We bought La Vieille Ferme (The Old Farmhouse) in 2016, after travelling the length and breadth of Brittany looking for our dream home. We fell in love with it the moment we stepped out of the car, and five months later, and after a 15 hour car journey, with our two very vocal cats, we moved in.
The property had been partially renovated when we acquired it, and we continued the renovation, finishing Le grenier (The granary) in June 2017, and La petite grange (The little barn) in January 2019 We are just putting the finishing touches to our middle property, L’etable (The stable), which will be open Spring 2020. We will be running this as a gîte / Chambre d’hôtes/B&B giving us the flexibility to allow groups of families and friends to book the whole complex, up to 14 people. The previous owner, who has now become a good friend, has kindly given us some old photographs of how it looked before the renovation started – some of these can be seen in the gîtes.
As the place was an old cattle farm, there was very little aesthetic planting, so during the winter months we have planted dozens of trees, hundreds of hedging plants, flowering shrubs and bulbs. We leave parts of the fields uncut to encourage wildflowers and wildlife. We cut pathways through the fields, to allow our guests to enjoy exploring them. The paths connect to our 4 acre woodland, which also has a circular walk.
There are also lots of bat and bird boxes we have put up around the place, in an effort to encourage even more wild life. We have identified over 60 different species of birds here, and we have been really lucky to see some rarer birds, including hoopoes, hen harriers, cuckoos, barn owls, stonechats, and nightjars. Then of course there are the fabulous swallowtail, clouded yellow, fritillary and skipper butterflies, to name a few. We also have regular visits to the fields and woodland from roe deer and wild boar, red squirrels, polecats and pine martens, and are quite often serenaded by the sound of tree frogs in the spring and early summer evenings.
As you can tell, we are passionate about nature, and we would love you to come and explore this wonderful place, as well as discover the delights Brittany has to offer.
Alan and Mandy Forbes
We use LED bulbs wherever possible, and recycle as much as we can. The gites all have a bin for plastic and metals, as well as household waste, plus we have a recycling point for cardboard/paper and glass.
We have planted over five hundred trees and hedging plants since we arrived, and put up owl, bird and bat boxes. We also leave areas of our fields to go wild to encourage the butterflies and bees, as well as planting nectar-rich plants.
For those of you with electric cars, there are chargers 2 minutes away in Ruffiac, as well as in several in nearby towns of Malestroit, La Gacilly, Guer and Ploermel, to name a few.