Friday, 20 December 2013

Rayle Farm latest Article

Sooooo bored!  Don’t get me wrong I realise that I am fortunate to remain here when all my doggy friends that I have met this year have left and gone back home.  Sometimes if I am honest, I am actually rather pleased to see their little faces peering forlornly out of the rear window of their cars, crammed in with surfboards, beach paraphernalia, pushchairs and the like.  And it is not because I have not enjoyed their company.  Its just that some of them are way too boisterous.  Clearly not used to having quite so much fresh air or opportunities to nose around somewhere with so many unfamiliar smells, they are unrelenting.  And then guess who has to then go round finding out just where they have been and marking the territory all over again?  Muggins here of course.  I have badgers, hedgehogs and deer to contend with and frankly, what are they going to think if it looks like I am neglecting my responsibilities?

I think what brings these buddies down is their owners searching for dog friendly holidays,  Portreath and that certainly does the trick but they should understand that this is my manor so, my rules – yes?  Apparently not.  Basic canine etiquette goes out the window on a holiday and get this, they treat the place like their own.  Not on, I think you will agree but I do like the company.

But for a few weeks now, we haven’t seen that many people and very few dogs .  Something to do with the temperature apparently.  Even if I did not have this thick coat, I still don’t see this as a very compelling reason for not coming down in November.  We have what is known as a ‘mild climate’ which sounds a bit indecisive I know but it means that I am sweltering and hey, just last week, I was down on the beach at Portreath (one positive is that I am allowed there at this time of year) and there were people swimming!   And surfing which to my mind looks way more fun!

But all this mild weather is all well and good but as I do my daily rounds – more out of habit than necessity, there are all these pesky bulbs  and flowers popping up everywhere.   To my untrained eye, they all look rather different but apparently are all from the same genus.  I know this because I am constantly being berated with a ‘Marli! – get off the bloody daffodils/bloody crocuses/bloody primroses/bloody snowdrops’ And so on.  You get the picture.  These blighters are sprouting up everywhere and frankly, I’m getting a bit hacked off with them all.

 I worry that I am coming over as a bit whiny which I don’t think is fair, In my view this is a case of cabin fever, just without the cabin.  Can’t be it I suppose – I’m lonely then, simple as that.  Susan does her best but can she really throw a stick that far for me, that often?  The clue is in the name.   So please come back to Rayle Farm – Christmas is a good time – loads of food and Susan does seem rather too preoccupied with presents and the like to mind too much about the bloody snowdrops for a day or two anyway!


Monday, 25 November 2013

About cornwall and Rayle Farm

Cornwall has some of the mildest winters in Britain.  I can’t actually provide any empirical evidence to support this audacious claim but I have friends the length and breadth of the land and generally those not in this neck of the woods do seem to bang on a bit about the cold .  While I can express some sympathy, the solution is clear to me.: a) put on a jumper or b) come down to Rayle Farm!
I won’t pretend that it does not rain in Cornwall because that isn’t the case.  However, once many of the visitors have left, after October, there is lots to do here and armed with a raincoat, the world is your oyster.  For starters, if you are interested in pet friendly holidays, Portreath has a great deal to offer as indeed does much of the coastline in Cornwall.  You see, out of season, dogs and their responsible owners are allowed onto the beaches to frolic, run and catch sandy tennis balls in their mouths  although, it is mainly the animals that indulge in this last activity, needless to say!  My visitors enjoy the walk down the old tramway to Portreath and then home again through Tehidy Woods where a delicious bowl of soup or a cake can be enjoyed.

Of course it can be a bit blustery sometimes and a really nice, but sheltered walk can be had in Jericho Valley, near to St. Agnes.  This walk culminates in a lovely view of the sea as well as glimpses of Cornwall’s mining past.  You won’t see many people on this walk but it was no more than 100 years ago that the cove that you arrive at would have been a hive of activity with pasty wielding miners  going into the pits some of which had tunnels that stretched for miles under the sea.  Indeed if you want to experience the whole subterranean work environment thing and Snow White’s seven dwarfs have not given you your fix, then do go to the Geevor Tin Mine.  There is an underground tour as well as a restorative cream tea available afterwards for when you resurface again.

Rather you than me and indeed if you can think of nothing better than loafing around on the rocks, enjoying the sight of the waves crashing down around you, you would be considered a little foolhardy but would be able to keep the seals company.  They congregate near to Godrevy lighthouse each winter, perhaps not drawn by the hearty breakfasts in the Café but more likely the balmy weather.  Indeed I myself have had a picnic on Godrevy beach on Boxing Day and although we had by then had our fill of turkey and the like, the gulls seemed to have left some room to chow down on a few left-overs,   Much to the delight of Marli of course who has more of a chance of catching an over indulgent bird than he might otherwise have.  I have no idea what he would do with it if he were to catch a gull incidentally as to date he has been unsuccessful, but enthusiastic nonetheless.  Marli by the way is my dog and not one of my offspring, perhaps I should mention.

This time of year may be an ideal time for you to go and see the Minack Theatre which is quite close to Lands End and rather more interesting if you want my opinion.  This is a lovely cliff side theatre which unless you have the presence of mind to book tickets for well in advance, you will have little chance of enjoying a performance here.  However, it really is quite magical and even if no one is treading the boards when you visit, there is nothing to stop you delivering a soliloquy or two.

The Tate Gallery in St Ives is well worth a visit as well.  It is a lovely building with delightful views out over the sea.  Some of the art may not be entirely to your taste but  I am sure that you will find at least something there that you like.  Failing that, the town itself is terribly quaint with a fine selection of shops and galleries to explore.  Be warned though that if you do succumb to a delicious cone of Cornish Icecream, some of the gulls that can still get airborne after Boxing Day and have been known to make off with some unfortunate’s treat.  The one consolation of course has to be that the ensuing icecream headache has got to be unbearable, all things considered!

Cornwall has many activities to enjoy during the winter months, whether it is a visit to an historical mansion like Lanhydrock that floats your boat or maybe you would prefer to mosey around the gardens at Trelissick, which more often than not has daffodils and Camellias flowering as early as December.        

I’m really just scratching the surface here but if you are at a bit of a loose end this winter and fancy heading to warmer climes, we look forward to seeing you here at Rayle Farm.

Monday, 28 October 2013

A little about Cornwall and Rayle Farm..

Cornwall is well known for some exceptionally good restaurants run by some of the country’s most notable chefs.  However the chances of you getting into a number of these without foresight and preemptive planning some six months in advance, is slim.  Luckily though, Rayle Farm Holiday Cottages are well placed for a great variety of good eating places locally, some of them dog friendly which does complement our dog friendly holiday cottages at Portreath.  

We are based at the top of the hill and 200 yards from the farm gate in the village, our local village pub The Bridge Inn offers a friendly welcome and traditional pub food with the occasional Quiz Night.   Carry on down the road to Portreath and you will find good fish and crab at the Portreath Arms Hotel.  For the big sporting events too, they cater to the fans who need to keep up with their teams activities.  Also in Portreath, the Bassett Arms  near the beach offers a good Sunday Lunch as does The Waterfront.   Actually, rather incongruously for a small Cornish coastal village there is also a Chinese take away, the Tung Sing which is surprisingly good.  However for an article about places to eat, perhaps it doesn’t count.

Heading left out of the farm gate and about half a mile away is Illogan where Richard Trevithick was born.  Known more for his high pressure steam engines than his interest in gastronomy but no doubt, were he alive today, I am sure that he would have enjoyed passing an hour or two at the Robartes Arms.  This pub has recently been refurbished and offers an excellent all-day menu ranging from breakfast, to morning coffee right through to evening meals, although Illogan is a large village now it is not well served by places to eat.  Therefore it is no surprise that the the Cornish Arms at Sparnon Gate, is always busy.  This is a lovely old traditional pub open in the evenings with an extensive menu of locally sourced food.

For our guests that visit Rayle Farm for family holidays in Cornwall, many of them come here to surf and naturally gravitate towards Porthtowan, just a few minutes up the coast.  Once they have worked up a decent appetite, most make straight for the Blue Bar  this is a rather chilled hangout for the young which does excellent food.  Although my presence impacts seriously on the mean age of the patrons, I can’t stay away too long because I really do like this place.

Cornwall as you probably know is becoming very well known, not only for its restaurants but also for some really delicious produce.  Therefore if you fancy a Cornish Brie, rocket and onion chutney sandwich head for the Godrevy Beach Café – a perfect way of rewarding yourself after a decent walk along one of my favourite beaches in Cornwall.  Alternatively, a steaming bowl of fish chowder at Hells Mouth Café is simply brimming with locally caught fish.

Pubs in the area that are keen to source their ingredients fresh from local farmers include.Tricky’s at the Tolgus Inn near Redruth.  Put aside any preconceived ideas that you might have about anywhere with this name and you will be rewarded with a large, welcoming pub with a good choice on the menu and heroic sized portions for Sunday lunch.   Additionally the Treleigh Arms near Redruth is a very well run pub providing excellent and imaginative food.  

There are many things to do in Cornwall but for a number of people eating out is an intrinsic part of holiday enjoyment.  When you visit us at Rayle Farm, you are very well placed to enjoy some truly special places to eat.  I have mentioned a number here already but the list is not exhaustive by any stretch of the imagination.  Because we are pet friendly at Rayle Farm, I do appreciate that many of our guests need to know where they will be able to take their four legged friends.  Next time, I will be outlining which restaurants I can recommend to you where Lupo, Bo, Sunny or one of their brethren will be welcomed

 I look forward to telling you more about our dog friendly holiday cottage other things to do in Cornwall soon.

This article was brought to you by Rayle Farm Holiday Cottages

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Dog Friendly Holidays

A while ago, the young daughter of some friends of mine lost Gerald the giraffe while out on a shopping trip.  The little girl was inconsolable and you might think that such a loss would only encourage her to take a lot more care of her belongings in future, certainly the more precious ones.  Her doting parents though were less brutal and felt that it was important to find the little long necked rascal but having been unable to do so, replaced him.  Their two year old was delighted of course to see the return of Gerald but even she was a tad suspicious given that he looked quite a bit different and didn't have as many legs.  It is quite an accomplishment to pass off an emu as a giraffe but amazingly my friends appear to have got away with it!

When it comes to man's best friend though it is a completely different matter.  It's not that they wouldn't notice such things generally speaking; it seems that they simply don't care.  I have holiday cottages in Portreath, or in fact just down the road if we are being pedantic and when someone Goggles "dog friendly holiday cottages Cornwall" the chances are, they will see my website and if I have availability will come and visit Rayle Farm together with Betty, Muffin, Pippin or Fenton (well OK, he's not been here yet, despite regular sightings of munchak deer!). 

Nearly all of these furry friends will bring some toys with them and to see them playing with their owners, you would think that they wouldn't part with that deflated football or chewed up plaster bone for love nor money.  Not so - when it is time to leave, clearly wishing to travel only with carry on and have nothing stowed in the hold, they leap into the back of the car and they are off, leaving a number of toys discarded on the lawns and beside the hedgerows. 

Almost poignant I know, were it not for the fact that Marli, the resident Australian cattle dog just can't wait for change over day to go and see how his toy collection is to be supplemented.  This week it was a tennis ball that has seen better days, a weird blue spiky thing that had lost its squeak and an odd Peperami themed toy  that looks like you are supposed to swing your dog around your head with it once he or she is clamped on.  Marli can think again if he expects me to become involved with such shenanigans!   A great believer in finders’ keepers is Marli but I just know that I can and will be able to dispose of the less desirable specimens in his toy collection when his back is turned and he won't bat an eyelid.
 So what's the moral of this story?  I'm not terribly sure  really but I do know that when you come to visit Marli and me at Rayle Farm, your children will make sure that they take their toys home with them.  Your dogs though, maybe not. Therefore, may I ask you that when you visit us, you impress upon all in your party that belonging, especially those that once contained a squeak should remain about one's person at all times, readily available for an impromptu game or a good chew.  Inevitably, this will disappoint  Marli but I would rather he concentrated more on the root vegetables that he has taken a liking to - it makes his breath smell just that little bit nicer and it will be one less thing to potentially trip me over in the kitchen!

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Cornish Gardens

For many people taking a Cornish holiday cottage, one of the “must do’s” on their list is to visit some of the astounding gardens that are open to the public in this very temperate part of the British Isles.   From the pioneering tea gardens producing the popular Tregothnan tea  to the amazing camellias and magnolias at Caerhays Castle the variety is tremendous.      There is the finest stand of tree ferns in Northern Europe at Trewidden Garden and at the Trewithen Estate, there are delightful woodland walks to be enjoyed along with the gardens.

The National Trust, of course, is curator to some of the most memorable gardens.   Here at Rayle Farm Holiday Cottages our visitors find it a few short miles to visit Trelissick on the Fal estuary.   One of the many joys there is to be able to gaze out across to the sea while enjoying a walk in the glorious parkland.   Further afield are their gardens at Lanhydrock, Trengwainton and Trerice.

Mention should be made of Trebah Garden.    This lovely, valley garden runs down to its own beach on the Helford River and there are over four miles of paths to meander along.     There are some very exciting, exotic plans here.  Again, this garden is not too far from Rayle Farm.

 The Eden Project is, of course, what most people have heard about.   This amazing global garden apparently covers the size of thirty football pitches.    The biomes which are enormous conservatories, offer visitors the experience of being in a tropical rainforest, complete with steamy jungle and rushing waterfalls or in a more moderate Mediterranean type landscape with oranges and olives and vines.

Just down the road from Eden are the iconic “Lost Gardens of Heligan”.   These have been called the nation’s favourite garden and the story of their restoration within the last twenty years or so makes for stirring reading.   They are a very popular outing, from their now immaculate kitchen gardens growing their own pineapples no less, to “Wild Heligan”.

Some of our holiday visitors like to make a day trip to the Isles of Scilly to see Tresco Abbey Garden, home to a whole range of exotic plants from across the world.   They flourish in the unique climate of these islands.

Here at Rayle Farm Holiday Cottages, I have the bonus of seeing the amazing plants that our visitors buy to take back home.   They cherish them on their cottage doorsteps until the time comes to pack the car for the journey home.     I would say that plants are possibly one of the most popular souvenirs that visitors take home from their Cornish cottage holiday.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Holiday Cottages to Rent Cornwall

Self Catering Holiday Accommodation Cornwall –that covers a pretty wide spectrum as Cornwall is a large county.   Here at Rayle Farm Holiday Cottages our visitors are always pleasantly amazed to find how very accessible pretty well all of Cornwall is from our lovely, peaceful, tucked away location.   You see, we are, in fact, only 5 minutes away from the A.30 so Cornwall is your oyster or, possibly one should say crab!
Our Cornwall cottage rent facility at Rayle Farm is actually based in quite a narrow part of the peninsular with both coasts being easily accessible, the North Coast only just over a mile away so that one can lie in bed at night and hear the Atlantic waves breaking on the shore at Portreath.   Heading South from Rayle Farm, our nearest South Coast village is Flushing, named thus by the Dutch sea captains of the clipper ships.   They chose to live there because  it has an exceptionally mild climate.    This village looks across the water towards Falmouth, a really delightful maritime town with the third largest natural harbour in the world, believe it or not!

Harking back to our Self Catering Holiday Accommodation Cornwall.   Although so rural, we are in the midst of what was the heart of Cornwall’s mining heritage.   The wonderfully rugged landscape round about this area is dotted with the iconic chimneys from the old mines.   A couple of years ago, one of the preservation societies down here lit a fire in all the old chimneys around the Camborne area and it really was an amazing sight to see.   It brought it home that this now peaceful, picturesque landscape was once a massive,smoking, noisy industrial site.   Camborne and Redruth were, of course the heart of this great industry and Redruth was the hard rock mining capital of the world.

Our Cornish cottage rental facility also offers the opportunity to head West and visit Penzance or Lands End or St. Ives.   Head East and the county town of Truro  is now the hub of Cornwall’s administration and is, of course, home to the beautiful Cathedral.    There is a tempting array of shops available here.
Head up the County further East and there is Bodmin, the old County Town with it’s grim reminder of past crimes in the old County Jail, now a tourist attraction.   Jamaica Inn with its association with pirates is not far away.    Liskeard and Launceston , ancient Cornish towns await you further up the County as you head towards Devon.

Finally, mention should be made of some of the charming little towns and villages that line Cornwall’s coast.   Perranporth,   Newquay, Padstow and Tintagel, Fowey, Mevagissey, Looe, Polperro, all conjure up visions of happy days spent on a Cornish holiday.

Holiday Cottages Portreath

I remember seeing the following ad.  “Portreath Cottages to Rent” many summers ago before I ever knew this delightful little village on the north Cornish coast.   For some reason it stuck in my mind but I never thought that several years later I would be living on our farm only a mile from Portreath and would be the proud owner of my own holiday cottages to rent.   Anyway, this ad conjured up a vision of a Cornish holiday in a cosy holiday cottage enjoying all that that would mean – blue, blue, skies, sandy beach, rock pools, coastal walks, lashing of Cornish ice cream with a dollop of Cornish clotted cream of course, cream teas, pasties, crab sandwiches - I could go on and on.

Well of course, Portreath does indeed offer all these treats in abundance.    What anyone taking up the ad “Portreath Cottages to Rent”  today  would see a very different village from the one pictured in the old prints and photographs  of the 19th century when Portreath harbour was a very busy scene indeed.   Being only two miles or so from Redruth, then the heart of the massive Cornish mining industry, the tin and copper ore would be transported down to the harbour on what is now the Mineral Tramways Trail to be shipped to Wales.   Incidentally, this trail is now a delightful open path for walking and cycling.   The incoming boats would arrive laden with Welsh coal, the ship’s captain having had to negotiate the decidedly tricky entrance to Portreath harbour.   To-day the holiday maker will find the harbour a tranquil scene with fishing boats bobbing in the sunshine and crab pots lined up on the quay.

Fishing, of course, once played a very important role in Portreath’s life.  To-day, the Waterfront Inn stands on the site of the old Fish Palace where the abundant pilchards were processed.

Apart from such healthy pursuits as swimming, surfing, cycling and walking Portreath caters well for the indulgent side of life, with three pubs and several cafes, not to mention its own well-regarded Portreath Bakery known for its Cornish pasties and wicked cakes.  Holiday cottage residents can enjoy a pre-breakfast trip for fresh rolls with their coffee.

Mention should be made of the magnificent Tehidy Country Park on the west side of Portreath.   Once the home of the immensely wealthy Bassett family (they even cut their own swimming pool out of the rocks on Portreath beach which still exists to this day) this wonderful area of woodland walks is a haven for wildlife.  The bluebells in the spring have to be seen to be believed.

If anyone today saw the ad “Portreath Cottages to Rent” all the above pleasures would be available to them and one extra treat is in store.   Anyone enjoying a winter holiday in Portreath will be captivated by the occasional opportunity for “Storm Watching” when one can park on the hill and watch the massive Atlantic breakers crashing on to the harbour wall – almost like a daylight firework display as the spray flies skywards in huge clouds.

Cottages to Rent Cornwalll

The headline Holiday Cottages Cornwall UK conjures up visions of a bolt-hole from the hassles of modern life in this most beautiful of all counties.   Cornish Self Catering Accommodation is another one inspiring pictures of coming home to one’s own holiday base after a fantastic day out and being able to make one’s delicious meal with all the wonderful local Cornish produce available.   One of the joys of self-catering accommodation is not having to get up in a rush to get to the hotel breakfast buffet in time, or not having to race back in the evening in case one misses dinner.

Here at Rayle Farm our self-catering holiday cottages started life as our milking sheds.   In the 70’s,   due to a sad change of circumstance following  the untimely death of farmer Tim, the milking herd had to be sold and, instead the milking sheds were converted into comfortable Cornish  self-catering accommodation. 
 The buildings were particularly attactive at the outset.    They had been built at the start of the 19th century and centred around a courtyard with Pump Cottage as the focus.   The buildings are of lovely golden local stone with magnificent granite quoins and lintels.   Pump Cottage is, in fact, much older and was the original farmhouse of the Rayle family in the sixteenth century.

Talking of Pump Cottage, when our marvellous team of builders, Mike, Gerald and Eric, not to mention Barry, the designer, got to work on what had been the accommodation for our machinery for the milking, they uncovered a superb inglenook fireplace with a cloam oven where the bread used to be baked.   Above the fireplace near the ceiling is a little alcove where the baby was put to sleep because of the warmth from the fire.

Our other self catering cottages are named after our favourite cows, Daisy, Buttercup, Girlie, Jessica and Bridget.   Daisy’s Cottage and Buttercup’s Cottage are ideal for couples seeking cosy holiday accommodation with lots of comfort and character.   Girlie’s Cottage and Jessica’s Cottage are more family oriented self-catering accommodation and both have an upstairs.   Long before our family came to Rayle, the upstairs in Jessica’s Cottage housed a billiard club for the residents of Bridge.   Finally,   Bridget’s Cottage is always a favourite as the living room has windows on three sides making it particularly light and bright.   Having said that, of all the many, many loyal visitors who have been coming to Rayle Farm time and time again during the 46 years we have been here, they all have different favourite cottages.  

Holiday Cottages to Rent Cornwall

Here at Rayle Farm, I’m celebrating having lived in this beautiful place for 46 years now.   As I look down our valley towards the sea and Portreath, the trees are all coming out in their different shades of green, the bluebells and campions and wild garlic are going mad in  our hedgerows and the birds are singing their heads off.   The fields are full of buttercups, pretty to look at but now always ideal!   Judging by the closeness of the tu whit tu whoos (strange spelling?!), I think we have a resident owl. 

We moved down here from Worcestershire in 1967 and built up our milking herd of red and white Ayrshire cows.   We had the most marvellous support and help from our neighbours, the Phillips family.    My husband,  Tim,  ran the farm and our two children, Sally and James, together with myself, used to lend a hand getting the cows in for milking and feeding the calves etc.   A highlight for the children was riding on the trailer behind the tractor to put the milk churns outside the gate for the milk lorry every morning.  Our holiday visitor’s children loved this as well.      I also ran a Guest House in our spacious farmhouse and we used to welcome two holiday families at a time.   Each family had their own sitting/ dining room where they used to relish a proper Cornish breakfast.   I would bake fresh rolls every morning and there would be a bowl of clotted cream on the table.   Incidentally, clotted cream on cornflakes is one of life’s great pleasures!   In the evenings, when our holiday visitors returned from their days out, there would be a High Tea for the children, and then, later on, each couple would enjoy sharing their own roast duck, joint or whatever for dinner.   I had a repertoire of fourteen different menus.

After four years of doing the catering, with the family growing up and the farm side of things establishing  itself,we went down the Self-Catering holiday route by making a self-contained wing of the farmhouse and letting out Rayle Farm cottage  to holiday visitors.   So we happily continued.   The children left our local Illogan School which they had greatly enjoyed and moved on to their next schools.   James had just started at  Redruth Grammar School when Tim was taken ill and within a very short time he died.   What a dreadful time that was for us all.   Our family, friends and neighbors were absolutely wonderful in their support.

The dilemma was what should  we do.   Sally and James and I loved living at Rayle Farm.   There was no way I could run a dairy farm on my own.   So we decided to see whether it might be possible to get permission to turn our milking sheds into holidaycottages.   In 1975 this was still  far from the situation it has become today with barn conversions everywhere.   Anyway, we were lucky enough to be granted planning permission for 6 holiday cottages.

We were so lucky with the group of craftsmen who converted the cottages – Mike, Gerald and Eric in particular and Barry, our designer.  I, of course had no experience of building projects at all and they were absolutely wonderful in the way they handled the project and the guidance they gave me.     The cottages are, of course, named after our favourite cows, with the exception of Pump Cottage (incidentally the original farmhouse, built in the 1600’s) which is thus named because that is where the milking equipment was housed.

So, in 1976 Rayle Farm Holiday Cottages were born and here we are 46 years later still welcoming our lovely visitors.