May we wish you all a successful and happy 2016.
2015 was a busy year at Ashcombe Country Cottages. Early summer was warm and sunny, August a little rainy (but no one seemed to mind too much) and Devon enjoyed a very warm Autumn with all cottages booked solidly through October and well into November. As usual there was lots to do and see in and around the estate. Our Ashcombe Scuffle 4×4 events are now well established and have become a must-see for guests in February, April and June. These events raise money for our parish church restoration which is also helped by the Ashcombe Village Club. The Village Club raised over £12,000 for various local charities last year through some traditional events including the Village Fête, Village Olympics, Horse and Dog Show as well as a not-for-profit local watering hole.
Nearby, the Devon County Show was a great success with record attendance, the Dawlish Air Show became one of the last places to see the Vulcan Bomber flying, and Devon as ever, continued to provide top-class events and attractions throughout the year.
2015 saw a record number of guests staying in the cottages – although it never seems that busy. 2016 cottage booking are growing rapidly so do re-book soon using our new improved Visit Cottages.com to make a direct online booking system or call 01626 888730 to speak to Sue or Charlotte. As usual the bigger cottages do tend to book out first as bigger groups take more planning. We have even taken bookings two years ahead for Nut Tree Farm.
As usual it is good to recap on what’s been achieved and our plans for the coming year.
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. At the same time we created a new additional car park for Woodhouse Farm. The indoor swimming pool was made-over. We went to work on Endeavour Farmhouse, creating a lovely new dining room and sitting room featuring tw0 log burners, as well as redoing the outside of the building and rear garden. At Apple Tree Cottage the garden area was made over to create a cool BBQ and hot tub patio. At Badger Cottage we totally replaced the roof and created an extensive children’s private playground in the garden.
In 2015 we completed the restoration of Apple Tree Cottage, redid the swimming pool area at Nut Tree, replaced most patio doors and windows, built new outside decks for Freedom, Rainbow and Columbia, saw the completion of the 5.5MW solar farm, redecorated America, Madeleine, Owl, Cider Barn and have Badger and Nut Tree ongoing.
In 2016 there is even more to do!
There will be upgrade work at The Cider Barn with many cottages due to be further upgraded: Freedom and Columbia Cottage coming up first. Where it is possible we want to install more wood-burning stoves into the cottages like we have done in Endeavour and many others.
The Sawmills Solar Park has released funding to enable the creation of our own fast internet network. Ashcombe will soon join the 30mbs Airband Network. This should be available for all residents before this summer. Having fast internet will transform the estate allowing guests and residents to truly work from home or easily stream internet content.
For those not wanting to hit the beach or the moors, we will be adding new features to the Woodhouse Farm in the coming months, and improving the outdoor playground with better hedging and some awesome slides. We also intend to build a great nature trail along the stream and woods by the office. This will eventually house some very nice camping huts for those who would like to experience life in the great outdoors… without the inconvenience of getting wet or cold.
As always we employ local people and businesses whenever we can. The cottage and estate businesses bring important revenue into the local area thanks to our nearly 4,000 annual visitors spending their money locally. As we continue to improve and extend our facilities we appreciate the support of our loyal guests as we head into this new year.
With best wishes
Ralph Rayner – Director