Easter holiday? Help feed the lambs at Watermill Cottages.

Lambs arrive in the Lamb Rover

One  of the many delights of an Easter holiday in a comfy stone cottage at Watermill Cottages in South Devon’s AONB is helping to feed lambs.  Seeing them play, leap and bound against the stunning views over Start Bay beyond Slapton from our sunset field is one of life’s great and simple joys at Watermill Cottages.  And this spring, there’s a tale to tell!

The Lamb Rover parked in the lane.  We heard the bleating of week-old lambs crying for their mums who were in the attached trailer.  Jade and Ollie had brought them from Jolly Farm to enjoy our Sunset Field in the Gara Valley.  

We lifted the lambs out first and carefully handed them over the field fence, then opened the gate and the trailer.  Ewes ran straight into the field, and, oh the noise, as they bleated for their lambs and the lambs squeaked back.  A spring cacophony as they searched and sniffed and baa’ed with relief.

The mums have a number sprayed on their fleece.  The digit denotes where they are in the birthing order.  Red means a single lamb, the lamb shares the same number.  Blue means twins, each twin lamb carrying the same number.  We checked them all… Hmmm… Ewe 12 had a blue number but only one lamb.  Oh dear.  One Twin 12 had been left behind in the lambing barn.  And this on Mother’s Day.

Christine with Twin 12 in the ‘lambulance’.

Jade and Ollie drove straight home to check the barn.  A lamb this young needs to feed very often so there was no time to lose.  Yes, a shaking Number 12 was there.  We drove over immediately in our ‘lambulance’, John’s word, on an emergency mission to reunite lamb and ewe. On the way back,  I carried Twin 12 on my lap, a thick towel underneath in case of other lamb emergencies.  He was warm and calm, looking out the window at green fields.

Back at The Sunset Field we drove in and looked for Ewe 12.  There she was, on the crest.   I put her missing lamb on the ground.  It had a good shake and bleated.  Mum replied and on tottering legs it galloped over to her, nudged her udder and drank long and happily.  Success!

Two days later, more newborns and ewes arrived.  We feed them daily, enjoying their bouncing spring energy and different personalities.

Come and join us and meet this year’s lambs, there’s still some availability at Watermill Cottages in the Easter holidays, email jade@watermillcottages.co.uk or call 01803 770219.


View Over Start Bay


Spring into January, It’s Short Break Time!

pale hellebore

Come, breathe some clean spring air, feel your sap rise… revitalise, replenish your energy … a short break, a weekend, a relaxing week in a cosy Devon cottage with wood burner.

Yes, we’re blooming early again in The South Hams, spring is here in our lovely South Devon seaside valley. 

Snowdrops light fallen leaves, primroses peep through grass, hellebores ruffle their stamens in glory.  Blue periwinkle, honeysuckle and rosebuds continue.  Strolling up the lane today to feed the ducks and chickens (three hens and one duck laying now the light is longer), I caught the gold glint of aconite, pink campion above it.

Inspired, I walked to the orchard… last week, its pond was green with chickweed.  Today, it bulged with fresh frogspawn, like black bubblewrap.  The sheep have nibbled the reeds right back, the pond looks bald without its fringe.

Around the mill field spring and along the Gara Brook by Crownwheel Cottage‘s patio, hazel catkins dangle.   Quack Cottage’s garden is full of pink and white heliotrope, snowdrops grace borders.  Not long before the daffs are out.  Rose Cottage still has pink osteospermum daisies in its sunny herbaceous border, viburnum rosettes flower above. 

At dawn, about 7:15 now, the valley fills with hopeful birdsong.  At dusk, it’s owls we hear.

Barleycorn Cottage News  Barleycorn Cottage’s garden has a new look!  The great oak on the bank has blown down,  luckily, just missing the roof.  John’s ‘green gym’ workouts have been hearty as he safely dismantles the tree.  A new wildlife habitat in the brash pile along the leat, oak timber to season for projects and firewood.  Sunsets ahead from Barleycorn Cottage’s verandah!  

Email Christine or Jade with your short break or holiday dates.  Or send us a booking form.  We and the ducks would love to see you! 

Writers at The Watermill a creative writing workshop weekend at Watermill Cottages 3-5 November 2017

Writers at The Watermill
3 – 5 November 2017

At Watermill Cottages, Hansel nr Slapton, Dartmouth, Devon TQ6 0LN

Led by
Christine Cooke, writer, poet, blogger & co-owner of                  Watermill Cottages
Anne Rainbow aka RedPen Mentor & Scrivener Virgin.

Guest speaker is Belinda Seaward,
author of Hotel Juliet and The Beautiful Truth (John Murray).

Do you want to develop your writing voice?  Are you a blocked writer? 

Would you like to improve your writing, discover techniques to edit your work ready for feedback or print? 

Or would you simply enjoy exploring your creativity alongside like-minded people in a stunning location with all your meals prepared?  If so, then this weekend is for you. 

With Christine, who lives in the beautiful Gara Valley, develop your voice in creative writing sessions.   Then explore how nature and found materials inspire our creative process with a guided literary walk around the valley and writing in the wild.

By the fireside, share author Belinda Seaward’s story of how she developed her ideas into a finished draft and found a publisher.  How do you get published?  She’s happy to answer your questions.

Learn from Anne how to edit your writing to produce a professional, finished piece of work ready for feedback or for print.  The weekend includes a one-to-one session with Anne giving you considered feedback on your writing that you submit earlier.

Imagine: a room of your own. In an atmospheric, comfy stone cottage by an historic 18thC former watermill and stream in 20 acres of south Devon’s AONB.  Virtually untouched by the modern world, the coastal Gara Valley has a unique and inspirational literary history.  Far from the madding crowd you’ll find yourself immersed in revitalising natural energy.  It’s a full moon that weekend.

All your meals & refreshments are included, freeing you to be creative.  Lunch & supper are home-cooked using locally grown organic standard ingredients.  Breakfast is at your leisure in your cottage.  Cake is baked by Emily of Queen Bee Cakes. 

Accommodation, facilitation, tuition, speaker, food, refreshment, materials & log fires are included in the price of £475. There are just ten places.  And you’re welcome to stay on to write or relax for the rest of the week at no extra cost on a self-catering basis.

To book your place or register your interest please email Christine at christine@journeywords.co.uk   

More information, testimonials & biographies at www.journeywords.co.uk/writingworkshops