Exclusive Dartmoor Weddings & Seasonal Events - Coombe Trenchard

Exclusive Country House Weddings & Events to Celebrate the Season

A Chat with Posh Nosh

WeddingsSarah MarshComment

How would you describe your business? 

Posh Nosh is a well-established and versatile business dedicated to giving outstanding levels of service and product. We pride ourselves on being at the forefront of wedding cuisine and create bespoke menus from classic, elegant dining through to contemporary, rustic sharing dishes. Our team go out of their way to listen to every client’s individual needs in order to meet all of their expectations and more on their big day.

What is your favourite thing about being involved in the wedding industry? 

The exciting build up to a couples big day (particularly the lay up the day before) and seeing everything come to fruition. There’s no better feeling than looking around a room or marquee full of happy wedding guests all enjoying the food, and it’s also really lovely when we receive a thank you letter from the happy couple after the wedding to say how happy they were with the service they received.

Can you describe Coombe Trenchard in three words? 

Friendly, Unique and Private

What meal do you feel best fits Coombe Trenchard’s unique atmosphere? 

Elegant Dining or Rustic Table Sharing Platters.

What advice would you offer bridal couples when choosing their caterer? 

Look for experience and quality over cheap deals- there’s a reason for the saying ‘you get what you pay for’! And after hearing some stories from couples, if you receive poor or little communication from your caterers at the beginning, it tends not to bode well for the rest of the working relationship.

What is your favourite thing to cook/serve to bridal couples? 

This is difficult to answer as we have so many options and styles of dining and we are forever creating bespoke dishes to fit in with our couples requirements. But  if we had to choose one, you can’t beat a traditional, formal, plated meal as it looks so aesthetically pleasing when everyone’s dish is exactly the same on the table- we particularly love doing a trio of desserts!

How should bridal couples choose from the amazing options on your menus? 

We would advise the couple to speak directly to our team of dedicated Event Coordinators, who can then get a real feel for their wedding day and advise on specific menus to fit in with their style, theme and personalities. Our team can then look to book the couple in for a private tasting at our HQ where they can go over every element of every dish in detail with our head chef and event coordinators and tweak things to create a menu absolutely perfect for them.

Do you get involved in serving drinks at all? 

Yes, we can provide drinks service from reception drinks through to the toast, and we can provide a ‘free evening bar’ service (including bar front and bar fridge).

What size catering marquee/kitchen space to you require? 


Finally, what excites you most about your job? 

Sometimes we will be in the middle of a field and a challenge will arise and our team will have to think on their feet to solve it and that can really get the blood pumping! After 30 years in the industry you can imagine how many obstacles we’ve had to tackle (including the collapse of a marquee roof in a rainstorm half way through main course!) and luckily them team are excellent at solving problems on the spot and solving them well! But generally it’s just really exciting to work with couples on the build up to their big day, getting as excited as they are on the day and receiving good feedback after the event- we love to be a part of something so special and we get to see some of the most beautiful places the South West has to offer and put smiles on hundreds of faces, we are very lucky people!

You can find out more about the mouth-watering delights of Posh Nosh by browsing their website here. 

A Chat with Jaded Palates

WeddingsSarah MarshComment

We enjoyed a wonderful meeting with Ian from Jaded Palates not too long ago, and feel so happy to be able to recommend his company to our bridal couples. Ian's passion and knowledge are truly impressive and we felt a further chat would be the best way to spread the word about the wonderful things Jaded Palates are doing:

How would you describe your business?

Jaded Palates is all about having fun with fun. Whilst we do have two shops and an online store, we like to think we are more a service business than retail. We hold a lot of events, tastings, food and wine pairings, educational talks to encourage people to see wine as fun and enjoyable, and not intimidating. We get so excited when a customer says to us "oh wow, I never would have thought that. You've really opened our eyes to this whole subject!". That gives us goosebumps!

What is your favourite thing about being involved in the wedding industry?

Being a part of a couples' special day is very exciting. Let's face it, wine is one of the fun parts of any wedding. Whether that's just an easy-drinking sipper bottle of something simple with your meal, or a carefully matched series of wines for each course your caterer/chef have prepared for you, we think wine should be one of the enjoyable things you should be planning, not worrying about it.

What advise would you give to bridal couples when thinking about their wedding wine/drinks?

Make sure you try it before you buy it! And don't be afraid to consider more unusual things - I've provided off-dry white wines for a couple who wanted mostly reds with their spicy Mexican buffet they were planning. They were amazed at how much better they went once we put it to the test!

How do you feel Jaded Palates can assist bridal couples in a unique way?

Quite often wine is one of the last things people think about when planning a wedding - it's often simply left down to a relative to dash down to the supermarket or Majestic to pick something up. We can actually make that part of the process fun - we'll sit down with you and your caterer to come up with something that everyone is happy with, or even send you samples to try if you're not able to be nearby. Our pricing is very reasonable of course (our house wines start at just £5.50), and we offer full sale-or-return for anything that isn't opened on the day, but that should be standard these days. We're all about helping you and providing that personal touch which you can't get anywhere else.

What do you feel is imperative for a wedding wine?

There should be something for everyone, firstly. Quite often people will stick to offering one white and one red because that's simplest. But not everyone likes NZ Sauvignon Blanc or Argentinian Malbec. Getting a couple of options needn't be more confusing or expensive. But more importantly, it should just be good! It sounds simple, and everyone's palate is different, but a well-made wine is not always that common.

How do you advise couples keep guests happy with their drinks selection?

As above really - offer a little variety (as well as perhaps a little information on each wine if they aren't sure - we can help with this, of course!), and enough of it! You're better off getting too much than too little: you can always return it and you'll only pay for what was opened.

How much wine to you allow per guest when totalling up how much is needed?

Every wedding is different of course, and it depends on the size: larger weddings are perhaps counter-intuitively a bit easier to cater for, because things average out more evenly. But on the whole, you plan for roughly 1/2 to 3/4 a bottle of wine per person in total. Some won't drink much if anything, others much more. But it usually averages out at around that.


Tell us about your shops and what you offer for visitors to them. 

We're based in small-ish towns in Dartmoor, and very much part of the local communities we serve. We keep our selection purposefully quite small - choice is often far too intimidating when it comes to wine in my view. Why have 25 wines from the same region and leave the choice to the customer? I see our job as partly being to pick the best and put them on display, so that no matter which bottle is picked up and taken home, it will be really good. We do a lot of tasting events in store, and in Ashburton, we have a tasting room with 16 wines in dispensers permanently for people to try. It's often a great starting point for a hen or stag night too...!



Finally, what excites you most about your job?

Seriously?! I get to talk about wine all day every day. What is not to like..?!

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

ECGF 2018 LEAFLET AW-2.jpg








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