Home Farm Cottages Somerset Holiday 2022
We decided to book another dog friendly holiday in September 2022 (when the kids are back at school) but somewhere different to The Park in Cornwall which we love. We found a nice dog friendly place in Somerset on the outskirts of a little village called Winscombe with the nearest big town being Weston Super Mare. So please read below my daily diary of events and photographs. It is quite long so a cup of tea or glass of wine might not go amiss.
Another reason we chose this was that we knew it was remote and as we have an electric car it had an electric charger on site.
After the weeks of very hot, dry and warm weather (which I personally hated) I wondered if this weather would persist but lo and behold the forecast was for it all to change and become wet and windy, with plenty of thunderstorms thrown in for nearly every day we were away – not quite what we wanted.
Saturday 3rd September 2022
We (myself, husband Steve and our Clumberdoodle Archie) left home (Ivybridge Devon) at 11.00 am stopping at Haldon Forest at Exeter for a nice walk for Archie our Clumberdoodle to stretch his legs. Then a picnic consisting of egg sandwiches which Archie loves before we continued onwards to Somerset. So far it kept dry with no rain.
We arrived at Home Farm Cottages set in a beautiful peaceful location with wonderful views which consists of 5 converted barns self catering cottages, ours being called Hayloft. Whilst I was unpacking Steve showed Archie the 2 acre field for the doggy guests to use which was brilliant.
Once I had found a home for everything we enjoyed a nice cup of coffee.
Hayloft was very quaint and very nicely furnished with everything expected in self catering accommodation. Archie as usual, in somewhere new was a bit unsettled.
Hayloft was just around the corner from 3 of the other cottages but the guest laundry and the storage area were just opposite in a converted stable block which other guests and staff used. A big downside is that all the paths on the complex are gravel so every time someone walked past Archie barked and we were just hoping that he got used to the noise and ignored it.
As we are quite remote I brought some food to cook (well to heat up) in the accommodation to enjoy with a glass of wine until we had sussed out some eateries.
Sunday 4th September 2022
A good night’s sleep in the super king size bed which was very comfortable and the location was very quiet so very peaceful.
Woke up to drizzly rain but luckily it didn’t last long and it was dry by breakfast.
Decided to have a run out to Brean Down a headland walk owned by the National Trust and also a huge sandy beach. The headland walk starts by having to go up some very steep steps. We didn’t venture up there as dogs have to be kept on leads as it also has steep sides leading down to the sea so quite dangerous (even though we saw cows up there).
We did however have a long walk along the beach where there was plenty of room for Archie to chase his frisbee. He also went in the sea and had a float in the water but being the Bristol Channel the water was very brown so when he came out of the water his legs were brown and he looked filthy. Not many beaches does a dog go in the water and come out looking dirtier than when he went in. The tide was coming in very fast so we didn’t actually see the full extent of the size of the beach at low tide but it must be vast.
The sun had come out and it was quite warm even though quite windy. I had packed up a picnic so we sat on beach and watched the tide come in. It was very pleasant.
Archie enjoyed himself in the sand.
We then drove to Sand Bay (another beach) and had to drive through the sea front at Weston Super Mare which was very busy. Now I do not want to offend anyone who lives in Weston Super Mare but it is not the place for us so didn’t stop.
We arrived at Sand Bay but did not stop as it was just another beach. We had to follow the same route back through Weston Super Mare and back to Home Farm Cottages. I have to say although it was only 8 miles to Brean the roads around here are very narrow and windy so it took about 30 – 40 minutes to get there. If you suffer from motion sickness these roads are not for you!! However it had been a nice trip out and the weather was still dry and warm.
Archie needed his feet and legs washed using the mud daddy which we take everywhere and then dried him off with the pet blaster (another piece of kit we couldn’t do without). The guest laundry room in the converted stable block just opposite Hayloft was ideal for this and was very convenient rather than having to do it in the cottage, which was brilliant.
A nice cup of coffee whilst Steve watched the F1 Grand Prix (which he us a fan of), whilst I took Archie down to the paddocks.
When that finished we decided to start our holiday Uckers tournament enjoying a glass of wine (well it might have help Steve play better!!). Well it didn’t as he lost 2 games to 1 and he was lucky to win the last game.
Had another meal to heat in the oven for tea and an evening watching the tv.
Monday 5th September 2022
Woke up to sunshine (we had checked the weather for Ivybridge our home and it was wet and rainy). However the sun didn’t stay out long and the clouds took over but the forecast did show that it would be dry so we decided to go for a long walk from the cottage, so no car needed.
The directions from the cottage that are supplied, showed the route as being 3 hours in total where halfway there is a nice pub to stop at before the return journey. We left at 11.07. The route showed that with some road walking and footpaths with quite a lot of walking through farmers fields. That would have meant that Archie would have to have been on a lead a lot of the time, but Steve looked at an alternative route which took us over Wavering Down on the West Mendip Hills which meant Archie could be off lead (unless of course there were animals grazing).
The details of the walk in the cottage said that apart from a steep hill at the beginning of the walk and one smaller climb after the pub stop at the new inn at Cross the rest of the walk was quite level.
Once at the top there was a 360 degree panoramic view over the countryside and out to the Bristol Channel. From the bottom to the top of the beacon is 693 feet which gives you the idea of the climb, but it was worth it.
It was then a steep walk downhill and through a woody bit which took us down to the New Inn Pub at Cross. Being dog friendly, we were able to sit inside and enjoy a nice lunch, all the time knowing there was going to be a lot of steep hills walking back.
Steve had a Guinness and me a J20 whist we perused the menu. We decided to have a proper meal at lunchtime so Steve chose beer battered cod and chips and I chose a roast chicken breast covered in bacon with a leek mash and some carrots, broccoli and cabbage. Washed down with a glass of wine, hoping that would help us get back up the steep hills. They were big portions and very nice so we were now fat and full and probably not the best idea with the long walk back. Archie sat under the table and behaved himself .
Then it was the journey home. We left the pub at 1.53 pm and it started off with a steep path which took some effort with fat bellies. We did take a slight deviation of the route and followed another path which although on a steep uphill path cut off about 3/4 mile. We still however had to keep stopping to catch our breath as it was hard work. We were so pleased when we got to the top of the Mendip Hills and then it was downhill all the way home.
We were glad to get back as it was now just after 3.00 pm and a round trip of just under 6 miles (mostly up steep paths) to the cottage and a much needed glass of water then a nice cup of coffee. Archie had his afternoon 2 pieces of doggy chocolate and then he went fast asleep. He had enjoyed a lovely long walk and we were all knackered. The weather had also been kind and although very windy on the top of the exposed hill it stayed dry and was warm. We did however have some rain and rumbles of thunder in the evening.
We were so tired to even play Uckers so just watched the tv and an early night.
Tuesday 6th September 2022
An important political and personal day as P.M. Boris Johnson left office and Liz truss took over. Also both the outgoing and the incoming Prime Minister met with the Queen at Balmoral both receiving handshakes from the Monarch (with very significant photographs of the handshakes as to what was to follow). Also I had had Fabio my Fiat 500 electric for 1 year.
I digress, but we woke up to it being dry. Decided after our long walk yesterday we would be less energetic today so took a drive to have a look around Wells. It was just under 14 miles away and the roads were a bit better than Monday, but not much.
Parked the car and quickly walked through Wells to find the parkland so Archie stretched his legs before he had to behave himself when we looked around the Cathedral.
We thought we would have to go around separately but dogs were allowed. It was very impressive and we enjoyed it.
We had a little rest in the garden of the Cathedral.
We then thought it would be a good idea to eat at lunchtime. There were quite a few tables on the streets by the entrance to the Cathedral but they were very busy. We walked into a pub but walked out again, as we didn’t like it and there were no staff around so didn’t find it very welcoming.
We then went into another pub, started to order a drink and said we wanted some food only to be told they were not doing any food, so walked out again. We walked around and eventually passed the Globe Inn. We spied an outside garden area and were met by a friendly barman on the way in. We asked if they did food and thankfully they did. The outside area was very colourful with loads of plants and we enjoyed a very nice lunch.
Food was very good, Steve had beer battered cod again, (well I don’t eat fish and therefore do not cook it at home so the only time Steve has chance to eat it). I chose a burger which was huge and probably one of the best burgers I have tasted. It came with a salad, chips, battered onion rings and coleslaw.
Fat and full and back to the car (no steep hills to walk up today!!)
Back to Home Farm Cottages and sat out in the garden for a cup of coffee. Then back inside and watched Liz Truss to give her first speech to the Country as our new prime minister.
Again very lucky with the weather as it was dry, warm and sunshine all day (unlike the forecast).
We continued our Uckers tournament and I won 2-1 (again) with the last game Steve still having all his 8 pieces in the starting bases so basically a whitewash.
Wednesday 7th September 2022
Woke up to dry weather but then we had some heavy showers in between sunshine. As you have to drive everywhere as there is nothing around Home Farm Cottages we were looking for places to visit that were suitable for dog walking. We chose Blagdon Lake/Reservoir which was about 13 miles away.
All was going well until we got to the village of Blagdon and in a narrow part of the road a van and an articulated lorry met going in opposite directions and neither would give way. Meanwhile the traffic following both the van and the lorry was backing up so basically gridlock with no one going anywhere. Eventually the van who was going our way was able to reverse back a bit to let the lorry ease through but then he got stuck again as he could not get past the traffic that had built up behind us. So gridlock again until cars coming the other way had to wait until our queue could get through so the lorry could then move. This upset them as they had priority on this bit of road. It was only a short distance until we turned left and were clear of it, but there was still chaos at the junction. The roads around here are really not suitable for lorries.
We parked in the free car park and walked down to the lake and found the footpath through the woods. There were actually signs up to say keep dogs on leads as there was green algae at the waters edge which is toxic to animals and people. Archie was not amused as he desperately wanted to get his feet wet.
Anyway a bit further round we went through a dense wood and as nowhere near the water he was okay to go off lead. This footpath only goes so far as if you wanted to walk all the way around the lake. The weather had been kind up until now but you could see the sky turn very grey and see the rain heading in our direction. As we retraced our steps back to the car the rain arrived and we had a torrential downpour. We sheltered by a gnarly tree until the brief heavy shower passed.
We then walked up the hill back to the car and walked to the pub for that we had seen advertised in the village for lunch. However it was now just after 2.00 pm and the sign outside stated that it did not open until 3.00 pm so we would have to find an alternative.
We went on to another pub that we passed on the way back but that was also shut, obviously the result of rising energy prices which was affecting the hospitality trade. We decided as it was not far from where we were and we knew it was open and did food we went back to the New Inn at Cross where we stopped for lunch on Monday.
We sat inside at the same table with Archie resuming his position underneath, and Steve had the chicken that I had on Monday and I had the lasagne which again was very nice. We enjoyed it a little more as we knew there was no mammoth walk back up the hill to get back.
We got back to the cottage and enjoyed a nice cup of coffee in the garden. Apart from that one shower it had been dry and warm and again escaped the thunderstorms that were forecast.
We had another round of Uckers with me winning 2-1.
Thursday 8th Sepember 2022
Decided to go to Montecute House a National Trust property which was about 36 miles away but would take over an hour to get there on these Somerset roads even travelling on the M5 for about 15 miles. It is of stunning Elizabethan Renaissance architecture and stands in beautiful grounds.
We arrived and took Archie for a walk around the grounds. Then we took it in turns to go around the house as no dogs were allowed inside.
It was very interesting and the standout had to be the very long gallery room at the top of the house which is the longest of its type in England.
After our walk around the house we had a Cornish pasty in the courtyard cafe.
Again being very lucky with regards to the weather as the forecast for today was dreadful, but we seemed to miss it. Although saying that some of the roads going back had obviously seen a lot of rain during the day.
As we travelled back we heard on the radio that the Queen had been taken poorly around lunchtime today and Drs were concerned about the state of her health. It stated that 7 members of the royal family were flying up to Balmoral Castle where the Queen was residing so obviously this was something very serious.
We got back to the Hayloft and had a cup of coffee and watched the news that was unfolding regarding the Queen.
It was then formally announced at around 6.30 p.m that Queen Elizabeth II had died aged 96. It was hard to take in as it was only 48 hours ago there was the photo of her shaking Liz Truss’s hand greeting her as the new Prime Minister which turned out to be the last official photograph we saw of the Queen.
A very sad day, she will be sadly missed not only in the UK but around the world. A great Monarch reigning for a record breaking 70 years. The U.K. has lost a great lady who dedicated her life to serving her country and the Commonwealth. God rest in peace Elizabeth the Great, you were an inspiration to us all and will never be replaced. We will certainly remember where we were on this very sad occasion.
We also made the decision to go home a day early and leave tomorrow. We really had seen all that we wanted to see around the area and to be honest to have to go out in the car to get anywhere on the awful roads was not pleasurable.
There was one place I wanted to visit after reading about it and that was Watchet, a little harbour town in Somerset and as it was on the way home we would visit it on route tomorrow. So started to pack up in readiness for our departure the next day.
Steve charged the car so we had a full battery to get us home.
We had a pizza for tea that I brought with us and had kept in the freezer just in case, so to save taking it home we had it with a glass of wine and raised a glass to Queen Elizabeth on her monumental reign.
We finished off the evening with our last games of Uckers with me winning both. So at the end of the holiday competition, I won by 8 games to 3.
Friday 9th September 2022
We had breakfast and did the last packing and tidying up of cottage. The car was packed up and Archie was adamant that he did not want to stay. He sat in front of the door and refused to move implying “don’t you dare leave me here I want to go home!!”. We had to resort to putting him in the car where he was a lot happier whilst we finished loading it.
We drove to Watchet and we encountered the worst weather we had all holiday. Heavy rain which was still falling when we got there over an hour and a half to travel the 35 miles. Was it worth the detour? to be honest no. The tide as out so in addition to the rain we did not see this village at it’s best. On reading the description of this place (which is why I wanted to visit it) we were however disappointed as to us it did not live up to what I had read about it, but perhaps the weather spoilt it. Apologies to the residents of Watchet but we won’t be going back.
Archie wasn’t so sure about the Yankee Jack Statue.
We then started the last part of our journey and back to Haldon Forest at Exeter where we had started our holiday. A walk around the forest and a picnic. We didn’t think we would actually be having a picnic with the weather we had enountered earlier but when we arrived the sun had come out and it stayed out so we were very lucky.
It was then onward to our home, unpacked and putting the washing machine on. Did we enjoy our holiday in Somerset? some parts yes, other parts “no” but we will not be going back. Although the accommodation and actual location was nice and quiet, it was very remote. You had to use the car to get anywhere and on the awful roads, it was not pleasurable, sorry Somerset. However, we were extremely lucky with the weather as the whole week the forecast was horrendous, but we escaped it.
One last comment, Archie did not get used to people walking past the Hayloft on the gravel chippings and he continued to be vocal.
The Saturday the day after we got home, the weather was so lovely, warm, dry and sunny that to finally finish off our holiday we went for a nice walk at Burrator Reservoir and a nice lunch in the local pub in Yelverton The Rock Inn. This is a walk and visit to The Rock Inn that we do quite regularly and only a short drive from our home.
Then the following days a lot of time was spent watching the events unfolding regarding the Queen, from leaving Balmoral to her funeral.
We have already booked another week next year down in Archie’s favourite place The Park at Mawgan Porth which will actually be our 6th visit and we never go back to the same place twice – except here!!! Please read previous blog posts
Home Farm Cottages Somerset Holiday 2022