What's been happening at Anstey Mills Cottages

28th January 2021

Finally, we have the first signs of spring! A crocus and lots of snowdrops just pushing through the mulch that our head gardener Rosie has amply supplied to all the flower beds around the cottages. This and the longer days make it obvious that there are better times to come. And anyway – just look at the lovely snowy  (not that we had a lot) pictures – not a bad place to locked down or snowed in!

First crocusSnowdropswinter Jan 21AMC sign in snow

28th December 2020

Belated Merry Christmas and wishing you a very Happy and healthy New Year!


We hope that you are staying safe and well.


We have been open at various times of the year,  following Government guidelines and always offering full flexibility. Unfortunately in some cases, this has meant that we were not able to fulfil our promise to our customers, and had – reluctantly – to cancel bookings. This was particularly hard at Christmas where I have had decorations up and the heating on full and still was not able to accommodate our guests, as the Government made significant announcements on 19th December in response to the worsening situation with COVID-19, with particular concern about the rapid spread of the ‘new variant’ of COVID-19. To disappoint those who most likely would have been in dire need of the open spaces here and just generally a change of scenery did not make it easy.  


sunset from our top fieldAnstey Mills Cottage decorated for ChristmasEvening view from the main bedroom in Anstey Mills Cottage


However, the recommendation is in all tiers “you should stay local and avoid travelling outside of your local area, meaning your village or town, or part of a city, where possible.” While this is in place, we have concluded with regret that we cannot continue to keep Anstey Mills Cottages open for holiday lets.


While the Government have indicated they intend to review the position every two weeks, it is clear that there is limited expectation that these restrictions will be relaxed in the short term. To give certainty to our guests and our team, we have decided that we will remain closed until 29th January, with a wider review in January in the light of the latest information.


We understand that this will be very disappointing. We have not made this decision lightly, but we must put the safety of our guests and team first in the light of significant concern around the new variant being moved around the country.


All bookings made directly with Anstey Mills Cottages after that date are covered by our COVID-19 Flexibility Guarantee


Thank you for your continued support throughout this difficult period. And why don’t you follow us on Facebook or Instagram to have a virtual tour and enjoy the various landscapes etc. and especially the amazing night sky?!


The milkyway as you might see it from Exmoor(imgage thanks to: https://pxhere.com )


29th June 2020

After thorough planning and study of Government guidelines, we have put together a risk assessment, a cleaning checklist and new protocols to make your stay as safe as possible for all concerned. Following this Visit Britain and the AA have awarded us the following accreditations and thus given us the go-ahead.


We are working hard to make a safe environment for your holiday here at Anstey Mills CottagesTherefore there are a few changes that we have had to put in place to allow us more time to clean and sanitise the properties for your stay to ensure the health and safety of us all.

Day of arrival

Your holiday accommodation will be cleaned, sanitised and disinfected ready for your arrival and you will notice the hand sanitiser at the front entrance, this is for you and all your party to use each time you enter your property. Please can you arrive not before 5 pm unless you have been told otherwise.

You will also be advised of your parking space. 

Day of departure

The departure time for all our properties is now 9.30 am prompt.

On the morning of your departure can you please put all your bedding and towels in the linen bags provided and leave inside the entrance door and please leave a window open in every room, weather permitting.

During your stay

We ask that you please respect other guests by keeping your party to your designated areas. The bike storage and dryer room is not available, except by prior consent. The field footpaths are all open to enjoy. If possible touch gates only with gloves.

If any of your party show any symptoms of Covid-19 during your stay

Guests showing signs of C-19 whilst staying Anstey Mills Cottages are required to inform us immediately and to go for a test at the nearest test centre (Exeter probably). The result of this test must be shown to Doris. If positive then the guest must immediately leave if this is reasonably possible. If for any reason that it is not, and self-isolation is required to take place at Anstey Mills Cottages then all fees for all bookings affected by this self-isolation will be borne by the guest.

We hope you will have a pleasant holiday with us but should you have any questions or concerns about a stay, please do not hesitate to contact us. Tel: 01398341329 Doris’ Mob: 07909991735

E: ansteymills@gmail.com


4th June 2020

Being carefully optimistic we have now accepted the first couple of bookings for July. As stated below, we are flexible regarding the booking conditions and arrival days and thorough and meticulous to avoid any risk. On another positive note, the gardens had a lot of attention from me apart from the glorious sunshine over the last two to three months, so you can look forward to seeing Anstey Mills Cottages at its best. And look forward to the sound of bees, sheep (noisy when first shorn) and birds (especially the dawn chorus).

My Yardley RosePoppy GaloreYellow MellowNoisy neighbours


17th April 2020

Dear Guest,


Due to COVID-19, Anstey Mills Cottages are closed until the end of May and possibly for longer- depending on Government advice.


For peace of mind of our guests, all reservations, even non-cancellable stays, in 2020 are eligible for a full refund. This applies as well to those visitors who choose to postpone to a later date.


Going forward we offer flexibility for bookings and cancellations, as well as a price freeze - for a limited period our 2021 prices are being held at 2020 rates to accommodate those that are making early reservations at this time.


We are monitoring and adhering to the guidelines issued by the Public Health regarding coronavirus.

The health of our staff and visitors is our main priority. To help understand our best practices, these are a few of the precautionary measures we are following:

  • Self-service check-in (key safe box with number lock) allows for contactless arrival procedures.
  • In addition to the existing cleaning products available to guests, we are also supplying hand sanitiser, disinfectant cleaning solutions and sanitising wipes.
  • We are introducing a 3-day break between bookings to secure the safety of our staff and guests. This allows for extra hygiene practices and thorough cleaning.


I am writing this while spring is at its best at East Liscombe Farm, with an abundance of blossom and wildlife in bright sunlight - the swallows just started returning a few days ago and lambs are playing in the fields around our farm… So having the cottages empty seems particularly sad, but with your support and co-operation we will keep going and our motto “Away from it all” might just hit the right note to those of you who will long for peace and tranquillity within beautiful countryside. We invite you to come and secure your stay on Exmoor.

cherry blossom

My hanging baskets in purpleWalk in Armer Wood


23rd  March 2020
Sadly – according to government advice – I have to close the business for the moment. I feel as well that it is not fair to the surrounding communities, mostly populated by the elderly, to attract prospective customers from outside the area. Wishing you all the best, hoping to see you well in the near future and stay safe!
15th March 2020
While the world is increasingly worried about our health, we feel rather fortunate to live in such an isolated place where it is ever so easy not to meet people but at the same time where the community spirit is so strong, that already a telephone tree is in operation to assist neighbours who are self-isolating but may need support. Yesterday I went for a two-hour walk over the moor and did not meet one person. There were a few deer in the distance, a couple of Exmoor ponies grazing close by and about five cars passed by us while we were on the road, but otherwise, it was just Ebony and me. And just the same this morning, when we went for a shorter stroll (couch to 5k!), blissful peace!
Still, I have had lots of contact this weekend with family and friends, thanks to phone and internet; we can look after each other this way.
In this spirit, I have written to my guests and posted on the website the following letter. Please come and stay with us if you feel this would be the place to get ‘away from it all’, which is our motto after all! But feel reassured that this is our policy for now:
Letter to Guests on 15.03.2020: 
Dear Guest,
I hope you are all fit and healthy and not too traumatized by the current health threat. 
Due to the unprecedented situation as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak, I am forfeiting all claims based on our booking terms, meaning you can cancel your vacation at any time or postpone it without penalty and I am ready to repay your deposit. (Please give me your account number and the sort code). 
If you have travel insurance that covers the loss, I would, of course,  be grateful if you could claim this, as I don't think I will have many bookings at all as long as uncertainty rules. 
Hoping that this will alleviate at least one concern you may have at this worrying time, 
Best Regards,
Lieber Gast,
Ich hoffe, Sie sind alle fit und gesund und nicht zu traumatisiert von der aktuellen Gesundheitsbedrohung.
Aufgrund der beispiellosen Situation infolge des Corona-Virus-Ausbruchs verwirke ich alle Ansprüche aufgrund unserer Buchungsbedingungen, d.h. Sie können Ihren Urlaub jederzeit stornieren oder ohne Vertragsstrafe verschieben, und ich bin bereit, auch Ihre Anzahlung zurückzuzahlen. (Bitte geben Sie mir Ihre IBAN und BIC).
Sollten Sie eine Reiseversicherung haben, die den Verlust abdeckt, wäre ich Ihnen natürlich dankbar, wenn Sie dies geltend machen würden, da ich nicht glaube, dass ich viele Buchungen haben werde, solange die Unsicherheit besteht.
In der Hoffnung, dass dies zumindest eine Sorge lindert, die Sie in diesem Zusammenhang haben könnten,
mit besten Grüßen,


23rd August 2019


Leo is busy in Berlin, so I am back with news from the farm. I’ve been enjoying friends staying and as always we do get out and about to walk the moor or discover some paths that are new to me. The most amazing find for me was the 5 Mile walk around Clatworthy Reservoir (about 1.2 hr /10 miles from here near Wimbleball Reservoir). Unlike the latter it is less busy and no dogs are allowed (so no Ebony – sorry!), but the scenery is fabulous and if you like fishing, you might get very excited about this place – see the pictures.


Clatworthy ReservoirClatworthy ReservoirClatworthy Reservoir fishing boats


As August can be a bit of a challenge if the weather is not as you’d wish,  I’d like to tell you what our recent guests wrote in their review (You can check it on HomeAway.com, where we have a listing). They really made most of the area, with visiting quite a few of the local attractions, and still found time to relax and enjoy our big cottage.

Tschuess, Doris

 *****5/5  Very relaxing stay in a country cottage

Having had our original holiday in Devon cancelled at the last minute (by a different company to Home and Away), I was desperate to find a replacement. As we only had 24 hours notice I didn't hold much hope. Thankfully Doris the property manager couldn't have been more helpful and the booking went very smoothly. On arrival, we were greeted with freshly cut flowers and an afternoon tea with scones jam and cream. The property itself is an excellent size and accommodated the four of us very easily. The garden and surrounding fields were perfect for our Dog who probably enjoyed the holiday the most, especially having the owners Dog (Ebony) living next door and always ready to play. The cottage was wonderful and provided everything we could wish for. As we stayed during a very wet August week the log burner in the front room was very welcome and I would imagine this property would be comfortable to stay in any time of year, rain or shine. It is well located for most things in North Devon. Saying that, be prepared to drive or cycle everywhere as this property is in the middle of the countryside and there are only small country roads to travel on. If you're not confident driving down (or up very steep) narrow country roads perhaps this property isn't for you but if that's not a problem (which it wasn't for us) its almost perfect in every way.  08/19/2019


22nd ​ July 2019


Mum has been incredibly busy the last few weeks with friends visiting from Germany and multiple changeovers. On top of that she’s got two boys eating her out of house and home and a dog that has more energy than a Duracell Bunny! It’s fair to say that her time and cupboards are vastly depleted… Fear not, however, for I, Leo, have taken it upon myself to execute blog duties. 


A lot has happened over the last month and I have returned home to a farm in full bloom! The sheer variety of colours and patterns is wonderful, Mum should be proud. The grass in the fields has been grown so that it can be cut for hay. This has made walks with Ebony extra fun as she has to stretch her neck to try and see where she is going. It has also resulted in an abundance of beautiful butterflies, specifically white ones, which look very delicate and summery.


The local area was treated to a lovely evening of Shakespeare as a small theatre company from near Exeter performed an adaptation of ‘The Merry Wives of Windsor’. This took place at the amazing Knackershole Amphitheatre, not more than a stone’s throw away! The atmosphere was amazing with the sun setting behind the trees, providing the perfect backdrop. We are very lucky to have the chance to enjoy theatre in our local community, despite being in quite a remote area. For this, we have to thank our friends Pam and Steve who made it all possible.  


The weather has been mostly hot and dry although we have had a few rainy spells. Max ran the Beacon to Beach run with lovely views over the coast from Selworthy Beacon and down into Minehead. As I write this I am reminded of the calm here. I can hear the various different calls and songs of birds and insects, the occasional rustle of wind in the leaves and the agonising creak of my chair as I shuffle in my seat, eager to finish this blog post so that I can head outside!


Au revoir!




Ebony with long hair Thatch renewed

8th June 2019

Well, this really is not good enough (again)!! But watch this space – new posts will emerge in the near future as now I have strong help on the social media front (check Instagram and Facebook) because my sons Max and Leo are taking a greater interest in the business. So I am being bullied into posting at least once a month, but don’t worry as I have plenty to report – not least to moan about the interference.


 So to start, a quick recap: In 2018 we had a really lovely summer and the autumn was not bad either. In expectation of another cold winter, I had purchased electric blankets for all main beds (not the futons). And although we did not have the ‘Beast from the East’ return, the extra warmth was appreciated.


 So far this year we have been very lucky with the weather which, considering we had the Thatch re-done, has been a big help! It’s a wonderful sight, seeing the new roof complete with the straw pheasant on top. Looking at the blossom all around and ‘Oak before ash...just a splash’ ... this seems to be another promising year!


 Ebony is scratching on the door - got to go walking! By the way, doesn’t it look like we have got a new dog?

10th July 2018 

Well, this really is not good enough! It looks like nothing is happening at Anstey Mills Cottages! But really – probably I have been too busy to think about the blog. So how to summarise nearly two years?!

At the moment we are having already three weeks of heatwave and no end in sight! Incredible how much time I spend watering all the baskets and pots and new plants... It looks ever so tidy with new gravel in the yard and at the front and a new sitting area at the end of the large cottage – ideal to sit and catch the evening sun and look down the valley...

Lots of lovely people came to stay and particularly the ones that come again and again are making this job so fulfilling. So you could say that I am happy to stay here – but sometimes you have to get away to really appreciate how lovely it is at home. And so early this year I travelled to India, Australia and New Zealand, thinking to avoid a harsh winter, but when I came back late February, I managed to get snowed in a couple of times. Sledging with Ebony was a particularly joyous occasion.

Ebony? – you might ask. She is our new addition to the family, a now 2 ½ years old black (hence the name) Cocker Spaniel. She is not only beautiful but very good company and great entertainment for our guests, especially the young ones who like to throw a ball for hours. As well she is friendly with other dogs –  as long as they don’t want her ball – but she will leave you alone if you don’t want the company. 

So peace and tranquillity are still our main selling points as are the stars at night, the Exmoor Ponies close by on the Moor, the many lovely places for lunch, cream tea or dinner.... etc. etc. ....

8th  May 2016

Despite the winter not being particularly hard, I have taken a lot longer to come out of hibernation. Bookings have been trickling in, much earlier than other years, and the summer looks very busy. The recent change to much warmer temperatures, however, has encouraged even more interest and I suddenly notice, that I have not written for ages and that there are some events I should mention, as they are very special for this region:

DEVON COUNTY SHOW at Westpoint, Exeter 19/20/21.05.2016

Devon's BIG Day Out! Come and enjoy the very best food, farming and fun.

A £1 million giant Ferris wheel dubbed the Devon Eye will be one of the stand-out attractions at this year’s Devon County Show . The high-tech structure will make its debut at the 121st Show. In addition, there will be a dazzling array of entertainment in six rings and arenas including the fast and furious Shetland Pony Grand National and the thrilling Bolddog Lings motocross stunt team.

FREE entry for two children (under 16) with an adult on Saturday.




Nello – Force (Cancer charity) 100 mile / 55 mile bike from Exeter – towards Tiverton and the longer one going through Dulverton and on to the Moor

A classic set of routes across the best of Devon - with the best catering imaginable on a bike ride! Supported throughout by Bike Shed and with Exeter Physio waiting to sort out those aches and strains on your return - it is a guaranteed great day out with friends. All in the name of charity.

The Nello is not a sportive; it is a charity bike ride, raising vital funds for a local cancer charity. The ride is NOT chip timed; it is NOT a race. All cyclists are welcome to enter this event but we ask them to bear this in mind when entering.



IRONMAN 70.3 UK EXMOOR 26.06.2016

Held in one of the most picturesque areas of England, Exmoor, Wimbleball Lake has been host to IRONMAN 70.3 UK since 2006. 

The reputation of the event has been set by its rural location and the challenges of the bike course. 

The swim course is one lap, clockwise, starting 20m from the shore. The IRONMAN 70.3 UK Exmoor bike course is a tough two lap course right in the heart of Exmoor National Park. The course leaves Wimbleball lake and follows an anti clockwise loop through hilly terrain in a picturesque part of Somerset. The run at Wimbleball Lake is a three loop course on a mix of terrain including tarmac, hard pack trail and grass. The course remains firm underfoot even during prolonged bad weather. There is one short sharp climb in the course which is tackled three times. 

Originally from: http://eu.ironman.com/triathlon/events/emea/ironman-70.3/uk.aspx#ixzz47zkjqshX


25th June 2015

What fabulous weather – the gardens look stunning and I am spending hours watering the hanging baskets, pots and beds...!!! This weekend we might have the well needed rain – much was forecast in the last two weeks on and off and we hardly had any! – but that co-ordinates with Glastonbury Festival (well Max and Leo will enjoy the mud!) and our  Ironman 2015 at Wimbleball Lake as well as East Anstey Open Gardens! But if we can trust the forecast it will be just more of the glorious weather we have now enjoyed for weeks! See our guests enjoying the new seat, the Rhododendrons along the road to Dulverton, and some impressions from our trip to Saunton Sands:

June 15Love seatRhododendronsSaunton Sands June 15Saunton Sands June 15

10th April 2015

Good news : Numbers are creeping up!


3rd March 2015

Well isn’t it mad? Already 2 months of the New Year have gone. I apologize, I have not written a Christmas letter nor a Spring Newsletter, that I promised myself. Apart from being late as usual I was rather preoccupied with Bruce, our lovely Kelpie. Yesterday he was put to sleep as we finally found out that it was not his 14 years, quite a good age for a Kelpie, that made him collapse at times and slowed him down.... He had an inoperable growth on his liver. He has been with us for nearly 9 years and was loved not just by us but by all of our friends and many of our visitors, who he managed to entertain for hours! Just look at him!

21st December 2014

Merry Christmas to all of you and a very Happy and Healthy 2015!!

Fireworks in Dulverton by starlight

17th December 2014

Both cottages have received ‘4 Star Gold’ from Quality in Tourism again – 5th year running!! Yippee!

2nd December 2014

Both cottages still available for next weekend for anybody wanting to see Dulverton by Starlight (Sunday 7.12. - last year's fireworks were spectacular, not to mention the streetmarket and open shops, carol singing, free sherry or mulled wine and mince pies etc etc) and you could see Dunster by Candle Light too on Fr and Sat. Not to be missed!

Dulverton by starlight 2014

31st October 2014

Happy Halloween! Have you got your stock of sweets ready? We have little ones staying in each cottage and I have to run to the shop to make sure I have something to give to them. Good excuse to get out and enjoy the sunshine and the mild weather – wonderful!

21st October 2014

'Romance is in the air' said an advert I just received. I have not noticed, I am sorry to say, but if this is different for you then a romantic break with your loved one would be the ideal thing. Wrap up warm to take in the crisp air on a countryside walk or when standing outside at night gazing at the amazing stars (those have just noticed!). Follow picturesque paths or wander along a coastal cliff top track - not for the faint hearted some of them, so hold hands to be safe! Stop off at a cosy country pub to warm up by the fire and enjoy some delicious food made with local produce. Alternatively just stay in the cottage and treat yourselves to either whirlpool or log fire.... 10% off our weekly price in the Thatched Cottage if you mention 'Romance'.


30th September 2014

Christian, the winner of the facebook competition, and his partner Katja have been with us for a few days  and although we have had a fabulous time ( read the review!) with them, we forgot all about the picture – sorry ! - and the reason is that Bruce has not been too well...being 13 and just getting over an ear infection we have noticed that Bruce is showing a few drastic signs of ageing, in fact he had me quite worried… He is not too steady on his feet and although medication has helped, he is not himself at all. I am just glad to have such wonderful vets in Dulverton and who knows he might still have a late summer revival – like the weather we are experiencing at the moment. I cannot remember 25C in late September!

18th September 2014

Thank you all you kind people for your lovely comments about the website – and the praise really has to go to Neil from www.priory-web-solutions.net for the design and to Curtis from www.pano360.co.uk for the virtual tour now compatible even with tablet and mobile – and we do have a winner for our facebook competition. All will be revealed shortly.

14th September 2014

Wow, the new website is life and I think its pretty good!! Still some tweaking here and there needed, but that is not a problem thanks to the helpful webdesigner (thanks Neil!!) and the easy Content Management System. Go and have a browse and tell me what I have missed out or mis-spelt!

7th September 2014

Another warm and sunny day! After going for a long run yesterday Bruce and I thought we just hang about at home and potter about in the garden – pure bliss! And I managed to get some black and red currents into the freezer....

5th  September 2014

Tranquillity – as defined by Wikipedia – has multiple positive effects on us. Apart from the pure enjoyment of being in quiet and soothing environments – like the English countryside – its effects on our mental and physical health are proven. This is why a holiday at Anstey Mills Cottages is to be recommended if not prescribed!!'there is growing evidence that exposure to natural environments can make a significant contribution to health and wellbeing. Mounting evidence shows, that exposure to nature contributes to physical and psychological wellbeing, such as the review carried out by Louv,[7]that found evidence of ‘nature-deficit-disorder’ in children, which suggests that the importance of being able to engage with restorative environments applies across a wide age range. Others report that natural tranquil surroundings have profound physiological effects on people suffering from stress. (Wikipedia / 7. Richard Louv. (2008). Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder. Algonquin Press )

5th  September 2014

Just made the most amazing cake with Courgette, lemon and pistachios. Worked first time and is moist and delicious!! http://www.saga.co.uk/lifestyle/food/baking/courgette-lemon-and-pistachio-cake.aspx