Cotna Eco Retreat

5 Things to do in Cornwall Out of Season

  1. IMG_20151128_151312Enjoy Cornwall without the crowds – Visit landmarks like The Eden Project and the Lost Gardens of Heligan without having to queue or negotiate too many other people. Or walk the Southwest Coastal Path while there’s hardly anyone else around. There are 300 miles of footpath to explore around Cornwall; the north coast with its granite rock and Atlantic swells is wonderfully wild, while the south coast around Gorran and the Roseland is more sheltered and contains some of the most lovely secluded sections. You may have crashing sea-green waves and the spray of white horses, or strike lucky on a calm sunny day when all is clear blue and white light to entice you onto the beaches. But whatever the weather, there are excellent pubs en route, often offering good out of season deals. Our favourites are the fantastic Gurnard’s Head on the north coast near St Ives and Zennor (01736 796 928). Nearer to home there’s the excellent Barley Sheaf pub at Gorran (01726 843330) which offers a warm welcome, local beers and good food. Or there’s The Rising Sun in Port Mellon, an old traditional style pub 30 minutes walk through ancient woodland from Cotna Eco Retreat, where you can sit outside with a pint and contemplate the sea. The other place we’d recommend is the Fountain Inn in the working fishing village of Mevagissey, which does a very good Sunday lunch (01726 842320)
  1. Hunker down indoors by a roaring fire and read a good book. The firewood at Cotna Eco Retreat is sourced from our sustainable woodland, there’s a big sofa to lounge on in the straw bale barn, and we have plenty of books for you to borrow. Since the last TV series, we are totally into the Poldark saga – 12 books, which should keep anyone busy for at least a month or two! They are extremely well written, and give a deep insight into the history and way of life of Cornwall in the 1800’s, by ‘the incomparable Winston Graham who has everything anyone else has, then a whole lot more’ according to a Guardian review. Daphne du Maurier is a renowned Cornwall based writer, best known for Rebecca, My Cousin Rachel and The Birds. One of her most fascinating books is House on the Strand, involving experiments with psychedelic drugs and time-travel. A more recent book is Rough Music by Patrick Gayle set on a Cornish beach is a good read.
  1. Meditate Cornwall offers endless space, silence, nature and beauty to inspire and help you reconnect with yourself and the natural rhythm of life. The closest large retreat centre is Gaia house just over the border in Devon, but there are often smaller retreats happening around Cornwall; Cotna Eco Retreat offers solitary retreat space for those wishing to follow their own practice in a very supportive environment.
  1. Cook and eat seasonal if you are a foodie. What better way to spend your time than use the organic veg from the gardens and poly tunnels at Cotna Eco Retreat, then dine with good a bottle of red or a glass of Cornish ale. There’s always plenty of seasonal veg of one kind or another all through the year, including all-year-round salad leaves, and Sara has found the constraints of using what is in the garden to really develop her cooking. Try out kale and preserved lemon pesto, squash and sage pasta, parsnip and honey cake, leek  risotto or south Indian coconut based curries. Order a breakfast hamper of sourdough bread to eat with with organic poached egg and watercress, followed by home-made marmalade – or go healthy with homemade granola and blackcurrant kefir. If you feel you’d like some inspiration on the cooking front, why not learn to make sourdough bread, do a wild forage cook and dine session or learn to cook up a veggie feast? Sara loves to share her culinary skills, while Dave is always keen to pass on his horticultural knowledge through plant ID, woodland skills or no dig gardening. Courses can be tailored for 2-8 people: Perfect! I cant recommend this highly enough its a great way to learn about Cotna, your hosts and this heavenly spot as well as taking home some new ideas, recipes and possibly a pot or two from Saras store!
  1. Talk to the Animals – You will find yourself surrounded by animals, both wild and more domestic for animal therapy! Enjoy bird-watching, meet the wild Shetland ponies on the Dodman point, spot seals swimming or basking on the rocks. Closer to home at Cotna Eco Retreat Kiwi the cat is always available to sit on laps and hang out by the fire – trying her best to prove she comes with the barn (optional of course!); Ziggy cat likes a chat in the garden; Billy and Kuti the spaniels are a hugely enthusiastic welcome committee (mind your shoes don’t go missing!); the chickens and ducks are fun at feeding and egg collecting times; the horses Elderflower and Bos love company and carrots.

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