with the name! We’ve all been enjoying that traditional “cock-a-doodle-doo” letting us know it’s time to start the day! The chickens are laying in full flow at this time of year and we get a wonderful variety of colours and sizes, we’ve had some incredible olive coloured double-yolkers! We have quite an eclectic brood with all sorts of breeds purchased locally, as well as some ex-battery hens adopted from the British Hen Welfare Trust and a couple we have raised ourselves from chicks which is always a really fun project with the kids.

Butterwell Projects

As always we’ve been keeping busy with on-going projects and improvements at Butterwell Farm. The latest project to be completed last month was the main driveway and entrance for ourselves, Apple Tree Cottage and Kingfisher Cabin. We’ve laid a concrete drive for the main section and granite chippings along the edges and for the main parking area and all the way down to Kingfisher Cabin, and also used to to top up the garden path at Apple Tree Cottage. It’s all looking very smart and helps us to be less muddy in the winter and less dusty in the summer! We hope all our guests enjoy the new curb appeal as much as we do!

Beyond Butterwell

Getting out and about this month I’ve enjoyed a stunning coastal walk starting in Rock and taking the ferry to Padstow, around to Trevone, Stepper Point and back to Padstow. The sun was shining over the Atlantic Ocean and on the other side overlooking the stunning Camel Estuary. Once a month I try to get out with some friends on a walk, we appropriately refer to it as our “walk and talk” group. Often taking a packed lunch, but also often incorporating a local eatery (or two!) heavily influenced by one of the group members who owns our favourite restaurant in the area, Prawn on the Lawn (Padstow), and its sister restaurant Barnaby’s located at Trevibban Mill Vineyard just outside Padstow. We highly recommend both of these restaurants on your visit to Cornwall. Cornwall really is a walker’s paradise – from the extensive coastal path to Bodmin Moor and the Saint’s Way pilgrimage from North to South coast. If you’re not confident about where to start on researching a walking route please just get in touch for some recommendations or get the fantastic walking app iWalk Cornwall App.

Eating out

We’ve enjoyed a couple of meals out this month including a meal at Prawn on the Lawn in Padstow. An intimate, award-winning fish restaurant in the heart of the harbour town serving bold flavour small plates. Expect great service, fantastic cocktails and some of the best seafood around. We also enjoyed a great relaxing family Sunday lunch at The Atlantic at New Polzeath. A great family and dog-friendly modern pub with incredible views over the Atlantic Ocean and Polzeath beach. It has the perfect terrace to have a drink and watch the sun set after a day on the beach. For more restaurant recommendations please check out our personalised Cornwall Restaurant Guide for all of our favourite local suggestions.

Easter Holidays

As April saw us through the Easter holidays we were not only busy with visiting families but we also had a chance to do some trips with the family. The main one being to Plymouth Aquarium, the UK’s largest aquarium, just an hour from Butterwell Farm. We’ve wanted to go for years and it didn’t disappoint. Jack enjoyed a day at Rick Stein’s Cookery School in Padstow with other 8-16 year olds where he got to cook (and eat!) 3 different dishes. He came out beaming from ear to ear. I have previously attended one of their evening cooking demonstrations accompanied by tastings of the dishes and plenty of wine! I would highly recommend the Rick Stein Cooking School for a special evening or day course for those of you interested in cooking.

Surfs Up!

The end of the Easter holidays also signalled the start (for Jack) of ’Surf Life Save’ on the beach at Polzeath on a Sunday morning, and after-school local’s surf club with the Surf’s Up Surf School (our recommended surf school). Surf life Save is part of the lifeguarding and UK Search and Rescue organisations. Did you know they refer to young surfers as ‘grommets’ or ‘groms’ – surf culture is notorious for its unique vocabulary. Here is a great article all about the origins of the word grommet.

late evening sun at the beach with small waves

Back at Butterwell

Back closer to home again we are enjoying a carpet of bluebells and wild garlic in our 20 acre ancient woodland and temperate rainforest area next to the river. Collecting bunches of wild garlic to make pesto and stir through risottos welcomes the taste of spring, and soon to be summer. Again, as I look out the window, I’m enjoying tubs stuffed full of tulips at their best, reaping all the planting efforts from last Autumn.

Returning to my original inspiration for this blog post, Melanie and her partner used the fantastic and free Merlin ID app to record birds around Kingfisher Cabin. If you are interested in bird watching it’s definitely worth checking out. Whilst recording it lists all of the birds it can hear. Melanie recorded: Wren, Long Tailed Tit, Raven, Crows, Marsh Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Bullfinch, Siskin, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Dunnock, Sparrow, Nuthatch, Thrush, Firecrest, Blackbird, Magpie, Jay, Robin, Cormorant, Ducks, Wood Pigeon, Woodpecker, Pheasants, Geese and Buzzard. The previous guests at Kingfisher Cabin also spotted: Heron, Hedge Sparrow, Robin, Jackdaw, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker.  And both experienced the wonderful bats and Tawny Owl in the evenings. Butterwell Farm really is a bird watchers paradise. Check out our Bird Watching page for more inspiration.

2025

April saw us launch our 2025 availability – so why not get ahead of the crowd and secure your favourite Butterwell Farm property for your 2025 holiday to Cornwall now. Every season has something special to offer at Butterwell. Whether it’s the carpet of bluebells and wild garlic in the woodland at springtime, or crisp winter walks and cosy nights in by the fire during winter. There’s always a feast for the senses when you immerse yourself in nature at Butterwell. Visit our booking page to check availability and pricing and to book online. Or alternatively give us a call or email and we’re here to help.

Fishing

As we now come into May we hope to wave goodbye to the April Showers and the 1st of the month sees the opening of the River Camel and fishing at Butterwell Farm. Traditionally this is now our sea-trout season when we fish by night with fly only. As the river is still running fairly high and coloured we will allow casting in the day for both salmon and sea-trout. Make sure to follow Sam’s fishing adventures on the river, as well as other day to day happenings, via his instagram page @butterwell_sam

sea trout being released by angler in net into river

Well it’s been a busy month, and well done if you read this far! Hopefully I will be able to stick to my new commitment to a monthly newsletter and see you back her next month. Wishing you all a wonderful month of May wherever you are. To get this newsletter straight to your inbox don’t forget to subscribe at the bottom of our website.

Rachel x