Tranquil garden near Truro with wonderful views of the River Fal. Set on many levels, containing a superb collection of tender and exotic plants
There has been a house at Trelissick since the 13th century, but the property existing today was built in the middle of the 18th century and designed by Humphry Davy's grandfather. It was extended further early in the 19th century. The estate is sited in Playing Place, close to where the King Harry Ferry crosses the River Fal. There are lovely views across the river and towards the estuary from various parts of the estate.
In the early days, the house overlooked a lawn dotted with oak and beech trees. There was an orchard and a walled kitchen garden. However, most of the surrounding woodlands were planted in the early 19th century, at the time the house was extended and the many carriageways constructed.
Following a short period of neglect, the estate was purchased by the Gilbert family, who introduced many exotic plants. The attractive summer house was built around this time. The large orchards and many varieties of fruit trees earned the estate a reputation as the premier fruit growing establishment in Cornwall.
When the estate changed hands yet again at the beginning of the 20th century, the gardens were developed further and a solarium was built at one end of the house. The development was continued by the Copelands, who planted many rare shrubs, camellias and rhododendrons. Ronald Copeland was a director of Spode and many of the flowers, with which pieces of the Spode china are decorated, are believed to have grown in the gardens at Trelissick.
There are numerous pleasant rambles in the gardens and both the summer house and the water tower, with its weather-vane in the shape of a squirrel, are worth seeing. The property is now owned by the National Trust and is open to the public from the middle of February to the end of October each year. There are occasional winter openings.