House and Garden: Behind the scenes at Coombeshead

Excerpt from article in House & Garden Magazine

First published on 10 June 2024

Written by Blanche Vaughn

Original article can be read here


A couple of miles south of Launceston there is a turning off the A30, the main artery into Cornwall. The road winds up a hill through the tiny village of Lewannick with its tall church tower, before descending into a valley where an elegant stone farmhouse sits snugly among deciduous woodland. This is a landscape of fern-covered banks, pastureland dotted with grazing sheep and cattle, and views stretching towards the coast.

Coombeshead, once the home farm of the Trelaske Estate, was described in the Agricultural Gazette in 1848 as ‘beautifully situated in a romantic valley well clothed with wood and adorned with water’. The bay-fronted farmhouse stands in an elevated position at the head of a courtyard, flanked by slate-roofed agricultural buildings, commanding vistas over green pastures and woodland.

Tom Adams and his partner Lottie Mew bought the property in 2016. As well as the 18th-century farmhouse, it comprises several converted barns and 66 acres of mixed perennial grazing land, woods and meadows. Here, the couple has established a guesthouse, restaurant, bakery and working farm. The story of how they discovered this magical place is unlike most. It was not the promise of rural isolation or even the lure of a life in hospitality that first brought them here: it was a butcher and his pigs.

Living in London, Tom was a wunderkind chef, running Pitt Cue restaurant in Soho, where customers queued round the block to eat his hipster Americana barbecued meat. ‘We would typically begin at 7am and finish around midnight – we’d do around 150 covers a day,’ he recalls. The quality of the ingredients was key – especially the pork. So Tom made weekly visits to his Launceston-based butcher, Philip Warren. ‘A close relationship led us to keep pigs on one of his farms,’ Tom explains. ‘A big factor was to have a consistent connection to the product I was cooking.’ Tom and Lottie, who worked in sustainability solutions for Veolia, had not planned to leave London, but when Philip told them about a farm that was up for sale nearby, the pull of the land and the chance to grow and rear all the produce themselves was too great.

Together, they have created an idyllic place where guests can stay in comfort, lose themselves in the landscape, and enjoy meticulously grown and lovingly prepared food. Tom, baby faced, with tousled fair hair and black-framed spectacles, describes this as a British version of Italian agriturismo, with the animals and the seasonal produce providing ingredients for a weekly changing menu.