A new rustic wedding venue – right on our doorstep in Cornwall
At the end of the busiest wedding season yet, I was very conscious I had not yet visited an exciting new wedding venue which is literally on our doorstep – Avalen Farm, in the very heart of Cornwall, near Bodmin.
So in late October I decided to make the short trip up the road to meet wedding coordinator Meg, who kindly showed me around this rather unique Cornish wedding venue.
Avalen – the Cornish word for apple tree – is set in gorgeous countryside which used to be part of the famous Lanhydrock estate. A number of traditional inter-linking barns have recently been sympathetically converted and transformed into a beautiful venue, complete with luxurious bridal suite, bespoke hair and beauty salon, a stunning wedding breakfast room, ceremony room, kitchens and bar, all nestled in the green fields below the historic granite hillside of Helman Tor.
As she showed me around, Meg explained: “Avalen was founded by a multi-generation Cornish farming family, dedicated to sustainable farming. Four generations have been involved in the two year project to transform the old agricultural buildings and create a unique, relaxed and exclusive-use wedding venue for people to enjoy. “
“We’re all very proud that we were able to renovate the building traditionally and keep it true to its roots. The barns still have a unique charm about them, and the central courtyard is now a wonderful space, the heart of any wedding and perfect for eating and drinking alfresco. And then of course we have our beautiful barn which has been purpose-designed for dining and entertaining – with more gorgeous views of the surrounding countryside. Clients have the complete freedom in their choice of decor, set up and food or drink but we are always happy to offer recommendations.”
As a wedding celebrant, I was also very keen to see the places where ceremonies are held, which I discovered are usually either in the characterful ceremony room with seating for 120 and complete with flagstones, beams and views over the garden, or outside in the beautifully landscaped gardens with unrivalled views of the Tor. I asked Meg what sort of couples she felt the venue appealed to: “The feel is very rustic and traditional, but with a modern influence; in the winter it’s cosy and warm, and in the summer it’s cool and airy with stunning views, but above all it’s personal, unique and family orientated. Our emphasis is on fewer weddings at a relaxed pace – we want our clients to have the space and time to enjoy their celebration and make their wedding dream a reality.“
While the beautifully refurbished Cart House provides on site accommodation for the bride and groom, with space for an additional eight guests to stay or get ready on the day, the additional bed space is a short drive up the road (with transport provided!) comprising a barn conversion, farm cottage and lodge with spacious accommodation for up to 28 guests. And there are of course plenty of local campsites, yurts and cottages as well as bed and breakfasts and hotels nearby.
The other aspect of Avalen which appeals greatly to us is the focus on being eco-friendly – I’d heard that couples were invited to plant an apple tree in Avalen’s growing orchard to mark their day, but I was pleased to see a host of other environmentally conscious initiatives. “Our goal is to be 100% carbon neutral, and we are working hard on getting there. Our buildings are A* rated to ensure energy efficiency, and we have low energy LED lighting and low impact external lighting – this is really important being so close by to an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Special Areas of Conservation, we want to have as little an impact on the birds and animals as possible, and we are encouraging roosting with many new bird and bat boxes around the barns."
“We recycle everything possible - there are no single use plastic cups, bottles or straws. Only biodegradable confetti is permitted and the use of dried flowers is encouraged. We provide local accommodation to reduce travelling and we positively encourage the use of local suppliers, including celebrants!”
Which is great to hear! After being fully booked for their first season, Avalen is almost fully booked for the next two years, so if you are interested in this fabulous venue, we encourage you to get in touch with Meg quickly!
Reflecting on their busy season, Meg concluded, “We have met some lovely people along the way, from the couples and their families to the suppliers, there is a really great sense of community in the wedding industry and it’s fantastic to be a part of that.”