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Spring at Love North Devon

See our spring "lamb show" 

A Spring walk around Love North Devon - with Adrian and Charlie (the cat)

With everyone sleeping in this morning, I took the opportunity to sneak out and enjoy a peaceful walk down to see the bluebells in the woods before breakfast. We've a busy day ahead with guests leaving and two new families coming to join us so I'm sure I'll have some work to do later. My "handyman" skills are often required at some stage once Amanda starts cleaning after the guests have left but for now I'll enjoy the peace and quiet.

 As I walk out of the gate, I'm delighted I'm joined by Charlie, our ginger cat (with white paws). I normally just have to shout his name and he comes running, but it's too early to be shouting and disturb the peace but he must have heard the gate close on the catch - what fantastic hearing he has!

Before venturing off away from the farm, we both check the veg patch. There's not much happening so far, some radishes coming through and a few rows of garlic looking very green with shoots of 4 or 5 inches or more and onion sets just starting to shoot.. Potato, Peas, carrots, beetroot and lettuce are all very dormant. In the cold frame, the beans, sweet corn, aubergines and courgettes are all planted and just waiting for a few days of warmth and sunshine to get them going.

Charlie and I walk across the yard to the chicken shed and let the chickens out. Charlie normally keeps a wide birth - I think he's a little intimidated by them as they do tend to gang up on him . If it's raining I normally put a couple of scoops of feed in the round food dispenser which has a lid and keeps it dry. If not I scatter it round the track and they all scurry around after it. Well, as you know it's been so dry hasn't it? I haven't used the dispenser very much at all this year so I scatter the grains around the track. Having a look in the nest boxes there's about a half a dozen eggs ready to be collected, I'm sure the children of the guests arriving this afternoon will love collecting them so Charlie and I leave them were they are and walk up to the orchard.

I say orchard, but it's not like many would imagine. It's a hand planted, brand new orchard featuring around 20 trees of 20 different apple trees, 1 pear and 1 plum tree, some raspberries, five blueberry bushes and three thorn less blackberries. Each tree was planted last year WITH A PICK AXE !!! Yes beneath our fertile top soil of 4 inches are rocks - big ones and small ones - every type of rock that goes into building a Devon dry stone wall. Planting an orchard in Exmoor is a challenge, even a little one like ours. I have to say though, this years now two year old trees are looking quite promising. Not one of the fruit trees flowered last year - now nearly half look like they are going to flower. The pear tree must have a 100 flower buds or more - drat, I wished I'd planted more. The blueberries flowered last year and gave us a very small handful of berries, this year we may have enough to put a few in the welcome hampers - you never know!

Charlie has been waiting patiently, sat on the gate pole whilst I inspect every tree. As soon as I turn towards him he jumps down and starts bounding down the track towards the lake. I close the gate to the orchard (which keeps the chickens out) and press on after him, it's not long before he comes back up the hill to find out why I'm taking so long.

The sun is shining and the sky beautifully clear - it's so bright. The only sounds being the birds chirping and the lambs calling for their mums in our ancient field across the way, oh and a faint purring noise - he wants picking up and carrying! So with super furry cat on my shoulder, purring loudly we head off down to the track towards the treehouse. When we get there Charlie jumps down to explore and even walks across the rope walk! He is so agile, look how well he can balance (below)

We then carry on through the wood towards the bottom of the wood. On the way I stop to look at the young fresh growth that is evident on the trees in the new wood. The hazel, hawthorn and holly form the base of our wood, with ash, oak and birch the main specimens in the new wood. In the ancient wood which we will get to shortly, the oaks are the dominant tree - everyone magnificent and a joy to see.

The woodland track is my favourite place. It's elevated above the stream and bottom of the valley and catches the sun from dawn to dusk. The oaks form arches along its length of no more than 500 yards or so but every step is pleasurable. On occasions I've seen the heron, geese and ducks from this track and had my walk interrupted by foxes, rabbits and squirrels. Charlie wants to get down now, it's his favourite place too - he just loves to scurry amongst the undergrowth and pounce on anything that moves. Quite often it will be a bumble bee - which can cause problems - for both of us!

There's some noise, rustling in the centre of the wood, I can see by charlies stare the direction and follow his glance and yes - it's a deer, grazing on the hazel. She must have seen us, for seconds later her white tail is bobbing up and down and she's off.

Down by the lake, there's a still calmness on the surface, so I pop into the lakehouse to get a rod and try my luck at catching the carp. It's a bit tricky with the geese normally but they're at the other end of the lake this morning so it will be ok. Although it normally would be a perfect time for fishing I'm afraid Charlie has other plans and makes the whole thing impossible, playing about with the rods and generally being a nuisance, oh well perhaps I'll come back later on this afternoon when he's asleep by the fire, eh Charlie?


Charlie looks forward to welcoming you to Down Farm and Love North Devon.

Love North Devon

Down Farm,
 Little Bray, Brayford, Exmoor, North Devon, England, UK

  tel.01598 711888

North Devon Cottage Holidays Self Catering in Devon

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