Cotna Eco Retreat

FAQs


What is provided?

We provide most of what you need for your self-catering holiday in Cornwall. Cooking equipment & facilities; bedding – duvets, pillows, sheets for the double bed & sheets for single beds. Basic food provisions such as tea, sugar and spices; Cotna Taster Hampers for delicious self-catering meals (see below)

What Should I Bring?

  • Towels & bedding for single beds
  • Torch – important!! Preferably a headtorch
  • Wellies / walking boots (it can get muddy)
  • Indoor slippers / shoes for inside yurts
  • Newspapers, for lighting fires
  • Nightlights / tealight candles
  • Firewood if you don’t want to buy from us
  • Extra blankets, bedding or hot water bottles if it’s a cold Spring
  • BUT if you do forget anything we will always try to provide it!

Is it Glamping?

Glamping derives from glamorous camping on the festival circuit. So is it Glamping at Cotna? Well, the beds are comfortable, the decor is beautiful, it’s dry in the yurt, there is a wood burning stove to keep you warm, there’s all the facilities & equipment to cook indoors and there aren’t that many people around. However, the yurts are in a field, the toilets are compost loos, the hot shower sometimes runs cold if the gas runs out – and it’s Cornwall. So while the sun shines warm, it can feel like the height of luxury as you drink your sundowner & enjoy the sunset, but perhaps less so if a westerly gale blows or the Cornish mizzle descends. But just think, you could be sitting in a soggy tent instead of tucked up by the fire!

Home-cooked food

Delicious home-grown organic food is a crucial part of Cotna Eco Retreat life; the growing, cooking and eating of it. You can buy food direct from us—the list of seasonal veg and preserves varies. Please ask about seasonal availability. Dried and preserved foods such as pasta, rice, lentils, muesli, as well as home-made jams and chutneys are usually available. The food we eat is vegetarian and has a fresh, gourmet, international feel. As we are a vegetarian smallholding we greatly appreciate that you keep the cooking of meat to a minimum.

We provide various Cotna Taster Hampers with our fresh seasonal produce for £10: Breakfast Hamper (warm sourdough, fresh eggs, home-made jam, milk & butter) Late Arrival Hamper with extra option of local cornish beer, wine or champagne cider from local Fowey Valley, Evening Meal HampersItalian (fresh pesto or tomato passata meal with salad) Indian (fresh ingredients & spices for either south Indian dahl or coconut curry – simple recipe included!), Garden Hamper  (with a range of seasonal, organic vegetables and preserves). If you would like sourdough bread please give us advance notice.

Firewood

The first box of firewood is free, and after that is £3 small box / £5 large box. During winter there are supplies of firewood brought in from our woodland, and the money charged covers the felling, cutting, processing and delivery of the wood. Wood doesn’t grow on trees! – well it does, but it takes a great deal of time and energy to source it, and it is a finite resource.

The barn can get very warm once the wood-burner has been lit, so please feed it conservatively. Water for the shower is heated by the back boiler on the wood-burner, and there is also an immersion heater to supplement the burner if needed, especially in the summer. Dave will initiate you into the workings of the wood-burner and if you need further help lighting a fire with it do ask!

Can we bring our dog?

We welcome well behaved dogs, but by arrangement only! We do have regular escapee chickens & ducks as well as our own dogs & horses, so it is important that you keep them under good control. Please bring dog towels & blankets to try & keep the floors clean. And we request that your dog is never left alone in your accommodation.

Compost toilets

The toilets are all composting loos and pretty posh we hope! They are a constantly evolving design, but we now finally feel we have reached our ideal situation – each shed now has a separate loo for pee & poo which you can choose appropriately! We are also moving towards dedicated loos for each accommodation, so there is now just one shared loo. Boys (and girls of of course!) are also welcome to “mark the boundaries” by fertilising our trees and hedges!

Our ‘tree-bog’ style of compost loo is basically a shed on stilts, with a ventilated collecting chamber for solids underneath. The nutrients from the solid manure are taken up by the trees and plant roots surrounding it. This type of “dry” toilet works with a scoop of wood chippings & the usual toilet paper after use, rather than water flushing, and is more efficient when the pee is separated.  We therefore have a separate pee bucket with wood chips in, which help eliminate the smell and are a good activator for the compost heap! None of the toilets should smell too much; the odour should be earthy. If it becomes too pungent please add an extra cup of wood chips or tell us if it becomes a problem.

Composting

There are a number of compost heaps around the place; please put any uncooked food and peelings onto these. As cooked food tends to rot rather than compost, we tend to feed this to the chickens (which we would encourage you to do too). Please ask if you are in any doubt as to where to put your food scraps.

Recycling

There are labelled bags on the deck outside the barn or outside the yurt kitchen hut for any non-compostable waste (glass, plastic bottles, tin cans, cardboard). There are also compost buckets provided for compostable waste (peelings, egg shells, paper etc). Anything edible (e.g. fruit, bread, pasties, cooked food) is gratefully pecked up by our chickens!

Bees

We have a number of Cornish bee-hives in the corner of the field above the entrance to the woods, and a bait-hive on the woodshed. They are usually very safe, but do occasionally swarm (May—July). If you see, or hear a swarm of bees do move aside and please inform us as we will need to let the bee-keepers know. NB if you think you may react badly to bee stings please inform us, and bring your epipen if you have one.

Chickens & Ducks

We keep approx 25 chickens and 2 ducks on the farm for their golden & happy eggs.  We do have occasional escapees so please make sure you keep your dogs under control around the site.

Push-bikes

We have space for push-bikes by the tractor-shed. If you are bringing bikes please let us know us and if you would like to fire them there is nearby Pentewan Valley Bike Hire on 01726 844242

Is there a local bus service?

See  timetable for more info. Currently the 526 just goes as far as Heligan and there are two buses a day with Travel Cornwall. We can usually pick you up from Heligan or you can get a taxi from the station Star Taxis (0800 756 3097) or call Kernow Cabs (01726 76314) for friendly service

Link to First Bus Company and Travel Cornwall

Are there shops nearby?

There is a choice of farm-shops within a few miles of Cotna: Lobbs (deli-style) at The Lost Gardens of Heligan (approx 4 miles), and Humfreys – a proper Cornish farm-shop at Tregony (approx 6 miles away).

The local Post Office shop in Gorran (walking distance, up the track in the village) has most common provisions, newspapers and milk.

The Barley Sheaf Pub (01726 843330) offers excellent beer & good hospitality, and meals too. They have live music at least once a week and a fun pub quiz on a Tuesday night.

There are many small craft shops, fish and chips and pasty places in Mevagissey (approx 4 miles).

The nearest supermarkets and one good delicatessen are in St Austell (approx 10 miles). All of the larger chain-stores, clothes shops, cafes and restaurants can be found in Truro (approx 12 miles).

Link to Area page for further info