The woodland walk between the Trelissick Gardens and the River Fal is densely planted to help protect the gardens from the wild Cornish winter winds. On a calm day like the one we enjoyed in mid June, it was hard to imagine those harsh winds.
It’s a very pleasant path with its glimpses of the river through the trees.
The tiny flowers of Pink Campion, a member of the Silene family, are common along such pathways as well as along roadsides and in hedges all across Cornwall.
The common name of this lovely flower, Bastard Balm, does not really fit with its beauty! Its botanical name is Melittis melissophyllum but its common name comes from the fact that it imitates the members of the Balm family, the Germanders. The flowers can have pink or purple centres. They are native to Southern England from New Forest to Cornwall and in South Wales. They grow in shady habitats like this woodland margin. I’ve seen them before on my walks in the English and Welsh countryside in years gone by and I really enjoyed finding them again. I felt sorry for the people who just marched along the path without stopping to enjoy the beauty of these tiny woodland flowers. Maybe they’ve seen them before; but maybe not!
Foxgloves are a favourite of mine. They were in hedgerows and along roadsides wherever we went in UK. They are also used as garden plants to good effect and there are now some differently coloured hybrids. I love to look deep inside the flower; no two are the same.
These tiny, delicate white flowers with their fine green veins on the petals, are sometimes hard to see amongst the dense greenery.
I should know their name but have forgotten! Any help welcome.
Cow parsley was everywhere along the Cornish roadsides and was particularly lovely along this pathway.
This spectacular tree on the banks of the river stopped us both in our tracks.
A break in the trees brought us this river view with the bright yellow of rapeseed on the hillside.
Yachts were moored in the safety of the Trelissick Estate’s bay.
A small beach borders one of the farm paddocks. Watch out for the cow pats!
Did these cows produce the wonderful clotted cream that’s served in the cafe?
Looking back, a slope leads up to one edge of the gardens.
We walked on until we came to a steep, grassy meadow where people’s feet had made a track back up towards the house. It was rather a steep track, so we rested half way up for me to catch my breath and for us to enjoy the view. The rest also gave us time to think about the origins of Trelissick House and Gardens, a place that is very well known in Cornwall. Indeed, it’s considered to be one of the great gardens of the world. But there are many such great estates in Cornwall. So,where had the money come from to build these mansions and huge gardens? The answer is fairly simple; copper, tin and clay mining. In the case of Trelissick, two of the former owner’s fortunes had come from mines in Cornwall. One was Ralph Daniell whose father had been known as “guinea-a-minute Daniell”, owner of copper and tin mines. Another, Ronald Copeland’s family, were porcelain makers of Spode-Copeland fame and that business relied on the fine china clay mined from the pits in Cornwall.
One of the reasons that we were in Cornwall was to research David’s family, some of whom had worked in those mines. Along with thousands of other miners, men, women and children, they worked for a pittance and for long hours, in difficult and very dangerous conditions whilst the owners grew ever richer on the produce of the miner’s labours. It’s true, of course, that the owners invested their money in developing the mines and that they gave people work. But it was the miner’s hard labour that paid for these estates.
So yes, while we do enjoy visiting the big estate gardens, we also know that they came about at the price of hardship in the lives of so many miners and their families, some of them David’s ancestors. To us, the gardens are a kind of living memorial to those workers.
The Grecian styled Trelissick House, together with the fairy castle water tower, were built by Ralph Daniell’s son in 1825. After the Daniell’s became bankrupt, there were several other owners before 1928 when the house and gardens were bought by Leonard Cunliffe, Deputy Governor of the Bank of England. He passed it on to his step daughter, Ida Copeland, who was married to Ronald Copeland (of the famous Spode Copeland Porcelain company). It’s still the Copeland family home today.
However, the current generation of the Copeland family are now leaving Trelissick; moving out to a smaller house. In the process of their downsizing, they have auctioned off (on 23rd and 24th July 2013) most of the furniture, art works and collectables that represent generations of their family’s life. Pieces for sale included an entire collection of Spode-Copeland ceramics which tell the complete story of the Copelands and their pottery manufacture over the last 200 years. Reports of what has been called ‘one of the greatest house sales in living memory’ in UK show that many of the prices fetched at auction were well above the estimated value. We know that the National Trust hoped to buy as many pieces as they could so that those pieces can be kept in the house when it’s opened to the public in the future. We hope they were successful.
And after that rest and contemplation, it was time to climb further up the hill and enjoy the view from the house. It was not the sunny day as shown in the National Trust brochures, but it was impressive none-the-less. A bite of lunch was next on the list and then time to explore some more of the garden…. and that’s for the next episode of the Trelissick story.
Jennie and David
All photography copyright © JT and DY of jtdytravels