My dear readers. I almost didn't want to share this cottage with you because I wanted to keep it all to myself, and soon you'll see why. This is Mellinzeath Farmhouse, in Helford in Cornwall. I think this cottage is the most beautiful and idyllic place I have ever stayed. Both the cottage, and the surroundings are extraordinary. But before you get booking, you should know this cottage is not for the fainthearted ... this is a back to basic cottage, there is no central heating, there may be cobwebs and there are (supposedly) bats living in the bathroom. This cottage is a step back in time and that's what makes this such a remarkable place ....
Where is it: Cornwall
Weekly Price from: £333
Pets: Welcome of course!
What's it like?
Mellinzeath was once the farmhouse of the miller in this wooded valley which has a thousand years of recorded history. It has a thatched roof and thick stone granite walls. The view from the house completely took my breath away - set within a valley, with it's own little meadow, a babbling brook and hillside and woodland to explore all around. I can quite honestly say, if there is a heaven, this is what mine would look like.
An unusual arrival
Firstly, there is not a proper road leading to the house. You are met in the village by a charming jolly Englishman, who leads you to the car park in the farmyard ... for the duration of your stay you will park here and walk to the house, which is a 600 metre walk. Providing you're quite active this really isn't a problem, it's a lovely walk through the woodland, and we experienced some beautiful sunsets at the end of each day. Then, since a normal car (or even 4x4) couldn't tackle this rocky, winding path, you and your luggage are plonked (in a nice way) into a large truck, and you hitch a ride to the house. This was no ordinary ride however, the lovely gent invited us to ride the back of the open truck ... so we stood, holding on for dear life as we bounced our way down the rocky road. It was enormous fun and a fantastic way to approach the house ... though if you have bad knees I suggest riding in the front!?
The heart of the house
Once unloaded the lovely gent gave us a quick tour, and showed us where everything is. Rule number one, is not to let the fire go out. The fire really is the heart of the house, and since there's is no other heating, (well actually there's a little heater in the bedroom) you want to keep the home fires burning ... that said we did let it go out on more that one occasion. This is no ordinary fire, it is a wonderfully huge inglenook fireplace complete with stone bread oven. The lovely gent then leaves us. and I start to run around the house like a toddler, squealing in delight as I go ... as does Ralphy.
The lounge and dining area are rustic, simple and cosy, and I immediately feel like I've stepped into 'Larkrise to Candleford' except here you could happily wander around in your pants (should you want to) and only the cows would bat an eyelid. You will not find mod cons at this house ... there is no microwave, no TV reception, no washing machine, no freezer and while that may seem like domestic hell to some folk, I think it's perfect, and I really hope it always stays that way, because places like this are few and far between.
For comfort I always take additional blankets and throws to every cottage as you don't know quite what to expect (and you know I like to be cosy) and with that in mind, while this cottage sleeps 4, I wouldn't recommend it for 4 adults, as the sofa would only accommodate 2/3 comfortably. Would fit 2 and couple of kiddies though.
I loved this bathroom, and my little picture doesn't do it justice. It has a beautiful arched door and medieval windows reused from an older house and it has a beautiful roll top bath that is OH-SO luxurious. However, on first inspection I am unsure about the bathroom arrangement, as it's a-joining the house, but you have to go outside to get in (mmm not to convenient when one needs a widdle in the night?) But having stayed here twice, I can honestly say the outside factor isn't a problem, as there are also chamber pots under the beds! (I told you this house was rustic didn't I?) This was my first time using a chamber pot and it was quite a novelty! There is also meant to be a little family of bats living in the roof of the bathroom, I looked out for them both times but failed to make their acquaintance, next time perhaps?
Also there is a hip bath! so you can bathe cowboy/girl style in front of the roaring fire should you fancy it! I loved the hip bath, it was lovely and I highly recommend trying it. Here's me basking in all my glory ... oh-er missus!
The bedroomsThe bedrooms at Mellinzeath are simple, rustic and comfortable. In the morning the light streams through and the window opens up onto the most beautiful view. The twin room next door is ideal for kids and has a bookshelf filled with books & games for kids. There may be a cobweb or two in the high vaulted ceiling but that is all part of the charm when it comes to old rustic cottages.
I get so much joy, from leaving this face-paced world behind when I arrive at Mellinzeath. You simply need to keep the fire burning, explore the wild woodland, cook on the fire, enjoy the wildlife, soak in the tub and loose yourself in books. The cottage is filled with antiques, books to read and utensils to help you cook on the fire. We cooked some delicious fresh squid from the nearby coast on the fire, we spit-roasted a chicken and toasted crumpets too!
Another highlight for me was reading Frenchman's Creek by Daphne du Maurier ... it's a love story that's based around Frenchman's Creek in Cornwall, which is only a short drive from Mellinzeath! so of course we went, and had a wonderful stroll around the Helford river. You should still find the book on the bookshelf in the cottage.
Dog friendly fun
Ralphy LOVED it here. It's the ultimate paradise for dogs. It's safe and secluded so little pups can roam and sniff freely. There's a spring and a stream for them to paddle in (Ralphy loved the stream) and there's plenty of bunnies to chase (Ralphy likes to chase but then he turns around if he gets too close). There's also lots of walks straight from the house, so you might find you don't even use the car. When it comes to the beaches in Cornwall, not all allow dogs in peak times so you'll have to check in advance.
Cornwall is a wonderful place, with it's stunning white sandy beaches, rugged coastlines and clear blue sea, so it's not surprising it's on of the UK's most popular holiday destinations. There is another side to Cornwall that I think many people overlook, it also has a very vibrant, wild, rugged rural aspect to it. There are woodlands, and waterfalls, and there many hidden gems off the beaten track, you just have to know where to look for them. I'll write another post of the area of Cornwall soon, and share some of these gems with you. My advice to you is: if it's at all possible, try and visit during off peak times, we visited in Mid-September and it was much quieter yet we were still able to sun ourselves on the beach. Our next visit was late November, and I found it to be just as beautiful then.
On our first visit we visited in mid-september. It was still hot enough for a swimming costume and a paddle ... and we had this secluded beach all to ourselves. Our next visit was mid-november - and I enjoyed this even more. Everything was quieter, but the scenery was just as dramatic, and we had some lovely sunny, but chilly days.
And there it is. Can you see why I wanted to keep it a secret now? isn't it just lovely?? I hope if you do visit, you enjoy this magical place as much as we did. It really does stay with you, and Ralphy will never forgive us for leaving.
If you'd like to book this cottage please click here Forgotten Houses
All photographs by A Handmade Cottage. Please ask permission before using.
Also note: These are all my honest opinions, I am not paid (unfortunately) to say nice things.
I simply share what I love.