Dairy Farms & Dirty Welly Boots!!

As of 6th January we’ve found ourselves pitched up alone other than some empty caravans on a dairy farm at £14 per night, West Middlewick farm campsite, the farm itself is nestled between the hamlet of Nomansland and Witheridge amongst the rolling hills and fields on the outskirts of Tiverton, what a brilliant adventure awaits us here, the farm itself  has approx 80 cows, 60 or so sheep, a fair few chickens, 3 geese and now new to the mix there’s also Pigs!!!

Foolishly I took a peek inside the calf shed, scolding myself for stupidly not expecting to see any calves in there at this time of year, (surely winter isn’t the time of year for cows to be calving right???)… but boy was I in for a shock, I hold my hands up I clearly know nothing regarding farming & cattle, there were at least 3 young calves in there that I could see… plus a couple of lambs, but one calf stood out from the crowd for me, this one looked very special indeed, it has a gorgeous love heart mark on its forehead… just, oh my days!!!… I hope they call it Shirley or Valentine… I think I may have fallen for my first cow, I even started to worry whether it was too cold for the poor thing and woke early hours that night worrying about the little calf that I’d already named Valentine in my head, I should never have looked inside that shed… I’ve stayed away from the animals and calf shed ever since!!!

Bare in mind as mentioned before in the blog I am absolutely terrified/petrified of fully grown cattle, my time here is going to be soooo much fun!!!  Apparently you can help at feeding times with the young animals and watch the milking of the cows this is extremely tempting for me… I’ll think on that one although I’d probably end up wanting to take the baby animals home with me so this feeding malarky may not be the best thing for me to do, but you never know… I have a week or so to think about it, I have massive respect for farmers they always amaze me with their dedication with the sheer amount of what seems like a constant workload, the family here are friendly and from what I can see I think there are a few generations of them working here… with it being winter the cows don’t get much chance to get out in the fields until the fairer weather so I guess this makes the workload even higher!!!

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We found the pigs shed too… after asking if it was ok to do so Pete thought it would be a great idea to feed them a half loaves of bread that we had hanging around… I stayed outside the pig shed because I had Toffi with me but inside it sounded like Pete had set off some sort of murderous riot with the pigs screeching and squealing at top volume (pigs are loud!!!) I asked him to get some pictures he came back with these… chuckling I did tell him they weren’t exactly the sort of pictures I had in mind, but hey…

We took a walk across the fields here and down along a river, boy is it muddy and yukky in the UK countryside in winter time, we decided our best purchase this year was most definitely our welly boots!!!

Of course Toffi’s loving all the mud and muck, and has now started to insist on finding the muckiest patches to play in, just look how proud of herself she was after running right through this big muddy field-gate puddle!!! (She didn’t however enjoy the wash off she got when she got home outside before she was allowed to re-enter the caravan!!)

Tiverton Canal 

We awoke to a frosty start on a Thursday morning and although we had planned to head to South Molton to the weekly market early today we changed our plans last minute as we are considering staying here another week, hopefully we can go to the market next week and take a good look around but instead today we headed to The Grand Western Canal in Tiverton and took a long walk along the canal side instead, the day started off with the grassy fields covered in frost and parts of the canal still had ice over the water surface…

Knightshayes Court

We also visited Knightshayes Court where I took a walk around the inside of the Gothic style house, while Pete and Toffi explored the garden what a fabulous place we will go back for a good old walk around the grounds!!!

 

As promised we went back to Knightshayes to walk around the grounds and the woods…

South Molton 

We then visited South Molton on the next Thursday the farmer here on site had told us the animal market is on that day so of course we had to go and nose around, true to word there were lots of sheep in pens and trailers being sold and transported…  there’s also an indoor market here in the town where they have stalls for fresh veg etc there were some nice independent shops around and we also stopped for lunch of chips and sausages at the local chippy…

Killerton House 

We then visited Killerton House and took a walk around the grounds here too, Killerton house if I am honest isn’t the most attractive house from the outside and with muddy boots on there was no chance of going inside… so we strolled the grounds for a few hours!!! On the way to the House that morning I made Pete pull over to take a picture of the fog amongst the valley…

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On the farm campsite here they have a farm shop where you can purchase meat, raw milk, cheese, fresh veg pretty much get whatever you might need if you wished… in the last few days we also seem to have a few escape artists from the field next door teaching her young lamb independance or perhaps they are just wanting a little quiet time away from the main flock… very cute anyway and harmless enough so not going to tell tales on them it would seem the grass is greener in this field anyway!!!

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While here Toffi has had to visit the vets for her annual check up and injections, we also decided it was time for her to have a growth on her foot rechecked as although it is a slow growing, seemingly harmless lump thats now been there for 5 years, it’s in a bit of an awkward place and we have to make sure it doesn’t get too big before it’s removed otherwise there won’t be enough skin in the area to close the wound, but lately it has started to grow just that little bit more and its looking a little more sore and brighter red in colour than usual, so Toffi’s now booked in at a local vet on Wednesday morning for it’s removal we’re due to move on from here Sunday but depending on any follow up treatment Toffi may need we may have to wait and see… We are thinking of going back to our fav Newquay site to wait out some of the winter weather with James and his family but will have to see what we decide…

I’ve been looking into different diets and settled on trying the potato diet for myself… you can lose nearly a stone in a week on this diet so I really need to look into it, has anyone else tried the potato diet? any advice?? since we’ve been travelling I seem to have put on a tad bit of weight!!!

Until next time, Take care, I am off to dream of potatoes!!!

Donna x

 

 

 

New Year, New scarf!!!

In our last week at Woodland Springs we made the most of it enjoying some milder weather compared to the wind and storms in the previous weeks which enabled us to get out and explore even more.  We found ourselves drawn towards exploring the nearby reservoirs, Meldon was our first, we planned to walk around it completely but we got halfway and found our access restricted by a no entry sign on a gateway so we were forced to turn back although we later learned that we could have gone in a different direction away from the reservoir and enjoyed a moorland walk instead!!!

Just look at some of the magnificent pictures we managed to snap here are my favourites of the whole post!!!

My imagination ran away with me as we were walking along the waters edge and enjoying the sights, there’s a small island here pictured below I am guessing largely used by water birds such as ducks, but I told Pete it would be my place of refuge & safety in the event of an armageddon event…I’m sure the Zombies or bad people looking for trouble wouldn’t find me here all I would need was a small boat and a tent…

On our way back from the no entry sign Toffi managed to get herself into a bit of a pickle involving a …boggy area her little face was a picture when she suddenly sank into a bog unaware of its existence which was amongst the reed bed she was exploring… Good job she managed to get a bit cleaner by the time she got back to the car otherwise we may well have made her walk home!!!

Our next visit was to the fantastic Fernworthy Reservoir and a gorgeous walk of several different scenes here some were along the waterside and a very scenic walk then through the sun dappled dense woodland where some of the trees were what seemed like the height of skyscrapers… then much to Toffi’s delight some more marshy swampy bogs to jump around in!!!

There were some stunning views here we walked the whole way around the reservoir and most parts of the walk were great although there was one part of the walk where wellies would have been ideal footwear just due to the huge amount of mud and several walkers appeared before us attempting this part with walking shoes caked in mud, but after navigating this part I thought we got off quite lightly due to us wading off the worst of the beaten muddy track… there’s also a burial site here with some burial chambers exposed along with bronze age settlements and evidence of their stone round huts along the way…

I finished making a pretty decent scarf in the time I was avoiding human contact which Pete promptly asserted ownership of… Merry Christmas Pete!!! You can see Pete wearing his new scarf in some of the pictures above… enjoy and stay warm Pete!!!

I managed a good catch up with a couple of good friends Debbie and Ally in Plymouth it was amazing to see them and have a good old chat, they both looked amazing and we spent the afternoon drinking hot chocolate, tea & coffee and chatting until it was time for me to drive home… a lot of friends hadn’t been able to make this meet up due to the short notice and that it was on a weekday so many were working, I’d arranged a meet up a week or so earlier but unfortunately I’d had to cancel (sorry for the mess around!!) hopefully we will get to catch up with more people next time we are in Plymouth…

We made some new friends at the Woodland Springs campsite and spent a couple of evenings in the company of Carole and Andy who have a seasonal pitch there, with the owners of the site Chris and Jan also joining us for some drinkies and a lovely spread of food that Carole had prepared, Thank you all for the great company and great evenings, keep feeding the birds for us!!!

The campsite became pretty busy over the holiday season and over the Christmas and New Year dates especially where the site went from just having a handful of us on site to being about 2/3’s full and this then felt extremely busy for me….  with me sometimes not being the most social person around this time of year I vowed Christmas day not to step outside the caravan at all that day just so that I didn’t bump into anyone and have to wish anyone a happy Christmas… and I managed it… I then repeated it for New Years day, yep I was feeling super social on those days!!! Soon it was time to move on, and on Sunday 6th January 2019 off we pootled onwards to our next stop… The next destination I will leave until the next blog post…

I will be social enough now to wish everyone reading this blog post a very happy and prosperous New Year and I will catch you all up on our next adventures soon until then enjoy the pictures, take care!!!

Donna x