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Last weekend I was supposed to be in Paris celebrating my ten year anniversary with my partner, but Covid-19 quickly squashed that plan. Not wanting to waste this special occasion, we set about making an alternative plan!

For Christmas last year, we were very kindly given a gift voucher for Cotna Eco Retreat by my partners parents, so now seemed the perfect time to make use of that gift. What a gift it was! I think that we can all agree that 2020 has been a testing year in more ways than one, so the chance to escape reality for a few days was something that we feel incredibly lucky to have had.

A yurt in a wildflower meadow

Cotna Eco Retreat is an oasis of beauty, nature and tranquility, set in the heart of a lush valley in Gorran, Cornwall. There are three yurts and a shepherds hut, each nestled into secluded fields and orchards with gorgeous views and nothing but bird song to listen to. Not only is Cotna a retreat, it is also a working permaculture site specialising in growing salad leaves for local shops and restaurants, amongst a whole host of fruit and vegetables. Wandering through the expansive veg patch is a feast for all the senses!

wild plants in front of a poly tunnel

After our mere 25 minute drive from home, we arrived and were greeted by our lovely hosts Sara. Together we wandered through the apple orchard and veg garden until we reached our home for the weekend. The wonderful Gillyflower yurt surrounded by apple trees, wildflowers and woodland. The yurt contained a handmade bed, table and chairs, log burner and a camping stove. All the basics needed to bring luxury to a weekend in nature!

Outside our yurt was an area to have a campfire and our washing up station. We also had an amazing outdoor shower and our own composting toilet. We quickly unpacked, enjoyed a cold beer and headed off for a walk down to the sea which is just a twenty minute wander through meadows and woodlands.

Our rhythm for the weekend was set. Lazy mornings, good food and nice long walks followed by games of scrabble and slightly inventive gin cocktails! Just what we were craving, a brief and beautiful escape from reality.

A picnic of salad dishes

To top off our incredible weekend we treated ourselves to a Cotna Kitchen hamper. Sara and Dave offer a range of foodie hampers made up of their own produce and other locally made goods to enjoy during your stay. We decided on the Middle Eastern hamper and on returning to our yurt after a long coast path walk, this delicious array of food awaited us. We cracked open a bottle of bubbly and devoured this feast as we caught the last of the days sun. A perfect evening!

Our Paris trip is still on the cards for later in the year, but this weekend reminded me how much I love staycations. Holidaying within a few miles of your home can seem a strange concept, almost as if it wont provide that feeling of getting away. This weekend proved that this is simply not the case.

The environmental and economic benefit of holidaying on your doorstep can be massive. No polluting air travel or long journeys, no need to buy a whole new wardrobe suitable for foreign climates but instead the opportunity to be on holiday within minutes of leaving home and a chance to enjoy your own area whilst supporting your local businesses.

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