Thursday, 28 July 2011

The Barn Owl is back!

You can imagine our excitement to see the Barn Owl hunting once again over the fields and verges at Coal Yeat Farm. This beautiful blonde bird has recently returned, and caused great interest among our guests staying in our Lake District self catering cottages, as it glides effortlessly searching for food. Forever looking down in search of the slightest movement to indicate a moving mouse, these Barn Owls are decimated countrywide by passing high sided wagons, as they search the roadsides.

But no such problems for our Barn Owl up here at Coal Yeat Farm as wagons are as rare as the owl itself. Is our Barn Owl a male or a female? Has she or he got a mate? Its so fantastic to see that our efforts in leaving lots of untouched areas of natural grassland and unkempt areas have provided the natural habitat of the Barn Owls main food source, the mouse. We have even, in the upgrading of the Lakeland holiday cottages, included an owl hole in the gable end of the building, built to the Owl Conservation Trust's specification.
But unfortunately our Barn Owl prefers, at the moment, other roosts. But not so the Swallows which have now departed, no longer residents on the wall of our self catering holiday cottages. A family of Swallows set up their summer nest outside all three cottages, Yan, Tyan and Tethera, and managed to rear two broods of youngsters this summer. How young Swallows fresh from the nest manage to migrate to Africa after only a couple of weeks on the wing is one of the wonders of nature.

Unlike the barn owl, I managed to photo our fledgling Swallows. Fresh from the nest they had not yet realised that I were to be perceived as danger and they just sat there and let me photograph them.
I am off for by own break in Holland and then all to soon the summer will draws to a close and the colours on the fells and mountains will change slowly from green to brown.  We await the riot of autumnal colour for which the Lake District is so famous. Autumn can be one of the best times of the year to visit the Lake District and I am offering some excellent deals for the remaining weeks in September and October. So why not give me a call on 07887731553 or email?

I cannot guarantee you will see the Barn Owl but you may be lucky! Apparently Barn owls normally feed within 1km radius of their nest site. Within this homerange it requires at least 120 acres of permanent or semi-permanent grassland over which to hunt. Coal Yeat Farm is only 25 acres of permanent grassland, but we are surrounded by many similar small Lakeland farms. Barn Owls are particularly attracted to old rank grassland, heavily fertilised and intensively farmed grassland is a 'green desert' to the Barn Owls. Fortunately farms like Coal Yeat Farm are in environmental schemes where the amount of nitrogen fertiliser is limited, and are therefore not intensively farmed, thus providing the opportunity for these fine Barn Owls to survive.

But it's not just Barn Owls, we have two Little Owls who hang out on the telephone wires on the fell road, a pair of Red Kite and lots of other birds of prey.

From the visitors book
Idyllic setting, beautiful cottage and even the weather was fine all week. GREAT!

Summer scents at Coal Yeat

Summer Scents Surround Coal Yeat Holiday Cottages.

Another burst of sunshine and how welcome it had been. I think our foreign friends have brought it with them.  We are very pleased to welcome more overseas visitors.  This week Yan and Tyan is occupied by a lovely bunch of American's who are attending the local Buddhist Festival. While in Tethera our Dutch friends are leaving today after a 10 day stay.  They are actually from the same area we are visiting on our summer holidays.  It was great to swap tips. I'm really enjoying meeting all our overseas guests this year so far we've had folks from India, Australia, America, The Netherlands, United Arab Emirates and Portugal.  While later in the summer we'll be welcoming Israeli and Maltese guests.  What an eclectic bunch..........

Back to the blog.......The weather has been very sunny which has been great for all the visitors to these luxury holiday cottages.  As the sun beats down once again the sweet smell of freshly cut ancient meadows is in the air - full of herbs and flowers cut to make hay. Mr Longmire the local farmer is almost organic and has tended these meadows for over half a century fertilising them with well rotted farmyard manure. This leads to a massive variety of different grasses flowers and field herbs which, when drying in the summer, leave this sweet lingering scent which must have been so familiar in Victorian times. Unforgettable!

 The weather this year has been typical Lakes weather - all seasons in one day.  This is a stark comparison to last year, where it was so dry at the Coal Yeat holiday cottages that we but we had to call a drought.  The  driest six months on record left the lakes and rivers at an all timed low there had been no appreciable rain since the floods of early November 09. 

Back to 2011 and it's the vibrant green that is amazing our foreign visitors, but it's all change in the view from these Lakeland holiday cottages as the cut green fields turn a bright yellow as hay and silage is cleared from the fields. The fells are green as the new bracken engulfs last years burnt sienna fronds. The patchwork of fields sewn together by the characteristic Cumbrian walls is an ever-changing panorama when viewed from these luxury Lake District cottages.

From the visitors book
Many thanks for the great accommodation in a perfect setting. It really drives home what you miss out on when you live in the city! Great scenery and decent weather combined gives us all our own "little piece of England"! Relaxation and calm to have those conversations that seem so hard to have when life's travelling so fast at home!
I forgot to mention the caramel shortbread (gone in 60 sec's) and the beautiful home made bread, a very nice welcome indeed! PS: the wine was great too for a french import!! If you read this then can we state we had a lovely time and hope you do too!

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Conservation at Coal Yeat

When arriving at Coal Yeat Holiday Cottages you may be a little disturbed by the unkempt approach. Please don't be! The grass is long, uncut, the nettles wave in the wind and the thistles tower proud. This is our natural area and it is left alone to provide a wild and wonderful habitat for insects, birds, mice and voles.

Don't worry as you progress closer to your accommodation the lawn mover kicks in!

Peggy on her evening stroll.
The nettles are the sole food for a variety of butterfly caterpillars. The docks have a specific grub which only eats dock leaves (dock leaves are still used to remove the stinging nettles rash on skin of us humans).The thistle flowers provide nectar and pollen for a variety of bees and insects which in turn feed the birds.

Seeds from the grasses feed the mice and voles and these unkempt areas also provide breeding cover for these rodents. However we also have the majority of the land farmed and it is when the rodents venture into these unprotected areas that they provide food for the owls and birds of prey that hunt over the Coal Yeat acres. Currently we have a barn owl, little owl, a pair of red kites, a pair of moorhens (who hang out with the pigs) and numerous swallows which joined us early in the summer to raise their young.

Among the corners of the fields we planted spinneys of mixed deciduous and coniferous trees. These provide shelter from the prevailing westerly winds and a totally natural environment for all variety of wildlife.

Our track to the accommodation. Bad day to take photos - the mountians are cloaked in cloud
Frogs, we must not forget the frogs that annually, along with their mates the toads, invade the pond at Coal Yeat.  Their mating activities produces rafts of frog spawn which in turn hatches swarms of tadpoles. It is no wonder the pond is full of fish and home to a variety of dragonfly.The toadlets came out in their thousands with the warm moist weather. Peggy and the cat loved chasing them around the garden.

The heather in full bloom
Gorse displaying in full flower

Over the years we have concentrated in allowing nature to flourish by enhancing these natural areas until today we have achieved a biodiversity not seen since Victorian times.

This ethos is carried through into the luxury Lakeland self catering cottages which have been developed to provide an income for Emma and Graham and their two young children Peggy and Doris. A young family born and bred in the Lake District .The Lake District is being denuded of young families, therefore by staying in these luxury self catering cottages you will be helping this young family continue to live as part of a thriving local community.

From the visitors book
We hired both Tyan and Yan for a week, we had a great time and the weather was great. The cottages are like a home from home! We ate at a different place every night, and the best was The Blacksmiths Arms which had great food at great prices!
There is something here for all ages which is great, we will be back later in the year. A big thank you for Emma and Graham, and the cat and dog x

Sunday, 3 July 2011


The weather has been perfect here at Coal Yeat.  Our recent guests have had all had a great time.  In fact we've just had word back.  Here is the latest review from our Tethera guests - which has been incorporated into a rather addictive blog

Hi Emma

Sorry I didn't get to say goodbye yesterday. I just wanted to say thanks for a great holiday, I'll certainly be recommending Coal Yeat Cottages and look forward to coming back. I've mentioned Tethera on my blog too

Hope you're enjoying the good weather


Take a look at Kate's blog it has some lovely pictures of Coal Yeat and the local area, but an even better breakdown of the Cumbrian cake trail!