Yurts and Coronavirus
First of all we should stay that our thoughts are with all our lovely guests and we are hoping that you and your families are keeping safe and well. We continue to be open for short breaks and holidays throughout the year and are monitoring government announcements on a daily basis and will keep this blog as well as our FaceBook page updated with where we're at. We've been in touch with our April guests to offer to move their breaks to later in the year for anyone who would prefer that and will contact May guests within the next week or so, once we see how things are looking. In the meantime if you have any questions do please give us a call on 07802 456087. We have put measures in place to minimise the risk of catching Coronavirus, with a new paper towel dispenser installed and a stack of 10,000 paper towels to go with it; we have a good stock of bars of soap, information about hand-washing (though everyone must be familiar with the routine by now), a huge stack of tea-towels and appropriate laundry baskets and bins dotted around. We are also blessed with plenty of fresh air and, of course, each yurt has their own cooking facilities and equipment for cooking at the yurt, in addition to the shared facilities. We're also expecting a surge in the use of the (heated) woodland showers this year, so they are freshly serviced and all ready to go. We've been heartened by the responses from many of our returning guests, who are happy with the cleanliness and standards of hygiene at the yurts and tell us that they are very much looking forward to their Easter breaks, and we look forward to welcoming many returning and new guests this year. With a heartfelt thanks for your continuing support in these difficult times, and best wishes to you all. And, we have to stay, after a good amount of winter rain the flowers are looking fabulous!
Many of you will know that the date of Easter is determined by the cycle of the full moon; this year the full moon (or Pink Full Moon as it is known, heralding the apperance of the "moss pink" or wild ground phlox, one of the first spring flowers) falls on Good Friday. Why not celebrate in style by staying in a yurt (cosy with a log-burning stove!) and join us for one of our regular Full Moon Walks? We have fantastic scenery nearby, with coastline, estuaries, heaths and woodlands all on hand for exploring by the light of the silvery moon... A group of around 20 of us walk each month, generally around 4-6 miles, setting off at dusk so that we experience the delights of watching the moon come up (when it always looks huge!) and then walking by its light without the use of torches. It's a fantastic experience - the world looks very different at night and being with a friendly group of people removes any fears or anxieties about being out in the countryside at night! All you need is a stout pair of walking boots and a spirit of adventure. The walks are free - just book a yurt (or the Shepherd's Hut) and say you'd like to come along on the walk and we'll look forward to welcoming you. If you need any more info before booking just give us a call on 07802 456087.
The yurts are all happily tucked away for the winter now, enjoying time in the new yurt-store that we built last winter. We had a good few weeks of sunshine in which to take them down, aided by a couple of great volunteers, Andrea and Nicola, throughout the early autumn period. All the canvases have been cleaned and re-proofed, so everything will look fresh when we put the yurts up again ready for the Easter holidays. We've had some lovely times with great guests this past year - we've enjoyed seeing lots of returning guests as well as meeting new people and we're already looking forward to seeing many of you back again next year, with bookings already made. We'll be doing more work to the meadow over the winter and have some interesting new activities in mind for children (watch this space). We hope you all enjoy the autumn/winter (we love seeing the changes in the seasons and have been enjoying lighting the wood-burner as dusk approaches) and look forward to welcoming you back next year. A big thanks to all of our guests for your support over the years - it wouldn't be possible without you!
The yurt meadow was surveyed by a wildflower expert in June and she found 47 different species of grasses and wildflowers on a single day! As many of you will know, we try to manage the meadow to encourage wildlife and have a grass-and-wildlflower-friendly cutting regime, with different sections cut at different times. We also have a fenced off section where we sow seeds to support farmland birds throughout the year as many of these are now sadly in decline; we're lucky to be rewarded with the near-constant song of the yellowhammer throughout the summer as well as skylarks overhead and swallows and swifts. But there's always more to be done, so we're planning to repeat the survey on a regular basis to see how we're doing and to ensure we're on track to be as wildlife friendly as possible. Adele Goodchild (whose name you might know as the artist behind the various willow sculptures and other artworks dotted around) spent an afternoon photographing flowers, grasses and insects and you can find the new album here on the Gallery page.
Very excited to have our grass and wild flower species list back from an amazing local wildlife and flower expert. A snapshot in June shows 47 different grass and wild flower species, including this fantastic bee orchid, in the meadow. We're really pleased, as we've been working hard to manage the meadow and hedges to improve our range of flora and fauna and it looks as though it's working. Much as we'd like to claim we do this work solely for the benefit of our guests, we should also confess that we enjoy seeing the results - swallows nesting, small blue butterflies, increasing numbers of bee orchids, our first glow worm, grasshoppers, six-spot burnet moths and so much more. Come and stay and look around and see what you can spot.
We've already had enquiries about next year's availability so we've opened our 2019 calendar for bookings - don't delay for those popular dates! We've put our prices up slightly for next year - our first rise for 3 years and having checked what others are charging, feel we are still competitively priced for our offering, we hope you agree.
2018 got off to a good start despite some very wet Easter weather; we had some lovely families staying with children of a similar age and they all seemed to have a great time just being out in the rain and jumping in puddles with their wellies (and sometimes not much else!) on. The parents were happy seeing them running around outside getting muddy and generally doing what kids do best - playing outside! Nonetheless, we're hoping for sunnier weather in the days and weeks ahead - the first May bank holiday is looking good and we hope that spring is truly on the way at last.
The meadow is looking lovely with all the new planting greening up and masses of cowslips and bluebells dotted around; the swallows have returned and we've been seeing weasles as well as stoats around, which we're excited about. We had a brief 15 minutes of fame with a feature in the Waitrose weekend magazine about our full moon walks which was fun (though because they focus on just one person in these features, Kim got all the glory with just the slightest of nods to Nick for his role in the walks!). We've got lots of good walks planned for this year so if you're staying during a full moon and fancy joining us, let us know.
We're looking forward to seeing many returning guests this year as well as welcoming those new to the Ivy Grange Farm experience and wish you all happy holidays!