Peace & Plenty

PUBLISHED: 10:46 07 September 2011 | UPDATED: 19:57 20 February 2013

Elizabeth and David beside the river at Boscrowan

Elizabeth and David beside the river at Boscrowan

A run-down Cornish farm has been transformed into a delightful home and a tranquil haven for holidaymakers

A run-down Cornish farm has been transformed into a delightful home and a tranquil haven for holidaymakers

In the far west of Cornwall, David and Elizabeth Harris have created a haven of tranquility for their family and for visitors on their 25-acre smallholding at Boscrowan Farm, home to their two luxury holiday cottages, Peace and Plenty and Ring and Thimble.

In the late 1970s David and Elizabeth left their native Cornwall to study agriculture at university, and after nearly two decades away they decided to move back home and bought Boscrowan Farm on the outskirts of Penzance in 1999. As Elizabeth explains: The farm had been rented out to tenants for many years, and was extremely dilapidated. The farmhouse was uninhabitable and the rest of the buildings were pretty derelict and full of junk. Undaunted by the formidable task that faced them, the Harriss pooled their talents and worked tirelessly to turn the old farmhouse into a comfortable home with a productive garden.

At the same time they had to earn a living, so as well as renting out some of their land for growing early potatoes and daffodils, David starting working as an agronomist for a farmers co-operative, a position he still holds. Meanwhile, Elizabeth established what has become her successful soft furnishings business, Ring and Thimble, also located on the farm. The workshop fills a barn where her team (six enthusiastic local women) makes curtains, cushions and blinds. Elizabeth regards her staff as close friends and they enjoy socialising on foraging courses, visiting gardens and occasional jaunts to local restaurants.

Elizabeth says: As well as a productive working environment, the workshop also serves as a trading post, where we all swap design ideas, recipes and household tips, together with surplus home-produced vegetables, fruit and eggs. At the same time the women are constantly improving and passing on their sewing skills to friends, family and visitors. They particularly enjoy revamping old curtains with new linings and trimmings, adds Elizabeth.

The couple has also converted redundant farm buildings at Boscrowan into two holiday cottages: the reversed level barn conversion, Peace and Plenty, which sleeps up to four, and the adjoining Ring and Thimble, a romantic retreat for two. Both cottages are built from Cornish granite, and the original sash windows have been faithfully reproduced andpainted in a sympathetic grey-green, along with all the external woodwork.

In Peace and Plenty, the spacious open-plan first-floor room includes a dining area and hand-built wooden kitchen. The adjoining comfortable living space features a woodburning stove. Downstairs an en-suite shower room serves the main double bedroom, while the twin-bedded room has its own bathroom. Outside is a sheltered private garden. The cottage was originally converted in 2001, but has undergone further upgrading with the installation of a travertine floor and new shower in the en-suite, and some new accessories made by Elizabeth and her team.

Ring and Thimble is named after Elizabeths soft furnishings business, but also after a local landmark near Newlyn. This enchanting house offers luxurious accommodation. Outside it has dappled granite walls under a thatched roof and eaves that curve round the windows like eyelids. The cottage is surrounded by its own garden, with raised beds and paved seating areas. In summer, the view from the kitchen window is of a rolling green meadow, where rare-breed hens and ducks waddle.

Inside is spacious luxury, with beautiful ash floors and staircase, a blue-painted kitchen with granite worktops and travertine-floored bathroom with roll-top bath. The bedroom has an enormous half-tester bed hung with embroidered silk drapes, and sparkling chandelier.

Elizabeth says: Because of the economic downturn and increasing awareness of the need to reduce our carbon footprint, people are swapping foreign travel for a summer holiday closer to home, or taking short breaks out of season. Cornwall has become a chic destination with a young vibe, as well as a great place for families and country lovers. Because we cant guarantee constant sunshine in Britain, visitors are demanding a high level of comfort and luxury. We felt there was a real gap in the market for this type of accommodation, particularly for couples and small families who want the facilities that they enjoy at home with the fun of staying somewhere different and special, where a wet evening spent indoors, summer or winter, is not a penance. This is what Boscrowan provides by the bucketload.

On arrival, you will find bunches of garden flowers in every room, and old wheelbarrows are stationed outside both cottages, planted up with mixed salad leaves, for you to help yourself. As well as a welcoming homemade Cornish clotted cream tea, in the fridge is a bottle of Helford Creek apple juice made from Greensleeves and Bramley apples from Boscrowans own orchard, and a complimentary trug of Boscrowan-grown onions, shallots, garlic and herbs in the kitchen. Fresh vegetables and eggs are also available for visitors to buy, as well as local croissants and pasties, stored in the freezer. A rucksack, vacuum flask, picnic hamper, rugs and binoculars are provided in each cottage, together with a portable barbecue and charcoal, and even spare wellies for adults and children!

Visitors are welcome to explore the farm on a nature trail, and to look out for the local flora and fauna, details of which are shown on an illustrated map and booklet provided. A recent project on the farm was the erection of several bird boxes, most of which were used by blue and great tits to build their nests and successfully raise chicks. There is also a large wildlife pond in an area of wet meadowland and there have already been visits from a kingfisher and a pair of otters. Several hives of bees arrived last year, and hopefully one day they will provide honey for sale and pollinate the wild and garden flowers, and the fruit and vegetables surrounding the farm.

Children are always welcome at Boscrowan. They are encouraged to help collect eggs, watch the farrier as he shoes the horses, Huckleberry and Gem, complete a quiz on garden birds, play with the farm cats, Milly and Molly, or the two gentle collies, Meg and Jess.

Boscrowan is located in a lovely unspoilt part of Cornwall, in an area of outstanding natural beauty, and offers unlimited opportunities for walking and, of course, relaxing.

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