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“Fantastic holiday!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Cuckoo Down Farm

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Cuckoo Down Farm
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Lower Broad Oak Road | The Barn, Cuckoo Down Farm, Ottery St. Mary EX11 1UE, England   |  
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Hotel amenities
Certificate of Excellence 2014
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
“Fantastic holiday!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 20, 2013

We stayed at Cuckoo Down Farm from the 6th - 10th May 2013 in Clover the
Yurt. We had an absolutely brilliant holiday. The Yurts are very well
equipped and the bed was soooo comfortable (I'm 6 months pregnant and that
was very much appreciated!). We stayed cosy and snug even when it was
blowing a gale and pouring it down outside thanks to the thick duvet and
the lovely wood burning stove.

Pretty much everything you could need is provided, from wood and matches
for the wood burner/firepit to washing up liquid and toilet roll. The
family that run the farm are very friendly and were only too happy to
assist in any way they could.

We will definitely be going back to Cuckoo Down Farm in the future.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CuckooDownFarm, Owner at Cuckoo Down Farm, responded to this review, May 31, 2013
Hello,

Thanks so much for writing us such a lovely review. We're so pleased you had a good time and really appreciate you taking the time to write up a review.

Very best wishes,

Becky and John Sheaves
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56 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (6)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Bristol, England, United Kingdom
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 12, 2013

We had such a brilliant time staying in Clover yurt for the weekend over May bank holiday. The weather was amazing, which really helped. The yurt was very clean and so pretty. We packed the bare minimum - everything we needed was there. Beautiful clean, fresh bedding on the large double wooden bed, spare duvets and pillows for the sofa beds. A large chest of drawers and a coffee table - now I know why it is called 'glamping'. The wood burning stove was needed in the evening just to warm us up a bit. Kitchen facilities were clean and large enough to cook spag bol for the family. Again all you could need was provided. Complimentary tea and coffee for that cuppa on arrival - a welcomed touch.
A great base from which to go to the beach, town or as we did one day, just to watch the kids playing in the field, in the stream and in the woods. We had pony rides and met the chickens. My little girl (6) loved it and did not want to leave. Certainly will be going back again, hopefully soon.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CuckooDownFarm, Owner at Cuckoo Down Farm, responded to this review, May 31, 2013
Hi there,

Thank you so much for the great review, we really appreciate you taking the time. So glad you had a good holiday!

Best wishes,

Becky and John Sheaves
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reading, United Kingdom
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 12, 2013

We have just returned from our second visit Yurting. We had a superb holiday there last year with two other families and had an equally brilliant time this year.
We were a party of 16 - 8 adults and 8 children. We occupied all 3 yurts and a brand new safari tent. Becky and her husband John were as welcoming as ever and the accommodation clean and well equipped. It certainly lives up to the description of "glamping".
We all had a fabulous time (despite the typical British weather) and loved the fact that the children could run around freely in the woods, field and stream (something they are not used to in the town we live in).
Becky is very accommodating and does everything to ensure you have a great holiday. She allowed us to put up a gazebo in the field where the adults could meet up in the evenings after the kids were in bed and we took a fire pit to give us additional heat in there.
She recommended a great local pub who were able to accommodate a group of 16 without any problem. She also went well beyond helpful by volunteering to go out and collect a takeaway for us because we'd all been drinking. This was an extremely kind and generous offer and something we cannot thank her enough for. She goes beyond what is expected and nothing is too much trouble.
The kids enjoyed playing and splashing in the stream despite the cold, wet weather and built a pirate camp up in the woods. We celebrated one of the children's birthdays yesterday by hosting a pirate party and it was a fantastic venue! I'm sure the kids will remember the fun they had playing in the camp; having a treasure hunt in the grounds and bashing the piñata. Running around all day in the fresh air together was a pleasure for the parents to see and they certainly slept well every evening.
In summary, the yurts and safari tents are lovely - kitted out to a very high standard and are comfortable. The showers were always hot when I visited and the Eco toilets are fine. This coupled with Becky's helpful and welcoming personality makes for a perfect break. I would thoroughly recommend Cuckoo Down Farm to anyone.
Thanks Becky for another great stay and hopefully see you next year!

Room Tip: If you have a family the additional space in the Safari tents is a huge bonus but all the accommodat...
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CuckooDownFarm, Owner at Cuckoo Down Farm, responded to this review, April 15, 2013
Thank you so much for your lovely review. It was great to see you again and we really do appreciate you taking the time to write this up. We're so glad you all had a good time - do send through some pics to our Facebook page if you get the chance!
Very best wishes to you all and thanks once again, you were lovely guests
Becky and John Sheaves
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Radlett, United Kingdom
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 30, 2012

This was our first time glamping, and was something of a compromise for me – a fairweather camper, I wanted a bit more in the way of luxury than a week in a traditional tent had to offer. I wasn’t disappointed. The safari tent is very spacious and well appointed. The beds were comfortable and warm, and it was nice having some separate space from our two children (aged 5 and 3). It is brilliant having the veranda and outside table – covered by an awning, it means you can shelter from sun or rain, and is a great place to sit and drink wine and stare into middle distance at the end of the day!

The kitchen had absolutely everything we needed. Compost loo was fine – our 3-year-old developed a fascination with it, finding any reason to visit! Showers were clean and spacious, and it was great having use of both a washing machine and tumble dryer.

We also spent 2 nights in one of the yurts, which was a delight – smaller, but so comfortable and light.

Practical elements aside, and most importantly, we had a fantastic family holiday. It is a beautiful part of the country and the farm itself is idyllic. Our kids enjoyed the freedom, tore about, played with the lovely dogs, fed the chickens and rode the pony. We all had lots of fun getting wet and muddy in the stream.

There’s also a huge amount to do in the local area – we went to 4 different beaches, Dartmoor, Escot House and more.

We would also recommend, if possible, having a massage (Penny) or reflexology session (Jilli) in your tent or yurt – extremely relaxing!

Finally, Becky and John were wonderful hosts, going above and beyond the call of duty (walking a duvet over to us in the dark – thanks Becky!) and being welcoming at every encounter. Their warmth pervades the entire experience.

We will definitely be coming back and recommend it unreservedly!

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Brighton, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 24, 2012

This was our 3rd visit to the lovely yurts. Becky being as welcoming and helpful as ever and always open to suggestions/ideas/comments.

Not much I can add to the other reviews or my previous review, but what makes this holiday so special for us, and one of the reasons why we keep returning, is it allows my daughter the freedom to roam on her own and play with others in a safe environment. She loves splashing in the stream, exploring the woods, playing in the field, visiting the "honesty" shop, toasting marshmallows on an open fire, riding Ebony the pony and, most of all, being with the farm's dogs.

There's lots to do in the area, and even after our third visit, we have still not got round to visiting as many places as we would have liked. Never mind, there's always next year!

With reference to the review below, there is now a screen in the barn so no furniture is in view and we found the showers to be plenty warm enough (in fact slightly on the hot side for my 7 year old). I can also confirm that as we left this week a new compost toilet was very near to completion next to the showers, a welcome addition.

Can't wait to return.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bishop Middleham, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
52 reviews 52 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
63 helpful votes 63 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 6, 2012

We stayed here in July after spending a couple of days camping in Somerset. The farm lies at the end of an mud and gravel lane and is signposted. The field where the Yurts and Safari tent are located is peaceful (apart from the occasional aeroplane) and everything is well spaced. Another good point is that the field is a car-free zone with parking provided by the barn.
The Yurt itself is well laid out with a wooden floor and some great quality antique furniture, although with not as many ornaments or a mirror as shown in the pictures - we put this down to breakages etc. The bed, being an old fasioned sprung base would maybe not suit everyone's nocturnal needs or for those used to a memory foam lifestyle. There is a welcome pack with some local information in, although it could do with some rewording as to the cynic some of it did come across as being slightly whiny and pretentious.
The compost toilet is exactly as expected, located in a 6x4 garden shed with very little smell and a small sink. The kitchen is adequate with everything you need supplied. With the rain we had, it did become apparent that it could have done with a lightly longer overhang on the roof as it is open on one side; this would have just kept the worst of the rain off.
For clean freaks like us the showers were a bit of a let down. There are 2 and they are located in a converted corner of the barn, which is fine, but you are greeted with a view of a typical collection of old furniture and junk on the way in, this could easily be rectified with some screening; although we found some of the stuff interesting and would have gladly given one of the old wardrobes a new home!
The showers themselves are like those you would find at a swimming pool with the push-to-operate mechanism and small shower head that spead the water out into a fine mist leaving you having to run around in the puddle on the floor to get wet, and they weren't hot enough really. My suggestion would be to fit temperature controllable showers and a better shower head that is angled down more. The shower block could also really do with a toilet and something, be it paper towels or a hand dryer, to dry ones hand on.
Next to the shower block there are fridges, sockets to charge phones etc and a washing machine and tumble dryer which was a big bonus, the fridges especially as there are not many Coeliac-friendly places to eat out, a perennial problem for us.
The woods are nice to explore complete with a stream, rope swings and inevitably Hymalayan Balsam.
The website outlines the site's commitment to sustainable tourism. To make a fair assesment I would agree that this is a low-carbon and more environmentally responsible place to stay, BUT I can't help feeling that the use of compost toilets and use of Ecover producats is out of plumbing convenience? Especially in light of the 2 4x4s the owners had, the lack of solar panels on the barn which would have been perfect and the car batteries we found in the stream (yes they may been there for years but it took me 30seconds to remove them!). The field is clearly being left to grow during the summer to emulate a wild flower meadow which is great for the wildlife, I would suggest boosing the species mix with some wild flower seeds to make it more colourful and more attractive to wildlife.
Overall a nice holiday and a peaceful place to stay due to the location and layout. Wellys are a must! With a few tweeks and a re-evaluation of certain aspects of the accompdation and facilities this place could really live up to its Luxury and sustainable branding.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CuckooDownFarm, Owner at Cuckoo Down Farm, responded to this review, August 10, 2012
Hello!

Thank you very much for taking the time to write such a thoughtful review. Although in many ways it is by far the most critical review we have ever had in five years here, you do make some really interesting and helpful observations and we really appreciate you giving us a high score overall.
You describe yourself as a "picky cynic" in your profile but we think constructive criticism is always a good thing.
In answer to some of your ideas, can I say that we will be looking into your points about the showers straight away. The old furniture you saw in the barn beside the showers has been tidied away - I think you visited at a time when we were shifting a lot of things from the farm house but I agree, it wasn't exactly beautiful!
You are the first people ever in our five years of welcoming visitors to the farm to say the showers weren't hot enough but we will investigate - and if necessary turn the thermostat up. If you were here in July then it was an exceptionally cold and wet period, so perhaps we need to up the temperature in colder weather. I do wish you had mentioned it at the time. Other visitors, please don't suffer in silence, we do everything we can to make people's stay here comfortable. We will also look into changing the shower heads as you recommend.
You are absolutely right that the shower block needed a toilet, and one is being installed at the moment. But at least every tent already has its own private toilet, so there is one each and nobody has to share.
It would not be possible to strew wildflower seeds on the fields here and expect them to grow - they would not compete with the traditional grassland that is there already. Our grass has been growing undisturbed for many decades and it would not be good environmental practice to dig it up to re-seed the field. The rich variety of unimproved traditional organic field grasses we have in the fields here are quite an important ecology of their own and very beneficial to the health of the animals who graze them in the 6 months a year that the camp site is closed..
I must admit that I am smarting a bit that you mentioned we have TWO 4 x 4s! That really does give the wrong impression of us! Can I just say that one is our very ancient Landrover which is an MOT failure and only used as a farm vehicle. It does a very low mileage every year transporting things around the farm off-road, such as logs for the yurt woodburners. The other, newer Landrover is used for towing a trailer so we can take the sheep to market , collect hay etc. It really is an essential part of farm life, we'd struggle without it. Actually its emissions and fuel economy etc are quite impressively low.
We would absolutely love to have solar panels to heat the showers, that is a great idea. Up until now we simply haven't been able to afford the initial outlay. But we are planning to install them in the near future and it is definitely on our business plan. As you kindly say, we are still nonetheless a low-carbon, eco-friendly option overall.
Thank you very much for rescuing the car battery from the stream. After a full investigation (!) I have found that our 7 year old put it there when den-building - it is one that we sometimes use to power electric fences in the horse field. I had wondered where it was!
I'm so sorry you didn't ask us when you were here about coeliac-friendly places to eat. I know of some really helpful chefs hereabouts who can arrange free-from meals of all sorts with just a little notice and that sort of catering has got a lot better in East Devon over the past few years. For other people who might be wondering, The Jack in the Green at Rockbeare is very good with just a little advance notice.
I would just like to point out to other readers that the holiday you have reviewed here would have cost you about £60 - £70 a night for a whole family.
I hope this answers most of your points. Thanks once again very much for your helpful and thoughtful review. I know it is the custom now to go away and write theese sort of things anonymously online but it would have been fun - and really useful - to chat these things through when you were here. If any other visitors have questions or ideas, recommendations or have spotted room for improvement, we are always up for a natter and very approachable!
Very best wishes,

Becky Sheaves
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London
Top Contributor
59 reviews 59 reviews
58 hotel reviews
Reviews in 43 cities Reviews in 43 cities
40 helpful votes 40 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 3, 2012

Cuckoo Down Farm is a wonderfully relaxing place. With the yurts (or safari tent) spread out everyone has real freedom, but also with woods and streams for the children to mess around in. The Yurts are very comfortable and well equipped. Becky is very hospitable and helps out whenever some help is wanted, providing pony rides and anything else we needed. With loads to do locally from lovely beaches, fun at Escot House to wonderful food from great local shops it all made for a perfect week's holiday.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Cuckoo Down Farm

Address: Lower Broad Oak Road | The Barn, Cuckoo Down Farm, Ottery St. Mary EX11 1UE, England
Phone Number:
Location: United Kingdom > England > Devon > Ottery St. Mary
Amenities:
Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly )
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 3 Specialty Lodging in Ottery St. Mary
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 5
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Come to Cuckoo Down Farm near Sidmouth in Devon for relaxed, easy glamping for families or couples. Chose from two large safari tents and three spacious yurts, all with woodburners, kitchens, double beds, sofas plus all cooking equipment. Cuckoo Down Farm is 2.5 hours drive from London and SE, 10 mins from the M5 and A30. Stay in 25 acres of pretty meadows, light a campfire and explore three acres of bluebell woods. The farm is in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, four miles inland from the World Heritage Coast at Sidmouth, Beer and Branscombe. Lovely beaches and great gastro pubs nearby. Collect eggs, have pony rides and explore unspoilt Devon countryside on a beautiful farm. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Cuckoo Down Farm Ottery St. Mary, Devon

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