Tuesday, 23 November 2010

An unexpected visitor

With the lodges empty for a few short weeks, the ducks have been regular visitors to the house. They're obviously missing the attention that they receive from our guests (and we suspect that they are looking forward to Christmas, when they can visit each lodge one by one, filling their tummies as they go!) and so are demanding food from the garden.
Word had obviously spread in the duck community about Forda, and we were delighted to welcome a newcomer (pictured) who came and spent a few days here (on holiday perhaps?)
We've not been able to identify him from any of our bird books, and have concluded that he must be a hybrid of some sort. If anyone has any ideas as to his breed, we'd be most interested to hear from you! But, whatever he is, he seemed to enjoy his stay here.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

New Spa Treatments

Our therapists are always thinking of new treatments for our guests to enjoy !
Keighley has attended some really interesting seminars and workshops this summer at Spiezia (the Cornish organic producers) and has now added two new treatments to her repertoire at Forda. There is a new “Cornish organic anti-ageing facial” and a “Hands & Feet Treat” - everyone has loved them so far! Our full current treatment list is available on http://www.forda.co.uk/

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Kilk in Bloom!

This year's flower festival has just taken place in Kilkhampton, and this year the theme was Trades & Professions.
All of the entries were very impressive, not to mention extremely clever and inventive!

Our submission here at Forda (pictured) was created by Gillian (with a little help from her friends!) and some of the flowers used are actually made from dishcloths and rubber gloves!

Gillian chose the title 'domestic engineer' but it has been suggested that 'domestic goddess' may have been more appropriate!

Friday, 3 September 2010

Forda Article Published by Visit England

We're thrilled here at Forda to have been featured in an article by 'Quality Edge' - VisitEngland's magazine.

The article was written for the trade to highlight the importance of cleanliness - with their research showing that "94% of guests consider the cleanliness and hygiene standards of accommodation to be either extremely important or important". We can only agree!

The article says that "about 10% of self-catering properties got top marks for housekeeping, compared with about 6% of guest accommodation and 2% of hotels."

Forda was the only self-catering place from the whole of the UK included in their article because we have achieved a perfect 100% score for several years in the VisitEngland inspections for cleanliness!

They even included this picture of our ladies ! - we are very fortunate to have such a great team of cleaners - without them we couldn't keep up the high standards.

Thank you girls!

Tuesday, 10 August 2010


We're very happy to report that the swallows returned to Forda once more this year - providing hours of amusement for our guests as they safely raised their young families before leaving us for another year!

Top Gear

Many of you are no doubt fans of Top Gear - and will have watched 'Jezza', 'Hamster' and 'Captain Slow' on Sunday 18th July, facing the challenge of building their own interesting motorhomes for a trip down to Cornwall.

Towards the end of the programme they were filmed driving up the A39 through Kilkhampton, and the London Inn was clearly visible.

After this they went to Hartland Quay - where Jeremy sat on a rock eating ice-cream whilst Hammond and May pushed his motorhome over a cliff in the background!

Nice weather for ducks - and fishing!

Well, the weather has been a little variable these last few weeks - we've had glorious, sunny days interspersed with...well, pretty wet ones really!
Luckily, the rain hasn't dampened the enthusiasm of the fishermen and women here at Forda, and by all accounts the ponds have been fishing really well.

The biggest photographed capture so far this season is a 14lb common carp - congratulations to Dylan Taylor (pictured) for that one! We know that there are bigger fish just waiting to be caught though, and will publish new photos as and when we get them.

We're really pleased that we've been able to introduce some brand new anglers to fishing, thanks to Colin, our fishing coach. Judging from some of the successful catches following a coaching session, we're pretty sure that we've created some life-long fishing fanatics!

All Change!

The end of July saw some changes here at Forda!

Our manager Bee decided to head for pastures new (literally!) and is embarking on a new career looking after animals and farming at a local attraction. We wish her the very best of luck for the future.

And speaking of luck, just as Bee left, Jayne & Colin arrived.

They have been trying to move to the area for some time, having spent all of their holidays here at Forda for the last ten years. Finally, they've sold their house and made the move, so we are pleased to welcome Jayne to the team, in place of Bee.

Colin is an experienced angler and qualified fishing coach, and has already carried out some coaching sessions for our guests, which have been a great success. Several years ago, Colin taught our son Harry how to fish and he has since become a very keen and competent fisherman.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Forda mentioned in Daily Mail Travel part!

We are absolutely delighted to (unknowingly) have been featured in last Saturday's travel part of the Daily Mail in a nice spread about Cornwall!

Camping, caravanning and B&Bs have always been a staple of Cornwall holidays, but now camping is taking a glamorous turn, B&Bs are offering a touch of luxury and boutique hotels springing up all over the region.

Bit o' fencin!

It's been an awfully rainy week so far and, sadly, it doesn't look like it's going to lighten very much for the next week or so. I've thrown a tentative eye on the long term forecast and I'm holding my breath a little on that one too... it doesn't look to good at the moment...

Never mind, can't hang around because of a bit of rain. We've decided to replace all the fencing around the Barn and the main house, and even with the rain falling steadily, we've been out there helping the professionals! We are now enjoying a rather open and pleasant view across to the Barn for a few hours, until the new panels go up.

We tried to be kind to the beautiful clematis that was sprawling along the old fence, and did our best to not damage it too much when ripping out the old fencing panels and posts. We did have to cut it back to its main branches, but luckily, it's just about the right time to treat this type of clematis to a rigorous cut (with winter clinging on so late - usually you'd cut back around late Feb, early March), so we are hoping that we'll be rewarded with lots of strong new shoots this year., even if our share of flowers might not be so abundant this year.

We'll upload some more photos of the finished project soon! It will certainly smarten this part of the grounds up no end again!

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Injured duck makes it against all odds

We've gained a little friend here at Forda! It's one of the resident male ducks, and he somehow managed to seriously injure his foot last Autumn.
The first couple of months he was hardly capable of anything but sliding around on his belly, with his injured leg trailing behind him uselessly. When swimming, he would go round in circles. The only serious means of getting around quickly was flying.
On closer observation we found his leg and especially his flipper seriously mangled. We gathered that he must have either been attacked by a predator or got tangled up one way or another.

Against all odds, he survived, be it with a little help from us. We fed him extra rations of grain and as long as there was water close by to slide into, and land & take off from, he was relatively safe from his enemies, especially Mr. Fox!

He now comes and visits us in the garden at the main house on a daily basis and still demands his special ration. He has become quite tame and will even eat out of Gillians hand.
Being an invalid will probably mean that he'll never mate (again) in his life, but at least he is healing slowy and can hopefully enjoy another spring and summer at Forda!

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

How to start a fire!

We had a really good day yesterday, clearing all the debris of our serious hedge cutting last week. It was a wonderfully sunny and warm day, and it was a joy to be able to do some more work outside.

Although we had little wind, we managed to get the fire going in the end. What you need is A: a farmer who know what he's doing (well - sort of ;-)), lots of paper and cardboard, and a little bit of liquid fuel, just to liven things up now and then.

Although one wouldn't believe it, this picture was taken late in the day around 4 pm - we had just piled the last lot to burn on and (as you can see in the picture) were enjoying the fruits of our labours (we needed that!). The last lot was reduced to ashes surprisingly quick - it was all burnt down by 5.30.
So we now have a nice, open hedge bank at top pond and our fishermen will hopefully be glad to have more space and less chance of getting their lines caught in any shrubbery!

Friday, 26 February 2010

We've had a fairly dry week here, even though the forecast told us to expect inches of rain - it never happened. So we took the opportunity to clear some of the overgrown hedges at top pond to give our keen fishermen a little bit more space. It had been creeping further and further into the grounds (as they do) and no amount of hedge cutting could really tame it - so we decided to be a little more rigorous this time!

Maybe, one day, we can lay some of our ancient Cornish hedges properly. It is fascinating to see how these burst back into life after having been maltreated in such an awful way. And hopefully the banks that have been cleared of scrubs and bushes this week will produce some fantastic new wild flowers!

Change of Guard

Our wild flower bank is now truly bursting into colour, with a change from the dominating white of the snowdrops to a much richer shade of purple and purple/white of the crocuses!

We always find that once the crocuses are out, things speed up very quickly. Not long now and the grass will start growing again. Nature seems to be waking up slowly but surely. Trees are budding in earnest and much of the wildlife is getting down to the serious business of defending courting grounds, mating and nesting.

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Frog spawn in our pond

First frog spawn of the season found in the garden pond!

It has gone quite cold again this week, with our ponds and lakes freezing over once more, yet that doesn't seem to stand in the way of budding life in the frog world! We couldn't quite believe our eyes when we found the first frog spawn in our garden pond, frozen into a thin layer of ice.

We did inspect our fishing lakes and river too, but couldn't find anything there (yet), so we either have an exceptionally eager (or is it daft) pair of frogs in the garden, or the garden micro-climate is a little more favourable.

As we are planning to clean the ponds out next week, we'll be moving it all into a quiet spot further up the water feature and hope for the best!

Friday, 5 February 2010

Winter 2009 / 2010 – Spring is on its way!

Winter 2009/2010 - Spring is on its way!

Sadly for those of you who were on holiday then – but it was confirmed that it was the wettest November on record for this area.

And that was followed by a dry and sunny (but a bit cold) December and then snow! – days and days of the stuff and very rare for here – the most for 30 years. Everything looked so beautiful but getting around on the roads was not easy. We were full for Christmas and New Year but luckily all the arrival and departure days were clear enough for everyone to get here and get home !

The answer to a recent question on QI – it takes Spring about 7 to 8 weeks to get from Cornwall to the north of Scotland so Spring arrives here first!

The first snowdrops were out in mid-January as soon as the snow melted and we now have the first crocuses and daffodils – roll on Spring… and as long as they don’t forecast it, we may have that BBQ summer at last!