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.