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!
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
It’s been a beautiful frosty morning here at Flear and we’re giving Abbey and Gemma some extra hay which is well received!
The ponies have both grown lovely winter coats and look so different from the summer. It’s another mild winter here in South Devon but on clear nights it can still get cold, so they need them!
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!
As usual here at Flear, the are lots of big jobs to do in the day-to-day running of the Estate, (to keep it looking beautiful). And last week we took to pruning trees in the orchard to smarten them up for a good harvest next year – this means apple juice and cider for our guests, subject to age (and inclination). Most are old Devon varieties – not only are they delicious but also important to nuture. There are also over a hundred… so we needed help and education from fruit tree expert Tom Nancarrow, and also our wonderful resident gardeners Jane and Marilese.
Abbey and Gemma the ponies stood around and pretended to listen to the lessons, but soon got bored and start rolling and frolicking around instead!
Despite the distraction we got 57 trees pruned and happy!
Only 45 more to go…
Kate, our Swimming Teacher here at Flear is an expert at building children’s confidence in the water, from babies to big school. The pool is really big so everyone can have a proper swim rather than just splashing around. Her lessons are gentle and fun and, best of all, she can win the kids round without getting bossy!
A big thanks to our fantastic families this year for again making another Half-Term such a lovely environment for us all here at Flear. We had beach days (!) and built a huge bonfire helped by some of the bigger kids, a big fireworks display in the pony paddock (even bigger than last year), dressing up for Trick or Treating and pumpkin judging in the Spooky Playbarn. What a brilliant week!
Just because summer’s gone doesn’t mean the sun has. A good day to take some pics from the air…