Animal care on a small farm by the sea (Branscombe, East Devon)
We (family of five) live on a small farm in Branscombe, on the East Devon / Jurassic coast. Over the past five years we have been lucky enough to have friends or family offer to look after the house and animals when we've been away, but this year due to calendar clashes we need some extra help! We are hoping to find and build a relationship with someone reliable who will be interested in future sitting too. (For the time being our travels are limited to school holidays and the occasional weekend.)
The main responsibility is caring for our cats, chickens and goats. We also have 30 sheep, which are fairly self-sufficient but still require some observation. Animal duties can take as little as an hour a day, but the cats and goats in particular will appreciate any extra time you are able to spend with them. The veg beds and fruit cage may need daily watering too, depending on the time of year....
We would be happy for you to arrive a day or two before the house sit in order to get to know the place a little, and we can be flexible re. extending the stay as well.
Branscombe is a beautiful village on an unspoilt stretch of coastline, with a lovely shingle beach. The beach and both pubs are within walking distance, and the campsite at the top of the road sells milk and a few other basic supplies, but Branscombe does not have a village shop or any other amenities and the bus service (which comes through Branscombe en route between Seaton and Sidmouth) is quite sporadic. So having your own car is not absolutely essential but strongly advised. We are unable to offer use of a car, but there's ample parking on site.
Non-smokers only, please, and we regret that we are unable to accept dogs. + More info
Our Home & Location
We live in a converted and modernised farmhouse set in 14 acres of land. Accommodation offered is a detached two-storey holiday home adjacent to the main house, with two bedrooms (one double, one twin), fully fitted kitchen (inc. dishwasher, electric oven, induction hob, freestanding fridge/freezer), open-plan living area with log burner, bathroom and en suite shower room. Washing machine, wifi, TV. Very limited mobile phone reception.
We would like you to make yourselves at home, but we request no additional guests other than by prior arrangement. Bedding and towels provided. Please strip beds before leaving, empty fridge and leave accommodation clean and tidy....
Branscombe is a beautiful village on an unspoilt stretch of coastline, which is part of the Jurassic Coast with direct access to the South West Coast Path. It's also part of the East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and as such is surrounded by gorgeous countryside and within easy reach of a number of fabulous beaches. Branscombe Beach is about 15 minutes' walk from our house. There are several National Trust properties in the village (including the country's oldest working forge and a recently restored water mill). Also two characterful pubs and a café down on the beach. No shops or other amenities. Beer is the next village along (less than 10 minutes by car), and the nearest towns are Seaton and Sidmouth, both approximately 15 minutes. Lyme Regis, just over the border in Dorset, is about 25 minutes by car, and Exeter is about 40 minutes. We can send an information pack prior to arrival if you are not familiar with the area. Local applicants very welcome! + More info
Responsibilities & Pets
We have three cats (two sisters and their younger female cousin, all 5 years old), one free-ranging chicken (her companions were lost to the fox earlier this year), six Golden Guernsey goats (5 female, 1 neutered male kid) and 30 sheep (mix of Balwen and Gotland breeds).
Responsibilities are as follows......
* The cat flap is set to exit only, after all three cats developed a habit of bringing live mice and rabbits in for us to 'admire', so you will need to let them into the main house whenever they're hanging around the back door, top up their food and water every day and please give them plenty of love! (No litter tray to deal with.) They are allowed into the annexe but please make sure they are not shut in overnight as they need to be able to get outside at any time;
* Let the goats out in the morning, rinse and refill their water bucket, top up their hay, lay fresh straw as necessary, feed them concentrates in the evening and shut them in at night. We're not currently milking as two of our does are still feeding this year's offspring, but we hope to have a morning milking routine established in the future (training offered if this is new to you!);
* Let the chicken out first thing in the morning, top up her food and water as necessary, collect eggs (for your own use), remove droppings in their sleeping area every couple of days;
* Check on the sheep, doing a headcount and checking none are stuck in hedges or looking unwell. We will leave vet details, or contact us in the first instance and we will advise further. We will also leave contact details for local friends who can advise on any issues with the animals and/or the house.
We don't anticipate any garden duties during our Oct or Feb breaks, possibly some light watering if there has been a long dry spell. Please help yourselves to cooking apples in October! We would also appreciate any post and parcels being taken in from the front porch or outside the back door.
We will be contactable at all times while we're away, by email and mobile phone. + More info