Exclusive Dartmoor Weddings & Seasonal Events - Coombe Trenchard

Exclusive Country House Weddings & Events to Celebrate the Season

What our friends say about Coombe Trenchards English Country Garden Festival

Events Coombe Trenchard, GardensSarah MarshComment

Time really does fly - and I cannot quite believe that we will be hosting our much loved English Country Garden Festival once again next weekend on the 2nd and 3rd of June.

The festival is a labour of love for us all here at Coombe Trenchard, and for our stall holders, our dear friends, supporters, and our volunteers - all of whom help us to ensure year on year, the weekend is seamless and throughly enjoyed by everyone.


As the last 7 days leading up to our cheery festival unfold, and we crank up a gear with all the preparations this brings, I thought I'd share a few words from a loyal member of the Coombe Trenchard community, Miranda Waite.

Miranda is the wonderful step daughter of Lorna Vanier, and for those that don't know, Lorna is indeed my right hand lady when it comes getting this show on the road each year, and I am extremely grateful to both Lorna and Miranda for their support.


Q. Tell us a little about yourself, and how you first became involved with the English Country Garden Festival at Coombe Trenchard?

A. I came to visit the festival the first year it started 7 years ago, and not only did I fall in love with the setting and location, I really enjoyed the variety of stalls and the friendly happy atmosphere.

Q. The Festival is delighted to welcome visitors and stall holders from across the South West, with a great emphasis on supporting local independent businesses and the tranquil setting that Coombe Trenchard gardens lend. For those that haven’t visited the festival before – can you share some personal highlights from previous years?

A. There is so much - it’s hard to pinpoint! I really love the plants, the artwork and sculptures, and the crafts. The crafts are brilliant every year and it's great to see many small independent local businesses and their wares.

Q. What would you say is unique and extra special about the annual festival, something that you perhaps don’t see at other garden shows?

A. The setting is second to none - you can't beat having a lovely Pimms whilst watching the croquet and soaking up the atmosphere (and hopefully the sunshine!) in the beautiful gardens.

Q. Can you tell us what you are most look forward to seeing and enjoying at the Festival this year?

A. The lovely selection of stalls - many familiar faces and there are always some new gems that Sarah and Lorna have found to be part of the show. Oh, and the food - the chance to enjoy some delicious food!

Q. Do you have a favourite spot within the Gardens and grounds of Coombe Trenchard?

A. There are so many beautiful spots on the estate, but I have to say I do love walking down through the woodland walk to arrive at the festival, it's so peaceful and unspoiled.

Q. Local foodie stalls and drinks play a huge part at events like this – tell us which stalls you will be savouring this year. 

A. The tea on the lawn.. with lots of home made cakes - plenty of Gluten free too! It's a real treat!


Q. The cream tea debate lives on – tell us, is it Clotted Cream first or Strawberry Jam?

A. Living in Cornwall now, I really ought to say jam first, which is the Cornish way....but I must confess I actually like my cream tea the Devon way, Clotted Cream first with a large splodge of jam on the top! 

Q. And finally, if you had to sum up the English Country Garden Festival in just three words, what would they be.

A. Beautiful. Delightful... and Delicious!


Heartfelt thanks to Miranda for these kind words which are echoed by so many of our visitors. Every year I am blown away by the lovely cards and notes of thanks which are sent to me after the festival - it is one of the reasons why I will continue to look forward sharing my home with others for years to come.

See you on the 2nd & 3rd of June!

Sarah xx



Childrens Hospice South West - A chat with the community fundraising team

Sarah MarshComment

In the lead up to our English Country Garden Festival on 2nd - 3rd June, I had the pleasure of catching up with Zoe Partridge from the community fundraising team at Childrens Hospice South West to finalise the arrangements for our support of this truly remarkable charity as part of the Garden festival plans this year.

Do have a read of what Zoe had to say, when I took time to ask her afew questions about the work of the charity, and what we can all look forward to at this years Garden Festival, as part of my Guest Blog series. 

Zoe Partridge, Community Fundraising Childrens Hospice South West 

Zoe Partridge, Community Fundraising Childrens Hospice South West 

Q. When did you join CHSW?

A. I joined CHSW back in 2013, so almost 5 years ago now.

Q. What do you love most about your job?

A. There is so much to love about a job like this. Every day is different, but every day you meet lovely people who are inspired to support Children’s Hospice South West in some way. It is very rewarding knowing the families who use the hospice and how the money raised is directly benefitting local families, who really need the support. It is a wonderful cause and because of this, the staff, volunteers, supporters and general public are really passionate and it is great to be a part of that team.

Q. For those that perhaps don’t know – can you tell us a little of what Childrens Hospice South West is about and what you do?

A. Children’s Hospice South West has three children’s hospices in the region; Little Bridge House in North Devon, Charlton Farm in Bristol and Little Harbour in Cornwall. We look after children with life-limiting conditions and their whole families, who come for respite care, as well as emergency and end of life care. Our hospices are a beautiful home from home, where the whole family can come and stay and forget their worries, if just for a while. They have time to enjoy being a family again with all the caring needs for their poorly child provided by our amazing care team. The house is always filled with love, fun and laughter and we aim to make the most of short and precious lives.

Q. Connecting with the community by being present and part of events such as our English Country Garden Festival must play a fairly important role when it comes to building awareness of how the charity works and forming part of your fundraising activities schedule – can you tell us a little more about your outreach programme?

A. It is so important that as a charity we can raise awareness of our work in all sorts of places and meet people from all walks of life, so opportunities like the English Country Garden Festival are a fantastic way for us to do this. We attend a variety of events to raise money and awareness of Children’s Hospice South West as we rely largely on voluntary income from donations, receiving just 17% government funding each year.

We also encourage people to hold fundraising events for us and have some fabulous folk doing sponsored walks, cycles, head shaves, skydives – anything goes in the name of charity and we are always incredibly grateful for the support we receive.

And we also offer free talks to community groups to tell people about our work and invite members of the public to book onto a tour of our hospices. We hold monthly open days on a day when our care team do their training and house maintenance is taking place and we have no families booked in to be staying with us. Our Open Days are a great opportunity for us to show people what their fundraising is supporting and I’d encourage anyone who has never visited to come along, it is never what people imagine it to be.

Childrens Hospice South West colourful bunting at Coombe Trenchard.

Childrens Hospice South West colourful bunting at Coombe Trenchard.

Q. Summer is a time for many glorious annual festivals and shows across the counties, tell us some of the exciting places we can find Childrens Hospice South West this summer?

A. We are at all sorts of events over the summer including Royal Cornwall Show, Pengrillie Barbeque Festival at Pentillie Castle in July, The Garden House for a weekend in August, and not forgetting our involvement with Coombe Trenchards Garden Festival on 2nd and 3rd June. We also host our own events like the Rainbow Run at RAF St Mawgan this June, and Bubble Rush in Plymouth this September to name a few - we are out and about a lot, and if you wish to keep in touch with where we are and what we have on our website is a good place to start www.chsw.org.uk

Q. The English Country Garden Festival at Coombe Trenchard is delighted to support Childrens Hospice South West every year  – can you tell our visitors what you have planned for this years event?

A. We are incredibly fortunate to have the support of Coombe Trenchard and this year we are really looking forward to providing the popular 'tea room' style catering, serving a selection of freshly baked homemade cakes and scones - using Coombe Trenchard favourite recipes, along with hot and cold drinks with lovely seating areas situated on the stunning terrace outside the house.

We will also have a range of traditional garden games up on the upper lawn - to include croquet and smite to name just two. And the dragonfly trail is also back again this year, and we'll be inviting children to take part and follow the trail, putting together a poem to win a prize.

Q. What do you look forward to the most about the English Country Garden Festival at Coombe Trenchard?

A. We absolutely love Coombe Trenchard's English Country Garden Festival - it is set in the most beautiful grounds, there is always a great variety of trade stands, and the atmosphere is just lovely for everyone involved. It is definitely one of the highlights of our year - visitors and stand holders alike are always so happy and friendly - all in all, a positively enjoyable weekend.

Q. Cream Tea’s are incredibly popular at the English Country Garden Festival – but how would you make yours?  Clotted Cream or Strawberry Jam first?

A. This is always a heated debate, but I suppose as we are in Devon, we will have to make it the Devon way!!!

Q. Fundraising events play a vital role within any charity - are you able to share how some of the funds raised in the last year have helped your families?

A.  We are always incredibly grateful for the opportunity to raise funds for Children’s Hospice South West. With over 100 families using Little Harbour, our children’s hospice in St Austell, alone the money we raised goes towards giving those families a wonderful respite break. It will help provide nursing care for the poorly child, provide our wonderful sibling support team to play with the brothers and sisters of that child and allow mums and dads to put their feet up and have quality family time together. It will have helped us to create some magical memories with those families, which they will be able to treasure forever.

Q. Fundraising and volunteer support from the wider community is key for you, can you give us some examples of how our festival visitors could perhaps get involved with Childrens Hospice South West?

A. We can never have too many volunteers! We have so many volunteering opportunities, especially out in the community fundraising for us, so even if you can give just an hour once in a while, we would love to hear from you. We do have local volunteer groups as well for anyone who wants to get more involved, please just ask one of our volunteers on the day or email zoe.partridge@chsw.org.uk 

Special thanks to Zoe from us here at Coombe Trenchard for answering these questions.

Zoe and the Childrens Hospice South West fundraising team, amongst myself and our hard working team of volunteers and supporters of the festival, look forward to meeting and greeting visitors to the English Country Garden Festival on 2nd and 3rd of June.

I hope this year we will raise even greater funds to support this terrific resource for many families across the South West.

Sarah xx

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Royal Wedding Fever - which seasonal flowers will Meghan have chosen for her bouquet?

Sarah MarshComment

With the terrific excitement of the Royal wedding taking place this weekend, my thoughts typically turn to the choice of wedding flowers for Meghan & Harry's special day.

Their chosen florist Philippa Craddock is known for her love of seasonal blooms, and there has been much talk of white Garden Roses, Peonies and Foxgloves. Does Meghan have a favourite seasonal flower to add to this heady mix - all will be revealed!

St Georges chapel will 'supposedly' be adorned with Beech, Birch, Hornbeam and English Oak all sourced from the Royal owned crown estate and Windsor Great Park. How wonderful!

Flowersweddings and celebrations are very close to our hearts here at Coombe Trenchard...


We love home grown beautiful seasonal british blooms at Coombe Trenchard, and every year I have the pleasure of planting wonderful cottage garden plants, seeds and bulbs - nurturing them, and sharing them with our brides and our wedding couples, as I carefully create bouquets and table arrangements, all homegrown with love.

Our garden group visits and event guests also get to enjoy them too - home grown flowers have become part of our identity, and is something we will very much celebrate during our annual English Country Garden Festival on 2nd-3rd June. 

This year, with the long winter and cold wet Spring, the cutting garden has been a little slower to get going, although with this lovely spell of warmer brighter weather of recent weeks, it is sure to come on in leaps and bounds in readiness for wedding season.

Our poly tunnel has been providing the house with beautiful Sweet Peas, Cornflowers & Nigella for the last couple of weeks - and the vibrant pops of colour and scent have been warmly received.

Our herbaceous borders have benefitted from the slower start, with lovely strong plants now growing almost as you watch.

Today our first few Peonies have opened, and the Alliums are on the up, and as for the two stunning Wisterias on the house, the perfume is just heavenly.

With only two weeks to go now until our English Country Garden Festival on 2-3 June, I have every confidence that the borders will be looking amazing and will provide a riot of colour, that will be equally matched by our wonderful plant exhibitors. 

I'm sure Saturday will be a magical wedding day for Meghan & Harry, I will be keeping a very close look out for the first glance of her bouquet, which hopefully will include some of my personal favourites Garden Peonies and Roses.

Warmest wishes

Sarah xx



The English Country Garden Festival 2018

Events Coombe TrenchardSarah Marsh1 Comment

With the wet cold winter hopefully firmly behind us, and as our gardens at Coombe Trenchard spring into life, we are looking forward to hosting our annual garden show once again for the 7th year running.

Each year on the first weekend of June, Coombe Trenchard opens its gates to exhibitors and visitors from the South West and beyond, to share the tranquility of our gardens and celebrate English Country Garden life.

Specialist plant growers provide a riot of colour to delight our visitors, as well as being on hand to offer lots of great tips and advice. There will be many vintage home and garden treasures too, as well as unique artisan craft makers.

Children’s Hospice South West will be providing a delicious selection home baked cakes and teas on the sunny south terrace, using beloved recipes tried, tested and shared by us all here at Coombe Trenchard.

And once again there will be Edwardian croquet amongst a host of traditional family garden games for all to enjoy.

Freshly prepared hot lunches will also be available on the Italian terrace, and of course there will be ice cream...


The show this year has been rebranded using our stunning peacock ‘Jasper’ as inspiration, so look out for our new road directional signs and our promotional pieces on social media, on the dedicated page on our website, and in many local publications all of whom help us bang the drum for the event, and are great advocates for the festival and of the on-going garden restoration works here at Coombe Trenchard.

We are delighted to be supported again this year by Devon Life & Cornwall Life magazines, and you will find an article about our gardens and the event, to include a '2 for 1 Voucher' in this months edition out now.

The English Country Garden Festival is being held on Saturday 2nd & Sunday 3rd June, with gates open from 10am - 5pm.

Entrance fees: £6 adults, children under 14 free, dogs always very welcome.

Myself, Lorna and our trusted team of loyal supporters, family and friends are counting down the days, and look forward to welcoming everyone.

Lauren & Matt's Wedding Planning Blog - Part 4

WeddingsSarah MarshComment

I can’t believe that in March, when it was 6 months until Matt & I get married, we were out in knee deep snow! The mile stone we have been working towards was the 6 month mark and now it’s been and gone and things have really started to get moving!


I had my hen weekend at the start of April, where we stayed in a lodge in Cheddar, Tor Farm, relaxing with spa treatments and a hot tub and catching up with some of the closest people involved in the wedding. We have also met again with our incredible florist, Amy from Blossom Parlour based is Weston-Super-Mare. She is just brilliant, as I said before I think the most important thing when looking for a supplier is to work with someone who when they are talking about an idea it’s pretty much what you were going to say! Amy has literally taken the ideas out of Matt & my minds and made it real and really understood what we wanted – including an incredible floral feature called a ‘moon gate’, look this up! It will be the back drop behind Matt & me for the wedding breakfast.

I have also seen my dress again at Bridal Boutique in Street. It had been a few months since I last tried it on, so my memory was a bit sketchy on how it looked. But trying it on again was just lovely and I am so pleased with my decision. For my veil I have what was originally my auntie’s cathedral length veil, which my mum then wore to her wedding – which I am now wearing! It is so beautiful and I remember being little and wearing it and thinking how much I wanted to get married – it’s also my something old and something borrowed! I couldn’t believe just how perfectly it went with the dress and it means so much to have something which holds so many memories.

Everything slowly is starting to come together now, the wedding room is full of all the things we have been collecting and have been given by family (the incredible handmade post box!) and is still growing. I have really enjoyed making things for the wedding – entirely fuelled by my Pinterest account, somethings have worked really well, others not so well but it’s all been part of the experience. The next few months I think will be filled with appointments with our suppliers and sorting out the details of the day which I am so excited about, the more people we meet the more real it all feels. Also the more our ideas grow and develop, when we look back at how we thought the day would be to now it has evolved so much and we just can’t wait for it to come together.


The biggest thing I think when you start to plan a wedding especially with over a year of planning, is to understand that things do change and ideas will grow and develop. But I would say that from the start have the things in mind which are your core ideas which are essential to you and build around them, ours were; church, family, tradition and our day has grown around these key points, so we know when we look back we can say it was exactly what we wanted.

The next mile stone will be July, which leaves only 3 months and I know everything will start to move even quicker with final appointments, fittings and getting bills settled! We also have Matt’s birthday in July to celebrate and are off to see Ed Sheeran, which will speed up the time even more with lots of exciting things to look forward to whilst we wait for September 1st 2018!

I will keep you posted


Lauren x