July has started just as last year. Very nearly clear blue skies each day and perfect for sun bathing at the outdoor pool. The sunrises and sunsets have been varied and breath taking, but you will have to be up early for the former!
This wonderful weather means there are no wet patches on the golf course and buggies have been out unhindered! A few dry patches are now appearing but thankfully this is when Highbullen stands up well in the heat. Our water retentive clay soils are only just showing signs of drought, something a links or heathland course will be very envious of right now. The greenkeepers have worked tirelessly at irrigating the greens and the result is evident for all to see, they look great and no effort will be spared to keep them so. Unfortunately for the greenkeepers we have missed the showers that have peppered other parts of the southwest.
The last serious amount of rain did briefly improve our salmon and sea trout fishing but it was extremely short lived, which is a great shame and the rivers are now back to last summers levels. If the desire to fish is eating away at you, then we are able to suggest boat fishing as an alternative from Ilfracombe or Clovelly and for the more adventurous why not take a kayak out from Combe Martin and try for a bass or some mackerel. Last weekend off Morthoe, I had two porpoises, plus calf, shadow me fishing for over two hours and coming within meters of the kayak. In Combe Martin there is a kayak hire centre, approximately 45 minutes drive from Highbullen and a very pleasant drive. Hire is by the hour or day.
If however, fishing or the sea is not your scene, how about trying an amazing horse drawn barge ride along the Tiverton canal. A colleague highly recommended this to me. There is the option of a 1.5hour or a 2.5hour trip. The team at Highbullen will be happy to help you with further information on this. In a similar vein, a day out on the Minehead steam railway may appeal.
We have had the RSBP in recently monitoring the two nests of spotted flycatchers nesting around the Manor House. They caught two females and placed minute trackers on them. Hopefully they will return next year from Africa and we can find out exactly where they have been. All the fledglings have also been ringed. This species is in sharp decline and the RSBP is currently researching why that is. With any luck, this time next year we will report back with the findings from the trackers. The adults were around the Manor house feeding young in early July and may even nest again. We have had spotted flycatchers nest at Highbullen for all of the last 25 years!
So, there is plenty to do and see this summer whilst enjoying your time at Highbullen.