Trebah Gardens // Helford

Trebah Gardens, spectacular 26 acre Cornish ravine garden that descends 200 feet to a private beach on the River Helford located near Falmouth in Cornwall

26 acre Cornish ravine garden, rated among the 80 finest gardens in the world. This sub-tropical paradise is home to a unique collection of rare and exotic plants, trees and shrubs winding down to a private and secluded beach on the Helford River.

Trebah is a garden for all seasons, with year round colour and scent. It has something for everyone with children's activities, special events, a Gallery hosting exhibitions, a Garden Café, and a gift and garden shop.

Trebah (pronounced Tree-bâ) is Celtic for ‘The House on the Bay’ and is first recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as the property of the Bishop of Exeter. For the next 745 years it passed through the hands of minor members of the Cornish Squirarchy and Yeoman farmers until it was acquired in 1831 by the Fox family of Falmouth.

Trebah was first laid out as a 26 acre pleasure garden by Charles Fox, a Quaker polymath of enormous creative energy who paid meticulous attention to the exact positioning of every tree.

Until the onset of the Second World War Trebah was constantly developing as various owners added their touches to the gardens. However, in the post war period things went into decline with the gardens becoming neglected and overgrown.

In 1981, on their 64th birthday, Tony and Eira Hibbert bought Trebah as their retirement home where they could eke out their last few years in peace and quiet and where there would be no work, no worries and no responsibilities. They discovered, too late, that under the jungle that had grown up in the previous 42 years of neglect lay the remains of a once famous garden. They were persuaded to give up the first 3 years of retirement to restore it. In 2003, after 22 years, there still remained three years to complete the first part of the plan.

With some help from The Heritage Lottery Fund and Objective One, Trebah Gardens have now been restored to their former glory and can begin looking to the future. And Tony Hibbert has finally been put out to grass to start his retirement, 22 years late!