In the first of a series of articles, we find out what’s special about our locations through the eyes of the team that work there. This week, Deerpark in the winter….
They are a tight- knit team at Deerpark in Cornwall. Hidden deep in a wooded valley, it is one of the most beautiful woodland settings imaginable and its remote location seems to engender great loyalty from both staff and guests. Here we speak to:
General Manager, Stuart Moir
Forest Ranger, Martin Summers
Forest Retreat Manager, Gemma Foster
Team Members, Caz Moir and Rachel Denney
What are your favourite things about Deerpark?
CM: I have been here for nearly 7 years and I am still finding new parts of the forest to get lost in. Like the tiny path near the red route bridge that looks like an animal track. It takes you through a section of the forest no one else ever goes; a great place for singing along to your favourite tracks on the iPod, with no one overhearing. Or just staying quiet and listening to birds not heard elsewhere in the forest.
MS: Favourite thing about working at Deerpark? Probably seeing the expression of delight on a guest’s face when a deer or bat comes into clear view on our night vision screens.
GF: There is nothing I don’t like about working at Deerpark; I can honestly say it is the best place to work. My team are all fantastic, and I couldn’t ask for a better job. My favourite spot at Deerpark is looking up the millpond and seeing the geese and ducks with the cabins along the side.
What’s special about Deerpark in the winter?
CM: The best thing about Deerpark in the winter, if you were to ask my two four year old boys, would be all the jumping in muddy puddles!
RD: Deerpark in winter is absolutely beautiful, even in the typical Cornish 'mizzle'.
MS: Deerpark lies almost North-South so gets low sun in a sheltered valley - this can make for great lighting effects when the rays are split through the trees, particularly when it is frosty.
What is there to do in Cornwall in the winter?
SM: There are still plenty of things to do and see in Cornwall in winter. The Eden Project springs to mind, along with its sister site, The Lost Gardens of Heligan. Although, on a brisk winter’s day there is often nothing nicer than a walk in the forest, or along our spectacular coastline, followed by a relaxing chill in the hot tub, looking at the starlit skies.
RD: Winter is definitely about bracing walks along the deserted beaches, a hot toddy in a typically Cornish pub, then snuggling up in your cabin in front of the log burner and looking out over the millpond.
MS: My favourite place to visit is The Duloe Stone Circle which seems to have a winter atmosphere all of its own - often this will be combined with a visit to the nearby Plough hostelry…
Why I love Deerpark… a guest’s view:
“We returned from our second trip to Deerpark this morning. So many amazing things to do in Cornwall (too many to list!): Eden Project, Looe, Polperro. Coastal walks, visit to St Michael’s Mount, Land’s End, Minack Theatre, Newquay, Padstow, walks around the Deerpark site, ranger walks are fab. Plus, a visit to Deerpark is not complete without entering the duck race!”
Ruth Gibbins, on Facebook, November 2014
What special guests do you get in the winter?
RD: In winter we tend to get guests who become part of our lives as they visit year after year. It’s always wonderful to catch up and see how much their lives have changed, or how the children have grown in the previous 12 months.
MS: I would mention two winter guests - the white Little Egret and the majestic Atlantic Salmon. The Egret comes only when it is really cold and the salmon when the stream becomes a torrent.
Tell us a secret about Deerpark
SM: My favourite secret spot is to be found on a path behind our Copper Beech cabins - at the top of the path, near the water tanks, there is a very special view of the forest. I do tend to linger awhile after reading the water meter up there, drinking (excuse the pun!) in the view!
MS: Perhaps my favourite Deerpark place - so secret the manager did not know about it – is the forest behind his house. Here, the trees are so moss and fern covered that they look like they are going to get up and walk.
The final word on Deerpark…
The final word goes to Stuart Moir, the General Manager at Deerpark and sums up the magic of this very special place,
“I have been at Deerpark for nearly 7 years and absolutely adore where I work – it’s not a job, it’s a vocation and a lifestyle second to none.”
Experience Deerpark in winter for yourself. Cabins are available throughout January and February and the team are ready and waiting to introduce you personally to their favourite parts of this unique location.