Its been a very long and wet, snowy and cold winter, and just yesterday the sun shone and their was a hint of warmth in the spring sunshine. Lovely primroses are in bloom all around the yurt camp in our hedges. Some lovely guests stayed over the weekend as well although its been a quiet week for the camp. We had to turn away a family on Friday night who arrived with their pet dog. Whilst we are animal lovers ourselves (and own our own dog) we are unable to accept pets of any kind at the yurt camp. There are too many livestock in the fields adjacent to the camp, along with our large feral cat colony, our own poulrty and numerous wild fowl on our lake, along with no facilities for a dog to sleep in a yurt or hut and we know that many of our guests would not be happy to stay in a bed that a dog may have slept on, so our rules are strict, so please do not turn up with your dog in the hope we might just allow it, as I am sory to say we will not accept pets no matter how well behaved they are. We are happy to recommend other local places to stay that may accept a pet, such as the Sea Trout Inn at Staverton. Unfortunately most camp sites have the same rules about pets so please make sure before you book with us that you dont expect your pet to come too.
The beast from the east returned this week (18th March 2018) with a vengence and dumped around a foot of snow on Totnes and the surrouding areas. We were very much caught by surprise at the rate at which the snow fell on Sunday - it covered the ground and within about 3 hours the world was obliterated by the white stuff. This snow was much larger flakes that the previous blizzard from 2 weeks ago, and although it was cold, the ground remainded soft under foot. We struggled to get around for Sunday and Monday, but on Tuesday the thaw began and we managed to put the Dart and Tamar yurt up ready for our first guests at easter. The rumour is that we may even get another covering of snow then too - I have decided that I dislike snow a great deal. Its so disrputive for the animals, and people alike and although its pretty its treacherous for anyone attempting to drive in the lanes. Last weekend saw some intrepid guests in our shepherds hut, they left on Sunday morning just before the blizzard struck, I hope they made it home safely!!!
So the 1st of March 2018 has brought the Beast from the East - a weather system bringing Siberian temperatures and arctic winds. This has also bounced off a weather system from the south, Storm Emma, colliding over the South West and bringing unprecedented snow to Devon and the rest of the South west peninsula. The snow started falling on Tuesday evening, fell throughout Wednesday in patchy amounts and finally on Thursday dumped a foot of snow over Totnes. This morning, Friday has seen us cut off but still with our sense of humour coupled with wellies and thermals!! All our lanes have been virtually impassable and the yurt camp cut off from civilisation. Sadly I had to cancel our guests this week - something that has never happened in all the years we have run our camp. But without any water supply (it has been frozen for days) and heavy snow, it doesnt not seem the perfect time to take a glamping holiday!!!
This week has been half term and we have been busy with several guests staying in the yurt camp in the shepherds hut. Its certainly been a mixed week of weather, with gale force winds felling this rather large Beech tree overnight 13th February. The tree blocked the lane for a few hours, and the torrential rain did not help the BT engineer restore our landline phone. Fortunately no one was hurt when it came down as it was around 4am. The noise was like an earthquake as it was a substantial trunk. By the time our latest guests arrived the sun was shining and the only evidence of the tree was a few piles of sawdust in the lane. The camp has also welcomed new arrivals in the form of 2 canadian geese on our lake. There is also a solitary cormorant who has taken a liking to the lake too. Roll on the spring as this week we have had rain, gales, and even a tiny smattering of snow!!!
Our garden is home to many wild birds, including the Robin shown in this video. Robins are seemingly very tame, but can be bullying to other birds and are very territorial. This little beauty waits for me every morning to fill up the bird feeders, and I am rewarded to hear his beautiful song - Spring is definitely in the air.
Happy New Year to all my guests - This morning saw the remnants of Storm Eleanor hitting the South West of the UK, with plenty of rain and high winds giving the whole area quite a battering. Our field was subjected to some minor flooding for a couple of hours around high tide times. The Hems broke its banks and flooded over into the lake field next to the yurt camp. This has been quite a regular occurrence in the past and usually happens during winter months when there are spring tides. New Years Day saw a full moon, called a "wolf" moon at this time of year. In fact in January this year there will be two full moons in one month which is a rare event. The new year has seen plenty of enquiries about our glamping holidays and popular dates are getting booked up already. Our yurts will be put back up on the in time for Easter which will fall around the 1st April this year. In the meantime we are still able to offer glamping breaks in our lovely little Shepherds hut during the winter months.
Whilst the rest of the UK is enveloped in a big freeze, its been cold but not a single flake has been seen at the yurt camp!!! Its been a bit frosty and windy at times with some rain, but overall its been quite a dry winter so far! Some intrepid guests will be staying this weekend in our shepherds hut which is looking lovely in the winter sunshine. Its very cosy inside with a log burning stove for heating and solar power for lighting. Wishing all our guests a very merry Christmas!!! :)
As Christmas will soon be upon us and our lovely cosy shepherds hut is still being booked particularly at weekends, we have decided that we will put some decorations in the hut so our guests can celebrate the festive season. The hut has a lovely little wood burning stove which is really effective at heating the hut and making it a wonderful little haven of peace and tranquility during the winter nights. I am really pleased that the hut remains so popular and that guests are returning to stay with use on multiple occasions. The tree pictured above is actually in our house, not in the hut but I will take some more pictures once the hut is finally decorated.
Christmas is on its way - its official!!!. Our fields neighbour a large field called Reeve Acre where the local Marldon Christmas Tree Farm grows around 100 acres of Christmas Trees, and in November each year the harvest begins. This year its started again, the once quiet and tranquil field is full of workers, tractors, chainsaws and frantic activities in preparing and labelling the trees for harvest. It always looks so brutal to see the once full landscape empty of the sage green coloured trees. They grow relatively slowly and the Christmas tree field has been a wonderful wildlife haven, having plenty of shelter for the ample deer, rabbits and foxes that frequent the rows of trees. I know they will replant again, but for now, I can see that Christmas is nearly upon us again. More guests staying with us this weekend in our cosy shepherds hut, hope the weather will be kind for them!
The shepherds hut has been fully booked during half term week with some lovely young families visiting our camp. When the yurts are packed away its still possible to stay with us in our hut, which has a lovely cosy wood burning stove. The guests are treated to exclusive use of our facilities and stunning sunsets and clear starry nights. The weather has been relatively mild with little in the way of wind or rain so the children have been able to run through the fields and enjoy the beautiful colours of autumn surrounding the camp.
Liz Jeffery - owner of Hemsford Yurt camp