Blackdown Yurts, Devon
Halsbeer Farm, Blackborough, Cullompton, Devon
The Blackdown smallholding is based on ethical and environmental principles that are really simple - to lessen the impact on our planet and enjoy the simplicity that nature has to offer. Probably principles that were taken for granted long before consumerism led the way but that's another web-site ......
It is the perfect anti-dote to the plastic toy brigade: fresh air, lots of space, no noise pollution - just nature and whatever you might encounter to make your stay unique.
Each yurt sits atop its own decking base on a foundation of gravel to provide stability and good drainage (music to a campers ears!). Once you've admired the superstructure (yes, I watch Charlie and Lola!) of wooden expanding lattice wall sections (made from larch with rawhide ties, and held together with camel or horsehair ropes then layered with thick felt, cotton and canvas to cover the frame) you can enjoy the laid back interior furnished with an eclectic mix of rustic and ethnic pieces with a polished wooden flooring, covered in coir matting and those scatter cushions.
Badger and Woodpecker Yurts are set at the bottom of a gently sloping ten-acre field with open views to surrounding woodland. Each has its own private space, enclosed by a high Devon bank scattered with wild flowers. Buzzard is set above on a small plateau on a hillside flanked by oak trees. It has stunning, panoramic views across the valley and thus provides a wonderful vantage point to enjoy your surroundings - do note that this yurt can only be reached on foot.
To help preserve the simplicity of yurt life Amanda and Jasmine have tried to keep everything as eco-friendly and back to basics as possible. Each yurt has spring water on tap, an enamel basin and jug for washing and a composting toilet outside. There is no electricity and at night yurts are lit by solar power, candles or wind up lanterns. All cutlery, pots and pans etc are supplied. The tin roof field kitchen next to each yurt is equipped with a camping gas stove and a barbeque. Eco-friendly washing up liquid and toiletries are supplied and there's also a range of bins and composters to help you recycle as much as possible, from glass bottles and cans to raw and cooked food scraps.
Creature comforts have been provided; the open barn has comfy sofas, log burning stoves and a few modern extras, such as a small electric grill, kettle, toaster and fridge/freezer. The communal shower block has two electric showers and a flushing toilet, all of which run into reed beds that act as natural filtration units.
To relieve some of the stresses of preparing for your holiday you might pre-order a hamper full of locally produced or organic food ready for your arrival. The freezer can also be stocked with home-cooked, frozen meals, which are paid for on an honesty basis. If you forget anything the local village shop stocks most things you might need, and more besides.
The Blackdown Hills have hundreds of footpaths, riverbanks, ancient woodland, villages and churches waiting to be explored. Maps are available should you decide to get off and explore after some helpful suggestions from your hosts. You can even borrow a bike if you prefer pedal power to walking. There are plenty of excellent places to eat and drink locally, again just ask for favourite pubs and restaurants.
If you'd like to venture further afield, you are in an ideal position for exploring, just a stone's throw away from the beautiful Jurassic World Heritage coastline, Dartmoor, Exmoor and the cathedral city of Exeter. Set out for a bracing walk across Exmoor or Dartmoor, followed by a hearty pub lunch. Rent an old-fashioned deckchair and tuck into a cream tea at the seaside villages of Beer or Branscombe. There are many outstanding National Trust properties nearby whilst the acclaimed Eden Project is just an hour and a half away by car.