Caerhays Castle & Gardens. An imposing 19th century castle designed by John Nash set in 60 acres of woodland gardens and a private beach
Located in a sheltered valley on the South Cornish Coast, overlooking Porthluney Cove is Caerhays Castle and gardens. The estate is near to the fishing village of Mevagissey and roughly the same distance from Truro and St Austell.
The estate belonged to the Trevanion family (relatives of Lord Byron) from the 14th century and it was a John Bettesworth Trevanion who began the construction of the castle. In 1805 he contracted John Nash, a celebrated architect, to construct a folly (although that somewhat demeans the castle!). However, the project was the ruin of the Trevanions who fled to Paris to escape their debts in 1840. The estate and castle were sold unfinished to Michael Williams of Scorrier a Member of Parliament and mine owner.
It was the Grandson of Michael Williams, J.C. Williams, who really established the garden shortly after the turn of the 20th century. Sponsoring and using from the discoveries of plant hunting expeditions in China the surrounding parkland and woodland gardens were created using plants such as rhododendrons, azaleas, magnolias and camellias. Since then a great deal of hybridisation work and especially the creation of the first williamsii camellias (Camellia japonica and saluensis) has taken place at Caerhays to create the extensive woodland gardens which gave Caerhays its reputation as a plantsman's garden and have delighted visitors over the years.
Caerhays is very much a spring garden and is at its best in March, April and May. The garden is ONLY open at present for these complete 3 months (7 days a week). The castle, where the family still live is only open for more limited periods so please do check opening times carefully on the website or by phoning the estate office.
The privately owned Porthluney Beach at Caerhays is open all year round. The secluded beach is almost unique in Cornwall in that it has a large expanse of sand that is not overlooked by any buildings. It is a family beach being reasonably sheltered and swimming is relatively safe. There is also a ban on any kind of motorised water-craft to maintain peace and quiet.