Merlin Farm is a real family affair: Darrel designed it, Lucy runs it; Darrel’s father David painted the seascape canvases in the cottages. Even the animals get stuck in with making visitors feel as welcome as possible: much-loved Horace the donkey will willingly pose for a groom, while the chickens will potter happily at your feet in exchange for a handful of corn.
Anyone who still holds on to the idea that ‘eco’ and ‘green’ are synonymous with a hair-shirt approach to life has not had the good fortune to stay here. Wondrously transformed from derelict barns, these stunning loft-like ‘cottages’, divided for privacy by high willow fences, are kitted out with the best of everything and completed with the lightest of impacts.
Energy is generated by the farm using solar panels, geothermal and underfloor heating and they even provide an area for rinsing sandy wetsuits after your day out at the coast – there are five beaches within five miles.