Trelissick Garden is a garden in the ownership of the National Trust at Feock, near Truro, Cornwall, England.
Trelissick Garden lies within the Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). Almost a third of Cornwall has AONB designation.
Trelissick, first recorded in 1275, means Leidic's farm), Trelissick in the parish of St Ewe has the same derivation but Trelissick in St Erth and Trelissick in Sithney have a different one ("Gwledic's farm"). Trelissick Garden is located on the B3289 road, just west of King Harry Ferry at Feock, near Truro, Cornwall. It overlooks the estuary known as Carrick Roads.
*** – History – ***
The garden has been in the ownership of the National Trust since 1955 when it was donated by Ida Copeland following the death of her son Geoffrey. A stained glass memorial bearing the Copeland coat of arms was donated to Feock parish church by Mrs. Copeland. The house and garden had formerly been owned and developed by the Daniell family, which had made its fortune in the 18th century Cornish copper mining industry.
Many of the species that flourish in the mild Cornish air, including the rhododendrons and azaleas which are now such a feature of the garden, were planted by the Copelands including hydrangeas, camellias and flowering cherries, and exotics such as the ginkgo and various species of palm. They also ensured that the blossoms they nurtured had a wider, if unknowing audience. Mr Ronald Copeland was chairman and later managing director of his family's business, the Spode china factory. Flowers grown at Trelissick were used as models for those painted on ware produced at the works.
The Copeland family crest, a horse's head, now decorates the weathervane on the turret of the stable block, making a pair with the Gilbert squirrels on the Victorian Gothic water tower, an echo of the family who lived here in the second half of the 19th century (their ancestor, Sir Humphrey Gilbert, was lost at sea in his tiny ship Squirrel after discovering Newfoundland).
The garden is noted for its rare shrubs. It offers a large park, woodland walks, views over the estuary of the River Fal and Falmouth.
All houses have secrets, but some have more than their fair share. Sealed behind locked doors, hidden in cellars or lost beneath floorboards, the fascinating secrets of Trelissick house are slowly starting to be rediscovered.
Presiding over its own peninsula and remodelled by each of its five owners, Trelissick’s history is a fascinating tale of prosperity, collapse and change. But as a result bits of that history have been lost along the way. So how exciting would it be to know each day you went to work you could solve a mystery, uncovering the house’s story piece by piece? Or in volunteer Mike Pulley’s case: key by key.
One key at a time.
It all started for Mike when an old tin box was found full of unlabelled keys. Intrigued to find out what they might open Mike started touring the house and so far, he’s reunited fifteen keys with their long lost locks. The only problem is that one box has now grown to a box of boxes of keys- for luggage, doors, clocks, furniture, buildings, old and new(ish), of all shapes and sizes- so now every Wednesday morning, Mike can be found exploring the house, trying to unlock Trelissick’s history one key at a time.
However, some locks are hidden so well they take a while to find. Like many grand houses, Trelissick is home to clever false features: the impressive double doors into the dining room, one side actually being a wall, or the symmetrical doors in the West Library, only one of which opens - or so they thought. It was actually just locked, concealing a forgotten safe with a forgotten content.
The Forgotten Room.
But Trelissick has more than one forgotten element. It has an entire forgotten room. Above the back door are two easily over-looked bricked-up windows, the only visible clues to the location of Trelissick’s Lost Room. Rediscovered by chance the room is completely sealed off from the rest of the house, it’s now only accessible through the floorboards of an under stairs cupboard. Containing half wall-papered walls, a fireplace and newspaper from a past era this old dressing room lay untouched for 60 years, annexed when the house was reconfigured. So where its bricked-up doorway now leads nobody can quite work out. Trelissick is a house so full of mysteries that it keeps everybody guessing, especially when it comes to the riddle of the newly discovered, but long rumoured, secret tunnel.
The Secret Tunnel.
Glimpsed from the cellars this tunnel is a mystery. Is its exit waiting to be uncovered beneath the sundial in the flowerbed behind the house? Or under a now disused outbuilding? Or has it simply disappeared somewhere behind the walls of the secret garden (oh, yes, there’s that too). Some say it was used for ferrying food into the house, and some that it was to allow the family to leave unseen: in so many ways, it’s a story whose ending is yet to be discovered.
These secrets are part of Trelissick’s character. As Mike puts it “what we like about the house is … we’re discovering it as we go along.” So what will they discover next?
*** – Exploring the Garden – ***
Whether you’re a gardening enthusiast or someone who simply appreciates the joy of the outdoors, you’ll find plenty of sights to marvel at. Below you'll find details of certain areas of the garden you will discover as you meander through. Different seasons bring new features to each space creating a dynamic tapestry of colours, textures and scents.
The Main Lawn.
The main lawn is at the heart of the garden with sweeping views around the mixed exotic borders which are at their best in the summer months. Later in the year ginger lilies, dahlias and bananas create a rich tapestry of flower and foliage. The focal point of the lawn is the magnificent Japanese red cedar (Cryptomeria japonica) which was planted in 1898, an extremely long-lived tree that thinks nothing of growing over 1,000 years.
The Cornish Orchard.
Overlooked by the beautiful water tower, this orchard is yet another peaceful place to enjoy. There's lots of conservation in action here underneath its simple, rustic appearance. Originally planted over 20 years ago, the gardeners aimed to use it to preserve a number of local apple varieties and increase the biodiversity of the garden. They also restored an old apple press to its former glory which has been the centre of attention during the National Trust 'Apple Weekend' celebrations in autumn.
The Tennis Lawn.
An open space with incredible views. Mind your step where the lawn meets the parkland for the 'ha-ha'. This sunken wall separates the grazed fields from the garden and provides a boundary between the two which doesn't spoil the view like a fence would. A staple feature of landscape gardens, it is so-called for the fact it is unseen and coming across it makes you exclaim 'ha-ha' in surprise and amusement.
Often unseen, the work of the gardeners is what makes Trelissick garden so special. You can find out more about their efforts on the garden blog
where the garden team share their expert insight. For a map of the garden please click
*** – Secluded Stroll to Roundwood Quay – ***
Walk through historic parkland, along an oak-fringed creek and over a timber framed bridge to reach the promontory fort and 18th-century quay at Roundwood. You'll find wonderful views, historic landscape and wildlife galore. Classified as Easy, this walk is one mile long and should take about 30 to 40 minutes. This is a dog-friendly walk.
Start: Trelissick car park
1. Walk out into the park from the car park. Follow the drive to the right, pass through the gate and into Lodge Plantation, following the woodland walk signs to the Old Lodge.
Walking with giants. Trelissick is blessed with some remarkable old trees, in particular the oak. From the start of the walk you’ll see these characterful old giants marching alongside the drive beside you. Take a few minutes to wander amongst them to fully appreciate their uniqueness, beauty and scale. On close inspection you may notice that one of the oaks has a massive crack running down its trunk - this was caused by the sheer weight of one of its lower limbs, virtually splitting the tree in two. The limb is now nestling on the ground preventing any further damage to the tree.
2. Cross the road and follow the zig-zag path down through Namphillows Wood, replanted during the storm in 1990.
3. At the end of the path turn left and cross over the small stream below the ponds. Go right and over the timber bridge.
4. At this point you can make a detour into the beautiful flower- and wildlife-rich meadows at Tregew, or carry on to Roundwood Fort.
5. Follow the path through Lambsclose Plantation, and along the edge of Lamouth Creek. Look out for egrets, shelduck and kingfishers.
6. Pause to have a look around Roundwood Fort, a fabulous Iron Age promontory fort.
Roundwood in the Iron Age. One of the most visually impressive elements of Roundwood is the substantial remains of an Iron Age promontory fort. This survives as a large bank and ditch forming the outer defences on the land side (standing up to 10 to 13 feet (3 to 4m) above the bottom of the ditch); the ditch on the south side acts as a hollow-way down to the creek. Internally, there's an oval enclosure defended by a further bank and ditch, which is where people would have lived, traded and celebrated; the quay area was probably used as a trading and transport base even then.
7. Walk through the fort and down the steps onto Roundwood Quay.
Shipping. The deep waters of the Fal and Truro Rivers provide safe and cheap anchorage for a wide range of large vessels from all over the world. As economic forces change there may be oil tankers here, or perhaps refrigerated ships. Some stay here, with skeleton crews, for many months. The clank of the King Harry Ferry may be heard from Roundwood. This chain ferry is named after King Henry VI, as it once led to a chapel dedicated to him on the eastern bank. It's still an essential link to and from the Roseland peninsula.
8. On the north end of the quay there is a track, originally for pack horses. Follow this for 300 yards (275m) until you reach a gateway on the left marked by an old hollow sycamore tree and a single granite post.
9. Go into the meadow and turn left back down to the Lamouth Creek path, turn right and retrace your steps. For a longer walk, turn left after the wooden bridge and carry on along the creek side back to Trelissick along the south woodland walk.
End: Trelissick car park. You made it
*** – Visiting – ***
While the outdoor spaces allow for social distancing, the confined nature of the house does not. It is important that they do not put visitors and the team stewarding the house at risk. For these reasons the house will remain closed until further notice. They are sorry to cause any disappointment for those interested in visiting the house. The countryside and garden are open to visitors with safety measures in places, you must book in advance as part of these measures.
You will need to book online or by calling 0344 249 1895 in advance of your arrival to Trelissick. Members can book for free, while non-members will need to pay when booking. The National Trust will be releasing tickets every Friday and you will need to book by 3pm the day before your visit. Please note they will be turning people away who arrive and haven't booked. Please click here to book online.
For the safety of the staff and visitors they have introduced social distancing measures and changes to payment, which will be via card only. In line with government guidance visitors to their shop will be required to wear a face covering from 24 July. Please bring one along with you.
*** – Facilities – ***
• The garden, countryside and car park are open. Please see above to book your visit.
• The café has reopened and will initially be serving a limited range of takeaway hot and cold drinks and some light snacks. The shop and second-hand book shop have also re-opened.
• They are sorry but the gallery and house are closed.
• Toilet facilities are available.
• Parking for North Helford coast and countryside access in Bosveal car park.
• Parking 50 yards with blue badge spaces. Free parking for members of the National Trust.
• Assistance dogs only in the garden. Dogs are welcome in the countryside on a lead.
• Baby changing facilities.
• There is a step free circular route around the Formal and Woodland Garden.
• The accessible toilet is open.
• They are unable to run their buggy service at present.
• Please click here for the full access statement.
Location : Trelissick, Dicky Lane, Feock, near Truro, Cornwall, TR3 6QL
Transport: Truro (National Rail) then 493 bus . Bus Routes : 493 from Truro Lemon Quay stops at Trelissick at times 09:46, 11:46, 13:40, 15:40 only.
Opening Times : Daily, 09:00 to 17:00. House is closed.
Tickets : Adults £8.00; Child £4.00
Tel: 01872 862090