Glendurgan Garden

The last couple of days have carried a faint scent of spring; the snowdrops and daffodils are opening up and the cold wind has subsided (for now). Tempted out by a little sun, we have sprung into action, sorting out and scaling back. After unburdening ourselves at the tip today, we headed on to Glendurgan Garden, the sun from the previous day already deserting us as you can see from the photos.

Glendurgan is a National Trust garden nestled in a valley leading down to the hamlet of Durgan. The protected microclimate supports many exotic trees and shrubs, making this one of the great sub tropical gardens of the South West.

The kids love the maze, (planted in 1833) and the Giant Stride is good fun for bigger kids. There’s a great time lapse video of the maze, and you can see the Giant Stride in action here. In spring the camelias, rhodedendrons and magnolias put on a wonderful display. The helibores, cyclamen, snowdrops and crocuses were also adding their splash of colour to a mizzly February day today.

Durgan offers the perfect place for paddling, rockpooling and picnicing on the shore of the River Helford. When the weather is good, we usually walk down through the garden and have lunch (and an ice cream) on the beach. There are two entrances at the lower end of the garden, meaning you can walk down one side of the valley and back up the other. It’s also possible to enter the garden here if you arrive via the coastal path or from Durgan.

Youngest was surprisingly spritely today and manages well on short walks now (if the mood takes her and there is a favourable wind). The pushchair fell into the ‘scaling back’ category today and so we are without one for the first time in 7 years. A decision we may yet live to regret.

A bit of Glendurgan’s history…

The Fox family were very influential in Cornwall in the 19th Century. A Quaker family, they had wide ranging business interests and played a large part in the Cornish Industrial revolution. The G.C Fox Shipping Agency was established in Falmouth in 1762 and the family went on to acquire land in the surrounding area. Alfred Fox and his wife Sarah settled at Glendurgan in 1826. They began the work of clearing the valley and laying out the gardens. Rare and exotic plants were acquired for the garden through the family’s shipping business. In 1831, Sarah Fox established a schoolroom in the grounds. The children of Durgan attended lessons here alongside Sarah and Alfred’s children for 16 years it was open. The gardens were developed by successive generations until they were given over to the National Trust in 1962.

What you need to know

Parking:  Yes, free for National Trust members.
Toilets: In the car park, none in the garden.Bear this in mind – it can be a long walk back up. There is a public loo in Durgan.
Cafe: Yes, near the car park. In season there is a small shop selling ice creams etc in Durgan by the beach.
Pushchair suitable? There are pushchair friendly paths, and some paths with steps. The maze is not suitable for pushchairs.
Time: As long as you like. We stayed for a couple of hours today, more like 4 hours to a full day to do all of the gardens and play on the beach at Durgan.

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