We enter summer after being blessed with a great spring weather wise, sunshine and no more than the odd shower which has fortunately been just about sufficient to keep the greens growing well. The greenkeeping team dread a repeat of last summers drought. The greens have taken longer than normal to get into condition, undoubtedly due to a infestation of hungry leatherjackets, these should soon pupate in the soil and hopefully no longer affect the putting surface. Overall the team have succeeded in keeping the course in great condition, as this time last year it was impossible to get on top of the rough, this year there are no hold ups with the game there. Please appreciate the one small open ditch between the 6th and 9th fairways which we allow to grow unhindered. Leave the fairway for a quick glance at the profusion of orchids and ragged robin in the ditch along with many more less scarce plants.
Though less than in other years the house martins, swallows and at least one pair of swifts are using the buildings as their nesting sites. The frenetic chattering and diligence of the house martins are a joy to watch either collecting mud from the edge of any puddle they can find, then repairing last years nests or building as fresh. It is so easy to see them close to under the eaves of our buildings. The spotted flycatchers have returned and don't appear to be using their old nests sites and have eluded all attempts to detect any nest site. The dabchicks are again nesting on the 14th pond and anytime now should have those tiny stripped chicks following their parents around. They are extremely shy and all you may notice is their high pitch rapid calls, you can't fail to notice it as it is very distinctive. A goshawk has been regularly seen in the Mole valley and occasionally a peregrine passes through and so far no repeat of last years large numbers of red kites, though the odd one has been seen.
The river Mole is still painful low and no one, even the locals, have been out fishing for the migratory salmon or sea trout, though by now some sea trout must have pressed upstream to our beat. The trout fisherman have been few in number, which is a shame, as there have been huge hatches of fly life over the river. Over the last Bank Holiday one local had a magical afternoon on the river Bray catching half a dozen wild brownies, the best just over a pound. A great fish on this small river and such a challenge! Often I paint a very glossy picture of our fishing on the river Taw system. It should be made clear though, that this river system isn't stocked with brown or rainbow trout, there are only wild brownies there for the catching, so even if you are a competent successful fisherman, it's not the case that you will always go out on our river and catch a basket of fish. For this reason, we ask all our guests to return their catch and not be disappointed if unsuccessful. The experience is being out fishing on a great river, with added chance of a wonderful, even memorable wildlife encounter. That said, if the rains come and stay for a week or so, then the Taw system is a magical spate salmon and sea trout river and we hope for a bumper season after last years drought. I advise all fisherman to check on conditions before arriving with us, so they can make to best of their stay.
Exmoor and the coastal walks in particular, are spectacular along the North Devon coast in the summer. We can suggest the best locations for walks and even a pub along the way! The summer time also offers good sea fishing and a family day boat outing from Clovely or Ilfracombe can be the highlight of your holiday, just ask and we will do our best to make it happen, subject to the weather of course!