Making the most of the sunshine this bank holiday, Emily and I took the train to Calstock. Our plan was an adventure filled day hiking through the lower Tamar Valley and making use of our National Trust memberships at Cotehele House, Quay and Mill. What a day! Amazing weather and the scenic route into Cornwall set the tone. Walking past the impressive Calstock viaduct we started our hike down into the valley and then back up the hill to Cotehele House.
Calstock viaduct, crossing the Tamar
Cotehele House is an impressive Tudor manor house that was owned by the Edgecumbe family and kept in traditional Tudor décor long after they moved to Mt Edgecumbe. There are diary entries from visitors dating as far back as the 1700s stating how old and traditional the place looked! A visit today shows how the Edgecumbe’s decision to keep the house in its historical state has paid off. This strong tradition of preserving heritage in Britain meant that Emily and I were able to step back in time some 500 years. While the house isn’t the largest, the attention to detail is impressive and it was a filming location for The Twelfth Night in 1996. If you enjoy visiting stately homes, or are a National Trust member, we think Cotehele is well worth a visit.
Oh to live in such a house! Or, in the case of the Edgecumbes, be rich enough to have this as a second property / Tudor museum!
Wandering around the countryside this time of year is always the most rewarding. Spring being well and truly here, we were able to see all the flowers in bloom in the tiered garden and the apple trees were in full blossom in both orchards in the estate. A beautiful time of year. The swallows have also returned to Cornwall and are building nests all around the grounds. There is so much wildlife and so much colour. I just can’t imagine spending a sunny day indoors!
Bluebells are one of the true signs that spring is finally here in Britain
After eating lunch in the orchards, we took the walk down by the river to Cotehele Quay. With it being Good Friday, the place was busier than normal, but we were able to get a table outside the Edgecumbe Tea Rooms without too much effort and enjoyed a cream tea and a tea and cake in the sunshine. With money from every cake bought from the National Trust going to preservation and conservation, you really don’t need any other excuse to enjoy that truly British experience – tea and cake after a visit to a stately home!
Inside the Tudor courtyard
Full and satisfied, we took the winding path from the quay and up the Morden stream to Cotehele Mill. With Cotehele you get two properties for the price of one! You even get a stamp for your passport at each property so don’t forget to ask. The Victorian mill is still in use today and the National Trust is even using the hydroelectricity it generates as a renewable source of energy in other local projects. You have the opportunity to buy wholemeal flour milled as it was in days gone by, but really the best thing about the Mill is that it adds to the overall size of the Cotehele estate.
The waterwheel at the mill still runs today!
The surrounding woodland has several trails to explore so you can spend as much time as you like outdoors, always with something else just around the corner. It truly is a whole day out with miles of walks across different habitats in the countryside – from reeds, woodland, river, stream, fields and flower gardens. So, if you’re in Devon or Cornwall or live in Plymouth, make the most of weather this summer and go visit. It is only a short journey by car or by train away.
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The various gardens are awash with blooming colour right now