This area of Cornwall is an area of outstanding natural beauty. We are surrounded by beaches, gardens, fabulous views and wonderful walks. Here are a few of them.
Maenporth Beach is wide and shallow, with extensive sands when the tide is out. At low tide the sea retreats a long way and the sands are extensive. The beach has a shop/cafe, with a toilet block behind, and a village of holiday houses extend from above beach level along a wooded valley to the northwest.
The coastal path to Pennance Point and Swanpool Beach, with its freshwater pool behind it, begins immediately behind the cafe, and runs uphill among the thorn bushes. It’s shrubs and bushes all the way, but the views across Maenporth bay are rewarding and get steadily better as you progress. There is a small crescent beach at Swanpool. Behind the beach lies the Swan Pool that gave the beach its name, a designated nature reserve where over 100 species of birds have been spotted. The coast path beyond Swanpool heads into a stretch of well-manicured parkland that sweeps around Swanpool Point towards Gyllyngvase Beach, and Falmouth beyond.
Penjerrick is a wild and uncommercialised 10-acre garden, between Budock Water and Mawnan Smith (gumboots are advised), while Glendurgan, Trebah and Carwinion are also in nearby Mawnan Smith, approximately 2 miles away.
Penjerrick was created by the Robert Were Fox (Brothers Alfred and Charles Fox established Glendurgan and Trebah respectively). Robert Fox later moved to Rosehill, a town house in Falmouth, which is now Fox Rosehill Gardens. Penjerrick features rhododendrons, tree ferns, magnolias and camellias. Among the magnificent trees established here is the second largest beech in England. A wooden bridge leads to a subtropical valley with ponds and bamboos in a primeval setting. There are magnificent trees. The garden is at its best at the end of April.
Penjerrick was left to the National Trust by Janet M.K. Fox along with a substantial endowment, but sadly the endowment was not considered to be adequate and the bequest turned down. The garden is now owned and looked after by her daughter Mrs Rachel Morin.
Glendurgan House and Garden
Glendurgan is a superb sub-tropical garden, owned by the National Trust, located in nearby Mawnan Smith, featuring a restored 19th century laurel maze, and leading to the tiny village of Durgan and its own beach. Set in a wooded valley rich in fine trees and shrubs, the garden is notable for its rare and exotic plants, which thrive in the warmth and shelter of this corner of Cornwall. A thriving shipping company established by the Fox family in the 18th century provided an ideal vehicle for importing plants all over the world, and many species were to find their way into the garden Alfred Fox planted in the 1820s and 1830s. Brother Charles Fox also established Trebah, and Robert Were Fox owned Penjerrick, and later Rosehill, a town house in Falmouth, which is now Fox Rosehill Gardens. The recently restored 1833 laurel maze and the ‘Giant’s Stride’ – a pole with ropes to swing from – are unusual and popular features. The house is privately occupied, but the garden runs down to Durgan village and its beach. From the garden, there are wonderful views of the Helford River.
Trebah is a spectacular 26 acre Cornish ravine garden, rated among the 80 finest gardens in the world. A steeply wooded ravine descends 200 feet down to a private beach on the Helford River. A stream meanders through ponds, one containing giant Koi carp, before winding through acres of blue hydrangeas and reaching Yankee beach. Glades of sub-tropical ferns and palms mingle with a forest of trees and shrubs beneath a canopy of century-old rhododendrons and magnolias. Trebah was first planted in the 1840’s by Charles Fox, a Quaker landowner and inspired gardener. Brother Alfred Fox also established Glendurgan, and and Robert Were Fox owned Penjerrick, and later Rosehill, a town house in Falmouth, which is now Fox Rosehill Gardens. The rarest and most exotic trees and plants were imported from all over the world to create this lovely garden, and Fox ensured that every last sapling was painstakingly placed for maximum effect – although he knew he’d never see the garden in its mature splendour. Future owners continued his work until the second world war, when the house was sold, the estate split up, and the garden lay neglected for the next 40 years. In 1980 Trebah was bought by the Hibbert family who began a massive restoration programme to restore the gardens to their Victorian heyday.