A BBQ with a view

A BBQ with a view

We had the hard job of test driving the new barbecue at Daisy Chain over the weekend – it was tough, but somebody had to do it! It did a great job, happily feeding 11 hungry mouths, and producing the best chicken and vegetable kebabs ever! While waiting for the food to cook you can sit on the lakeside, or go for a quick paddle in the Canadian Canoe…you just need to remember to come back before the food all disappears! We’ve also fitted an additional fridge, so there’s plenty of space for your meat, salad…and a few drinks too…

Orchids at Clattinger Farm

Clattinger Farm Orchids near Lower Mill Estate

Two weeks ago when we visited Clattinger Farm, a fabulous lowland meadow of international importance for its hay meadow wildflowers, it was filled with cowslips and snakeshead fritillaries. We looked for orchids and there were just a small handful – in the sort of numbers that you would expect to find in usual places where orchids grow. We returned to the field this weekend and it is now overflowing with orchids in spectacular numbers – such a rare and beautiful sight. They will continue to flower during May and into June.

Clattinger Farm Orchids near Lower Mill Estate

Clattinger Farm is the next farm to the Lower Mill Estate and well worth a visit during your Cotswold Family Holiday.

For more details visit http://www.wiltshirewildlife.org/Reserves/clattingerfarm

 

A Feast of Wild Flowers in the Cotswolds

A Feast of Wild Flowers in the Cotswolds

We had a fantastic day yesterday exploring 3 amazing places to see spectacular wild flowers in the Cotswolds. We started off at Barnsley Warren SSI where the Pasqueflowers are looking superb. They are on a beautiful Cotswold hillside – the setting is stunning.

Next, we moved on to North Meadow~ in Cricklade which is an amazing meadow overflowing with Snakeshead fritillaries I hadn’t realised just how large the meadow is…or quite how many Snakeshead fritillaries there would be.

In the afternoon we went to Clattinger Farm – an ancient meadow. It is a carpet of cowslips at the moment and the first Green Winged Orchids are making an appearance.

An amazing day – if you want to see the Pasqueflowers or the Snakeshead fritillaries you will have to move fast. They are at their best now!

 

             

Pasqueflowers in the Cotswolds

Pasqueflowers in the Cotswolds

Another hidden gem waiting to be discovered in the Cotswolds is the Pasqueflower This rare wildflower has been lost from many of the places where it used to grow, but on the Barnsley Warren Nature Reserve, just north of Cirencester it is thriving, with a population of approximately 20,000 plants.

Geoffrey Grigson, writing of the pasqueflower in ‘The Englishman’s Flora’ wrote that it has, “…a fair claim to being the most dramatically and exotically beautiful of all English plants.”

The Barnsley Warren Nature Reserve is also home to cowslips, early purple orchids and violets and has a good butterfly population. Rabbit and brown hare help to maintain the short grassland and common lizards can often be found on areas of bare scree.

It looks like being a good year for the Pasqueflower, so if you would like to see it plan to go soon…and remember to tread carefully!

Pasqueflower near Lower Mill Estate

 

 

Lower Mill Estate Aerial Photograph

Lower Mill Estate Aerial Photograph

We’ve been having such fabulous weather over the last couple of weeks it made us think of this brilliant photograph of the Lower Mill Estate in Cotswold Water Park where Daisy Chain is. Daisy Chain is set on the lakeside with perfect uninterrupted views across Somerford Lagoon, the largest lake on the Estate. Guests can enjoy using the Canadian Canoe to explore and enjoy a different view of the wildlife. There are lots of peaceful walks to enjoy as well as cycle rides and then there is the ArtSpa where you can take relaxation to the next level. Indoor and outdoor heated pools, a sauna, steam room and Spa treatments. Hmmm….holidays.

To view an interactive version of this photograph visit https://cotswoldfamilyholidays.com/lower-mill-estate/

 

Lower Moor Farm Nature Reserve, Wiltshire

Lower Moor Farm Nature Reserve, Wiltshire

Just a mile down the road from the Lower Mill Estate is Lower Moor Farm Nature Reserve. It forms the gateway to three more reserves: Clattinger Farm, Oaksey Moor Farm Meadow and Sandpool Farm.

Lower Moor Farm is made up of three lakes, two brooks, ponds and wetland scrapes which are joined by ancient hedges, woodland and meadows. Mallard Lake is a site of special scientific interest as a marl lake which is rich in stoneworts.

There are two bird hides which give fantastic view of the birdlife…and the otters too!

At the visitors centre you can pick up a Children’s discovery trail to keep children engaged as you walk around. There is also a replica Iron Age hut which children enjoy exploring.

For further information about Clattinger Farm, and to download maps prior to your visit http://www.wiltshirewildlife.org/Reserves/lowermoorfarm

Lower Moor Farm Nature Reserve near Lower Mill Estate

 

Spring Migration through Cotswold Water Park

Spring Migration Lower Mill Estate

The central location of the Cotswold Water Park and its vast area of wetland habitats makes it an important stop-over location for migrating birds in the Spring. This year 121 species have already been seen in the Water Park. In the last week an osprey has been seen as well as the first swallows and an avocet. Other species seen recently on the Lower Mill Estate include red crested pochard, goldeneye, widgeon, gadwall, teal, cettis warblers, blackcap, meadow pipits, reed buntings and kingfisher.

A great resource is http://buff.ly/1yZ9V89 where an ongoing record of species sighted in the water park is kept. Maps can also be downloaded showing different areas of the water park to explore.

Grab your binoculars or your telescope and enjoy the spring migration. While you’re watching for birds don’t forget to keep an eye out for otters and beavers too!

Spring Migration Lower Mill Estate

 

 

Cycling Holidays in the Cotswolds

Cycling Holidays in the Cotswolds

The Cotswolds is a fabulous base for cycling. As guests arrive at Daisy Chain their cars are often loaded with bikes. The Lower Mill Estate itself has very safe roads where some of our guests have learnt to ride their bikes for the first time. Cycling is a brilliant family friendly activity which children can enjoy from a very young age. The 550 acre nature reserve has lots of paths and tracks that can be explored by bike, and then when you venture off the estate a whole world of cycle paths opens up to you. National Route 45 of the National Cycling Network passes through Cotswold Water Park, linking Chester with Salisbury. The full route travels 270 miles.

The Sustrans website is a fabulous resource for researching safe cycling routes. Have a look at http://www.sustrans.org.uk/ncn/map to find out about routes in your part of the country.

Cycling Cotswold Family Holidays Lower Mill Estate 

An Easter Egg Hunt with a difference

Easter Egg Hunt

Looking to up the ante for this year’s Easter Egg Hunt?  We’ve got the perfect solution.  Join in the annual Lake and Land Easter Egg Hunt at South Cerney Outdoor in Cotswold Water Park, just 5 minutes away from Daisy Chain.  The popular Easter Egg hunt involves finding golden eggs hidden in tunnels and then powerboating out to Easter Island to discover more hiding in nests.  The hunt is suitable for ages 3+ and tickets need to be booked in advance. Everyone loved it last year – it’s definitely one not to miss.

 

For details on how to book visit http://www.southcerneyoutdoor.co.uk/SpecialEvents.aspx