How to Have a Digital Detox Family Holiday at West Withy Farm in Exmoor
If you’re a regular reader then you might have seen a couple of posts already about having a”digital detox”. If you’re not sure what this is all about then take a read here to see why we’re doing a digital detox, and take a nose here to find out what benefits we’re hoping to achieve.
Last weekend we stayed at West Withy Farm Cottages in Exmoor. There is limited WiFi and zero 4G connectivity. The whole point of the holiday was to have a break from the tech and to spend quality family time together.
I don’t know about you but I’ve come to rely a lot on technology, and specifically my iPhone. It was lovely to properly switch off and focus on our immediate surroundings.
Today on the blog we review West Withy Farm Cottages and tell you everything you need to know before you go. And go! Trust me, the farm is beautiful, the cottages have everything you need, and it really is refreshing to take a break from social media.
West Withy Farm has two cottages – one sleeping four and the other sleeping five. We stayed in Stables Cottage which has two bedrooms and sleeps four. This was perfect for me, b and Mr D.
The cottages come equipped with everything you need for your stay. Fresh bedding, clean towels and even some freshly laid eggs, bread, butter, milk and jam. Everything you need for a fab breakfast the next morning.
The main living area is open plan, comprising kitchen, dining area and living area. You’ll find a dishwasher, washing machine, microwave and large fridge in the kitchen. Utensils, plates, pots and pans are all provided too.
There’s a table and four chairs overlooking the gardens. We sat here and watched the birds quite a bit.
Switch Off Your Phone!
There is plenty of space to play one of the board games available in the cottage, or to start one of the jigsaw puzzles! It was great to play games, build Lego models and focus less on our phones.
In the living area there is a gas fire which, when lit, looks just like a log burner. I could literally sit and read a book all day. There are loads of books available to read in the cottage, as well as DVDs for kids, and loads of guides and leaflets on the area. There’s a few National Trust treasures to enjoy as well if you want to get out and about. And here are my seven ideas for things to do when there is no internet.
Get a Great Night’s Sleep
The bedrooms are spacious and super comfy. The husband even commented that he’d had the best night’s sleep in a long time. Ian and Lorena prepare all the bedding and towels onsite, drying them in the fresh air when the weather allows. They even use a “fluffer” to make sure the towels are super soft. I want that fluffer!
I really want to get some decent cotton bedding too. The sheets were so soft and it makes me think ours at home are horrid and scratchy. Sleep is so important for good physical and mental health and I should probably invest in making it the best I can.
We enjoyed silence (even B slept amazing!), complete darkness and genuine tiredness – not because we were stressed but because we’d been out and about all day.
The bathroom is modern with a shower and a bath. Handy if you have little ones that enjoy a bath before bed.
The Gardens and Lake
Outside you’ll find a fully enclosed garden area, with a bench, welly boot stand and washing line. There is also a bird feeder, and Ian, the owner, provides some seed if you run out. In the summer months, there’s plenty of garden furniture included, and if you fancy, you can always bring a BBQ.
At the end of the garden, you can see down to the lake. This is home to six geese and various other ducks.
Animals on the Farm
The farm is home to lots of other animals too. The sheep have just had their lambs and we were lucky to get a chance to feed the mamas. Fortunately for Ian, the mums are all feeding their lambs, which means he doesn’t have to worry about bottle feeding this year.
It’s crazy when you think about it but these little lambs are up and on their feet an hour after birth! It took B 14 months!
The farm is also home to several hens, who lay delicious eggs. Ian left us six in the cottage and we enjoyed scrambled eggs on toast both mornings.
There are also stables which house quite a few horses. I’m not sure what B thought of them really. He kept commenting that one wanted to eat me. In reality they were just having a good sniff.
West Withy Farm is the perfect place to do some star gazing. B loves anything space related. Exmoor is apparently one of the best places in Europe to stargaze purely because of the low levels of light pollution. You can explore the night sky without light interruption, and marvel at how insignificant we all really are in the grand scheme of things.
Exmoor was also Europe’s ‘First International Dark Sky Reserve’. To achieve this status takes a while and involves detailed monitoring of light pollution levels. The accreditation is monitored annually too. You can read a bit more about this here.
Don’t own a telescope?
Don’t worry, you can hire one at the farm. Ian will help you get set up and he provides a handy guide on stargazing and what to look for.
For a true digital detox, get outside and go explore the wildlife on offer at the farm and in Exmoor. We really enjoyed watching the birds feed in the garden. This is a treat for us because, with four cats, I feel it would be a bit cruel to pop bird food out in our garden at home.
If you have hungry birds then pop some extra bird seed on the table and wait patiently! I had a read of the bird book left for us and it was actually super interesting. One thing I’d always wondered about was how to tell the difference between the big black birds we often see – rooks, ravens and crows. Well…now I know!
West Withy Farm is well placed for exploring Exmoor and the surrounding areas. There are many places to go walking and Ian left us an OS map and some walking routes. We used to walk a lot before the little man came along and I’d love to get back into long, circular routes. B tends to whinge a bit if anything is longer than a mile or so!
Exmoor is famous for locally produced food and drink and there are loads of options for trying different things. I picked up some Whortleberry Jam. Mum had told me about it a few months ago, so when we saw some, we bought a couple jars to try.
We also headed out to Knightshayes, the National Trust property close by. They grow all their own produce and the veggie gardens were just amazing. Definitely worth a visit too.
If you don’t fancy cooking at the cottage then there are plenty of pubs, cafes and tea shops in the local villages nearby.
Have you booked a family holiday yet? If you’re planning on Devon then I’d definitely recommend West Withy Farm as a base to explore the area and truly switch off from the madness that is life. It was lovely to turn my phone off, disconnect and enjoy our surroundings fully.
Be sure to follow us on all the social channels to take a look at more of our pics and thoughts from the farm – Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter! B was asked at school what he did over Easter and the first thing he said – we stayed on a farm!
Disclaimer: We enjoyed a two night stay at West Withy Farm Cottages in Devon. All opinions and photos are my own.