Muddy stays: Melody Farm, Carnon Downs
I’ve always been a bit of a gypsy at heart and spent most of my summer holidays as a child barefoot, muddy and knickerless, camping in the New Forest. So I’m right at home with rustic accommodation. When I heard about the gorgeous glamping shepherds huts at Melody Farm between Falmouth and Truro a few weeks back I jumped at the chance to try them out.
Tim and Brigitte Kemp bought Melody Farm in 2010, moving from Kent, with a vision of creating a zero carbon holiday destination. They’ve managed that in The Emerald – the UK’s first truly eco-friendly site, which welcomed its first guests 2013. In the Autumn of 2015, the site was developed further with the addition of these cute little shepherd huts offering a quirkier type of accommodation.
Hidden away in the orchard, you’ll find Juniper and Jasmine – beautifully furnished to a high spec, with quality modern fittings and the same eco-credentials as The Emerald (more on that later).
Here’s Juniper. Isn’t she pretty? Juniper wasn’t available, but I did get a chance to sneak in and take some pics.
We stayed in the delightful Jasmine – self built by Tim and his brother Simon – in a secluded spot just a short walk from the swimming pool (oh yes!). Although this is back to nature at its best, there is free wifi available around the site so you can still check your emails if like me you are attached to the office by an ambilicus (guilty!).
Our bed was built in, with storage underneath where you can shove your luggage. It was super comfy, and the linens soft, expensive and stylish. I wanted to snaffle the duvet cover from Bluebellgray for our guest room at home – it was gorgeous.
The kitchen area was compact and bijou but stylishly finished. There was a small hob – perfect for frying a full English or warming soup, a built in fridge for your
wine milk and perishables and the basic utensils for conjuring up meals.
There was also bbq outside to borrow, but if the weather was against you though and you wanted to eat in, be warned, there’s no oven/grill/toaster, so it’ll be pan fried what ever, with salad. But that’s what camping is all about right?
Our ensuite was actually in the old chicken feed storage shed outside the hut, but that afforded us more space inside, so although that meant having to brave the rain for a wee in the night, it was well worth it for the spacious feel. I couldn’t believe it had once been a shed! The fittings were modern and spotlessly clean. We had our own loo, sink and power shower, plus all the towels we needed for our stay, and it was warm and spider free.
I was worried I would be cold (this was February after all), and sent Mr MC out for a hot water bottle (sexy huh?), but I needn’t have worried. The hut had both a wood burner and a rad, and we were cosy all night.
After a good night sleep, we woke the next day really early, read to explore the 5 acres of grounds – there’s loads of walking trails to enjoy.
Having previously worked in the energy business, Tim has created a carbon neutral site in The Emerald. Electricity is generated by their own solar panels, and water comes from their own borehole.
The pool is heated like everything else on site, using electricity they generate themselves and is kept at a constant warm 32 degrees – towels are provided for poolside use – a few laps before breakfast set me up for the day.
Not one to pass up a punchbag, I took the opportunity to throw a few hooks and upper cuts in the small but perfectly formed gym. There were treadmills, an erg, a cross trainer, weights and boxing equipment.
Mr MC was in just about every tennis club going as kid and I left him playing against the lobster ball machine.
Carnon Downs is a great little village, just of the A39 between Truro and Falmouth, so the site makes a brilliant base for exploring the south coast and further afield. There are lots of pubs in the surrounding area – we ate some great quality grub at the ancient Norway Inn at about 5 minutes drive, but were spoilt for choice. If you felt like something a little fancier, there is plenty on offer in Falmouth for foodies.
We had a fantastic time at Melody Farm, it was fab to stay in something a bit quirky, but comfortable. Mr MC was so impressed he’s talking about getting a hut for the garden.
THE MUDDY VERDICT:
Good for: R&R without tech distractions. Adventurers. Readers, writers, artists looking for tranquillity. Saucy weekends away sans kids. Those looking for camping without the misery.
Not for: families – the huts sleep two in a double. Although this is luxury by camping standards, you wont find a toaster or a hair dryer here. This is back-to-basics luxe. Those looking for all creature comforts will want to hop over to the ultra-kitted out The Emerald.
£££: From a very reasonable £630 a week.
Melody Farm, Chyreen Lane, Carnon Downs, Cornwall TR3 6LN