Saturday, 24 November 2012

The Seahorse, Mitch Tonks' restaurant, wins best seafood restaurant

The Seahorse, Mitch Tonks' restaurant in Dartmouth has been voted the best place to eat out in the UK by readers of The Observer.

The editors of The Good Food Guide 2013 named it the best seafood restuarant.

There are frequent special offers check the website for up-to-date info.

As at 24 November 2012 the offer is:
'Each day from Wednesday to Sunday lunch we also offer a fantastic value 2 course lunch menu, a starter, main course and choice of side dish. Also available Wednesday to Friday before 7pm. This menu changes daily depending on the catch... '

Watermill Cottages is just seven miles from Dartmouth, treat yourself whilst you're here!

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Water Turbine Installation at Watermill Cottages

The turbine is here! 

And work began at the beginning of November to build the sluice gate at the end of the leat.

Not long now before Watermill Cottages will be generating and using its own electricity.

We have a special turbine tariff for Barleycorn and Mill Cottages in December and January for anyone interested in coming to watch!

John is writing a blog so for latest news and photos see

Baby Otters spotted!

Two baby otters were spotted on Friday November 9, 2012 during the daytime by workmen on their lunch break.

They ran off the lawn, played on the lane, then ducked into the courtyard and the flowerbeds before disappearing down a well-used otter slide from the lawn back into the stream!

Are these the babies of the adult pair seen canoodling in the stream at midnight under a clear sky in September?

It looks like we have an otter family at Watermill Cottages which is wonderful!

For the record, baby otters are called pups, or kits or cubs.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Otters at Watermill Cottages

Well, our guests in Crownwheel Cottage in early September could hardly believe their luck. 

They were woken about miudnight by strange whistling sounds coming from the river which runs below the double bedroom window. 

They peeped out of the curtains, keeping the room dark, and there below them was a pair of otters playing in the stream.  The night was clear and the moon bright so their view was good.  It looked like a mature pair, male and female.

We had had traces of otters - there were fish remains on the lawn in spring - and we're delighted that they are so close.  Who knows, maybe they'll breed in the valley?  Some years ago it was not unusual to see otters and their babies on the lawn outside Crownwheel Cottage, and there have been sightings in the past two years on the main lawn and in Quack Cottage's garden.

When Nick from the Slapton Ley Field Centre was here the following Monday for the weekly Gara Brook water test he was thrilled to hear the news. 

We're just longing for the chance to take a photo!

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Dartmouth Crab Street Festival 5 August 2012

Taking place alongside the River Dart, on the Quay in Dartmouth, this fantastic Street Party sees South Devon Crab on the menu, as well as music and entertainment for all.

Meet Festival advocate Mitch Tonks as well as renowned Chef Nathan Outlaw, who will both be there on the day and will be pitching their crab dressing skills against each other. Have a go at Crab Cracking yourselves as well.

Tickets include a 2 course meal of fully dressed crab with salad and dessert as well as music and other entertainment.

The Street Party will run from 12pm to 4pm. Adults - £17. Children - £8.

Click to see photos and for more information 

Writer Jo Parfitt visits Watermill Cottages

Waking Up to Reality

Are you going to have the chance of a real break this summer?

I did, when, last week, my son Josh and I headed for the Gara valley in Devon for four days at Watermill Cottages, owned by my dear friend Christine and her partner, John.

Descending for six full minutes from the village of Slapton, through a high-hedged one-car-wide lane, towards Higher North Mill, reminded us of going down a rabbit hole. To discover a real
Wonderland in which to play on our arrival was sublime.

Then I had a big shock… no wifi in our cottage, no TV and the nearest mobile signal was a 20 minute steep glute-loving climb up to what Christine calls ‘Texting Corner’.
“Go on, Mum! I dare you!” Josh challenged me. “See if you can go a week without logging on.”

I knew Christine and John had working wifi next door but I resisted temptation and indeed took a week off.

Within just 24 hours I had a thumping headache, which, I am pretty sure, was due to the toxins leaving my body, but then I entered a state of such mindfulness and bliss that I never wanted to leave.

Poetry swirled round my head. Endlessly, lines from WB Davies, Wordsworth, Edward Thomas and my new love Anthony Anaxagorou, replaced the inane chatter, and slowly I was reminded of what really mattered to me in life – words, rhyme, metaphor, meaning, nature and laughter.

Just four days down the rabbit hole and suddenly I saw everything clearly again. And I wrote and wrote and wrote.

They say TV is ‘chewing gum for the mind’. Now I know it’s true. Take away technology and magically, out of the tangle of wires I found myself again. And it was good.

“Oh, no. Back to reality tomorrow,” I said to John on our last night, as we sat by his woodburning stove, singing along to him on guitar and Josh on double bass.

“Maybe this is reality,” said John.

Valley of the Senses
Once upon a childhood dream
I searched for fairies by a stream
and hunkered low by waterfalls,
listened for the swallow’s call,
dressed in week-old mucky clothes,
felt wet grass on sandalled toes,
sucked honey from the nettle flower,
inhaled the mist that filled the air.
And stopped.

And so today I push my tired hair behind deafened ears,
brace my blinded eyes
and remind myself to breathe,
in and out through my heart,
to ignore the constant chatter of my tinnitus
and monkey mind.
And unwind.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Devon Restaurant Month - June 2012 - gourmet deals and events

Enhance your holiday at Watermill Cottages with a gourmet treat during June, when many great places to eat throughout the county are offering special deals, events or discounts. It's Devon Restaurant Month and an opportunity to try out some new places

Have a look at the website, then pick a place to eat and read all about it.  Some even have vouchers to download.

Let the feasting begin!