Author: Hilary Clements

A Great British Wedding!

There’s nothing like a Great British Wedding – Champagne, Strawberries, Roses, Laughter…. and looking around the woodlands and meadows I can almost taste the summer coming – the local farmers swear there is a single day when the earth wakes and all the grass starts growing, from there it is only a short hop until the air is buzzing and our sons friends nag to come and play cricket in the meadow. It’s not me being romantic or misty eyed, it’s how it happens.

This got me thinking how we started weddings – it all started when two of Tim’s very close friends asked to get married at Middle Coombe Farm – they were the best ever and everyone said you must do weddings! So we rebuilt our lovely Cider Barn for the legal ceremonies and offered our traditional “old man of the woods” ceremony under the old oak tree – exactly where Tim’s friends chose to “Tie the Knot”. Those weddings and every one ever since have been totally magical with not a dry eye in the audience. Reflecting on our weddings we are lucky to have so many facets for couples to use and explore over their wedding weekend – with accommodation, pool, hot tub, woodland, meadows, cider barn and more making it a successful time for families to come together.
From the day of Tim’s first friend’s wedding, we knew that it was possible to create a Great British wedding at Middle Coombe Farm.
Now, we have carefully built our scrapbook of wedding ideas is full of amazing British and local suppliers that simply know how to make a wedding!
Here are just a few of our favourites that make a truly British wedding!

#flownnotgrown

The Great British Florist, Heather Gorrenge, has it covered. And YES you can have colourful bouquet harvested in the UK – all year round. Whether it is Grape Hyathinths and fressias (one of my favourites) in the spring peonies, roses and sunflowers in the summer or dahlias and sedum in the autumn there are vibrant colours to be had. For winter bouquets she suggests eryngium mixed with Senecio cineraria which is naturally dusted silver.
And don’t forget every Middle Coombe Bride is welcome to take foliage for her bouquet from our garden, meadow or woods for that special touch.
Beautiful British Gowns
With so many British designers to choose from Britain certainly has talent. It is rumoured that they may be the best in the world – so why not look closer at designers such as Jenny Packham, Alice Temperley or Amanda Wakeley. Each has their own unique signature, so take the time and fun to try lots on!

Buy Local

The wedding breakfast is the obvious place to start – with more than half our food coming from abroad the food can travel miles, yet with an organic beef heard and traditional orchard we know that looking closer to home can pay off. Just a stones’ throw from us is the wonderful Yearlstone Vineyard, whose wine tastings will not leave you disappointed. Our famous scrapbook also contains ice-cream sellers, hog roasts, private caterers and more – and we have had the pleasure of tasting the lot! Other local friends include people like Bamptons Beautiful Bunting and Icicle Tricycle a classic 1920’s ice-cream tricycle that is a real crowd pleaser!

And of course….

The Venue

With rolling Devon hills, cool woodlands, hazy meadows and the chocolate box farmhouse Middle Coombe Farm is quintessentially English… whether you celebrate your union with cucumber sandwiches or pie and chips we promise a weekend to remember.

For those of you wondering, I have to confess Tim and I eloped to the Isle of Scilly. Now we love it when we host elopement wedding under the trees or in the farmhouse – and share the moment with the happy couple.

£1500 off a Wedding for the Summer Solstice

 

The Summer Solstice is a perfect day for a wedding – traditionally linked to Love, fertility and more recently Gay Pride the long days make a wedding this weekend particularly poignant.

Our traditional stone circle or Ancient Oak can form a meaningful focus to your celebrations, while the cider barn and marquee can be used for the wedding breakfast – you could even have a picnic in the meadow.

If you would like to celebrate with us in 2019, we are offering £1500 off our standard weekend package – but as there can only be one wedding we are guessing it won’t be free for long!

 

The Great Woodland Awakening!

The Great Woodland Awakening!

For me, now is the start of the great awakening of the farmland and woods. With my farming hat on there is a day sometime soon when you can visibly see the grass growing and the bees awakening from their winter slumber.

For the second year running we have seen snow at the farm – walking in the woods it’s a real treat to follow the tracks of the deer, stoats and rabbits as they traverse looking for food and water.

40,000 Small Woods

Take any ordnance survey map and you will show woodlands like ours making up the patchwork of our countryside. I read earlier that in England alone there are 40,000 small woods, making up 17% of the woodland canopy. Yet as more land is developed I find myself mindful of the importance of our woodland and how we are only guardians for the next generation.

Woodland Management

We actively manage our woodlands – taking firewood, clearing the ever invasive willow and brambles to open up the glades to create a mosaic of habitats that is bursting with biodiversity. This can be hard work, so we also ensure we spend time enjoying the woods whether with wedding couples making their vows under our ancient oak or being joined by people holidaying in the farmhouse as I walk Pippa our Jack Russel through the glades.

More often or not it is just me, on my own with nature. Spending time to reflect on the day ahead or the day we are leaving. In a world of technology and rapid change there is something uplifting about being serenated by the robin that seems to accompany me daily on my walk, or the heady smell of the bluebells signalling the arrival of summer.

Why am I telling you this? Simply because woodlands make a perfect focus for holidays or weddings – and we’d love to share ours with you.

 

 

 

 

15% Off Selected Dates for 2019

We are delighted to be able to offer 15% off the following 3-day, weekend weddings for 2019.

21 June – 24 June – 3 night weekend, original price £6700 – offer price £5695
5 – 8 July  – 3 night weekend, original price £6700 – offer price £5695
23 – 26 August  – 3 night weekend, original price £6700 – offer price £5695
30 – 2 September  – 3 night weekend, original price £6700 – offer price £5695

Email, phone or message us for more information.

Trends for 2019

Trends for 2019

As the year closes, I’m drawn to the trends and themes for next year. It’s cold this morning and after a crisp morning walk with Pippa our Jack Russel, I’m taking a little time to plan the year ahead. With the fire stoked and the coffee close at hand I can’t quite believe December is here once more.

Everywhere I look trends are being published for 2019. These themes for everything from fashion and weddings to lifestyle and holidays are increasingly important. Looking at the trends for next year we are naturally delighted that the environment remains a hot topic. Awareness around the amount of plastic polluting our oceans remains high – I’m still shocked that approximately 8 million pieces of plastic make their way into the ocean every day.

 

Weddings can have a significant impact on the environment which is why I was delighted to see Meghan and Harry reflecting on their environmental footprint and making small changes. Simply using flowers that were in season, going plastic free, using recycled paper and sourcing locally made their wedding more eco-sensitive. By donating their flowers to charity afterwards the happiness was spread even wider.

We know that small changes make a huge difference. Ever since we opened the doors to guests and wedding couples over 10 years ago, Tim and I have put the environment at the heart of everything we do constantly lowering our environmental footprint. We believe we are stewards of this wonderful valley – its woodland, pasture and glades as well as our beautiful grade II* listed farmhouse that nestles at its heart. We are also believers that changes do not mean compromising the luxury we enjoy.

95% of our heat is from renewable resources – primarily logs cut from our woods, the remainder is from environmentally friendly sources. Our swimming pool and hot tub are completely carbon neutral heated entirely by solar power and our farm is completely organic. All our complementary tea and coffee is fair trade and we support our local food producers, restaurants and transport. These little unnoticed changes have led to our weddings producing 78% fewer emissions per guest than the industry standard. Something we are extremely proud of every day.

Looking ahead we are looking forward to welcoming back a number of old friends as well as having the opportunity to meet through the weddings and holidays booked. The Devon School of Yoga are joining us for the 5th year running and the Two Moors Festival will again return in March for their young musicians competition – not to mention numerous others joining us to celebrate birthdays, hen nights anniversaries or to simply spend precious time together.

So, if you are thinking about your holiday, wedding or organising an event why not think about how the impact on the environment can be reduced without sacrificing style or impact. We have loads of ideas or for wedding ideas from compostable vegetable cutlery (see www.vegware.com) or why not pop over to our friends at Green Union – www.greenunion.co.uk to see what is possible.

Take a look at what makes us special here

Natures Harvest – Autumn at Middle Coombe Farm

Natures Harvest – Autumn at Middle Coombe Farm

At this time of year my mind often goes to spring and I wonder where the summer has gone – not this year!

As I pick the sun-ripened grapes around the door of the farmhouse I forget how hot it was and value all the long hours of sunshine that has made them the sweetest in memory.

With record breaking temperatures I don’t believe a drop of rain has landed on any of our brides this year and you can count the number of wet days on one hand – and as we stride into autumn it is only getting better. The leaves are beginning to change into their robes of gold and red – and our ‘aisle’ up to the ancient oak is beginning to be pathed in warm rich tones. The turning seasons are perhaps my favourite time here at Middle Coombe.

I love sharing natures bounty with all our guests. Farming organically and softly we embrace nature’s rich bounty our hedgerows seem more stuffed than ever – and at this time of year everyone is welcome to pick wild mushrooms, crab-apples, elderberries or blackberries that scramble in the hedges. The sweet chestnuts are fattening after the recent rain and we will soon stash them like mice for the Christmas Stuffing… if only there was more time to pick and make more jams, pickles, wines and preserves to get us through the winter in style. As my own children grow older they still enjoy sharing time simply picking and eating straight from the hedge – and as I watch our lucky autumn visitors doing the same, their children running freely I wonder what delights will be made in the kitchen to bottle and take home as a memory of their family holiday with us in Devon.

Flora & Fauna

Flora & Fauna

Last week I was struck by a comment in the article I was reading in Country Living.

“if you don’t know flora and fauna in the countryside, you won’t notice it when it’s gone”

This got me thinking about life here at Middle Coombe Farm and the rich diversity of flora and fauna in every corner of the estate and the varied habitats we are able to support. It also saddened me that they had assumed “when it’s gone”.

As an organic farm and estate our ecological philosophy that is the very backbone of everything we do. We strive daily to understand our environment so that we can not only value it but share this wonderful corner of Devon with our guests and future generations. It also got me thinking how many of the plants and animals we have on the farm I could identify – and in true form, I tested myself as I went about the rest of the day and was surprised how much I really take for granted, almost blind to it.We have been delighted to be able to provide a sanctuary for hundreds our native species – from the common to the more endangered and have records of how this has changed.

After so many years it has become second nature and we have proven that being sensitive to the environment does not mean dropping our high standards or compromising on quality. We offset as much carbon as possible through our solar panels and woodchip boilers fuelled by wood grown in the woods. We recycle everything and are plastic-less as much as possible – even our cutlery is VegWare.  All our toiletries are natural and our list of suppliers share our values – the list goes on. All this work means that one of our guests has a footprint 78% lower than the industry standard and we can continue our work as guardians of our precious countryside.

And before you ask how many species I could identify why not come and try for yourself – and thank you Country Living for opening my eyes to how lucky we are to have a rich environment on our doorstep.

Natures Surprises

Natures Surprises

I think it is fair to say that it’s been hot. Very hot. At the same time, it is this time of year when Middle Coombe Farm really comes to life as we hit peak wedding and holiday season. Every morning and evening I always make time to walk Pippa our Jack Russel, and am constantly reminded that nature never stops with something new every morning. This week it was the reminder of the heady smell of the hay waiting to be bailed in the meadow before plunging into the welcome shade of the woods with its fresh perfume – and some welcome shade as temperatures reached 30 degrees at the height of the day.

It is here that our ancient oak stands, a constant throughout the year. I can often be found sat on the swing either with a flask of hot tea in the winter or a bottle of water in the summer while Pippa takes a rest, simply drinking in the quietness and peace away from the hustle and bustle of modern life preparing myself for the day ahead. With the nearest road miles away you can hear a pin drop and simply enjoy the sound of nature, whether a bee buzzing past in the morning or the hoot of the barn owl off to hunt in the twilight.

Many of our wedding couples weave the countryside into their wedding themes and decorations with all bringing something new, just like nature – whether cutting foliage from the woodland for their bouquets and table decorations or as earlier this year making country themed domes for the tables. Likewise the people joining us for a holiday walk the crisscross of paths in the woods or play games in the meadow… or simply relax in their own private pool. For me, even after all these years it’s a real treat to be constantly surprised by and be one with nature.

20% off all Remaining Dates for July

20% off all Remaining Dates for July

We’ve got a few last minute dates for July – whether for a wedding or a holiday.

*** 20 July – 27 July was £6,160 now £5,133 – just £37 per person per night
*** 27 July – 3 Aug was £6,160 now £5,133 – just £37 per person per night