Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Christmas Rose

So far our winter has been mild, which is encouraging plants to flower and just in time for 2016 Christmas the Hellebore Niger, also know also the Lenten Rose or the Christmas Rose has come into flower and looks beautiful in the Garden. I read an American article recently on growing the Christmas Rose and they recommended spreading some Epsom Salts or magnesium around the plant when you first plant it. I might do the same thing in spring when it has finished flowering to see if it helps it grow bigger next year. Hellebores do like a rich mulch.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Exmoor Blog

To help you find out more about Exmoor and to keep you up to date with what is happening, 'Visit Exmoor' has now created its own blog and it will be regularly updated with features of interest and activities. To find out more visit it at www.visit-exmoor.co.uk/blog.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Moo and Mim

October this year was exceptionally mild which meant we had to clip the horses earlier than normal as they were getting so hot with their winter coats. The weather remained mild during the early part of November so we didn't put on rugs unless it rained, which meant we had to clip again as their coats had grown back! Now the weather has cooled down and the fields are becoming muddy in some areas so we are now putting on rugs. This photo is of Moo and her daughter Mim in the field by the road, looking very smart clipped and in their winter rugs.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

The Old Post Box

You might be interested to know that along with our house being Grade II listed, so is the post box which is in the wall attached to house. The wall is also listed. This autumn a few of the corner stones had fallen out and the pointing was starting to crumble, so I gave the wall a quick make over and pointed up the stones.

Flying Scotsman coming to Minehead

Exciting news for anyone who loves steam engines. The West Somerset Railway along with two other heritage lines, The Bluebell Railway and Keighley and Worth Valley has announced it will be hosting the world's most famous steam locomotive LNER 4-6-2 no 60103 Flying Scotsman  at the beginning of September 2017. After weeks of judging, the heritage railways selected were informed on Friday 18 November after a selection process undertaken by the National Railway Museum in partnership with Riley & Son (E) Ltd.
Paul Conibeare, General Manager at West Somerset Railway, said: "We're proud to have been selected as one of only three heritage railways to host Flying Scotsman in 2017 and are looking forward to promoting a successful and safe event".
Tickets will be for sale from the middle of February, so if you are planning a holiday in September 2017, look at the WSR website for further details.

Golden Guernsey Goats

This year we bought two Golden Gurnsey goats from Penfold goats in Devon and we have called then Rodney and Sidney. They are so friendly that they follow you around like a dog and even wag their tails! I have been finding it hard to take a photograph of them because everytime I turn up with a camera they come bounding over to see me. However the other goats aren't too keen on these youngsters, so it is taking some time to get them settled and to learn to avoid Bessie who has head butted them a few times, which is not good as she has horns.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Lots of Birds

This year has we have had an abundance of Sparrows and Swallows, also Housemartins have nested under the thatched roof above the holiday cottage door. Our Swallows have hatched young twice this year in all the old buildings, but soon they will be leaving us and an eerie silence will descend and then I know winter will be on its way.

Monday, July 18, 2016

New Fence

A couple of weeks ago when the ducks were in the cottage orchard we had a fox attack one sunny afternoon. I had fed the ducks at lunchtime by the pond and in the afternoon when I went to get them out of the orchard one of the Trout Indian Runner ducks was missing. I searched everywhere, there were no feathers or any sign of attack, but I came to the conclusion she must have been taken by a fox. The most vulnerable part of the orchard is the hedge along the road, so we have invested in a new small mesh fence and we have also improved the electric fencing which is along the river. In time the hedge will grow through the mesh. I just hope that we can now keep the ducks safe.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016


I have always fed the birds with peanuts and seed, but this year I started having problems with squirrels coming into the garden and eating all the food, so I thought I would invest in some squirrel proof feeders. I think this photo demostrates how they are not a deterent to the young squirrels.

Monday, May 9, 2016

New Rock Garden

I have been deliberating for some time on what to do with a small overgrown flowerbed in the garden. It had a very large Hypericom Hidcote shrub growing in it, which had a holly bush and brambles growing through it, and it also obscured a view up the garden. I also have the problem of one lawn being raised higher than the other, therefore making it difficult to merge the two. I have decided to have a raised bed built with local stone created between the two lawns and I will plant it with rock garden plants, which should enjoy being in the sun all day during the summer. Here is a photo of the area cleared of the shrub, a pampas grass and some ferns ready for us to start the work.

Mallards in the Garden

Last summer we had a female Mallard raise her ducklings in our garden. She did start off with four, but one died and when they were all quite big we had a Fox get into the garden and kill one of the ducklings, which prompted us to move them all across the road to our neighbours very large pond or small lake as quickly as possible before the Fox returned for the rest.
Well you can imagine my surprise when Mrs Mallard returned this spring and three weeks ago I suddenly saw her and seven ducklings strutting around the garden. Sadly the weakest one died and then suddenly overnight two disappeared. I can only assume a Crow, Rook or perhaps a Sparrowhawk swooped into the garden and took them. So today we are down to four. My plan is to move them to my neighbours garden on the May Bank Holiday weekend when I think they will be big enough to cope and I do not want to leave it any longer in case we have another Fox attack.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Exmoor & North Devon Walking Festival

This years North Devon and Exmoor Walking Festival is now taking bookings for the guided walks. The festival runs from Saturday 30th April to Saturday 7th May 2016 inc.

Please go to http://www.exmoorwalkingfestival.co.uk/ to view all the walks and to book. You can book online on the website or by phone on 01271 863001. The brochure can be viewed at http://www.exmoorwalkingfestival.co.uk/spring-festival-brochure/ which also shows the outlets that I have distributed it to. Or you can email or telephone for a copy (see below).

Bryan Cath
Festival Co-ordinator
01271 883131 or bryan@westcountrywalks.co.uk

Monday, March 7, 2016

Ready for Easter

After a disater just before Christmas last year when we discovered that the radiator in one of the upstairs bedrooms had been slightly leaking and consequently brought the ceiling down into the lounge, fortunately missing the settee below, we are now ready to open for 2016. The ceiling is repaired and looking very good and we now have a new carpet in the lounge and also the bedroom above. This all happened when there was the awful flooding in Cumbria, but our problem seemed very minor.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Two Moors Way

It was two years ago that the project to extend and re-launch the route known as the 'Coleridge Way' started. Following on from this project, and celebrating its 40th Anniversary, Exmoor National Park is now working with partners on a similar project to reinvigorate the 'Two Moors Way'. The total length of the route is 102 miles (163km) from the southern edge of Dartmoor at Ivybridge to the coast at Lynmouth and this continues to be one of the most popular long distant trails in the South West after the Coast Path.

The project involves trail management works to enhance the route and improve signage alongside the development of a new website and promotional leaflet, which is being developed by the re-formed Two Moors Way Association. Initial funding has been secured from Dartmoor and Exmoor National Park Authorities, alongside a donation from the Two Moors Way Association, and initial work is being completed throughout the spring on 2016 prior to the anniversary celebrations in early June. See http://www.bbc.co.uk/devon/outdoors/walks/two_moors_way.shtml

Monday, February 1, 2016

The Duck Pond

The side of the duck pond has collapsed and is in need of serious repair. This happened at the beginning of the year which is not a good time to stand in cold water and move large stones, so Rob has put some temporary stones underneath to stop the whole side collapsing and when the weather is warmer in the spring it will be repaired. We will probably increase the width of the pond to make it more of a feature in the yard.