This winter we said a sad goodbye to our chestnut pony, Yara, who has left us to become a riding pony in her new home in North Devon, as we make arrangements for a couple of gorgeous little shetland ponies to come and live at Flear. Meanwhile Abbie has been waiting for her new companions eagerly!
Are they nearly here yet?
A few days later the Little Shetland siblings, Scooby and Shaggy arrive after walking through the village and up our lane. It’s all very exciting for everyone.
Let’s go for a run!
After a fair amount of showing off, Abbie shows the newbies around as they go for a run together.
These ponies are simply adorable
Then they get to know each other a bit, there’s lots of nose-to-nose chat, and they all get on very well from the start.
Playing it cool.
Abbie is playing it a bit cool, but we know how much she missed having company just in the few days since Yara left. Ignore the horsey poker face, she’s thrilled to have new friends.
Lots of delicious hay? Well I shouldn’t, but go on then…
As with people, a lot of excitement makes everyone hungry. Three piles of hay coming up! Welcome Scooby and Shaggy – you think it’s good now, just wait until our visiting families turn up with carrots and cuddles!
As summer continues at full swing here at Flear the little ones enjoy some fun in the valley and we welcome some cute and even magical arrivals…
Picnic in the Valley
Playing on the bridge over the stream
These ducklings were born down at the pond this summer and have been enjoying their new home.
Ducklings at Flear
We also say hello to some newly fledged young ducks just settling into after arriving this afternoon. We set up a pen for them to get used to the area for a while. It took about an hour for all the other ducks and then the family of Moorhens with their chicks to come to the pen for a chat. You can spot one Moorhen chick (black and fluffy) in this pic just above the pen on the far bank.
Young ducks arrive and are settling in.
And finally we welcome the more magical arrival of a family of Fairies who set up a beautiful harvest camp in Flear House garden. Fairies Tink and Willow communicated with the resident “big people” by secret message and have given their permission for us to use this photo, so we’re really very lucky to be able to show it here. Thanks to Sue, Karen, Lesley and their families for passing on this great pic.
The Fairy house in Flear House garden
As the summer continues well into September we are all looking forward to more picnics, barbecues and beach days!
Spring has arrived here in South Devon and brought us some glorious weather, with lots more to come. We’ve been busy making the valley look beautiful, and building a new Steam Room and Spa treatments room in our pool complex and they are now all in full swing.
The new Treatment Room here at Flear.
A variety of treatments are available, please see our Treatments menu for more information.
The Steam Room is a significant upgrade on the old Sauna room and much more effective and relaxing.
There’s plenty of space to sit or lie down to relax. For an extra relaxing experience, choose “Starfield” for your lighting…
Meanwhile, the Valley floor has been a glorious sun trap this week, and ready for the multitudes of spring flowers about to bloom.
We had a shower or two one day which prompted the Ducks to come up to the cottages and hang around for titbits!
All in all, Flear has never been in better heart, there are one or two weeks left in May if you can get away do let us know. Next post will likely be on the Bluebell Woods! See you soon.
Yara the Dartmoor Hill Pony has been with us at Flear for nearly two months, and we have been waiting to see how she was fitting in (particularly with Abbie) before officially welcoming her to live here.
Yara, giving us a profile of her new winter coat she’s growing for the season.
We’re delighted to report that Yara has settled in so well, here and Abbie were rubbing along from right from the start as if they had been friends for years.
Yara’s calm nature and her eagerness to learn new things were the main reasons we brought her to Flear. The inquisitive cheekiness comes as standard.
From the moment she arrived, she fell into step alongside Abbie and hasn’t left her side since. We were all surprised at just how well they are suited to each other as friends and companions. Ponies, particularly Dartmoors, make very strong bonds and Abbie and Yara’s new relationship is important for them both, and will last all their lives.
Grazing together, like old friends.
Both ponies spend their time chatting to the ducks over the fence, grazing together quietly or coming to see families up by the gate in the hope of a carrot or two.
Flear’s new residents, 20 little ducks, have been waiting to move on to the pond for several days, but we were having their duck house made, so they have been living in the back barn in the meantime. It’s been warm and comfortable for them there, but nothing could be better than a beautiful big pond, roosting platform and duck house for them in the valley. It’s safe to say they are absolutely loving their new home, hooray for our little ducks!
They started out by doing a few laps of the pond-side to get to see if it would do.
The children love them already and we are down to see them every day. Roo has been attempting to impress them with his bike, in as much as one can impress a duck – which is not much as it turns out.
There’s plenty of space in the parkland of the valley floor, and lots of stream side to forage on if they fancy a change of scene, perhaps they might keep the weeds down? If so, Hooray again for the little ducks of Flear!
Here are a couple for pics taken of Flear recently. You can see the pony paddock centre left, the pitch and putt course curls around the bottom towards the tennis court. The left side of the picture is the duck pond and stream-side meadow with the little bridge you can sit and dangle your legs over. The Apple orchard is top centre, with the beehives under the big Oak tree in the middle. A lot of the estate is not shown with the ridge going towards Flear Wood starting beyond the Orchard and the Fishing pond being further upstream but it does go a little way to showing how beautiful it is here, so we’re sharing it with you.
Flear House and gardens, including the outdoor pool and blackberry terraces.
Spring is in full swing here on the estate and we’re all feeling covered in wildlife, in a good way. We’ve swallows nesting in the play barn tunnel, brown trout in our stream, Owls in the trees all around the cottages, foxes, deer and badgers in the valley and we have even found space for a large swarm of honey bees that turned up last week, now happy in their own hive under an oak tree in the Orchard, making honey from our wild flowers.
Here are two photos of animals here on the estate taken this last week, one big and one small, both amazing in their own respect:
Young Doe on the path to Flear Wood. Photograph taken by photographer Mark Tizard.
This Young Doe is only little but still very inquisitive! One of our guests hid behind a tree when he saw her trotting up the woodland path and was able to get this extraordinary photograph as she approached.
The second picture is of one of two species of Oil Beetle strolling around here in our woodland. Oil Beetles are endangered and vanishing from our countryside. This image was also sent to the National Trust to help with an national appeal on sightings of the species.
Large Violet Oil Beetle enjoying the confines of Flear Wood.
With all the beaches and miles of coastline around us here in South Devon, it’s easy to forget that Dartmoor is just a little way to the North of us. It’s almost as accessible as the coast, you can be driving through the spectacular scenery of the moor in half an hour from leaving Flear, and it’s there, when the moor opens beyond the windscreen of your car, that you realise how wild and truly beautiful Dartmoor is. There are hundreds of places to go and see from panoramic Tor tops – where you can see for miles in all directions, to great valley forests and all the experiences and adventure that go with it all.
We took our little ones up to Hound Tor to mark the end of Winter. You don’t have to be an experienced walker to enjoy Dartmoor. There are lots of walks to do with the family, and even plenty of walks to do with a pushchair.
There’s a hidden treasure beneath this Crocodile-shaped rock for those who can find it.
To top it off there are many great family friendly pubs scattered around providing a great anchor-point for a walk and for a well-earned lunch.
Time for lunch (and a rest) at one of the great pubs in Widdecombe-in-the-Moor.
It’s been a truly magical Christmas and New Year here at Flear farm, with crisp, cold but sunny days and cosy nights in by the fireside.
The cottages looked resplendent with beautifully decorated Christmas trees chosen by us and cut from nearby Dartmoor forest. Generally other holiday cottage owners think we’re crazy to do it, but the truth is you never regret spending money on a proper tree, and besides it’s worth it to see our families surprised and delighted by them when they arrive. After all, that’s why we’re in this business, it’s the main reason anyone should be.
So here’s a few pics of the cottages over the holiday. Enjoy!