Saturday, 4 June 2016

Husqvarna Automower Challenge Day 1 - Installation

We were delighted to have been one of hundred participants selected to test the new Husqvarna Automower in our garden in return for feedback and video reviews via social media.

A garden survey was undertaken by Grahams Garden Machinery, who will also be installing the Automower. Our garden, which includes gentle slopes, a huge ornamental rock and an orchard will apparently be no match for the Husqvarna 430X, so let's see......

We have kept the lawn cut short in preparation for the Automower's arrival and have had an electrical supply fitted to a central location within the garden. Upon installation the friendly chaps from Grahams Garden Machinery connect the Automower docking station and cut a groove (using a nifty machine) around the perimeter of the garden to sink a guide wire. A wire is also fitted centrally guiding the Automower back to the docking station.

A quick set up chat, a pin code is required to access the control system, which is all pretty straight forward. Options include setting time parameters, cutting heights, which days you would like the mower in action and number of times per week, etc. We have set the mower to work during daylight hours as we generate electricity onsite via 216 solar PV panels, so it makes sense to make use of the solar generation. 

And we're away.....the Automower springs into action, gliding across the lawn quite happily (and so quiet!) although it doesn't have much grass to cut for the moment. It rather feels like we have another pet, so we have named him Malcolm the mower. The dog and pet donkey aren't sure what to make of him! 

Thanks to Huqvarna for giving us this opportunity, so far we are delighted with the Automower. It will be saving Darrel so much time, whole sunny days can be lost mowing this monster of a lawn! We'll be updating everyone with our video reviews on our YouTube channel, also look out for posts on our Facebook and Twitter. Don't forget to check out the Husqvarna Automower website too. Please also feel free to share this information with anyone you feel would be interested in this product.
Thanks also to Grahams Garden Machinery for a smooth and friendly installation.
Brighton Cross, Truro TR2 4HD. Tel 01726 884001
*Trade in any petrol, battery or electric walk-behind lawnmowers, sit-on or robotic mower that are in working condition and save 10% when purchasing a Husqvarna 420/430X/450X at your local participating Husqvarna dealer

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

April Giveaway - organic apron set from Ochre & Ocre

Merlin Farm loves the beautiful range of organic textiles for the home from Cottage in the Hills, home of Ochre & Ocre. You can be in with a chance of winning the new 'Roost' apron, tea towel and oven glove set by visiting simply like & share the post and answer a simple question. Competition ends 30th April 2016 and the winner will be announced soon after. Good luck! Make sure you check out Cottage in the Hill's website too

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Suggestions for a Windy Wet Easter Saturday in Mawgan Porth

Guests arriving yesterday were teased by beautiful sunshine, although bittersweet after experiencing heavy traffic on their journey down to Cornwall. So you can see how lovely it can be, but what to do when the weather turns and it's wet and windy? Don't be down hearted there are still lots of lovely things to do. Here are a few suggestions....
(I have compiled this for our guests staying at Merlin Farm in Mawgan Porth so have tried to suggest places as nearby as possible)

The Merrymoor Inn overlooking Mawgan Porth Beach
The Beach Hut overlooking Watergate Bay

The Eden Project, St Austell. The biomes offer great shelter, we often go on wet days and wander round the tropical rainforest biome. Great food, fun and educational for children
Lobster Hatchery, Padstow. Quite small so won't take long to get around.
Pirate Quest, Newquay.
Blue Reef Aquarium, Newquay.

Oasis, Hendra, Newquay

What's on? Batman v Superman, Kung Fu Panda...
Nearest Cinemas at Newquay and Wadebridge, for more details visit:

Kernow Chocolate Factory, St Eval
Disco Beads, Mawgan Porth. Make your own jewellery

Thursday, 15 October 2015

RNLI Minecraft Beach Safety Project - ideal half term activity

Is your child aged between 7-14 years and Minecraft mad? The RNLI would like them to take part in a pilot project to see whether Minecraft can be used effectively to increase children’s knowledge of beach safety running from Friday 23 October 15 (ideal half term activity). Children will be challenged to craft beaches with lifeguard huts, rescue craft and colourful safety flags and signs. The aim is to make the beaches safe for characters to enjoy a swim. For more details visit: Did you know that the RNLI rely on donations to provide, a 24-hour on call lifeboat search and rescue service around the UK and Ireland, and a seasonal lifeguard service? To find out how you can help visit:

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Top 5 woodland walks in Cornwall

Woodlands can be enjoyed in all seasons and in most weathers if you dress accordingly. These are our top woodland walks in Cornwall.

Cardinham Woods, nr Bodmin
The 1.5 mile flat tree lined Lady Vale Walk is perfect for families and follows a stream flowing through the woods. There are also another 3 trails of varying lengths and gradients to choose from. There is a lovely children's play area and a visit to the delightful Woods Cafe is a must!
Tehidy Woods, nr Illogan
Tehidy Country Park is the largest woodland in Cornwall covering 250 acres and over 9 miles of paths including a circular walk which runs around the edge of a lake taking around 30 minutes. Little children will love feeding the ducks! Flat and with a lovely café onsite for refuelling.
Idless Woods, nr Truro
A well-laid path stretching for 2.8 miles and framed by a variety of tree types offering climbing challenges for mini adventurers. Bluebells carpet the ground in the Spring. Scan the woodland floor for pine cones and nuts in the autumn. Look out for deer and otters.
Carnanton Woods, St Mawgan
A great woodland walk in the Vale of Lanherne along the River Menalhyl. Wander deep in to the woods as far as the ruins of Lawry's Mill then return for refreshments at the 16th century Falcon Inn or the village Tearooms. Look out for deer.
No.5 coming soon...still deliberating. Can you help? Do you have a favourite that's not above?

Top 5 things to do this October Half Term in Cornwall for Families 2015

Here are our top picks for family fun activities in Cornwall this October Half Term
Ice Skating and magical Halloween activities at The Eden Project, home to the worlds largest indoor rainforest. 24 Oct - 1 Nov. There is a Little Monsters Halloween Ball on 31 Oct. Click here for more details

Rogue Theatre at Tehidy Woods
Watch The Rogue Theatre's 'Dead of Night Dance', a wicked and wonderful Halloween celebration full of adventure, thrills, frights and delights in the heart of the woods. Not to be missed! Shows at 2pm, 5pm & 8pm 27 Oct - 1 Nov.  Click here for more information and to purchase tickets

Pendennis Castle, Falmouth
The fearsome pirate leader Captain Bones has taken Pendennis. Meet this most salty of seadogs, discover scary stories of Pendennis’ piratical past, and embark on our spooky smugglers quest to find the buccaneers ill-gotten gains. Tales of dastardly deeds, discover the pirate skills of ropes and rigging, and discover some of the most infamous weapons from the Golden Age of Piracy. Frightfully good fun this Halloween half term! 26-30 October. More info at:


Crealy Adventure Park, Wadebridge 
 Crealy's Witch will be residing in her grotto throughout the week, casting spells and giving a free gift to each child, plus a pumpkin carving competition (every child receives a free pumpkin), close up encounters with some of the residents of Crocodile Corner Reptile House, magic shows and face painting. There will also be the opportunity to feast on hot pumpkin soup, toffee apples and gingerbread biscuits available throughout the day. 24 - 31 October's-On
The Great Outdoors
Wrap up warm and go on a woodland walk or a cycle ride


Monday, 21 September 2015

Best family bike rides in Cornwall

Cornwall boasts some of the most picturesque and varied bike trails in the UK. Pedal your way along rivers and coastline and through woodland and mining heritage sites. There are enough trails to do a different one day of the week (weather permitting of course!). I have recommended some bike rides below, in particular 'traffic free' which are ideal if you have children. And as I am always thinking about my next meal have included great places to eat along the way.
The Camel trail: Wadebridge to Padstow - 5.5 miles
Probably the most popular cycle trail in Cornwall. A nice flat trail following the picturesque Camel Estuary. There are some lovely spots to stop and enjoy a picnic, alternatively grab an award winning Cornish pasty at The Chough bakery or visit Greens Café in Padstow. There are some lovely cafes and coffee shops in Wadebridge too. If you don't have bikes you can hire them at either end of the trail.
The Camel Trail: Bodmin to Wenfordbridge - 6.25 miles
Relatively quieter than the more popular and better known Camel trail between Padstow and Wadebridge, this disused branch line between Bodmin and Wenfordbridge follows the river through tranquil woodland. It is flat all the way and you can park free at Scarletts Well Road in Bodmin. It took us a steady hour (with a tired & wingey 11yr old moaning most of the way due to previous late night) to get to the end of the trail at Wenfordbridge where we stopped for lunch at the delightful Snails Pace cafe.  We were pleased to see that this café is taking a similar approach to ourselves by running a sustainable 'eco' business, complete with compost toilet, solar panels and a bicycle powered smoothie maker! The food did not disappoint either, all freshly homemade and a lovely cream tea. Such a delightful little cafe that I almost want to keep it a secret. 
Pentewan Valley Trail - 3.4 miles
A lovely flat trail from St Austell to Pentewan. Take a bucket & spade, lock your bikes up at Pentewan village and walk to the Hub Box on the Beach for refreshments (they serve fabulous burgers too) and spend some time on the golden sands before heading back or there is the option to leave the traffic free section of the trail at Pentewan and continue on to Mevagissey totalling 8 miles. After leaving St Austell going towards Mevagissey, you can park for free in the laybys and small car parks along the left hand side of the road before London Apprentice.
Mineral Tramways
You can cycle 11 miles coast to coast from Devoran to Portreath but if you have younger ones you may wish to turn around about half way. We got to about the 7 mile mark before turning back. This disused tramway through Cornwall's historic mining sites was one of the earliest railways in Britain. The trail is a mixture of flat and a steady incline (not really noticed by my 11 yr old who was obviously having a good day!) but this decline was a welcome treat on the homeward journey. There is a nice little café, The Bike Chain at Bissoe serving homemade cakes and refreshments. Set off from Devoran where you will find free car parking.
 Lanhydrock Trails
This fantastic new bike trail in the grounds of The National Trust's Lanhydrock House offers a variety of trails for all abilities. Ranging from a gentle 1.5 mile trail to a series of 1-2 mile moderate trails taking you deep into little explored woodland on the estate. If the kids have any energy left after their bike ride they can blow off even more steam in the adventure playground which is located near the Park Café and the car park.  The beautiful Lanhydrock House is the grandest house in Cornwall and is well worth a visit if you have the time.