If I had to sum up Adam Henson’s Cotswold Farm Park in one word, that would be easy. Peaceful. Magical. Fun. Any of those words work. What would be harder would be trying to accurately convey the experience of being there into a string of comprehensible words.
We’re all susceptible to the hustle and bustle of regular life; the daily grind that gradually brings us to the realisation that we need a break, a change of scenery. A vacation, or even better sometimes, a staycation.
Following several weeks of an intense work schedule, the general hectic pace of modern living and emerging from winter hibernation, Adam’s fantastic team invited me and a guest to the Farm Park for a day and night of r&r.
From time to time there are questions in life that don’t require deep thought. This was one of them. Other questions that don’t necessitate contemplation: “would you like pink fizz in a wood fired hot tub with private panoramic views of the rolling Cotswold countryside?”. Yes. “Would you like to bottle feed newborn lambs?”. Yep. “Would you like to stroll through lush grounds among the extraordinarily cute furry, fleecy and feathered residents while learning about different breeds of livestock and farm animals via a history trail?” Yes, and yes.
Even with other guests milling around, there is a stillness broken only by birdsong, the gentle bleating of new lambs and the deep rumble of lowing cows. Upon entry we were greeted by a solitary blackbird singing a welcome soliloquy perched atop a tree. Welcome indeed.
The first port of call instinctively is to walk. Through the nature trail. Through the green, green grass. Watching the interaction between sweet four legged families. Laughing as kid siblings butt each other, running around and playing, knocking one another to the ground.
Once in our private cabin we made a beeline for the sliding glass door to check out the panoramic views as we could see that we were in for a beautiful sunset. Out on the decking it was so peaceful that while sharing a bottle of Adams Rare Breed pale ale (brewed using barley grown on the farm) and taking in the late afternoon glow of a sun low in the sky, a lone crow flew overhead with an audible murmur of its powerful wings in motion. It was a sound that despite being country dwellers neither of us had heard before and it was yet another moment where we looked at each other acknowledging that although only down the road, we were far from home.
My personal highlight was bottle feeding the babies. I did remark on the way into the animal barn that I felt about 35 years too old to be doing this sans small child on my arm however no one batted an eyelid and I was far from the only grown up excited about these tiny, wobbly infants. Fascinating to watch as they ran around, tripping over each other, playing and exploring, still learning to navigate their way around this weird and wonderful new thing called life.
I lost my heart to a one eared goat kid named Vincent (after Van Gogh we assumed) who had a beautifully gregarious and curious nature with fur soft as silk. One of his roomies, a very talkative little lamb who never ceased his tiny bleating was endlessly entertaining. I surveyed the feeding barn strategising which one was tiny enough to fit under my jumper for a quick getaway…Vincent!?
After the sunset and being suitably fed, we made use of the hot tub; glasses of rosé never far from hand, soaking in the warmth of the water, gazing at the stars and chewing the fat of life.
The following morning it was straight back down to the barn to feed Vincent some brunch then upon leaving we walked back past that first tree, blackbird still in situ. Still singing, only this time a beautiful “it’s not goodbye; it’s see you later”. As with everything in nature, the beauty of the Cotswold Farm Park is in its simplicity. By just falling into step with the perfect pace of the natural world, the stresses of the manmade world fall away.
Going back to my initial question of how to sum up Adam Henson’s Cotswold Farm Park in one word…well, actually, you can’t. Upon leaving, and in the days afterwards, I came to realise it’s a feeling.
This is a place to make memories. The kind of beautiful memories that stay with you always; the ones you reach for at every family gathering for the rest of time. It’s a place to enjoy, to switch off and wind down. A place to learn – even if you don’t intend to.
But mostly, it’s a place that makes you stop and look back over your shoulder for one last glance before rounding the corner to go home to the hustle and bustle of daily life, and to finally reply to the melodic blackbird…’adieu pour l’instant’.
I may have left Adam Henson’s Cotswold Farm Park for now but I don’t think this beautiful place (or Vincent with his one soft ear) will ever leave me.
The Farm Park is open daily 9.30 – 5 and hosts six luxury lodges that sleep 4 – 6 people, complete with fully equipped kitchens, Weber barbeques and those dreamy wood fired hot tubs. They also have glamping options sleeping up to 7, camping pitches for those who like to do it their own way, and camping pods for those who like to do it their own way but not perhaps brave all the elements.
If you prefer not to make use of the kitchen there is the option of the Ox Shed, the onsite restaurant that also offers a take out service if you don’t feel like dining in (or out, under festoon lighting). Saturday nights see live music to enjoy over dinner and drinks.