I like to live by the seat of my pants and completely over extend myself so whilst Hagar was in Canada I thought I need to get away from the wonderful chateau. As much as I adore living where I do, at the end of the day, I am nomadic and I just love to have an adventure wherever, and whenever, possible. I wanted to pop down to see my friend who lives nr Sidmouth, Devon so I headed on over to Alastair Sawdays to see what was on offer in the self catering department. My friend has had a rough few months as her cousin died recently and rapidly and I wanted to hang out with her, but not burden with myself and my two demanding children.
Sawday’s pointed me to Mazzard Farm and luck would have it, they had some availability for this very short notice weekend. As I can’t keep still for 5 minutes I had to rapidly re-shuffle what I had pending over the weekend. I then took the kids for their swimming lessons, attended a family fun evening at school which finished at 8pm. Once that was over then I rushed home and packed by throwing stuff into Lidl bags – I know, ‘classy’! I popped over to give my pigs some water and noticed that they had been truffling under their fence. I touched it and discovered there was no electricity charging the fence. Aaaargh!!! Panic – I quickly mustered the help of a friend who had a spare power unit and she expertly fixed the problem for me. I bundled the kids into the car and headed to the A303 only to discover that the it was bloody shut. I was beginning to think that I wasn’t destined to go!
Eventually I arrived at Mazzard Farm, Nr Ottery St Mary, Devon at 11.30pm at night. Ruud, the owner, very kindly waited up for me to check me in. The kids immediately fell in love with Quarendon Cottage, (named after the gorgeous Devonshire Quarenden Apple) our home for the next three nights.
The cottage overlooks a central communal courtyard, suitable for playing children that leads down through an orchard, to some woodlands, to a play area with a wooden climbing frame and a large teepee, and fire pit surrounded by log seats. It’s idyllic, safe and fresh air-tastic.
The cottage is on two floors. Downstairs there is a large living room, kitchen dining room which has ample room to cater for 6. Upstairs there is a shower room, bunk room, twin bedroom, a double bedroom and a bathroom. All calmly, stylishly and functionally decorated to provide clean, fresh living. The eco-friendly cottage is well equipped with wifi, TV, DVD player.
There are some lovely touches too – all the bathrooms have local, luscious, handmade soap and shampoo, and downstairs in the communal laundry the freezer is stocked to buy with croissants, pain au chocolat, local butter, and you can also buy Mazzard Farm apple juice and handmade soaps.
After a great night’s sleep, despite a thunderstorm, my local friend advised that we head on over to Escot about a 10 minute drive from Mazzard Farm.
Escot is a unique experience for all lovers of nature and the great outdoors, and offers a great family day out. Set in 220 acres of stunning private parkland in the heart of East Devon, Escot is a refreshingly uncommercial, award-winning visitor attraction that you will want to return to again and again. Home to the Kennaway family for over 200 years the Escot of today is setting new standards in recreation with its exciting open access red squirrel encounter where we were up close to these adorable creatures, world-class maze, birds of prey displays, otters and wild boar, unique (and scary!) woodland drop slide, saxon village, indoor playbarn and woodland play areas. Known as the natural place for good reason, there were peacocks and guinea fowl roaming free and chickens! The magnificent champion trees and woodland paths through daffodils, bluebells and rhododendrons were truly beautiful. We stayed for hours and it was a fantastic day out.
We headed back to Mazzard Farm for the night and the kids fed the goats and hung out in the grounds until darkness fell.
The next day we were beachward bound to Sidmouth, about 10 minutes drive from Mazzard Farm. Despite the terrible weather the forecast, the weather did that Devon thing and shone all day over Sidmouth Beach. I met my friend and her family, equipped with kayak and BBQ. Forewarned that it was a pebble beach, I made sure that we all had suitable footwear so that we could stumble with wobbly knees across the rocky shore. We set up base and the kids, paddled, swam, dug holes, counted rocks and played all day overlooking a flat calm sea and a perpendicular horizon. It was magnificent.
At 9pm we headed back to Mazzard Farm for hot drinks and baths before bedtime. It was an early start on the Monday to get the kids to school on time and yes for the record I was 30 minutes late. But we all agreed that we had the most marvellous weekend and mini-break at Mazzard Farm, nr Ottery St Mary, Devon.