Q. What do you mean by “the surrounding area” at Trevalgas? How far does one go?
A. While it could be just a couple of miles down the road or the whole of Cornwall and Devon, we’ve decided that a radius based on a 30 minute or so drive from Trevalgas Cottages is most practicable. We have included a few major attractions that are further afield, but for the most part we’re staying closer to home.
It’s very close to Trevalgas – just a mile away – and Stratton is steeped in history – going back to 200 years before Domesday records.
A major civil war battle was fought at Stamford Hill in 1643. The battlefield is on the road from Trevalgas to Stratton signed on the left hand side. Oddly enough, the battle of Stamford hill is one of the few battles which takes its name from the leader of the losing side!
The atmospheric Tree Inn in Stratton was used as the headquarters of the Roundhead army and in the streets of Stratton it sometimes seems that the rebel army can still be heard preparing for battle. (They can also be seen during re-enactments held annually over the weekend nearest to 16 May.)
The Tree Inn was also home to John Payne, the Giant of Cornwall, whose huge portrait adorns the courtyard.
The mediaeval church of St Andrew’s in Stratton is well worth a visit.
Moving north, not far off the A39 near Kilkhampton are the Tamar Lakes – two lakes that offer a variety of water based activities such as angling, sailing, windsurfing and kayaking, as well walking and cycling – or simply just relaxing. See Upper Tamar Lake Sailing Club for more details about dinghy sailing is also possible from the sailing club on the lake
Dunsdon Nature Reserve (managed by Devon Wildlife Trust) is very close to Tamar Lakes – is an important area of natural grassland and home to numerous species of birds, animals and insects many of which are rare and considered endangered.
(known locally as Cleave Camp). North from Trevalgas – through the Coombe Valley (a great spot for a forest walk, with or without a dog) along the coast towards Morwenstow you will pass the slightly spooky Satellite Tracking Station (top security – no visitors!) with its huge white dishes forever looking skywards (though the ones pointing upwards like a chalice are usually undergoing maintenance).
Further along towards Morwenstow you will come to Cross Town and the Bush Inn which can be the starting point for a circular walk taking in Hawker’s Hut – the National Trust’s smallest property. Built from washed up timbers by the Reverend Hawker as a place of contemplation, the hut clings to the cliff above the crashing waves far below. The Reverend Hawker was the priest at Morwenstow with a church that provides a wealth of interest. In the churchyard you will find the figurehead of the sailing ship Caledonia beneath which lie the remains of the sailors drowned in the wreck of 1842.
(www.tamarotters.co.uk) is just off the B3254 between Bude and Launceston where you can watch the otters being fed and also see other rescued animals and birds.
Going on still further there is much to explore – Hartland Village and Hartland Quay and artland Point which separates Bude Bay from Barnstaple Bay. Nearby is Hartland Abbey, once a monastery but is now an historic house and garden open to the public. It is still lived in by the same family who have owned it for generations.
Along the coast a little is the picturesque village of Clovelly famed for its steep cobbled street leading down to the sea and its charming old houses. There are no cars in Clovelly – you must park in the car park at the top and walk down (charges apply).
Back nearer to Bude, and well worth a visit is the next biggest town in the immediate area: Holsworthy – an ancient market town which retains its distinctive character and boasts a good range of shops and cafes, plus an historic church.
Heading south from Bude along the coast is Boscastle – now famous for the horrendous flood in 2004 when many buildings in the town were damaged or simply washed away. Boscastle Harbour area has been rebuilt almost exactly as it was and is now as picture perfect as ever, with much to explore and good walks with stunning coastal views. A new museum tells the history of the town including the story of the flood.
The workaday town of Delabole is a little further on. Strung out along a very long street Delabole looks entirely uninteresting until you discover that it sits next to one of the biggest man made holes in the world – Delabole Slate Quarry – which is also why it is the centre of the country’s slate industry.
Slate has been quarried here since the 15th century. There is a museum, shop and tours of the quarry are run in the summer months. The quarry can be viewed from the path which winds around the edge – it is a truly awesome spectacle.
On the coast near Delabole is the pretty seaside village of Port Isaac now famous as a setting for the TV series Doc Martin and the home of the shanty group Fisherman’s Friends.
is just a stone’s throw away with its castle of Arthurian fame and equally famous Old Post Office. (www.visitboscastleandtintagel.com)
Away from the coast just off the A30 between Oakhampton and Launceston is Roadford Lake Country Park with its visitor centre, restaurant, lakeside walks and amazing wildlife. For sailing enthusiasts dinghies can be hired at the sailing centre.
Winsford Walled Garden
Halwill Junction. In the same area you can find Winsford Walled Garden, a productive Victorian garden in the 1890s and restored 1999. It’s a gardener’s delight (www.winsfordwalledgarden.com).
Why not explore the ancient market town of Launceston which, in addition to picturesque streets and shops boasts a castle on the hill and a restored working steam railway.
Launceston museum is housed in the beautiful Georgian townhouse called Lawrence House which is owned by the National Trust.
Specific visitor attractions which will appeal to children include:
- The Milky Way near Clovelly with rides, play areas, live shows, sports, crafts and much more (www.themilkyway.co.uk).
- The Big Sheep at Abbotsham offers a similar range of activities (but with sheep!) (www.thebigsheep.co.uk)
- Crealy Adventure Park near Wadebridge (www.crealy.co.uk)
- Trethorne Leisure Park near Launceston (www.trethorneleisure.com).
Other attractions well worthy of a mention, albeit that some are a little further away
- The Eden Project near St Austell described by some as the eighth wonder of the world – a refuge for rare and endangered plant species. (www.edenproject.com)
- Wheal Martyn China Clay Museum and Country Park, near St Austell (www.wheal-martyn.com)
- The Lost Gardens of Heligan (www.heligan.com)
- Tregrehan Woodland Garden (www.tregrehan.org)
- Pinetum Park and Pine Lodge Gardens (with over 6000 rare and unusual plants) (www.pinetumpark.com)
- Bodmin-Wenford Railway (www.bodminrailway.co.uk),
- Porfell Wildlife Park which is an exotic animal sanctuary (www.porfellanimalland.co.uk)