What's been happening at Anstey Mills Cottages
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.
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.
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!
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 BIKE RIDE EXETER - EXMOOR 26.06.2016
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:
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!!
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!
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,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