Glendurgan Gardens, Mawnan Smith

June 16, 2015 by becca.lazar No Comments


For those of you who have stayed in, or are looking to stay in our Durgan holiday cottages, Glendurgan Gardens is right on your doorstep, burying its rich roots under your holiday home and imprinting itself on the shoreline. For the rest of you, this National Trust property is located between Falmouth and Port Navas, on the Helford Estuary right next door to Trebah Gardens and a stone’s throw from the Helford Estuary.

For myself, it’s a place that I couldn’t recall ever having been before last weekend; which is a shame really. A proper case of living somewhere without really taking the time to visit what’s around you. And what’s more, Glendurgan has a proper maze! Something that really excites the child in me

As you walk into the garden you are greeted by stone foxes, all gleeful expressions and jaunty body language, beckoning you in like characters from Alice in Wonderland. From here the paths began to curl and crook their way down into the valley.

The smells are the first thing you noticed as you descended into the sheltered valley. The scent of honey is thick in the air, prominent amongst the other sweet aromas of primroses, orchids, violets and Granny’s bonnets all bustling for space in the hedgerows. But the big draws are the exotic and frequently giant plants that give the space its air of wonder. Giant rhubarb plants live in the jungle-like lower valley and spiky arid plants bask in the sunny upper slopes.

The paths that criss-cross the gardens are mostly wheelchair and pushchair friendly, making this a great and easy afternoon out for families.  As you snake your way round you come across a tiny hut-like school room with a thatched roof perched atop it, a replica of the first school that was built in the area in 1829.

From here you can wander down to the main attraction – the maze. 180 years old, the maze was the brain child of Alfred and Sarah Fox, the original owners of the gardens and was inspired by a similar maze at Sydney Gardens in Bath – apparently, every child who cheated by breaking through the hedges was fined a shilling. On our trip we ended up chasing each other round the cherry laurel plants, racing to find the centre. One of us eventually gave up. The other didn’t – I’ve not been beaten by a maze yet.

To extend our day out we took the coastal path, at the bottom Glendurgan, round to the Helford Passage and to The Ferryboat Inn for lunch, before exploring the second half of the garden on the way up. As regular readers will know, we end up at The Ferryboat a lot, as do most of you lot and we have a feeling there might be a new chef in town. We’re not sure if this is a good or bad thing as yet, as we were given just one new potato each and the advertised ‘scallops’ ended up just being a single ‘scallop’. The rest of what we ate was excellent though – a beautiful combination of hake, scallops and crab. Hopefully, these are just teething problems though, and didn’t end up spoiling an otherwise fantastic family day out.

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