Saturday, 22 November 2014

Go green this Christmas

Making Christmas decorations out of recycled materials...

We've been getting crafty today and making tree decorations for our Eco Cottages out of recycled materials. Blown and redundant (we only use low energy in our cottages) light bulbs have been decorated with glitter and transformed into hanging glass baubles.

Empty loo rolls usually get used in the woodburner but today they have been transformed into decorative stars!

A great weekend project for the children in the run up to Christmas.
More will be added soon...

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Merlin Farm wins Goldstar - Awards for the Greenest Businesses in the UK

 We did it!

Merlin Farm Eco Cottages has won the top accolade - the 'Goldstar' for Best Self-Catering business in The Green Tourism Business Scheme Awards. We were among 60 finalists from across the UK and Canada who made it on to the short-list from more than 2,400 contenders in a total of 15 award categories.

Merlin Farm is one of four Cornish businesses who have been praised by judges in an international competition to find the most environmentally friendly businesses. Now in it's fourth year, the annual Goldstar Awards honour businesses and organisations that have done the most to promote sustainability within the industry by implementing cost-saving practices that help the environment, improve customer services and benefit the bottom line.

Andrea Nicholas, Director of Green Tourism, said: "The Goldstar Awards are a recognition of the best of the best in Britain when it comes to creating and maintaining a thriving sustainable tourism industry.

“Just being nominated is a major achievement in itself as there were so many high quality entrants for the Awards this year The finalists represent the top 3 per cent of Green Tourism businesses in the UK.”

Green Tourism was launched 17 years ago and is now the biggest of its kind in the world having helped nearly 10,000 businesses improve their commitment to sustainability. It is considered one of the most rigorous of its kind and is the only certification programme independently validated by the International Centre for Responsible Tourism (ICRT) on behalf of VisitEngland, VisitWales and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, and endorsed by VisitScotland and Failte Ireland.

The programme criteria has now been adopted across the UK and as far afield as Canada, Eire, Sweden and New Zealand as the benchmark for sustainable tourism practices. Members are evaluated on a range of best practice measures, including use of energy efficient heating and lighting, nature conservation and community involvement, to achieve a bronze, silver or gold award.

Since joining Green Tourism in 2011 we are proud to have maintained a Gold Award. At our last bi-annual inspection we scored in the top 2% of greenest businesses and  went on to win a 'Highly Commended' award at the ceremony in Edinburgh on 25th May 2012. Since then we have become greener and have installed 216 Solar PV panels and generate/export our own electricity. 

The winners of all the awards were announced at the annual Green Tourism Conference held at the Palace Hotel in Manchester. Unfortunately we were unable to make the conference and award ceremony, but were very grateful to friend Tania from Bedruthan Hotel for accepting the award on our behalf. We congratulate Tania on her success at winning the 'Highly Commended' award for Bedruthan in the Hotel category.

Satish Kumar presenting the Goldstar award to Tania Clark on behalf of Merlin Eco Cottages

Green Tourism kept us up to date with events via livestream so we were able to listen to the inspirational guest speakers and still feel part of everything that was going on at the conference.

We would like to congratulate those who made the shortlist, and ALL the Green Tourism Business members who work very hard in ensuring that their businesses make as little impact on the environment as possible. I hope that many more businesses join this scheme, and we are always happy to offer advice to anyone wishing to adopt a greener approach to their business (contact us at

We are very proud of our 'Green Business' and are delighted to have been recognised for our efforts in not only running a sustainable business but providing guests with an environmentally friendly holiday in Cornwall. Guests leave feeling inspired, and with a positive outlook on leading a greener life when they return home.

We hope the success doesn't end there, we are delighted to have made the shortlist for The Cornwall Sustainability Awards! We look forward to the awards ceremony at The Headland Hotel on the 4th December 2014, wish us luck!

Read more about...
Our Story
Merlin Farm's Environmental Policy
Luxury Eco Cottages in Cornwall

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Merlin Farm's latest award - Unique Eco Escape

Our Cornish Eco Cottages have won 'Best Eco Escape' in the 2014 Unique Holiday Cottages Awards! 

Awards Judges said "The Eco Cottages stood out for their truly luxurious feel as well as its extensive list of baby and toddler equipment and clearly investing in a lot of equipment which allows them to be a first class eco friendly self catering provider".

Anna Fern, founder of Unique Holiday Cottages added "This year’s standard was incredibly high but it was your cottages in this category that stood out above the rest".

Thank you to the judges and Anna for our award, including us in your collection of unique properties and for all your help promoting us throughout the year via social media.

We are delighted to receive recognition for our efforts in providing exceptional self catering accommodation. 2014 seems to be a triumphant year for us as this latest accolade joins our 'Gold' Green Tourism Business Scheme award, 'Gold' Quality in Tourism award and 'Certificate of Excellence' award from Trip Advisor. We have also been shortlisted for a 'Goldstar', a further award from the Green Tourism Business Scheme for representing the greenest 2% of the total 2400 membership. The winners will be announced on 10th November 2014.

 Lowenna admiring our beautiful glass plaque
awarded by Unique Holiday Cottages

Click to visit Merlin Farm Holiday Cottages in Cornwall

Friday, 1 August 2014

An answer to the summer school holiday madness in the UK?

OK, so this is my suggestion, and I suspect many will probably agree, let's see.....

School summer holidays = chaos, silly season, expensive, too busy, stressful (aren't holidays supposed to be relaxing?). Anyone have anything to add to the list? 

As a resident of Cornwall I want to hide away from the invasion. I want to escape but I can't. It can take up to four times longer than usual to get from A to B. It is a stressful and unpleasant experience going to the supermarket, into town, etc (tail backs into Newquay for miles on a rainy day when all the tourists jump in their cars). You simply can't just 'pop' into town, it takes hours! You can't find a car parking space. It is a strain on infrastructure and a logistical nightmare for police, emergency services, hospitals, road/rail networks, refuse, and water supply/treatment. Not to mention mobile networks and broadband speeds! We had to wait over 2 hours for our meal to arrive in our local pub, the place was quite literally mobbed! As a business they need this, they can't turn it down but in effect they are ruining their fabulous reputation they have gained the rest of the year by trying to meet the demand in the six week season. OK, moan over and sorry to offend holiday makers, it's not your fault! 

As a holiday cottage complex owner I want and need people to visit our beautiful County and occupy our cottages (preferably all year round). We don't think of guests as a commodity, we enjoy what we do and we have met some fabulous people over the ten years, many becoming friends. Cornwall is a wonderful place to visit for families all year round, so why do we have to box ourselves into this silly six week season??? Take a leaf out of Germany's book. Their school summer holidays span over a 3 month period, 6 weeks staggered (by county) from June to September, and rotating ever year. We could do this! Imagine a steady influx of families from June to September, Cornwall would be a pleasant place to visit and live instead of a potential nightmare. Businesses like mine could average their prices over the 3 months instead of hike them. I don't like having to charge our guests as much as we do but due to school fines families no longer come outside of the six weeks summer holiday. We need to charge more in this period to keep our business afloat over the rest of the year. I am fed up of having to justify this to frustrated guests who question our pricing structure and why we can't offer deals in the summer season!

Many businesses choose to/can't afford to open and staff up until Easter, then it's a struggle to carry this through between Whitsun and the summer holidays. 

It's not rocket science, lengthen the seasons, improve the visitor experience, make Cornwall, and other tourist resorts a more pleasant place to be. By staggering holidays, accommodation providers can lower their prices, parents won't have to break the law by taking their children out of school in favour of a cheaper out of season deal. Why are responsible parents being made to feel like naughty children by wanting to spend a holiday with their child(ren)? The same could be done for half terms, the entire months of February and October we could welcome families, a different half term week for different parts of the country. 

I don't want to offend anyone by writing this, I just want the school holidays to be a pleasant experience for visitors and residents. It has never been explained to me why the school holidays have to be fixed like this by a politician or school head. The only negative comments have been from some parents with children in different schools but by staggering holidays by county this would only effect a small number of children spanning borders. This could also enable families who work in the tourist industry to take a holiday in the summer themselves as it will be easier to find cover in a not so chaotic season. 

Please feel free to debate on this or enlighten me on any areas I may have missed. 
Thank you for reading,

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Fingers crossed for Goldstar!

Merlin Farm Eco Cottages once again gets shortlisted for the Green Business Tourism Scheme's 'Goldstar' award.

After securing our Gold grading last year we were also in the top 2% of the total 2400 GTBS membership. The awards will be announced at a ceremony to be held in Manchester on 10th November. In 2012 we were awarded a Highly Commended award after being shortlisted following our 2011 green inspection. Since then we have installed 216 solar PV panels, enabling our cottages to be powered by our own green electricity! The Green Tourism Business Scheme is the world's most credible sustainable tourism programme. We are proud to be part of this 'green' accolade and it's great to be recognised for our achievements at Merlin Farm. 
Visit the GTBS website, or follow them on Twitter or Facebook. Wish us luck everyone!

If you'd like to know what makes Merlin Farm a 'green' business visit our website

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Guest Photo Competition Winners

The results are in ! Thank you to ALL our guests who took the time to share their photos taken at Merlin Farm. After long deliberation we had to call in family and friends to help us decide as we had so many favourites. We tried to keep a varied choice, but those cute dogs got us every time ! So here we go...

1st (£100 voucher): "I've arrived!" From the moment we saw this photo of 'Moore' entering Daymer Studio we melted ! Thank you Lianne Roberton and well done on winning this competition!

2nd (£75 voucher): What a clever photo this is, initially a shiny lampshade but when you look closer you can see our guests chilling out in their eco cottage, brilliant ! Thank you Brian Tripp

3rd (£50 voucher): We love this photo of Juni and Lola exhausted after a day on the beach, in fact this is just one of many fabulous photos sent in by Matthias Brueckner and his family. Thank you!

Runners up (£25 voucher):
  • The beautiful photo of the lavender lined pathway opening out onto the rolling hills beyond really captures Merlin Farm's idyllic location, thanks Christine Butler.
  • We love the photo of Horace lovingly looking on as the children groom him, thanks Rachel Matheson.
  • This photo makes us chuckle, Jarvis proudly guarding his eco cottage “If yer name's not down yer not comin in!" thank you Helen Noakes
Peoples choice (£50 voucher): This adorable photo of Harriet grooming Horace received the most likes, thanks Liz Hook!

Winners will receive their vouchers by email shortly. Thanks again to EVERYONE who took part in our competition. Keep checking Facebook for our next competition...

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

A luxury family friendly holiday home in North Cornwall - Trevone Cottage

Trevone Cottage is a luxury holiday home suitable for the young family. With a spacious and modern interior and enclosed lawned garden, this home is perfect for a family wishing to kick back and relax. A short walk to the beach and central location within the county, this home is in the perfect location for your holiday to Cornwall. This 5* gold holiday home has a fully fitted modern kitchen, underfloor heating throughout, woodburner, wetroom bathroom with bath and shower and two bedrooms; King and Twin with cotbed (suitable for a child up to 4 years). With little ones in mind, the cottage has been kitted out with a sterilser, mini food blender, potty, toddler toilet seat, step up, toys, DVD's, bed guard, changing mat, baby bath, fireguard and plastic tableware. Located in a secluded, quiet farm location, the cottages at Merlin Farm are surrounded by fields containing friendly grazing horses, a donkey, ducks and geese. The coastal village of Mawgan Porth is a short walking distance away, where you'll find a beautiful sandy beach, a pub, restaurants, spa's, surf school, to name a few. The cottage also showcases the work of Dougal Waters, a Norfolk based photographer who came to Cornwall last year and never went home ! Dougal first came to stay at Merlin Farm, fell in love with the area and was the inspiration for his latest collection of work 'waves that catch the light'.
Click here to visit Merlin Farm Holiday Cottages in Cornwall




Wednesday, 5 March 2014

100 year old ship sunk on a Cornish beach uncovered by recent storms

We finally got ourselves over to Booby's Bay this afternoon at low tide to witness this phenomenal sight. The 100 year old German war ship was thought to have been impounded in Cardiff at the start of the first world war and being towed to London to be scrapped. The 60ft 'SV Carl' broke it's tow lines and ended up here, near Trevose Head in Cornwall. Although some parts have previously been exposed at low tide, it has never before been seen to this extent.

An original photo of the SV Carl can be found in the following article