At last I am able to get back to writing about and putting up photos of our trip to Cornwall. The second day of our holiday was a special day because we visited the gardens at Caerhays Castle where they have the National Magnolia Collection and also a wonderful display of camellias and rhododendrons. The visit there was the reason we chose a spring holiday. I had seen Caerhays in the spring on a television programme and it is also featured in the Poldark books, though they haven’t got to that part yet in the TV series.
We set out early, which was just as well, as we got lost trying to take a short cut through narrow Cornish lanes and ended up at a rather sweet little village with a small harbour called Portholland. We stopped in the car park for coffee while deciding what to do next. A map by the harbour told us we were only a short distance from our destination and there were two ways to get there. The shortest was up a narrow, winding road with an alarming sharp turn almost on the cliff edge. The other way was back the way we had come, turning off about a mile up the road. The latter was a longer route but we didn’t fancy the cliff turn so we retraced our tracks.
Eventually we found Caerhays Castle perched high on a hill, above a lake, facing the sea.
At the entrance we could see that the gardens were breathtakingly beautiful, more so than I had ever imagined. There were huge rhododendrons climbing high between the trees, masses of camellias, and, of course, magnolias.
We were eager to see more but also ready for lunch after our protracted journey so first we enjoyed a lovely lunch in the castle cafe. The gardens were on the hill behind the castle with the path winding through them. Every now and again there were enchanting views of the lake with the sea behind.
Beneath the shrubs daffodils and bluebells were growing together, something that I’ve only seen before in Pembrokeshire in South West Wales. Cornwall and Pembrokeshire have similar climates both being peninsulas jutting out to sea.
We walked around for an hour or so.
I’m not crazy about the picture of me but it seems to be the only one we took on the holiday. I suppose we had more interesting things to photograph! We covered only about half of the gardens before we were tired and in need of refreshment so it was back to the castle for tea and a cake in the cafe.
Afterwards we looked around the gift shop and the plant sales but the prices were very high and we had already spent quite a lot so we set off back to the caravan park.
We hadn’t learned our lesson because we took another short cut and got lost again! Once more we were in a narrow country lane trying to work out the right direction when I noticed an old Elizabethan house that looked vaguely familiar. I couldn’t work out why but I got out and took a rather hurried photo.
We were back in the caravan that evening looking through some leaflets when I saw the house I had seen. It turned out that it was Trerice House which was Winston Graham’s inspiration for Trenwith in the Poldark books! I must have read about it somewhere. I really hadn’t planned for this holiday to be so Poldark inspired but everywhere we went we seemed to find places connected with either the books or the TV series, not surprising I suppose since we were staying in the part of Cornwall where it was set. I was delighted that I had found the house completely by accident, perhaps those short cuts weren’t such a bad idea after all! It is owned by the National Trust and open to the public so maybe on our next visit to Cornwall we can go there.