Time to grab a cuppa or a glass of something and take a moment to catch up on what’s been happening at Butterwell Farm.

First, we will address the elephant in the room… yes, it’s a third of the way through June! And, yes, I did commit to a monthly newsletter. With children aged 4, 6 and 8 and their school holidays factored in we can certainly expect some of these newsletters to arrive a little later than I would prefer!

‘Musings’ – a period of reflection or thought. And that is exactly how I felt writing my last newsletter/blog post (one and the same thing). I have heard that “journaling” has become very popular and beneficial, and this felt like a similar process. It made me pause and stand back for a moment, and really appreciate where we are and what’s been happening at Butterwell Farm and in our family life. Life is always so busy with the business and three little ones, it’s nice to have this moment to sit and reflect.

What’s been happening at Butterwell Farm

Half Term

We spent May half term on our annual trip to Exmoor, my 39th year at the same campsite! My parents have been going even longer than that. I imagine how I feel on this trip is how many of our regular guests that have been staying for the last 10, 20, 30 and even 40 years(!) feel when they look out of their cottage window and hear the river flowing past at Butterwell Farm. Continuity and nostalgia being so welcome in this ever-changing world.

Highlights of the trip included our annual pilgrimage to the National Trust’s Watersmeet, the meeting place of the East Lyn River and Hoar Oak Water, and a new discovery of the National Trust’s Dunster Castle. We came back, as usual, inspired by the nature and gardens experienced on this trip. On our return the children had an additional week off school, mainly due to the Royal Cornwall Show, which we all thoroughly enjoyed. I will cover this highlight in my next newsletter which will bring us into June.

Nature in May

It feels like the estate has burst into colour and life. We’ve had spectacular sunsets, Canada geese goslings bobbing down the river leaving Butterwell and heading for Wadebridge. The hedgerows are incredibly lush and vibrant with purple foxgloves, pink campion, vivid green ferns and oxeye daisies. We’ve been enjoying late evening riverside walks, right through to 10pm! The flower beds are a riot of colour and the greens are as green as they get at this time of year. In the garden I’ve been busy planting out my ambitious seedling collection! Only for half of them to get munched by slugs and snails! They seem to be more populous than ever this year with the amount of rainfall we’ve had in recent months.

As I look out of my window writing this blog I’m watching a bright red male bullfinch hop about in the eucalyptus tree. The enthusiasm for birding amongst our guests and our own family is definitely growing. I’ve purchased The Collins Complete Guide to British Birds for each property and we hope this will continue to inspire our guests to keep track of their discoveries at Butterwell Farm. What will you see on your next visit? Do let us know and we will add these to the bird watching page of our website.

On the land

Sam has been busy out on the estate preparing the river for the start of the fishing season on 15 May. The next few months are the busiest of the year when there is lots to achieve and maintain on the Butterwell estate. It is now dry enough to take the tractor down to the woods and clear some of the fallen trees and collect wood for our log burners to keep us going through the winter months. This is just the first step, the process of splitting and stacking so that each one of our property’s has an individual store takes many hours!

Early summer is also time to harrow the land, this helps to remove dead thatch, level mole hills and aerate the soil which improves water infiltration and its overall health.

Sam has also spent many man-hours “balsam bashing” – strimming Himalayan Balsam to try and clear it before it flowers. This invasive plant is very detrimental to our native flora, especially along the riverbanks where it is most prevalent. It grows rapidly and spreads quickly, smothering other vegetation as it goes, and gradually impoverishing our native habitats. Each plant can produce up to 800 seeds and disperses them widely as the ripe seedpods shoot their seeds up to 7 metres away! Hence it is so important to try and strim it before it flowers.

To follow more of Sam’s day to day land management and general goings on at Butterwell Farm follow him on Instagram @butterwell_sam.

Our next project at Butterwell Farm involves 70 railway sleepers, can you guess what it might be?

The Temperate Rainforest

Did you know that there are rainforests in England? At Butterwell Farm we have a very rare land classification of a temperate rainforest. Also known as Atlantic or Celtic rainforest, this special habitat is incredibly rare and is thought to be more threatened than tropical rainforests. Its lush conditions are perfect for scarce plants, lichens and fungi, as well as remarkable birds and mammals. Read more about temperate rainforests on the Woodland Trust’s website. At Butterwell Farm we do all we can to maintain and improve this native and special habitat. You can’t visit Butterwell Farm without exploring our 20-acre ancient woodland rainforest along the riverbank – we really are a truly immersive stay in nature.

Woodland glade vibrant green

Is that a sheep or a goat?

June is always the month that the sheep get their annual haircut and invariably guests start asking us what sort of goats we keep!? It’s always a lovely moment in the Butterwell Farm calendar. The sun always shines for us and the shearer comes in the early evening as his last job of the day, just when the light is at it’s most magical. It is always a fun task rounding them up into the pen, you never know how it’s going to go, and it’s a task the kids always like to get involved with on their bikes or on foot. We currently have 38 sheep including the lambs, so it’s probably the biggest our flock has ever been.

As they are allowed to roam our whole estate Sam must venture out most days to find them and count them. The lambs especially like to get up to mischief and can occasionally get themselves stuck in the river! There have been a few rescue missions recently!

Sheep in a pen and land rover and sheep shearing equipment

Beach Days

As the days get warmer we certainly find ourselves heading to the coast more often, our closest and favourite beach is Polzeath. When this gets a little too crowded in the summer months there is the more rustic, neighbouring, New Polzeath. After a day at the beach we always appreciate returning home to the total peace and tranquillity of Butterwell Farm next to the river. Occasionally on our way back from Polzeath, via Rock, we treat ourselves to fish and chips from Rock Fish & Chips. This really is a treat, not your average fish and chips. Fish landed daily at Newlyn fish market, with things like monkfish bites and scallops on the menu. If you are looking for something a bit special then we certainly recommend. For more restaurant ideas visit our bespoke guide.

Walks in May

Sam and I both took part in the Ten Tors challenge across Bodmin Moor to raise money for Nanstallon Primary School, our children’s village school. This was a 13 mile trek taking in spectacular scenery across the moor and scaling Cornwall’s highest peak ‘Brown Willy’!

Then for my girls ‘walk n talk’ monthly excursion we headed to the Duchy of Cornwall Nursery just on the outskirts of Lostwithiel. This has to be one of my favourite places for lunch or coffee and browsing their wonderful glasshouse, plants and gift shop is always a highlight. From here we took a lovely river walk through woodland, across the valley, up to the English Heritage site of Restormel Castle. It was great to explore the castle in the sunshine and read all about its history. From here there are stunning views over the River Fowey Valley.

You could head back to the Duchy from here making it a short circular walk but we made our way into Lostwithiel itself. Lostwithiel is a charming 13th Century port town with a medieval bridge over the River Fowey, often referred to as the antiques capital of Cornwall. As well as lots of antique shops there are also lots of other lovely independent shops and restaurants, one of my favourites being Alice in Scandiland. We discovered a fantastic deli called Bellamama to pick up a takeaway (fresh Cornish crab sandwiches!) and headed down to the riverbank for a picnic. For more ideas on places to visit and things to do on your stay here at Butterwell Farm don’t forget to checkout our ‘Things to do’ page. For walking routes we recommend the iwalk cornwall app.

Review of the month

I’ve decided to include our review of the month each month as we are so lucky to get such wonderful feedback. We are so touched and grateful each time one of our guests takes the time to write a review. It really does make such a huge difference to our small business. Our preferred review platform is Google reviews. To read all of our reviews head to our review page.

This month’s review comes from Paul and Marquita White who stayed in Buzzard Barn:

“WOW!!!!!!!!
This destination not only offers very good accommodation. First impressions are important to me as so often the hype that goes with advertising shows an ideal place that often falls short not by much but still a slight hesitance. You and Buzzard Barn not only meets with approval at all levels but exceeds them with the sky not being a limit.
Your help with instructions was more than useful and the organisation and your support has proved invaluable.
From our arrival at Buzzard Barn to the day we sadly left we can honestly say that Butterwell Farm is a Gem in the Cornish countryside, offering not only peace and tranquillity but accommodation that makes you feel as though you belong there. The sights and sounds offer the chance to reflect on what life should be and enables you to enjoy peace of mind and the ability to float into a serene sense of enjoyment and fun with views that offer a beauty and calmness with flashes of colour and joy.
Not just a great place to stay but a truly effective holiday destination.
Thank you for a wonderful stay in a beautiful setting and property. We felt very relaxed and are determined to come back next year.”

Thank you so much Paul and Marquita!

holiday cottage barn on the banks of the river with trees all around

Last minute availability for June and July

We do still have a small amount of availability this month and next month. A 2 night minimum stay on all properties and low occupancy discounts available in our bigger properties.

Kingfisher Cabin:
12-15 July £801
19-31 July (7 nights from £1288, 2 nights from £644)

Cobnuts Stable:
29 June – 1 July (1-bed £490, 2-bed £540, 3-bed £560)
27-29 July (1-bed £728, 2-bed £822, 3-bed £916)

Apple Tree Cottage:
15-22 June £740 (2 nights from £375)
2-5 July £638 (2 nights from £490)
15-26 July (7 nights from £1260, 2 nights from £578)

Buzzard Barn:
13-19 July £1630 (2 nights from £815)

Lounge with sofas

Fishing

Our fishing season officially opened 1st May and at this time of the year we are night fly fishing for sea-trout. We write a fishing report each month from the River Camel for Trout and Salmon magazine. We also publish this on our website and it goes out in a monthly newsletter to all our angling guests. If you would like to be included on this mailout, please just let us know. For more information about fishing at Butterwell Farm please look at the fishing pages on our website. For more day-to-day updates on fishing and the estate management at Butterwell Farm, follow Sam on Instagram @butterwell_sam

What would you like to see at Butterwell Farm?

We are always open to feedback and we would be interested in what improvements you would like to see at Butterwell Farm. Are there any special features or facilities you think would improve our guest experience? If you think of any then please do send us an email and let us know. It has always been important to us to hear from our guests so that we can provide you all with the most wonderful experience at Butterwell Farm.

River with sheep on the bank

Well, that’s about it from me this month, really hope you enjoyed it…I have even had to save some ideas for our newsletter for next month so hope you join me again! To get this newsletter straight to your inbox don’t forget to subscribe at the bottom of our website.

Rachel x