Happy New Year to all of our friends and guests.
2014 was a productive year for Ashcombe Country Cottages. We enjoyed another warm summer that almost turned into a full Indian Summer by late autumn. We were once again solidly booked right into November. There’s so much to do in South Devon but the highlight must have been another amazing Dawlish Air Show and all the events at The Village Club were well worth a visit. The Village Club has raised £25,000 for charity in the last three years and is on course for another £10,000 this financial year.
About 4,000 people stayed in the cottages (although you would never realise this). Please do re-book your cottage as soon as possible on our all-new booking system as cottages are going fast. There are many of holiday cottages in Devon, but we hope that the combination of our excellent location so close to the South Coast, Dartmoor and the main roads network plus our attention to detail and constantly improving facilities gives everyone a very good reason to come back! Here’s a brief run-down of what we’ve been up to and what we are planning for the future:
In 2011 we replaced every mattress, every old sofa, all the TV’s, 18 bathrooms, several kitchens, created the 12 bed Badger Cottage, insulated every roof, put in new double glazing, replaced all the outdoor furniture and BBQs, replaced all the cutlery & crockery, nearly half of the white goods, and nearly all of the linen and curtains.
In 2012 we totally redecorated Apple Tree Cottage including new central heating. The drive to Apple Tree and The Cider Barn was also completed. At Woodhouse Farm we created the new games room, redecorated the swimming pool area, added a sauna and built a new Children’s Playground. A 50KW solar array for the cottages at Woodhouse Farm was built. Endeavour Farmhouse got a new sauna. All cottages had modern lighting systems installed. The Old School House had new central heating installed. All cottages were WiFi enabled.
In 2013 we consolidated lots of the improvements we had made in 2012. We also totally refurbished The Old School House. Created a superb sun deck at Badger Cottage for the smart new hot tub. Rebuilt The Cider Barn car park to make it easier to turn around and park, and replaced the Cider Barn’s lighting. We replaced loads of night-storage heaters in the cottages with new modern electric radiators which are much more efficient. Finally and most importantly we refurbished most of the cottage’s roofs.
In 2014 we made Owl Cottage a lovely new larger garden, which is fully fenced to prevent escapees. At the same time we created a new additional car park for Woodhouse Farm which allows all guests to park without any trying to squeeze into a smaller area. The indoor swimming pool was made-over and is now looking very smart. We went to work on Endeavour Farmhouse, creating a lovely new dining room and sitting room which feature toasty log burners, as well as redoing the outside of the building and rear garden.
At Apple Tree Cottage we also made-over the garden area at to create a cool BBQ and hot tub patio. At Badger Cottage we have totally replaced the roof and created an extensive children’s private playground in the garden. Elsewhere we have mapped out a great walking trail from Woodhouse Farm up to Tower Wood for guests to walk along, successfully drilled a new borehole for water supplies and continued to tidy up and improve the entire area with landscaping along the stream and new woods being planted (you can even sponsor a tree in your name at the Village Club).
We also created the all-new website for Ashcombe Country Cottages and a new booking system.
So in 2015 what’s left to be done? Plenty! There were several projects that we couldn’t complete in 2014 (we do set ourselves serious tasks here!). We need to renovate all the patios at Woodhouse Farm Cottages and continue to install Woodburners in as many cottages as we can. In addition we will be completing the renovation of Endeavour Farmhouse and replacing the final three bathrooms in Columbia and Rainbow Cottages. Apple Tree Cottage’s exterior will be redone to make it as smart as on the inside, and we are considering creating a new children’s indoor pool at Woodhouse Farm.
The construction of a large solar farm within the estate will, on completion, release funds for our own local infrastructure projects. The first project will be to create a broadband network within the estate to improve our rather lowly broadband speeds.
As ever we continue to employ as many local residents as we can, and buy services from other local businesses. We estimate that our visitor make a considerable contribution to the Teignbridge area’s tourist income. We will continue with this process! Have a happy New Year and we look forward to seeing you in 2015.
Ralph Rayner – Director