Is it me or did this half term holiday seem to come round really very quickly? Looking at the BBC weather forecast for the next week it looks like it could be bright and sunny, but chilly. That sounds like perfect weather for getting out and about – why not come and have a good ramble on the Rathfinny Trail and pop in to our café for a well-deserved hot drink and piece of cake or even come up for a tasty lunch? The café will be open 10am to 4pm every day over the half term period, why not lounge by a log fire with the daily newspapers.
It’s great to see that all the flooding that has been around Alfriston is starting to dissipate, from our view on the hill it looked like the whole Cuckmere Valley was one big lake. Thankfully the wind and rain has abated this week and we are seeing more traditional wintery days now. It’s a little bit too chilly though for Spike, so we might have to buy him one of those little dog jackets – Rathfinny branded of course!! Apparently Jamie’s Springer Spaniel has a quilted puffer jacket but he’s not admitting to it!
We had our first Sunday Roast at the Flint Barns on Sunday 15th November, the lunch was a sell out and a total of 27 people came to enjoy all the lovely facilities here at the Barns and, of course, the rather scrummy roast that was cooked by Mark and his team and served beautifully by Phil, Jane & Alisha. It was a great success! We have another roast this Sunday, 29th November, and the menu is below. We have 6 spaces spare so if you’d like to come and join us then please call me on 01323 874 030 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can arrive early if you want to have a cuppa or a glass of Cradle Valley, sit and read the Sunday papers in front of the wood burner and finish off the day with our own Raffy Hot Choc – plenty of calories but you know you’re worth it!
Harvest at Rathfinny isn’t far away now and there is a buzz of excitement going on around the Estate. I hope to get out in the vines to give a hand with this year’s harvest at some stage. There’s also a buzz going on at the Flint Barns, last weekend was our busiest in the café with over 80 people coming to enjoy the Rathfinny Trail, great food, stunning views, a chilled bottle of our Cradle Valley wine and of course our friendly staff. The cafe will still be open until Sunday 1st November every Friday, Saturday & Sunday 10am to 4pm – why not pop over and pay us a visit. We are also going to be open every day during the half term week 26th Oct – 30th Oct.
I was out last night with a couple of my Rathfinny colleagues, we went out on a nice little bike ride around High & Over and then to Firle Beacon, down to the Old Coach Road and back to Alfriston – we stopped in one of the locals and had a great beer from the local Longman Brewery, a perfect evening! High & Over is a truly great place for walking too – often Spike & I can be found around there having our evening walks that lead down to the Rathfinny Trail, which is a fantastic walk around some of the vines and past the Flint Barns, all the signage is in place to guide you along the trail and you end up walking to the Flint Barns Café.
As I write this blog I’m on my way to Cornwall for a week’s break in Treyarnon near Padstow. I used to work in Treyarnon Bay and have fond memories of the area and people; I’m certainly going to try a couple of bottles of Camel Valley whilst I’m there along with a few other Cornish tipples. It’s been hectic on the Estate since the New Year and the Flint Barns have been no exception to this. We’ve launched our new website www.flintbarns.com and this has had over 1000 views already and with the website going live, we also launched the online booking engine and this has already been busy.
Hello everyone, it’s my favourite season of the year, spring is just around the corner and so is the opening of the fabulous Flint Barns. I’m super excited to be able to tell you all that our first weekend of opening will be 27th & 28th February. To begin with the Flint Barns will be open only on the weekends or during the week for large groups or exclusive hire. For further details or to make an online booking our website is now live so please visit the website here www.flintbarns.com.
Happy New Year!
I spent most of the festive period on the Estate. It was a quiet time for me and gave me time to reflect on what has been achieved in restoring the Flint Barns to what we have today. So much hard work, dedication and passion has been put in by so many people. It also gave me time to think about the exciting future ahead for us all here on the Estate.
The main news is that the Flint Barns website is about to go live! You will soon be able to see how gorgeous it is inside, get information on the accommodation available, at reasonable prices, read about our locally sourced, home made food and make a plan to come and visit this ‘home away from home.’ It’s ideally placed for those who want to visit the area and walk the South Downs. At the moment there’s contact information for bookings but you’ll be able to do it online from the end of January.
A couple of weeks ago it was Dickensian night in Alfriston village, the Dickensian event is held every year late on in November. All the shops and community take part with many people dressing up in authentic clothing; the high street is full of events and stalls to suit everyone, young and old. The Gun Room was open for everyone to come in and either browse the products in the shop, talk to the staff about Rathfinny Wine Estate, The Flint Barns or try some of our special “Cloves Spiced Sussex Sparkling” Everyone had a great evening telling all of the people about the exciting developments at the estate.
On Friday, 14th November, we held our Harvest Staff Dinner at the Flint Barns. To start off with a full team meeting was held to discuss present & future plans and also to answer the questions that some of us had, it was a great meeting that was really informative, it will be something we will certainly conduct twice a year in the future. After the team meeting everyone went their separate ways to get changed and pick up their partners for our meal. It is the first time I have be here when all the staff and their partners are all together, a really fun evening was had by everyone.
The website for the Flint Barns is coming along nicely and I hope to have the pages up and running in a week or so & I’m really hoping to be open and ready for bookings by 9th & 10th January 15
Spike, my Parsons, absolutely loves life on the Estate, he’s never had so much to dig for, to chase, to bark at or even to run away from – when the seagulls gang up and go for him he’s off. A couple of weeks ago a new terrier moved in on another part of the estate, Harry is his name and at the moment they are just getting used to each other but have great fun running around chasing each other, certainly tires Spike out.
Whilst working in the Gun Room on Dickensian Day I managed to have a good look around the products of the shop, my favourite candles are still there but selling quickly. There is also a fantastic range of new food products, they are certainly worth a look at as I’m sure they would make fabulous little stocking filler with Christmas just around there corner.
Don’t forget the Gun Room is having an “Open House” this Sunday 7th December with 10% off the prices; it’s certainly worth popping in to view.
I won’t be back until 2015, so I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you all a fabulous Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Adrian Lamb – Flint Barns Manager
As I’m writing this blog it is blowing a gale and tipping down with rain outside – that glorious Indian summer disappeared pretty quickly and autumn is definitely here. Before it arrived though, I caught some early morning sunrises in the valley.
Progress at the Flint Barns is proceeding nicely and we are in the final stages with a few minor adjustments and also some outstanding snagging that needs to be finished off. Currently we are also working towards a major update with regards to the Flint Barns website and social media; it will include a large gallery of pictures so you can really see just how beautiful the Flint Barns are.
We’ve had the pleasure of meeting up with a few schools over the last few weeks and given them a grand tour of the Flint Barns. I have to say that all of them have been blown away with the quality of what we are offering – and I assume they are very pleased, as we have had bookings from the schools for 2015. It’s going to be such an awesome place for school children of all ages to come on an educational trip, a real home away from home to experience the countryside right in the middle of one of the UK’s largest Vineyards.
Last Sunday I spent the day working at the Gun Room, our retail outlet for Rathfinny Wine Estate and the Heritage Centre for Alfriston and the Cuckmere Valley. I was working with Kristina and it was a really enjoyable day. Kristina was fabulous with the customers giving every person an excellent level of customer service, exactly what I want the team in the Flint Barns to offer to all of our customers too. They have some scented candles (http://www.rewinedcandles.com/) in stock and the spiced cider was my favourite one – I’m definitely going to buy a couple of them for Christmas. Pop in to the Gun Room if you are in Alfriston and have a sniff of the spiced cider, you’ll love it for sure.
There are also some spaces left for our last Estate tours of 2014, well worth the visit as we have now completed our harvest and the Winery is starting to smell like a winery should do. You can book the tour ticket either online at www.rathfinnyestate.com or by visiting or calling the Gun Room on 01323 870022 – if you can’t make it for the end of this month then we are also selling Gift Vouchers for 2015, a perfect present for Christmas.
Adrian Lamb – Flint Barns Manager
It was a lovely sunny day back on August 19th; when we had the pleasure of welcoming our first group to stay here at the Flint Barns. Twenty prefects and teachers from Brighton College came to stay with us for the night. They arrived on site just after 1pm and after checking in they had some time to chill and look around the glorious Flint Barns. After the down time off they went for a guided walk around the Estate led by Richard James, our Landscape & Environment Officer. The students and teachers had a good 2 hour walk and this was followed with a tour of the vines and of our winery. All of this culminated in a wine tasting of Plumpton College’s “The Dean” English sparkling http://www.plumpton.ac.uk/news/high-praise-for-plumpton-sparkling-wine/47 Following this came a tasty barbeque, which had some very yummy local burgers and sausages from Sam, at Downland Butchers in East Dean. After the very enjoyable meal, the evening ended with a group game of charades in the spacious lounge.
The next morning a full English breakfast was called for and the students certainly enjoyed this and also the freshly baked croissants and pain au chocolate delivered by Jamie our COO (brought in from Brighton and not one missing – well done Jamie, not sure I could have achieved that!). After the breakfast the group met to discuss the visit and then departed shortly after 11am. The feedback from the group was fantastic, plenty of praise about the building, the food, the beds and also our service. They also gave us some welcome feedback on areas that had something missing. We always learn from feedback whether positive or not so positive, it will always help us in improving our product and service to the customers. Thanks to Steve (group leader), the other teachers and all the prefects of Brighton College, it was fantastic to have you come and stay at our “home away from home” Flint Barns.
The next couple of weeks are going to be a busy time for us – we have our snagging list to sort with the builders and also planning for an important barbeque we are hosting on Sunday 14th September. The Flint Barns at Rathfinny will be hosting the SEVA (http://www.seva.uk.com/ ) Summer Barbeque, fingers crossed that we are blessed with a great sunny day.
I have to tell you that we also received another booking for the Flint Barns in May 2015, a prep school from the Reading area is coming down to stay with us for 2 nights. Soon we will be actively marketing the Flint Barns for business and as Sarah says in her blog http://rathfinnyestate.com/estate-news/?p=1434 “We’re nearly there”.
Would you be interested in renting the Flint Barns for Christmas or New Year? If so then just email me at email@example.com we can discuss a package to suit.
Adrian Lamb – Flint Barns Manager
From derelict barn…
On Monday 4th August I’m due to receive the keys from the construction company to our Flint Barn. It’s such an exciting time for us all here at Rathfinny. Firstly let me introduce myself, I’m Adrian and I’m the new manager of the Flint Barn, I’ve been in the hospitality trade all of my working career, lastly with the charity accommodation provider YHA whom I worked with for nearly 24 years. I started work on the Rathfinny Estate in mid-June and I’m so excited about my new job and my role in developing the barn business and what we are going to offer to all the lucky people who stay with us on the Estate. Watch this ‘blog space’ for regular updates and news about the Flint Barn.
The building is looking so beautiful both inside & out and we will soon welcome our first group of customers at the end of August. In the future we will be using the barn for the accommodation of our seasonal pickers and pruners, out of those times we will be welcoming school groups, local & special interest groups and possibly families during certain school holidays. The building has been restored to a very high standard, it will truly be a home away from home for all our guests staying. The Flint Barn is built over 3 floors with accommodation on all levels, there are 10 rooms, which are all ensuite, with a total of 48 beds. The ground floor is the location of the stunning dining room, very comfortable and warm lounge and the Snug Room. There is a fantastic courtyard and this will incorporate a small café where, in the future, walkers of our Rathfinny Trail will be able to pop in and eat light lunches and ‘tipsy’ cream teas.
Exciting times ahead, I’ll be back here soon with an update on the first visit and also with some new pictures of the finished interior. In the meantime if you want further information or have any questions then do drop me an email on firstname.lastname@example.org
Adrian Lamb, Flint Barn Manager