Feb 26, 2011

1000 votes already!!

Well, we've seen huge interest in this year's dog photo competition with over 1000 votes cast already and there's still a month to go. If you haven't voted yet check out the shortlist and make your selection!

Feb 21, 2011

The Farmhouse Garden...

Just wanted to explain how the garden works at the Farmhouse if you're not familiar. There are in effect three gardens, there's the space to the front which is open and provides access to the pool and land. There's a secure dog garden which is gravel underfoot and has a kennel and dog fencing to make sure your dog is enclosed, great for a midnight wee!

There's a garden focused on the humans in the party which has an eating and relaxing area, you're more than welcome to have your dog in with you but you do have a choice.

And the back of the garden which we've fenced off which houses the office, which is now a communal space for people who're looking to use the internet facility and there's also a small children's playground which we're looking to keep a poo free zone for obvious reasons.

Hope that's clear, if not feel free to get in touch.

Feb 17, 2011

A Recent Review...

Jayne Freer put this article together after a recent visit to Helsbury.

WHEN you think of a dog-friendly holiday you would be forgiven for conjuring up images of run-down, smelly accommodation with strict rules and regulations more suited to a concentration camp. And while you may happen to stumble across holiday retreats which allow ‘one small dog’ or ‘pets by prior arrangement’, the phrases ‘totally dog friendly’ and ‘luxury five star accommodation’ are not often even imagined in the same sentence.

But I’ve discovered an absolute gem nestled virtually on our own doorstep but could be miles from anywhere. Helsbury Park near Camelford in north Cornwall is a dog owner’s dream. We stayed in Marhayes, one of two spacious, converted stone barns. There is also a farmhouse and bungalow to hire on this award-winning complex. The first thing that struck me on arrival was the attention to detail. Our holiday home was kitted out with literally everything we’d need – even stuff we didn’t think we would, such as a dog frizzbie and the parmasan cheese shaver! There’s an abundance of throws for the furniture so you don’t have to worry about your pets leaving their muddy marks.

The interior was spectacular with slate floors - easy for clearing up any little doggy accidents - with underfloor heating. This along with the living room wood burner and plenty of logs and kindling created the perfect cosy atmosphere in which to unwind. And with puzzles, boardgames, books, mini snooker table and table tennis kit provided, you don’t even have to leave if you don’t want to. Upstairs there are three bedrooms, the two main rooms housing four-poster mega-comfy beds and the third with two singles. Each had ensuite shower rooms.

One of Helsbury’s many outstanding features is that it is surrounded by the most spectacular, breath-taking views stretching out to the edge of Bodmin Moor. Set in 100 acres, it comes complete with its own river running through an enchanting woodland and open fields. If you fancy venturing a little further afield the perfect-for-running-walking-cycling Camel Trail is a stone’s throw away, the nearest beach is around five minutes and of course there are the wonders of the moor itself. The trail up, across, around, and down Roughtor and Brown Willy is simply spectacular.

So there’s plenty of choice for ‘walkies’. Oh, and the on-the-ball owners even have a selection of wellies stashed away if you’ve forgotten to bring your own. After a day’s dog walking why not sink into Helsbury’s fantastic new swimming pool, to help ease the aches and strains? The complex is built into the hillside to avoid spoiling the Camel valley view so you can swim to your heart’s content while still soaking in the stunning surrounds. And once you’ve splashed out a few lengths you can relax in the sauna, or shower and dry off and indulge in the massage chair before hitting the small but well-equipped gym.

And as if that wasn’t enough to tempt you, Helsbury Park also boasts a ‘sustainable tourism’ strategy. Visitors are encouraged to recycle their waste in an array of recycling and compost bins, ditch the car and opt for saddle-back or walking, stay local, eat local, buy local, and be as economic with resources as possible. It’s a big part of Helsbury life. The welcome pack is a hefty ring-binder including all the information you need for your stay from suggested walks and the wildlife you may see, dog friendly places to eat, a beach guide and attractions to visit to keep you occupied. The owners actively promote other local business – the divine showering products are from the local St Kitts Herbery - while giving recommendations for the best local meat suppliers and farm shops. My own recommendation would be The Old Inn at St Breward. A roaring log fire, the finest of ales and a warm welcome for both two and four-legged patrons – just how a good pub should be.

Helsbury does have its own ‘doggy code’ to help maintain it’s five star status. But to be honest, any responsible dog owner would have no problem adhering to the few house rules such as picking up poop, covering furniture with blankets and not leaving dogs alone in the cottages to turn the sideboard into sawdust. And to help, the owners have even thought of equipping each cottage with a huge private dog kennel for if you do need to leave your pet behind along with stairgates to help prevent curious canines from vanishing upstairs.

I have to say Helsbury Park is one of the best holiday homes I’ve ever experienced – with or without dog.

Feb 14, 2011

Go walkies for Guide Dogs...

Would you like to 'go walkies for Guide Dogs'? Go walkies are a series of nationwide sponsored dog walks with a twist, as it's the dog that is sponsored to take part. You can even get involved if you are not a dog owner by walking in fancy dress or by sponsoring Oatie, a retired guide dog who lost his sight in one eye and is now the official mascot for go walkies.

You can find out more information about go walkies and search for your local events on our website http://www.guidedogsgiving.org.uk/gowalkies/ or on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/gowalkies. You can also download free apps for iPhone and Android here http://www.gowalkies.mobi/.

Perhaps there is a great walk around your area? You can share it with others by entering it onto our Facebook page or through the smartphone apps. Better still, you could organise your own go walkies event there, maybe even ending with a dog-friendly picnic. The event can involve people of all ages, take place anywhere, anytime and cover any distance, and there is no minimum fundraising requirement.

Our Events Team can supply materials to help promote your go walkies event, and publicise it on our Facebook page. Then when you all have a fabulous time, you share their photos and comments with other dog owners and Guide Dog supporters.

There are lots of ways you can help raise money and awareness for Guide Dogs this year whilst having fun with your dog. If you are would like any more help or information, please contact the Events Team at gowalkies@guidedogs.org.uk or on 0845 600 6787. Spread the word about go walkies and come along and have some fun too.

Feb 13, 2011

Cornwall voted 'most scenic' county in Britain

Cornwall's hospitality was praised as well as its rugged coastline Cornwall has been hailed as the "most scenic county" in Britain. According to a survey, its rugged coastline, sandy beaches and windswept moor lands persuaded 65% of those polled to put it top. The weather and the quality of Cornwall's tourist attractions were also highly rated in the survey carried out by a satellite television channel.

See more on bbc.co.uk

Feb 10, 2011

We're Off and Running - VOTE NOW!

The voting for the 2011 dog photo competition is now open, tell your friends and get voting! Normal rules apply, winner gets a free week and one lucky voter will get a £200 voucher to use against a holiday here at Helsbury!

Feb 3, 2011

Wildlife Gallery

Just a quick update, we're still keeping our wildlife gallery page up to date, latest spot was a Tufted Duck on the pond, particularly pleasing as we've worked hard to keep the pond clear of weed over the winter so nice to see that the birdlife appreciates it. Other recent highlights include a rather brave fox, a pair of woodcock, massive flocks of Starlings, the stoat (my favourite) and the Heron who seems to be a regular visitor to the pond now. There were lots of deer prints in the snow over Christmas, including quite a few on the deck outside the pool, they must have fancied getting in from the cold!

Feb 1, 2011

Helsbury Dog Photo Competition 2011 Entry 28

Jayne Freer and her partner and dog are staying at Helsbury right now, and by the wonders of modern technology they've entered the dog photo competition! This is probably the last entry as we're making a cut for the shortlist over the next day or so. Jayne said: "Having a great time here. The first one is a sepia picture down by the lake with Molly taking a breather after a bit of digging! Note the straw she has stuck to her nose! I've also sent a couple from our hike today on Rough Tor or Brown Willy Tor. Legs are feeling a bit wobbly now as a result!"