Thank you to all our lovely guests who came to stay this year. We were fully booked throughout our shortest ever season. Although we were only open for 4 months of the year, what a busy one it was and we certainly ‘hit the ground running’ once we opened in July! When lockdown was lifted, enquiries were crazy at 5-fold the usual amount, but by then we were already full for the summer. The jam-packed season was a welcome catch up after being closed for the Spring due to the coronavirus restrictions. Cancelled stays resold swiftly and with the power of social media our record resold within 1 hr!
We were delighted to welcome back so many guests returning yet again this year, such a compliment that so many returned for their 3rd or 4th time to Lower Keats. We also made lots of new friends, that visited for the first time this year, who we hope will return again and again, now that they have also found us!
Lockdown March 20
As always, we were super organised and ready to open for the 2020 season just before the lockdown was announced on 20th March. However, no one could have imagined our angst over whether we should actually open, eventually after many a sleepless night we decided that we would not open as planned. Once decided we felt an immense relief that we were doing the right thing to keep our family, staff and wider community safe by not opening. The next task was to contact all bookings and offer a solution of moving their stays or refunding. We are immensely proud that we refunded all stays that requested one. Thankfully Boris’ then made his lockdown announcement which confirmed that we had made the correct decision by staying closed.
We kept very busy during the Spring closure period, much helped by the weather which was typically wonderful (as we were closed!). We had a few extra helpers on the farm due to one son being furloughed and school ending abruptly with no exams for another.
A few of our lockdown projects were:
The 6 lodge decks and picnic tables were lovingly reoiled thanks to Charlie and Josh. The decking furniture of 24 chairs and 6 tables were re-stained, bringing them back to look like new: thanks to Charlie & Molly for that mammoth task.
To the lodges
We added yet again new frying pans; as these sure do get heavy use with our delicious eggs and bacon, (our local scouts received our old ones). New water flasks for the tables; to ensure guests could drink as much of our fresh Devon water as possible. Extra tea light holders to pretty up the evening tables adding to the existing candlesticks for a romantic look. We added sanitising spray for extra peace of mind and included yet more lovely squishy blankets to snuggle up under. A new washing machine along with extra sets of mattress/pillow protectors and blankets, ensured we could clean and swap them easier.
We added a shelf for our swallows which nest outside of the Honesty Shop and watched their babies dance around outside whilst learning to fly. The Honesty Shop had a sanitising station installed at the door and a wipe sanitising station by the wheelbarrows on the track. The dog kennel facility has been re-positioned to outside of the barn and now has a concrete base for easier cleaning. This aids guests to leave quieter dogs safely on site during their stay, if they wish to visit local places not so dog friendly. Gary added a dog/small person gate to the rear of Golden Cap, so we now have three lodges that are more secure for dogs’.
Gary has been busy with his digger; oh, how we do like to keep him busy! The glamping track ditches were levelled out to ensure better drainage flow and the track repaired to ensure smooth running of wheelbarrows! He continued working on the long-promised pond, complete with island for the ducks, and this has continued into a garden project too (just a warning this is still in progress) as the weather turned too wet to continue until after the end of the glamping season. Then obviously it was too wet again … Memories of our original glamping build come to mind with the muddy mess so far…..(the motto of just ‘don’t look’ is the best thing at the moment, it will be wonderful very soon 😊).
The lodge bbq’s and picnic tables were sited onto levelled stoned pads. A great job to stop any wine spillages (as the meadow is gently sloping).
Having created our wonderful Hive area in 2019, a seating area was created with tree trunks from our own copse and the ground around it stoned to prevent it getting muddy at the start and end of the season. Our fabulous new communal fire bowl/bbq was added to The Hive and the pizza oven moved slightly to keep the oven more out of the breeze.
We again enjoyed bottle feeding the baby lambs, look at these waggly tails, and hatched our own ducklings and chicks, see this amazing clip of one hatching out! These were still very cute and fluffy when our first guests finally arrived in July. This year the lambs made up for lost contact with guests by escaping out the gate each time it was opened, for a quick trot around the carpark, and back into the field to eat their food either from the trough or hands of guests. The three little pigs were not so confident as usual, not having been massaged from such a young age, but by the end of the season were enjoying a good old rub on their backs from guests. Our new-born calves, as last year, were a great hit with adults and children alike, many a jumper or cardigan was sucked and slobbered on, ‘Cardi B’ being the best name given this year! We really hope to gently ease some of our restrictions around our animal feeding tours in 2021, as long as the government indicates it is safe to do so.
Muddy Stilettos: We were delighted to be listed again in the Muddy Stilettos Weekend Escapes, new for this year. Read her fabulous review here. Many more accolades were received from Cool Places, Unique Stays and Cool Stays, to name just a few, who also kindly spotlighted our wonderful site during the year.
Thanks to all our guests for leaving such lovely reviews and positive feedback; both online and in our lodge guest books. Our lodge review books are filled with such kind words about us and our guests’ adventures, read our Testimonials page. If you have yet to leave us an online review after your stay (TripAdvisor/Facebook/Google etc) – please don’t delay, your information really helps guests decide to stay with us.
All online reviewers are put into our annual draw for £150 voucher off a stay or spend in our honesty shop.
As our last guests departed after October half term, and the lodges were tucked up yet again for their winter sleep, you might be forgiven for thinking we would be having a rest, but in many ways, we are just as busy in the winter months as in the summer, stripping down the lodges, then repairing and preparing for the next season.
Yet again in no time at all we will planting up pots, restocking the shop and setting up the lodges ready to welcome our first guests of the 2021 season. We hope to open for our 5th season on the 26th March, unzipping our canvases for 2021. Book soon if you would like to stay and make unforgettable memories with us.
Easter: We have a few Spring spaces including Easter weekend, May Bank holidays and May half term. Whatever the season and weather during your stay, we guarantee you a luxury break at Lower Keats.
Spring in Devon is often warm and dry but even with wet and windy weather our guests love the cosy feel of the lodges and firing up the wood burner to enjoy quality time snuggled up together.
Summer months allow guests to take advantage of their lodge stove and BBQ/fire pit whilst watching the clearer starry skies above. Our meadow is perfect for team sports, cricket, rounders & football for those wanting a more energetic break during the longer hours of sunlight.
Autumn breaks can be the most relaxing, the beaches, restaurants and lanes are quieter, parking and tables at the best places are much easier to book. Book a relaxing break, enjoy the slower pace of life of a Devon Autumnal break.
Group Bookings: Don’t forget to register your interest at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in booking the whole site for a party or group stay.
We have had no increase in prices for 2021 and are continuing with our term time offer of our ‘dogs stay for free’ mid-week offer, don’t delay – book your preferred break next year.
2 Night Stays: If you can’t get away for one of our coveted 4-night midweeks or 3-night weekends; we continue to offer 2-night stays at selected times to ensure no one misses out! Enjoy a quick break away in the Devon countryside, grab a change of scene for a short while to aid your mental health and wellbeing. Just email email@example.com to check availability.
We will be adding special offers to the website during the season, so do make sure to follow our facebook page and bookmark our Special Offers page to ensure you don’t miss out on any giveaways, late availability or special discounts during the year.
Book Now for 2021
Book by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, calling 07540 367386 or going to the Bookings page of our website.
Hope to welcome you in 2021!
Linda, Gary & the boys.