Julie Andrews takes a luxury break at Gwel an Mor in Cornwall.
Photos by Nigel Andrews
On the north Cornish coast, high above Portreath, sits Gwel an Mor, a haven, where tranquillity, relaxation and hands-on wildlife experiences, harmonise in one enchanting resort
Arriving in Cornwall in the late evening, due to unexpected car trouble, we were certainly in need of a relaxing break. Thankfully, after a good night’s sleep, all we had to do to achieve that delicious, breathe easy holiday feeling, was open our eyes.
Breakfasting that morning, bathed in the warmth of a sunlit room, we slowly meandered into our day. Our grade 3 assisted lodge, was contemporary, stunning and bright. However, what impressed me most, was the creative way accessible features had been integrated into the building. From the slatted wooden railings alongside the ramps, to the imaginatively designed hand rails in the wetroom, everything, blended beautifully, proving, that practical doesn’t have to be clinical.
Situated next to the holiday lodges is Feadon Farm, the only conservation farm of its kind in Europe and truly what makes Gwel an Mor, the most unique family resort in Cornwall. There were, a couple of steep inclines to negotiate on the way down to the farmyard, but with our combined muscle power, Nigel and I made light work of them.
Joining a group for a wildlife experience, we were introduced to wildlife ranger, Gary Zammir, a passionate animal keeper, who compels all those around him, to care passionately too. Our morning began with baby goats. Stroking and feeding those adorable, enthusiastic guzzlers, was an absolute delight.
Next, we shared time with a magniﬁcent bristly haired reindeer, with the dreamiest, timid eyes I have ever seen. This brought magic to us all, not to mention a happy tear, when the shyest little girl in the group, excitedly whispered to her mum, ‘Look, Father Christmas has brought his reindeer on holiday.’
Moving around the farm, it was enthralling to see the relationships Gary had with his animals and from ferrets to mice, frogs and snakes, we were encouraged to handle them all.
Excitedly, I held a snake, and loved the way it wrapped itself around my hands. Although I wasn’t quite so enamoured, when I thought it was heading down my top. Thankfully, Gary was on hand to create a speedy diversion
Nothing escaped this man’s notice, whether it was a withdrawn child or an adult with a phobia. Gary, instinctively assessed the situation, quietly coaxed it and right in front of our eyes, we witnessed fear turn to trust and trust, to wonderment
As if this journey into the wild hadn’t been captivating enough, our next quest, was to step into the world of the Red Fox. When the door to the enclosure opened and three curious tame foxes welcomed us in, the entire group gasped in awe. Stroking and feeding the foxes, moved me deeply. Especially so, when one velvety little darling planted a kiss.
The ﬁnale to our morning, was our introduction to Sly, a barn owl with a crooked nose that matched his namesake. Watching an owl head towards you in silent flight, is truly mystifying and as Sly settled onto my hand, just for a moment, I was mesmerised by the beauty of this otherworldly creature.
Gary and sly together, was like watching a frolicking dog with his owner and wonderfully, that morning, we were all included in their playtime. As Sly ﬂew from hand to outstretched hand, he was in his element.
The Wellbeing Spa
Awe-inspiring mornings, turn into relaxing afternoons when you holiday here. I was booked into the spa, for a head and neck massage.
Unused to indulging in pamper treatments, I was unsure what to expect, but Daniella my beauty therapist, had me completely at ease. Starting with an unexpected manicure, I sat like a queen in that delightfully tranquil room. The massage and consequent smoothing out of neck knots the size of walnuts felt bizarre but utterly relaxing.
It is not until you are given the opportunity to spend time pampering yourself that you realise what you’ve been missing. With Daniella’s encouragement, I have deﬁnitely been inspired to put some TLC time, into my own life.
So how do you end a special day like that? Well, you go back to your lodge, relax in a bubbling hot tub and luxuriate in bubbles until you turn into a ‘human prune’.
Out and about
Next morning, contentedly chilled, we folded back the ﬂoor to ceiling windows, and spent hours reading. It was easy to allow the beach hut ambience of our lodge to seduce us into really letting go.
In the afternoon, we persuaded ourselves to go out and explore one of the accessible walks. It was marvellous to be able to stroll from our lodge to the nearby forest and meander through Gwel an Mor’s extensive grounds on the way.
That evening, we dined at The Terrace Restaurant, a charming bistro, with a delightful menu of Mediterranean and local cuisine. Savouring every single mouthful of joy on our plates, we felt like we’d arrived in food heaven.
Content after our break away, it was an extremely chilled but reluctant pair, who packed to go home the next day. Sneaking a ﬁnal dip in the hot tub and indulging in a scrumptious Terrace lunch before leaving, the road back to normality, was travelled a little easier.
Never put off until tomorrow, the opportunity to completely unwind today.