Review of Middlewick Farm, Somerset
Middlewick is a pretty, rambling farm just under Glastonbury Tor. It is a great place to go on holiday as a family or group of friends, with plenty of communal facilities and safe, large open spaces to let the kids run wild.
The accommodation Comfortable self-catering accommodation options are spread around old and new buildings within the 16 acres of pretty meadows, orchards and paddocks. The total capacity is 37, making it very convenient for groups of friends or families wanting to holiday together but not necessarily sharing one house. The original farmhouse dates back to the 16th Century and many of the original features have been restored for guests to enjoy.
We stayed in Russet, which could sleep up to 5 comfortably and had it's own well fitted kitchen, snug living room, large bathroom and back door onto a pretty communal garden. Crooked walls, low ceilings and creaky floorboards made the cottage ooze with character - exactly what you want when sleeping under Glastonbury Tor! The living room even had it's very own inglenook, a stone seating area built into the large stone fire place. All ten cottages come with fully stocked kitchens and although the smaller ones don't come with their own washing machines, there is a communal laundry room on site. Linen, basic toiletries and towels are provided and beds are made up before you arrive, making them very homely to walk into. The cottages are all slightly different and some can be linked via shared hallways and gardens so it is worth enquiring what suits your situation best before booking. Middlewick is very accommodating of special interest groups or groups on retreats.
The activities The 16 acres of farmland and communal buildings are there for guests to enjoy and since the farm is situated away from the road, it is safe for kids to run about and explore. A heated indoor swimming pool and steam room is a good rainy day option. There is also a large communal living room area, with books and a TV, which can be enjoyed when available and be hired out for events if required. If relaxation is your priority, Jill can arrange treatments in the Middlewick pamper chalet. Ask Jill where you can find Gog and Magog, two impressive ancient Oak Trees in the surrounding fields.
Beyond the farm, there are heaps of things to do. Following in the footsteps of the Holy Grail and reaching Avalon (the last resting place of King Author) by walking up to The Tor is a must, which you can get to directly from the farm. Glastonbury village is only a short and pleasant walk from the farm and is also well worth a visit. Middlewick is also on several bridal ways and walking routes, making it an excellent base for exploring the Somerset levels and Mendip hills. If history and shopping is more your thing then Wells is only 5 miles down the road. A magnificent gothic style cathedral looms over the very pretty town centre, which has craft and food markets on most weekends. Wells is also home to one of England's best preserved medieval streets, dating back to the 14th Century.
The food There is a plentiful organic farm shop on site, which provides everything you need for self-catering. The Middlewick organic vegetable garden and herb garden is there for guests to help themselves too - a big hit with children eager to get stuck into some mud - and the farm's chickens provide fresh eggs that are sold in the shop.
Wednesday is pizza night on the farm, where Jill supplies organic pizza bases and guests bring along their own toppings and cook the pizzas in the outdoor wood burning oven. On busy evenings pizza night can serve up to 40 people and turns into a great communal feast. Guests are welcome to use the outdoor oven for their own cooking on other nights if they wish.
In the summer the farm is home to a Pop Up Supper Club. Every Friday local chefs come to Middlewick and serve food in the function room and on it's terrace, which backs onto a pretty meadow with views of the Tor. All food is locally sourced and the evenings are a great time to get locals and guests mingling together. In August the themed evenings were: 'Hart' of Somerset, Local Farm Feast and 10 Mile Menu.
What makes Middlewick green? Jill has recently moved to Middlewick to put a green stamp on the place and it's still early days. That said, progress so far has been fast and the farm already has a Bronze award from the Green Tourism Business Scheme. The on-site well has been opened up and is in the process of being used for grey water on the farm. Solar panels are due to be fitted this winter. All the food in the farm shop is sourced from a 20 mile radius. Recycling takes place on site and a food recycling company takes away wasted cooked food to turn it into compost. As an alternative to the car there is a pony and trap that offers local trips and tours and bicycle hire is available from a neighbouring farm. Next Spring Middlewick will be provided with car charging points for the guest car park, provided by the charity Carbon Zero, so electric cars will soon be more than welcome.
How to get there using public transport The nearest train station is Castle Cary, from where you can catch a local taxi to Middlewick (approximately £15). Trains leave Paddington every couple of hours and the train takes 1 hour 30 minutes, making this a very easy weekend break from London. If you have time on your hands and want a cheaper option, there is a National Express coach from London to Glastonbury that takes about 4 hours. Alternatively you can find your way to Bristol and catch a local bus to Glastonbury, which takes about 90 minutes.
Top tip Embrace the mysticism of the area by reading a bit about the background of Glastonbury Tor and visiting the small museum attached the Glastonbury Abby in the village. Make the most of the warm hospitality and enthusiasm for all things green by letting the children get stuck into farm life. In Spring look out for new glamping options on the farm.
Verdict This is an excellent option for groups or families wanting a relaxing holiday on a welcoming and pretty farm. Jill's enthusiasm means there's plenty for the kids to do and interesting activities on the farm itself. Middlewick is a great spot from which to explore the area by foot, bike or car. I would recommend it to anyone keen to discover the Mendip hills and local villages.
To see the full review go to http://www.greentraveller.co.uk/blog/review-middlewick-cottages-glastonbury-england