Tuesday 6 August 2013

Chark Farm, Redmoor, Cornwall

One of the cottages at Chark

"I'm off to the dairy to get some calves!" Lucas yelled through the front door, and then shot off, wellies slapping noisily as he went.  Dave and I looked at each other, grinned, and put the kettle on for another cup of tea.

We were on holiday at Chark Farm, a working dairy farm with a 220-strong herd of gorgeous cows, tucked away in the countryside near Bodmin.  The owners, Jenny and Clive Littleton, have lovingly converted old granite barns and out-buildings into luxury self-catering cottages, which are cosy and filled with all the mod-cons you could wish for!  There's even a pot of their own clotted cream waiting in the fridge when you arrive.

Skyber, as seen from the Pets' Paddock

As this was our second stay at the farm, as soon as we'd unpacked we went out to the Pets' Paddock behind our cottage, Skyber, to say hello to the animals again.  The chickens fall over themselves with excitement to see what titbits of food we've brought them, the goats stick their heads through the fence and flutter their eyelashes with the very clear message, "I'm adorable.  You want to feed me. Go and get me something nice," which is really hard to resist!  Sooner or later the runner ducks and geese make their more dignified entrance and last, but not least, Fluffy the pig comes along with a hopeful snuffle.

Chicken Run!

The Runner Ducks always look deep in conversation


One of the nicest things about Chark is that you get a taste of what it's like to live and work on a farm.  Every morning at 8.30am, Jenny collects a crowd of very excited children (and some excited yet sleepy adults) and they all troop off to feed the guinea pigs, feed the two goats (Bert and Ernie!), and let all the fowl out of their houses.  There is then...and drum roll, please...the chance to look for eggs!

"I found eggs, Mummy!  And they're still warm!"
Last year there were fewer children staying while we were there, so we had fresh eggs every day (and went home with a boxful, too).  This time, the eggs had to be shared between eight children and everyone got very good at listening for the proud cackle that signalled another egg had been laid!

After all the eggs have been carefully taken indoors, it's then time to get the undisputed star of the farm from the stables.  Fluffy the pig is adorable, and very good-natured.  When the children bring him down from the stables to graze in the field, it often looks as though he's herding them rather than the other way round!

Later on in the day there are complimentary horse-and-cart rides around the little lanes in Redmoor, courtesy of Jasmine the cart horse.  The children can also have a ride on Billy, the miniature pony, or Foxy, if you're a little older.  This year Lucas 'graduated' to Foxy.  I love watching him ride...he has such a natural seat in the saddle.

Our little equestrian
Lucas's favourite part of this year's stay was going up to the dairy to help move the cows in for milking and then to take two calves back down the hill to the guest stables for hand-rearing by the children over the course of the week.  He was ever so proud of himself, and he even got to name the calves!

Bovine beauties
Sydney "White Chocolate"
Sydney "White Chocolate" and Bob "Caramel Shortbread" are lovely little calves.  They're still young enough to be entirely milk-fed, so get three wine bottles full of fresh, warm milk from the dairy twice a day.  (Apparently a wine bottle is the perfect size to feed a calf. Who knew!)  Maybe we'll spot them in the fields next summer.

Lucas, cloud-gazing on the trampoline
We all had a fantastic holiday at Chark.  (It would be hard not to with Jenny and Clive's hospitality!)  Everything is so tranquil there--the rest of the world seems so far away, especially at night when all you can hear is the occasional honk from a goose--making it so easy to relax and unwind.

A third visit is already on the cards; Lucas is trying to persuade Nanny, Grandad and Auntie that they'd love to spend a week in Cornwall rather than Spain.  Fingers crossed!

Chark Country Holidays
Chark Farm
PL30 5AR

Tel.: 01208 871118
Email: enquiry@charkfarm.co.uk


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