Glendurgan Garden

Glendurgan Garden


Glendurgan, like the nearby Trebah, is a Cornish canyon garden, which means it lies between steep hills in a narrow incision that stretches down to the banks of the Helford River. The gorge is crossed by a small stream, which forms a pond just before the beach. Along the walls of the gorge are the park paths, between which a lush vegetation grows. Thanks to the mild Cornish climate due to the Gulf Stream, it is possible to cultivate a large number of subtropical plants outdoors in Glendurgan in addition to native species all year round.

In Glendurgan, for example, there are bamboo, yuccas, hemp palms, agave and tree fern and – for southern Cornwall, of course – rhododendron. In May and June, Glendurgan, like many other Cornish gardens, glows in all the colours of the rhododendron flowers. Glendurgan is characterised by the maze of laurel hedges from 1833 in the middle of the garden.

*** – Exploring the Garden – ***

Three valleys join into one at Glendurgan, where a beautiful and intriguing blend of exotic and native plants thrive. These highlights provide an insight to what awaits to be discovered throughout the different seasons. To observe social distancing measures please note there is a one way system in place with steps and steep slopes. The maze remains closed.

  • Entrance route and Camellia Walk.
  • Just past the visitor welcome building, you're treated to a display of colour and mixed planting which has been replanted by the garden team in recent months. There's a splash of colour no matter the season; many of the plants along this route are available to purchase in their plant centre (when open). The path along the entrance route leads to the Camellia Walk, where a mixture of different varieties of camellia bloom. Early varieties start flowering in late autumn however early spring is the time to see them at their best and means Glendurgan opens each February to a stunning display of colourful camellias.

  • Holy bank.
  • Passing the small fish pond and following the upper path it is possible to catch a glimpse of the Helford River as the view draws the eye down the valley. Along here is a collection of trees with religious connotations, such as Crown of Thorns and Judas Tree. An ancient magnolia Magnolia x veitchii 'Peter Veitch' sits proudly at the top of Holy bank, watching over the maze and pond below along with carpets of wildflowers which adorn this area from late winter through to late spring. Look out for daffodils and primroses at the start of the year, changing to bluebells, wild garlic, rhododendrons, gladioli, aquilegias and wild orchids as we head into the warmer days of spring.

  • Olive grove and apple orchard.
  • Tucked away en route to the school room sits the Olive Grove and Glendurgan’s little-known apple orchard. The Fox family successfully tended the area to produce a bounty of fruits and vegetables many years ago. In the orchard today are still local varieties of apples, figs, pecans, pears and critus fruits, as well as three bee hives with an active colony of honeybees. An area eager to be explored, there are grass paths mowed amongst the apple trees during the warmer months, ready to explore.

  • School room and Giant's Stride.
  • Following the path through the Olive Grove one arrives at the old school room, used by Sarah Fox to educate her children until 1842. The building you see today was re-created in 2001 by the Fox family as well as the garden team and children from the local primary school. The windows are the originals from 1829. Further along the path from the school room sits the Giant's Stride, a giant maypole swing popular with both grown ups and children.

  • The lower valley.
  • With the character of exotic far away countries such as New Zealand and Bhutan, the inspiration for developing this area came from gardeners’ and Fox family travels over the decades. The plants that continue to thrive here do so due to the similar temperate climate experienced in their country of origin and feature giant rhubarb, impressive bamboo and banana plants.

  • That magnificent maze.
  • Glendurgan’s ancient cherry laurel hedge maze sits at the heart of the garden and is the true fabric of Glendurgan, puzzling visitors for generations and providing much joy and delight for those who choose to get lost along its many winding paths. While the maze appears healthy from a distance, it's going through a significant process of restoration to see its paths and steps reinstated and in due course, the hedges thoroughly cut back to promote healthy regrowth.

  • Cherry orchard.
  • Sitting in the quirky boat seat and following the stream as it flows through the orchard, this peaceful area is perfect for taking a break to take in the surroundings. Featuring handkerchief trees, cherry blossom and some stunning varieties of magnolia, the main highlights in this area are snowdrops in February and March, followed by carpets of bluebells in April and May. During the warmer months the garden team mow grass paths through the orchard for visitors to wander along and enjoy a quiet moment on one of the benches or spot a myriad of butterflies or dragonflies in summer.

  • The Tulip tree.
  • Sitting proudly towards the top of the valley garden is Glendurgan’s oldest tree, the Tulip tree Liriodendron Tulipifera. At almost 190 years old, this grandfather of Glendurgan watches over the lower valleys of the garden and provides a stunning display in different seasons. In late June its flowers appear in hues of lime green and orange, presenting a display in likeness to mini cups and saucers perched at the edges of its branches. As autumn approaches the giant green leaves take on bright gold tones and signal the end of another year at Glendurgan as the garden prepares to close for winter.

    *** – Surrounding Countryside – ***

    The National Trust cares for over 300 acres of countryside extending along several miles of stunning coastline from Glendurgan to Maenporth beach. There is easy access to the South West Coast Path from Durgan village, either heading west towards the village of Helford Passage or east along the Helford River towards Falmouth.

  • East towards Maenporth and Falmouth beyond.
  • Heading east from Durgan, initially along a short stretch of quiet road, the footpath leads through meadows and woodland areas, following the coastline to Rosemullion Head where the Helford River meets Falmouth Bay. The route is especially charming in spring when an abundance of wild flowers often line the footpath. As the route heads towards Falmouth it's easy to spot iconic local landmarks such as St Anthony's Lighthouse and Pendennis Castle in the distance.

    Following this route there are various coves and beaches to be explored which are accessible from the coast path, including Grebe Beach, a 5 minute walk from Durgan, as well as Porth Saxon Beach and Prisk Cove further round towards Rosemullion Head. All beaches are dog friendly year round.

  • West towards Helford Passage and The Lizard.
  • Heading west from Durgan along the re-routed coastpath leads to Helford Passage, an historic crossing point of the Helford River. Extreme weather in 2015 resulted in some impressive landslides so the route now follows the hill further up from Durgan and is sign posted along the improved route to Helford Passage.

    Helford River

    Helford River


    *** – Visiting – ***

    The garden at Glendurgan is open and you’ll need to book tickets online or by calling 0344 249 1895 by 3pm the day before your visit. Members of the National Trust can book for free, while non-members will need to pay when booking. They will be releasing tickets every Friday. Please note they will be turning people away who arrive and haven't booked. They are looking forward to welcoming you back. Click here to book Please note that the apple orchard, Giant's Stride and Maze are all closed until further notice.

    There are guided tours of the underground mine. The BBC series Poldark was filmed here. There is separate mobility parking, 50 yards from the mine. there is a level surface on the slope. Braille and large print guides are available. There is a sensory experience and an Induction loop. There are disabled toilets and wheelchair access to all surface facilities. Assistance dogs are welcomed. Steaming is usually every 15 minutes from 11 am.

    *** – Facilities – ***


  • • To observe social distancing measures please note there is a one way system in place with steps and steep slopes.
  • • Picnic benches in Glendurgan car park. Car park will be locked at 5pm.
  • • We’re sorry but the garden entrance building, shop, maze and Giant's Stride are closed until further notice.
  • • The tea-house (not NT) is open and will initially be serving a limited range of takeaway hot and cold drinks and some light snacks.
  • • Bee hives and honey bees in the orchard.
  • • Parking for North Helford coast and countryside access in Bosveal car park.
  • • In line with government guidance, you're required to wear a face covering in most enclosed spaces. This includes the toilet facilities. Please bring one with you.
  • • Dogs: assistance dogs only in the garden; welcome in surrounding countryside.
  • Family:-

  • • Baby changing facilities.
  • • Pushchairs and baby back-carriers admitted.
  • • One way route in operation, pushchairs and buggies may encounter some steps.
  • • Giant's Stride (a pole with ropes to swing from) and maze closed until further notice.
  • • Gates to Durgan at the bottom of the garden are open for access to beach.
  • Access:-

  • • One way route in operation, pushchairs and buggies may encounter some steps.
  • • Dogs: assistance dogs only in the garden; welcome in surrounding countryside.
  • • Grounds: uneven and loose gravel paths, cobbled in sections, some steep slopes and steps.
  • • Mobility parking in main car park.
  • • The Tramper is unavailable until further notice.
  • • Adapted toilet in toilet block, accessed via a small ramp.
  • • Sensory experience.
  • • Please click here for the full access statement.


    Location : Mawnan Smith, near Falmouth, Cornwall, TR11 5JZ

    Transport: Falmouth (GW branch from Truro) then walk to Falmouth Moor and 35 bus . Bus Routes : 35 Falmouth to Helston (30 minutes).

    Opening Times : Daily, 10:30 to 17:00. Maze is closed.

    Tickets : Adults £5.00;  Child £2.50

    Tel: 01326 252020