Archive for Polraen Country House – Page 3

I’m really excited that we have a member of staff attending a Green Foundation Course at the Eden Project. The course is designed to help businesses in Cornwall prepare for the coming changes in legislation regarding climate change.  At Polraen Country House, we strive to be increasingly environmentally friendly as conservation and concern for our environment have always been key considerations for us in running our family business over the last 11 years. We’ve gradually incorporated policies from recycling and housekeeping routines to careful selection of cleaning products and toiletries, from double glazing our windows to insulating our roof, replacing our freezers and boiler and changing all our light bulbs in order to lower our carbon footprint. Our efforts to date have been recognised by receiving a ‘Green Acorn Award’ from the South East Cornwall Tourism Association.

But now, we have a staff member totally inspired and full of enthusiasm to ensure that we focus on some new initiatives to further improve our ‘green’ credentials. We’ve nick named her ‘the eco warrior’. Sometime in the not too distant future, I feel that solar powered hot water and photo voltaic generation will be a reality for us together with extended composting and even closer scrutiny of the ingredients in our cleaning products and food miles on our menu!! And our volunteer work with the Cornwall Wildlife Trust in promoting and helping to run marine activities on behalf of the Looe Voluntary Marine Conservation Area is part of the bigger picture – along with encouraging our guests to take the bus or train into Looe rather than their car.

Thought for the Day:

Rome wasn’t built in a day (!) and we are only a little micro business but if we focus on one project at a time, eating away at our carbon footprint in bite size chunks, the sum of the whole is greater than we could ever imagine. Together, we can all make a difference…………..

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Network Rail removing the Equipment Cabin at Sandplace Station

After 2 months of campaigning, Sandplace residents finally met with senior representatives from Network Rail on Thursday 31 March regarding the controversial proposed installation of a 25 metre mast and large equipment cabin at Sandplace Station on the Looe Valley Line. Residents had taken their arguments to MP Sheryl Murray, raised questions to Parliament, the Department for Transport, the Office of Rail Regulatioin, the Rail Safety Standards Board and Cornwall Council arguing that the site was inappropriate due to road safety issues created by the equipment cabin and proposed mast and the significant visual impact of the communications infrastructure, spoiling the hamlet of Sandplace designated an ‘Area of Great Landscape Value’.

Senior Representatives of Network Rail, after inspecting the site, decided to immediately remove the cabin and abandon plans to site the 25 metre mast at Sandplace Station. They have now conceded that the location was inappropriate, acknowledging both the road safety issue and the detrimental impact on the hamlet of Sandplace and the heritage appearance of Sandplace Station. The unique topography of the Looe Valley presents key challenges for Network Rail in maintaining clear radio frequency along its meandering contours for the purposes of installing their GSMR communications system. The system has been mandated by UK legislation for all passenger routes, in spite of the EU directive naming the Looe Valley Line as an exception under Interoperability legislation. After rejecting the use of alternative communications technologies put forward by residents, it was accepted that the only viable resolution was to install smaller masts in more concealed locations to significantly reduce visual impact.

Network Rail are now re evaluating their alternative site locations for smaller masts and will also be pioneering the use of much smaller equipment cabins on the Looe Valley Line in order to alleviate the concerns of all local residents in the area. In accordance with their Permitted Developments Rights, they will notify Cornwall Council Planning of the new sites and have given an undertaking to consult with any potentially affected parties. We are pleased Network Rail is now working with us to arrive at an outcome acceptable to all local residents. “

It was a case of “Now you see it – Now you don’t!’ – a Network Rail ground crew arrived the following day, early on Friday morning (April Fool’s Day!) to remove the equipment cabin. The ground crew commented that this is the first time they were aware of such a step being undertaken by Network Rail during the GSMR project.

After much heart ache and anxiety, the residents of Sandplace are relieved to have achieved a successful outcome, demonstrating a clear example of localism and the community in action.

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Steam trains on the Looe Valley Line in September

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

Victorian Railway Fayre at Polraen in the Looe ValleySteam trains return to the Looe Valley Line on 19th and 26th September, commemorating 150 years of the Looe Branch Line and the 175th Anniversary of the Great Western Railway. We’re thrilled to have chance to see them passing Polraen Country House four times each Sunday. It will be the first time since 1961 that steam trains have travelled on the line between Liskeard and Looe .

The Looe Valley Explorer trains will feature steam locomotive GWR designed Hawksworth Pannier Tank No. 9466 hauling in one direction and a classic  1960′s English electric Type 3 (Class 37)  diesel in the other. The four departures on the two consecutive Sundays 19th and 26th September, will leave Liskeard at 10.50, 12.55, 14.55 and 17.10 stopping at Looe for approximately 10 minutes. Return tickets are £25 each with further details available from Vintage Trains including booking information. 

Victorian GirlsCelebrations to mark the 150th Anniversary of the Looe Valley Line will also be centred around the weekend of 11 and 12 September when a variety of events get underway with a Victorian fare, organized walks, a real ale trail and much, much more. It reminds me fondly of the time about 7 or 8 years ago when we held a Victorian Fayre in our garden to celebrate one of the railway centenary events.

If you are looking for accommodation, B&B rates at Polraen are from £82 per room per night.

A Wonderful Wedding near Looe

Friday, July 9th, 2010

Polraen Conservatory - wedding receptionLast Saturday 3rd July, the wedding reception held at Polraen Country House show-cased the magical wedding venue we have here in the Looe Valley.

The afternoon garden party for 40 guests was followed by an early evening barbecue for 75. “A reception that was relaxed, fun, and with a country house informality” is what the bride and groom wanted. They had arranged for Plymouth’s top indie band ‘Joker’ to provide the live entertainment and they were absolutely brilliant, playing cover versions of Oasis through to the Kings of Leon and Kasabian. There was also a ‘Rodeo Bull’ ride to keep the children happy, although a few of the adults entered the spirit of things and had a go.

The garden looked fantastic, the sun shone, the conservatory was transformed into a beautiful wedding room decked out with  flowers and cotton bunting. The finger food buffet included pixie cornish pasties, and a Cornish cheese board with plenty of choice for vegetarians. This was followed by a meat eaters feast featuring Cornish reared meat including  sirloin steaks, chicken thighs, and butchers sausages, complimented with a flavour from the sea - delicious king prawn skewers.

Wedding Reception at Polraen Country House LooeWedding Buffet at PolraenJust in case of rain, the bride and groom had erected a small marquee over the patio interconnecting with the conservatory, but there was no need…… the odd grey cloud passed over and the sun shone into the evening as the live band played on – we felt as if we were enjoying our own mini Glastonbury!

Wedding Buffet at Polraen LooeIn fact the band were dead impressed with our venue as there is a natural stage in the garden on the raised terrace above the flower beds, the acoustics in the valley were amazing and access via a separate drive in the garden allowed the entertainment to unload and set up their equipment without any inconvenience or hassle.

Hopefully we’ll have similar weather in two weeks time when we are hosting a 50th Birthday party………..

National Powerboat Racing in Looe May 2010

Thursday, May 6th, 2010
National Powerboat Racing Championships Looe

National Powerboat Racing Championships Looe

Looe is once again the venue for the National Powerboat Racing Championships this coming weekend May 8 and 9.  An amazing array of classes compete in Looe Bay just off the harbour mouth. There’s great viewing from either East Looe Beach or better still, from West Looe around at Hannafore.  

At Polraen Country House, we can offer guests free parking for a boat and trailer (please advise when booking your room).We are boat owners ourselves and find it a very easy 5 minute drive from the hotel at Sandplace along the Looe Valley into town to launch from the public slipway in the Millpool Car Park in West Looe. Very few hotels or bed and breakfast places can offer accommodation with onsite parking for a boat in Looe. So if you’re still looking for a place to stay, we have just one double ensuite room left this weekend – if you want to book it and bring your boat so you can watch the powerboat racing from the water, you can have off road parking in a quiet location for free enjoying - ‘a Grand Prix like atmosphere at a fraction of the cost’.

A Looe Valley Walk in Spring, South East Cornwall

Friday, April 30th, 2010

Bluebells Looe Valley Walks

This roundtrip Looe Valley walk starting at Polraen Country House at Sandplace has been updated in March 2014 (see below).  The original blog was posted in Spring 2010:

“I set off  walking this morning from Polraen Hotel, up the Looe Valley to Sandplace Station with our black labrador May, and ended up having one of those walks that makes you happy to be alive! Continuing along the lane toward Tregarland Bridge, we veered off on a public footpath above the Looe Valley railway line, stumbled across two courting ducks and strolled along the track above the Looe River with wild garlic brushing our ankles.

After about half an hour walking along the track in the valley bottom next to the river, I intended to stop at Lower Wringworthy, but it was a lovely morning so I continued on a circular walk, finally emerging on the main road heading back through Morval. Then we headed down past Tregarland Farm back into the Looe Valley.  The views down onto the valley below are stunning, looking beyond inquisitive cows to fields of sheep grazing at Morval Barton Farm.  We continued past John and Val’s cottage (John grows flowers and soft fruits for our hotel), and we headed back down to the valley bottom to join the B3254 past Sandplace Station back to Polraen.

Looe Valley Walks with a dog

Looe Valley Walks with a dogAll in all, a one hour walk which lifted the spirits and made me so happy to be living in South East Cornwall. The dog thought it was a treat too! It’s not often I get the time to do what our guests can do from our doorstep at Polraen! But walking in the Looe Valley is good for the soul!!

Following recent storms, spring days are being warmed by lots of sunshine, and the hedgerows in the Looe Valley are stunning.  With an extended flowering season, the daffodils and primroses are vying for attention along the roadside while carpets of bluebells will soon be appearing on the wooded slopes. Pink and white campions and violets peep from the grassy banks and the first signs of cherry blossom are showing on the trees.

At Polraen, we like to help guests explore without the car lending them maps and providing public transport information for the bus and Looe Valley train. There’s a range of walks accessible from the stations along the railway line in a handy ‘Trails from the Track’ pack published by the Devon and Cornwall Rail Partnership. Spring is one of the best times to visit.”

3 for 2 offer on Short Breaks in Looe

If you need accommodation, our 3 nights for the price of 2 offer at Polraen Country House at Sandplace in the Looe Valley, is valid until 5 April 2014 with a 3 night spring break from just £80 pp including breakfast. Click HERE to Call: 01503 263956

Book your room at Polraen online now

 

2014 update: Following recent storms, YOU MUST NOW WEAR WELLIES and be prepared to wade in shallow flowing water in two or three sections between Plashford and Lower Wringworthy where the stream has adopted the traditional footpath as its water course. There are lots of Looe Valley Walks but this one is off the beaten track and worth the effort!! Takes about 1 to 1 and a half hours depending on walking speed but it’s still a fantastic walk, particularly in spring. You can easily reach it by taking either the bus or train out of Looe along Sandplace Road and alighting at Sandplace Station on the Looe Valley Line. Timetables are available to download from our website.

 

New Website for Polraen Country House Hotel

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

Polraen Country House Hotel has a new website!

Gill and Martin in the Polraen Country House barWelcome and thank you for visiting our new website.

February 18th marked our 10th anniversary of living here in Looe and we felt it was high time to revamp our website so here it is, the new website complete with our first blog – ever!

We wanted the new website to reflect the many improvements we’ve undertaken here at the hotel over the last 10 years. If you’ve stayed with us before but not recently, you’ll see that we now have a wonderful conservatory, the garden has been landscaped and the bedrooms have been upgraded. The new facilities not only offer a more spacious experience for our hotel guests but we are also receiviing many requests for weddings, and functions with such a lovely garden as a backdrop. Read More→

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