The evenings are drawing in and with a chill in the early morning air now evident, it is clear autumn has arrived. Some of the house martins nesting under the eaves are still feeding young but soon all will be leaving. Fortunately, unlike most of Britain we have had a wonderful and mostly dry summer, so heading into autumn our golf course is in great condition.
The River Mole rose and then dropped away, just as quickly, in August. One Hotel resident was here at the perfect time and enjoyed two red letter days while fishing along the river. On Highbullen’s stretch of water he caught a 20lb salmon and three sea trout with the largest being approximately four pounds - not bad for two half days out! Salmon fishing is all about timing and he caught conditions perfectly.
On a recent trip to our deer hide I read the latest comments in the visitor’s book and noticed that the last few visitors hadn’t seen any deer. September and October are by far the best months for sightings so don’t despair! The red deer are very active from now on and the rut should be well underway by the start of October. The stags frantically try to maintain a harem of hinds for themselves and often fight other stags very aggressively to maintain their 'wives' in a close group. Occasionally you may see two stags sparring with each other to gain dominance with the defeated stag being forced away. One October, I witnessed an epic battle between two stags that resulted in one of them losing a huge antler with seven points that I later found close to the hide. During the mating season stags can be seen within yards of the deer hide as you can see from the photos in the hotel reception. However, there is a big but! You must enter the hide very quietly so tell the children before going, don’t wear any perfume or aftershave and don’t bring any dogs. The deer’s sense of smell and hearing is far better than ours.
Over the coming winter and into next spring Highbullen will be moving upwards and onwards to enhance the variety of the accommodation we offer. We are hoping to start work on two tree houses of the highest specification and will be built by the market leader in this field Blue Forest. One will be near the 18th green and the other will be below the croquet lawn. We anticipate the tree houses being ready to rent out by the middle of 2020. This will be the start of many exciting changes at Highbullen. The golf course will initially be reduced to 12 holes and subsequently to nine. This will mean a lot more of the land around the hotel will be available for walking and taking in the peace and quiet of this wonderful area as well as numerous other initiatives we have in the pipeline to enhance a visit to our hotel.
Before you arrive just a quick reminder to bring your bikes if you can - there are many hills around here as well as some easy linear rides. The recent re-opening after a two-year closure of the 16th Century thatched village pub in Chittlehamholt will be a boon to your visit and is worth exploring. But if you want to remain ensconced in our wonderful grounds our Two AA Restaurant The Devon View and our Laura Ashley The Tea Room will provide you with a little luxury while snacks and simpler meals will be available in our Cellars Restaurant.
Wellies will soon be essential items to be packed and binoculars are a must to be able to spot the wonderful wildlife in Devon – it has been known for a killer whale to be seen off the coast between Bucks Mill and Clovelly! Coastal walks are always beautiful but are particularly rewarding at this time of year with grey seals and harbour porpoises being common as well as a great variety of sea birds and many migrating birds. At present wheatears are very noticeable along with multitudes of swallows and house martins heading south. Towards the end of October there will be many migrating birds arriving here from their summer breeding and feeding grounds far north of here. The Taw and Torridge estuaries are also well worth exploring. If you need any help planning your visit, we would be delighted to provide you with information on some of the best places to see and experience!
Please note that the photo of the stag was taken in 2016.