The yurt camp is very busy at this time of year with lots of happy guests enjoying the British Summer. The nearest pub to our camp is three quarters of a mile walk, The Tally Ho Inn, at Littlehempston. The pub is a community pub, owned and run by the local villagers and is extremely popular, serving pub grub and home cooked meals. Once again this year the pub is holding its annual beer festival over the weekend of the 11th, 12th and 13th August. There are a large variety of local ales and ciders on offer and a delicious barbecue as well. The event is now in its 4th year and each year music is provided by the locals who have a rich and varied wealth of musical talent, including gypsy jazz, rock, blues, and singers and entertainers along with a couple of local regulars joining in the fun. Our yurt guests love the Tally Ho which is a comfortable 15 minute walk from the camp. Torches required for the journey home as its very dark in the countryside at night!
Our yurt camp is open to anyone - and people of all ages have stayed with us over the past 6 years. However one thing I have noticed is that the expectations of more mature, even elderly people is far higher than those who are younger. Perhaps mature people are more used to home comforts and hotel living. Its always difficult to make everyone 100% happy and recently one of our guests commented that glamping should be glamorous and didn't think his stay had been! To be fair the elderly gentleman was given the holiday as a present so was not totally committed to staying in a yurt as he didnt really want to stay but felt he had to as the holiday was a gift. He also stayed when the weather was unseasonably wet, however he was disappointed to find that he might have to occasionally queue to use the toilet and showers and felt that this was not at all what glamping should be - I am not sure how we can be expected to squeeze an en suite bathroom into the yurts!!!.
We feel that as our yurts and the shepherds hut are full equipped with full sized comfortable beds, memory foam mattresses, all the bedding required, cushions, extra blankets and throws, lanterns, solar lighting and charging points, wood burning stove with logs fire lighters and kindling, fully equipped communal kitchen with tea and coffee, washing up liquid, soft toilet paper, ample private parking use of landline phone, along with a quiet and serene rural location all for less than the price per head of pitching a tent locally certainly makes our yurt camp very glamorous compared with a regular camp site. However as this is the only comment of this nature in 6 years of operating then I have taken it all with a pinch of salt.
More mature people are always very welcome to stay here but must be prepared to occasionally queue for the loo and have to share the kitchen washing up facilities or book into one of the local hotels instead!
July is a wonderful month in Devon, the fields are full of a multitude of wild flowers, including clover and buttercups, pictured above in our meadow. The lake field at Hemsford is left to grow long during the summer months with some pathways through to the other fields strategically mown to allow easy access from the farmhouse. The meadow is a haven for wildlife with many different species of butterfly, bees, grasshoppers, flies, dragonflies and damselflies, even the odd grass snake living in harmony alongside the yurt camp. This week we have welcomed back guests from as far away as Japan - its always lovely when guests return as it is a real compliment for us. The evenings have been clear and the skies dark and starlit. Its been very warm for the past few days with the chance of thunderstorms over the next couple of days. It certainly is thrilling to see the power of nature from inside a yurt. The school holidays are almost upon us soon but we still have some availability. There is something magical about sitting around a camp fire during the summer months toasting marshmallows listening to the owls and watching the bats at dusk. With more guests arriving this weekend from Spain the weather is set fair - lovely!
This week we have said goodbye to all the thunderstorms and rain and the weather has been beautiful at the yurt camp with temperatures up into the low twenties. Everything is looking very green with the fields full of clover and buttercups. I love this time of year as the garden is full of baby birds and fledglings. Also on our lake there a a multitude of tadpoles - more than I have ever seen in the 20 years we have lived here - probably due to the mild winter. The daily visit of the Heron does not seem to make an impact on the numbers and I noticed that the back legs are now appearing on the tadpoles so its not going to be long before they will reach maturity and be able to take to the land as frogs and toads. The picture above is of the baby woodpecker with some of the copious amounts of collared doves that live at Hemsford. The mother wood pecker has been teaching the fledgling to climb the post that supports the bird feeders and has been feeding her bay with peanuts and sun flower hearts that I put out on a daily basis. The yurt camp has been full last week for half term with visitors from Sicily, and this week with visitors arriving from all over the UK and being treated to some lovely balmy weather, Next month more continental visitors arrive with guest from Spain as well as some repeat visitors coming in July from Japan. Hoping the weather remains settled for the holiday season :)
We are having a new water main and are really excited to have the workmen in the fields connecting us up to a new and much larger bore pipe. The weather has been a bit peaky with lots of heavy sunshine interspersed with showers and longer downpourts. The whole project is probaby going to take another couple of weeks to finish and hopefully there will be very little disruption to our guests at the yurt camp.
Last weekend the camp was completely full including a lovely group of ladies who stayed with us so they could visit some of the lovely local attractions, including the Sharpham vineyard for wine and cheese tasting the Totnes market and had a meal at the Seven Stars Hotel in the centre of Totnes. The ladies were very complimentary about our lovely local taxi service "Andsome Cabs" and the driver even delivered them some danish pastries for their breakfast. I love all the local people who make my guests feel so welcome when they stay with us.
Easter has been a busy time at the yurt camp with several families staying over the Easter break and long weekend. The weather has been very kind to our guests and over the past 3 weeks we have had very little rain whatsoever and our fields are looking very dry and parched. The temperatures at night have been cooler and our guests have had fun lighting the wood burning stoves and toasting marshmallows around the camp fires. On Sunday we spent a lovely afternoon putting up our smallest yurt - pictured above is the Plym yurt. This is only 3 metre in diameter and has a double bed and sleeps two people. The Plym is lovely and cosy but is only available in the warmer months as it does not have room for a wood burning stove inside. Its a very popular yurt and is already getting booked up for the summer season. With two bank holiday weekends in May we decided it was time to put up this cute little yurt so its now ready and available for guests to stay in this season.
Easter is nearly here and we are expecting plenty of guests over the holiday period. The weather has remained settled for the past few days with lovely clear skies and beautiful sunsets. A little chilly overnight but lovely and warm inside our yurts with the wood burning stoves lit. We have spent the past week getting our yurts ready - installing all the furniture, getting everything out of storage and generally tidying up the camp. Everything grows so much in the spring sunshine and we are woken now every morning with a wonderful dawn chorus - all the wild birds are getting ready for their new arrivals and we currently have a pair of Canada Geese settled on our lake, along with a sighting of Snipe, Manadarin ducks and many moorhen. We are really pleased that 4G mobile signal has finally arrived at Hemsford and our camp. I have been sitting on our lovely unicorn seat at the lake enjoying the countryside whilst uploading some pictures to our website - its amazing to find that the speed is so much quicker than our own home connection which is something like dial up. We have always marketed our holidays as a digital detox but I know that some of the younger guests will be happy to see that the internet is now available whilst staying here. The 2017 season will be our 6th year of glamping and we are looking forward to welcoming back some of our returning guests and of course our new guests.
Its that time of year when we are starting our glamping season again. Our yurts are coming back out of the barn where they have been stored for the winter and being erected on their bases ready for the first guests of the season. This year we really pleased to let all our guests know that 4G is now available in our field dependent of course on your network, but I have personally found that sitting on our unicorn at our lake provides a fab signal and really good download speeds- something which we don't actually get in our farmhouse which has a very slow connection. Lots of bookings being taken and I am keeping our availability calendar updated daily. Book early to avoid any disappointment :) Sunny weather arrives from this weekend and we are looking forward to the start of the new season.
Valentines day has dawned and there is an air of spring at Hemsford. The sun is out and the birds are all singing and its much warmer than of late and feels like spring is just around the corner. I have recently spotted 2 rather unusual birds at our garden feeders, firstly a tiny goldcrest - not actually on the feeder but in the ivy on the garden wall. The second bird was a siskin, not really a rarity but not a frequent visitor to our part of Devon. We love to feed the wild birds and regularly treat them to a varied diet of peanuts, mixed seeds and sunflower hearts. The sunflower hearts are very popular with our flock of gold finches which have over wintered really well and are one of the most numrous and frequent visitors to our feeders. We also have a massive population of collared doves - this morning I counted 29 sitting in the large pine tree in our garden. A pair of Canada geese have arrived back at our lake again and I am hoping they will nest on the island again this year. It is always a treat for our guests to see the goslings when they hatch.
Have you ever seen a unicorn? Our lake has a very special guardian - a full size unicorn. She is able to be sat upon and she sits overlooking our lake. Our guests are able to sit and watch all the wildlife surrounding the lake and enoy the peace and tranquility of the quiet countryside adjacent to our yurt camp. Every year children and adults alike who have been staying at the yurt camp have enjoyed seeing her and she is a landmark and permanent fixture on our land. Unicorns like her apparently come to life over night and sprinkle fairy dust across the yurt camp - or so they say!!!!
Liz Jeffery - owner of Hemsford Yurt camp