A July 2001 trip
to Cornwall by davidx
Quote: It was the Lost Gardens of Heligan which drew us back to these parts. Anyone going should read the book first as it does inform the trip a lot.
Now, of course, there is the Eden Project to see as well so we shall be back before long.
We had eaten at a far better situated and appealing-looking inn on our first night, a pleasant meal when it EVENTUALLY came, but the embarrassment of the waitresses at the long delay communicated itself, so we were bent on something different. The Salamander had a major appeal. In spite of having no particular visual appeal, except for its scrupulous cleanliness, it was filling up early. Clearly it justified a closer look.
Whereas there is nothing off-putting in the interior, there is no outstanding point of appeal either. In fact, the decor could only be called plain, but the welcome was cordial [not effusive] and they are at pains to fit you in if at all possible. We were shocked that some would-be diners were intensely rude and refused to wait when the proprietor insisted on a short time to clean a table that had just been vacated.
The menu was appealing enough, and we had a full and enjoyable meal, but I remember only one part. That was the fact that every night there is one option for fresh fish - the type depending on the catch that day. We had sea bass one day and pollock the next - [no, we did not bother looking anywhere else the second night; we had booked for the next night before leaving the first night]. It was delicious.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 29, 2002
In summer they can be reached by a passenger boat from Plymouth, which goes from the old barbican near the Mayflower Steps, past Plymouth Hoe and Drake's Island and then over to the Cornwall coast, pasing Mount Edgecombe Park and then to these twin villages.
The alternative for pedestrians is to take the superbly positioned Cremyll foot ferry from Stonehouse near the Royal Marine Barracks and then a bus. By car it is necessary to take the Torpoint Ferry from Plymouth and then an appreciable length drive.
These villages are remote from the places like Looe and Polperro further along the coast as far as public transport is concerned. Whereas they can be busy enough on a good summer's day, they do not get jammed up as completely as these latter places.
They are old fashioned and immensely picturesque villages with their beaches almost adjacent to their centres. The distance between htem is negligible and indeed it would be difficult to define the boundary. There is a lime kiln near the farther beach [I cannot remember which is which!] which acts like a magnet to children. I can only hope the rock pools stall contain some life - they used to be full of sea anemones and shellfish.
From the villages it is easy to walk to the splendidly wooded Penlee Point or to the more open Rame Head [or both.]
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 27, 2002
Twin beaches, Cawsand and Kingsand.
East of South Cornish coast
Attraction | "Optimum garden location - Trelissick"
Like most Cornish Gardens it is probably best when the rhododendrons are in bloom but it is mighty good at other times as well. Hydrangeas were particularly striking when we were there. The huge trees and the lovely lawns make it a delight at any time.
While in the area have a look round some of the little villages if you can - a bit much wealth to feel entirely at home but very pretty.
Near Feock and King Harry Ferry
Attraction | "The Lost Gardens of Heligan"
The gardens were the subject of a serial documentary on British TV. To cut a long story miserably short - and do read the book - this was one of the great Cornish gardens until the first world war when the gardiners were called up and never returned.
After this the gardens became overgrown and were quite literally lost. The programme and the book were about their rediscovery and the remarkable efforts of restoring them.
The house was almost certainly self-sufficient and it was necessary to rediscover the art of growing pineapples and melons.
The jungle area with its banana trees leeds down to a great riverside walk where there are remains of charcoal smelting and on the other side the Home Farm has opened to the public since we were there.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 20, 2002
Lost Gardens of Heligan
Pentewan near Mevagissey
Saint Austell, Cornwall PL26 6EN
Attraction | "Lands End"
Member Rating 1 out of 5 on May 20, 2002
B3306 from St. Ives/B3315 fro Penzance
Attraction | "Trelissick Gardens"
I had only been here once before my fairly recent visit and I should not have been surprised to find it as superb as I remembered, if only because the natural contours do not allow for much building to alter its nature.
Of course cottages which would once have housed local people living from the sea have now largely gone as holiday homes, some for letting, but I do not see that this could have been avoided without an expensive change in housing policy nationally.
There is really not much else to be said. Portloe's main attraction is its lack of man-made attractions though the carpark is useful and is situated just far enough from the sea to avoid any deleterious effect on the scenery. The coastal path makes its way onto appealing headlands on both sides and then, of course, disappears from view.
Coast west of Mevagissey
Attraction | "St Mawes Castle"
The site is a headland immediately east of the Carrick Roads, a glorious stretch of water at high tide into which the Truro River and the Fal feed and which peters out in numerous scenic creeks. On the other side of Carrick Roads is Pendennis Castle, above Falmouth.
Henry VIII, the second Tudor king of England, was responsible for the building of both castles, which formed part of a chain of castles protecting the south coast of England, where invasions had been common, including the one that had led the seventh Henry to the throne.
The Carrick Roads castles played no part in the resistance to the Spaniards during Elizabeth the First's time, even though they were strengthened for the purpose. Their only military test was for the Royalists against the Parliamentarian forces in the civil war. St Mawes Castle was halfway up the headland, and therefore vulnerable to a land attack, which led to its somewhat ignominious surrender. [Pendennis did much better.]
The central tower rises above several massive circular walls that provided a good gun cover over all the east side of Carrick Roads. The ornate decoration is, on the whole, more reminiscent of cathedrals than castles, and it may well be thought of as a particularly decorative example of the Tudor period.
St. Mawes Castle
Attraction | "St Just in Roseland"
The church is quintessentially pretty and it is hard to believe that the scene is real when high tide is at the same time as sunset. It is situated immediately beside the water and the church gardens are really well maintained.
This is a place in Cornwall which looks just like it always has but, of course, it cannot be. When one of the few houses comes onto the market, it is unimaginable that anyone local could afford it and it is likely to become a holiday home if it is not already. Even so, it is a place which should be on the list of any visitor to Cornwall who loves simple beauty with no commercial adornments.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 28, 2002
St. Just-in-Roseland Church
Cornwall, England TR2 5JD
01326 270 248
Todmorden, United Kingdom