Cwmiar is a real working farm – it’s not a show. You can help us to look after our cattle, sheep that children can feed by hand, kune-kune pigs – they are very small and cute, especially the piglets, two horses – Tilly and Willy, two dogs – Marley and Rocky, our house cat – Xanda and the three farm cats, Blackie, Gingie, and Fluffy, as well as chickens, turkeys, guinea-fowl, geese and ducks – with that lot to feed and take care of there’s never a dull moment!
Your children – and you – can get involved in everyday farm life, as much or as little as you like, without having to travel from your cottage to the farm; you will live in one of our cosy old stone built cottages in the heart of the farm around the farm yard.
Fun with animals
We invite everyone to join in our daily work. We meet at about 9 am. either in the farmyard or the stable yard to start feeding the animals. The children are encouraged to feed the animals themselves so that they feel part of the action and will gain confidence , learning how to deal with animals, which later-on will influence their way with people. Everyone is given an ice-cream pot (without the ice-cream) to put the feed in.
As soon as we all come into the yard the turkeys will come running, so it’s best to give them some food to keep them happy while we feed everyone else.
When we feed the ducks the children find it very amusing to see them run, often fly, out of their house into the pond – we spend some time discussing matters relating to ducks such as why ducks don’t get wet and why their beak is flat and not pointed and so on. It is amazing how many questions the children throw at us and it is more amazing how many of those questions they answer themselves, once encouraged to give it some thought. Whilst we’re near the feeders for the wild birds we’ll take turns to fill them so that during the day we’ll be able to watch the small ones having a snack.
These are not the only ducks in the farm. There is still one left on the millpond (that used to run the water-wheel, which is at the side of The Old Water Mill), unfortunately, foxes have finished off all the others and the geese that used to be there. The one that remains still comes home for breakfast, so we have to feed him as well – we are really hoping that he will find himself a mate in the spring so that we’ll have some ducklings, as we have had in previous years. We shall be putting fish in the pond in the spring, so we shall also have to feed them from time to time.
We mustn’t be late to feed the pigs or they make a terrible din! We take the bucket of feed to the small field which they share with the chickens and the children can feed daddy & mummy pigs and their babies; there are usually piglets of varying ages, which being Kune Kune, are small and very cute.
Then we go further up the field to let the chickens out of their shed and feed them and the guinea fowl who share it with them .
Sometime during the week, we discuss the cycle of the egg and the chicken and try to project it on life itself and often we are they surprised by just how much the children manage to take on board.
Then anyone who wants to, can come with us to the stable yard to see the horses, cats and dogs. We realize that some children are afraid of dogs, but our dogs are used to children and love playing with them. Quite often we’ve had children who were afraid of them to begin with, but when they see the others playing with them they soon join in and forget what they were worried about.
Those who are horse-mad, like us, can groom the horses and muck out the stables whilst the others play with the dogs, ride bikes & scooters or play ball games.
We also need to feed the sheep and lambs who have probably heard us by now and gathered by the field gate. It then starts to be hilarious. First we have to make sure that we all can get in without letting the sheep out, this is always accompanied by children shouting and laughing and screaming “hurry up”.
Once we have managed that, another round of fun begins; children feeding the sheep by hand, trying to stop the adult sheep pushing the lambs away and screaming at them to behave themselves – children loves screaming and here they can scream their little heads off!
They learn the difference between feeding sheep and chickens – they learn how to approach different animals if they want to stroke them and they start to learn the proper relationship between animals and humans, which they pick up very quickly.
By now, the horses express their wish to go to their field a hundred yards away and everyone is invited to join us taking them there.
Wearing wellies is advisable as there is a stream where children just love to get themselves wet whilst playing with the dogs – and why not!
Our Welsh Black cattle are inspected at least once a day – several times during calving – and again everyone is welcome to come and see them with their calves and stroke them; Erddyn our bull is a darling, you can stroke him too if you like (note, NEVER on your own).
You won’t get bored at Cwmiar
Fun to play and socialize
We have allocated five areas where the children can play: one in the small woodland next to the lawn with two tree houses, a slide, seesaw, swings and a trampoline etc. for the children to play on, and for the adults of the family to relive their long-lost youth.
There’s another large & sheltered playground especially for toddlers,
a third one for children’s tennis and children’s basket ball,
a fourth area for the children and the rest of their family to play football or volleyball or badminton – often the children from several cottages play against each other and sometimes different families have a go at each other.
The fifth area is for children and the rest of the family to enjoy themselves IN ANY WEATHER, with pool table, skittles, darts, table tennis and much more for toddlers, older children, grown up children and retired children to play with, or watch TV or a DVD or just listen to music and enjoy the panoramic view over the Pond and the Mountain.
Fun whatever the weather
Our customers tell us that before they came to Cwmiar they weren’t able to have a child-friendly holiday that each member of the family could enjoy, children and adults as well – invariably someone would be bored. Very often we have three generations, sometimes four, of the family here – grandparents being just as interested in taking care of the animals as the children and their mums and dads, or they are happy to relax with a book by the millpond, while the younger members are out and about.
Over the years it has become apparent that children love to come to the farm and we pride ourselves in providing truly child-friendly holidays. Everything we have developed at Cwmiar over the years has had children in mind. They should be allowed to play freely & safely and we are fortunate enough to have the space and be far away from traffic, so that even young children can be allowed freedom to run and play.
The combination of being in a unique environment, with an out of the ordinary level of safety, without having to be miles away from civilization, and the many varieties of animals & birds that we keep, in addition to being fond of children – you can only love the rascals – has led us to develop our way of providing very happy holidays for them. The comments left by children, their parents (and grandparents!) in our guest books or sent to Trip Adviser make us feel humble and very happy that we have made a difference for them. The formula is actually simple: love them but genuinely – really understand them and remember when you were their age.