We wish all of our friends, colleagues and customers a great 2017 ahead.
2016 was another busy year at the Ashcombe Estate’s Holiday Cottages. We had more bookings than ever with guests throughout the year. Our holiday cottages were solidly booked from March to the end of November as well as most weekends, Christmas and other holidays. The summer weather was generally dry and warm which saw everyone hitting the local beaches and moors as well as attending the Ashcombe Village Club‘s events (The Village Fête, Village Olympics and Horse and Dog Show). The Ashcombe Village Club donated a record-breaking £14,700 to local charities and good causes. Meanwhile lots of Devon enjoyed the Devon County Show, the BBC Radio 1 Big Weekend, and the Dartmouth Regatta.
Despite around 4,000 people staying in the cottages through 2016, Ashcombe never does seem to get very busy. Rush hour might be 10 cars down the lane and this is of course why people love to come to stay in the cottages. It really is the perfect hidden rural gem, close to transport links and attractions but without any of the urbanisation or crowds.
Once again the booking board is filling up even faster than ever, including lots of repeat bookings, so please don’t delay as the bigger properties like Nut Tree Farm, The Cider Barn, Endeavour Farmhouse, Columbia and Rainbow can get booked up years ahead.
Sue or Charlotte are happy to answer any questions or take your booking over the telephone or internet.
As I usually do, it is helpful to review what we have been doing in the last few years:
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 room. All cottages had modern lighting systems installed. All cottages were WiFi enabled.
In 2013 we consolidated lots of the improvements we had made in 2012. We created a sun deck at Badger Cottage for large 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 all of night-storage heaters in the cottages with new modern efficient electric radiators. Finally and most importantly we refurbished most of the cottage’s roofs.
In 2014 we made Owl Cottage a new private larger garden. At the same time we created a new additional car park for Woodhouse Farm cottage guests. The indoor swimming pool was made-over. We created an excellent new dining room and sitting room at Endeavour Farmhouse. At Badger Cottage we totally replaced the roof and created an extensive children’s private playground in the garden.
In 2015 we 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 and Owl.
In 2016 we carried out various improvements and projects, the most important being the introduction of super-fast broadband in the village which has raised the internet connection speeds from a dire 1mbps to a speedy 30mbps. Quite an improvement! The system is provided by Airband who have the government mandate to connect Dartmoor and Exmoor. The only place in Devon also connected by Airband is Ashcombe.
At Woodhouse Farm Cottage complex we improved the outdoor playground, tarmaced the main drive, created six wooden sun-decks at the cottages, refurbished some more bathrooms and improved and decorated several cottages in the complex including a complete refurbishment of Freedom Cottage. Badger Cottage and The Cider Barn were also redecorated and improved and are looking fantastic.
In 2017 we have already begun the completion of Endeavour Farmhouse‘s total refurbishment with a new kitchen, upper bedrooms, landing and sauna room to compliment the new dining room and sitting room we created in 2014. The property will be restored to its five star rating and as the house sleeps 15 people it makes a very popular choice for holiday groups. Here’s a video of the builders at work in there:
We will also complete the general makeover and improvement of the Woodhouse Farm area with new parking area surfaces, sun-decks, restored courtyard paths, gardens, planting and painting.
Elsewhere, on our other holiday cottages, we will be working on the Cider Barn’s bathrooms and bedrooms, as well as continued improvements to Nut Tree Farm and its associated games barn.
Our plans for a smart camping huts area and nature trail are still in progress along with a Ashcombe Farm Shop and Cafe to incorporate the Ashcombe Cider facilities within the main yard by the estate office.
As ever, we try to always employ local people and businesses whenever we can. The holiday cottages and Ashcombe Estate generate important revenue for the locality thanks to our cottage guests spending their money with nearby businesses. As we continue to improve our facilities we really appreciate the support and feed-back of our loyal guests as we head into another year in South Devon.
With best wishes,
Ralph Rayner – Director