peacocks and presents

20th October 2017

By Helen Parker


This week I wanted to take you on a tour of Cotes Mill and give you a taste of what to expect if you haven’t visited before. I started on the inside on Monday, because we have so much wonderful stuff to buy and usually a shop is all about what’s on the inside, but with Cotes Mill it’s a bit different. We have the most wonderful grounds around the Mill and although we are situated just off the busy A60 Nottingham Road a couple of miles outside Loughborough, it’s a really calm, quiet place, that’s full of life.

Cotes mill

We love our customers to have a little wander, we have loads of free range chickens who have the best time pecking away from morning til night and producing fantastic eggs, which are often for sale at reception and should not be missed.



The amount of birds living here at the Mill is just crazy, wild birds and domesticated ones, they all seem to just love it here and since we have had the Mill and staff to look after the grounds and feed the birds the population has just kept growing. Who can blame them, I’m sure some of them don’t even bother to migrate anymore, they just stay here at this five star hotel for feathered friends!! We have lots of Egyptian geese, not a bird I knew anything about until I came to Cotes Mill, but they are really exotic and a little bit weird, in a good way. I just love this photo of a couple taking a stroll down by the river, it’s so full of questions??


So once you have wandered around inside Cotes Mill take a stroll outside and see all this bird activity going on right in front of you. It really is a privilege to be so close to nature and we shouldn’t  underestimate how lucky we all are to be able to get up so close to these incredible creatures. If you are coming with kiddies it’s perfect, they absolutely love to see these rare and often unseen animals and birds within a few feet of them. The stars of the show and definitely the most prehistoric looking birds ever, are the noisy, nosey and very pushy peacocks. They love looking at themselves and will stand in front of any glass window just gazing at their beautiful plumage. They shake their tail feathers and create quite a stir in the early summer, it’s such a funny sight to see.



Take a look at these beautiful creatures too, our very own little herd of fallow deer, unimaginably pretty, they are the most delightful creatures and came to join us from the Highlands of Scotland. Close by, you can wander along the grounds and see these wild animals close up and if you come at the right time of year you may even get to see a little Bambi.


The grounds take a bit of upkeep and so do the animals so we now have a wonderful team of grounds people, they mow and chop and dig and prune and plant and feed, so naturally they need some wheels and of course they have to be cool wheels!! Check out the vintage vehicles we have, just to keep the theme going inside and outside the Mill, and of being a little different and inspirational. It’s a way of life this Mill thing and Paul who owns the place reckons you have to be a bit crazy to own a place like this. He’s not crazy but he does like to keep adding to the experience and it’s not just for him to enjoy, he does it for everyone who visits and is always incredibly proud when he see’s someone just enjoying the place. If he catches you as you take a walk he will almost always come and have a chat and tell you all about the place, his passion is what makes this place so full of life.


This 1950’s VW split screen van came all the way from California, it still had kernels of corn in the boot. One day soon it will be transformed into a food truck but for now it’s just hanging out at the Mill looking cool and making folks smile.



The tractor on the other hand is kept busy all day, mowing 12 acres takes a lot of time and this beautiful old motor looks just the part. Everyone loves an old tractor and this one is like a smiley friend, it has such character, even the peacocks love to hang around it.


Down by the river is a cabin, built on the base of a flatbed lorry, it’s a little place of tranquility with a great riverside view. Being on the banks of a river adds so much more life to Cotes Mill, it is literally a 365 days a year changing view. There is always something to watch and with the grounds being so open and so close you really sense, feel and see the changing seasons, you become aware of nature around you and the incredible way it just seems to happen and work so beautifully.


The grounds are not just for our customers they are special for our staff too, who enjoy this closeness to nature and the calm and beautiful scenery every day. Finding a little spot in the summer grass to have a quiet lunch is a much better prospect than the usual wander round the shops or the work canteen. There are so many places to hang out and seeing people taking a walk or having their lunch with work colleagues is so good to see.

Cotes Mill Grounds

By far the most fun people at deVOL are the Guinea Fowl (and the staff!!), these hilarious creatures have been hand-reared by the guys outside. Hatched and cared for, they are now free to rampage around the grounds in large gangs – they have the ability and the volume to send a fox running for cover!!! We absolutely love these geeky birds, odd and out of proportion they are so full of energy and almost seem as if they are on wheels as they move about the place.



Gosh, I’m starting to think this blog should have been entitled ‘Birds of Cotes Mill’, we have so many to tell you about and so many beautiful photographs to show you. I haven’t even mentioned the doves yet, one of the first ideas we had was to have a dove cote. The carpenters made a beautiful one to proudly stand at the entrance to the Mill and after a few months of ‘fencing in’ and ‘training’ these beautiful creatures to know this was now home, we have a flock that swoops around the grounds every day looking serene and elegant.


I always worry about the length of my blogs and realise that people may not be that interested in the long ramblings of nature at Cotes Mill, but I hope even if it’s just the pictures alone, it will encourage you to visit this wonderful place and experience not only the inside but the outside and bring your family as there is something for everyone.