These Victorian gardens, which have just been awarded £900,000 of Lottery money for renovation, were created in the mid 19th century as part of the Gyllyngdune Estate by the Reverend William James Cope. It is thought that the house was used as a summer retreat. Now it has been renovated and converted and as well is surrounded by new build apartments and houses set in about an acre of enclosed gardens. It is one of Falmouth’s historically important houses, being thought to have been built in 1838. There is even a tunnel, approached at the top of the cliffs by descending circular steps, where the family could walk directly onto the beach which is now known as Tunnel beach.
Most of the key features of the gardens are suffering from damage and neglect though they are still visible. The uppper area of the gardens is where the Princess Pavilion is. This is a theatre with an Edwardian veranda, a grade II listed bandstand and a rose garden. The bottom area is of a quarry garden with two shell grottos. This is completely natural and wild with mature trees which include oaks and pines. There are magnificent views over the bay.
The shell grottos are unique and quite fascinating. One of the grottos is closed off to the public by a welded iron gate but the other one is open. Both can be seen easily. However the closed off one is more a hermit’s hidey hole than the other. This is the roof of the closed off grotto, decorated with shells, and a view of part of the walls.
I started off in the quarry garden and unfortunately my camera ran out of battery before I got to the top garden so I may just have to re-visit soon. There was a wonderful feeling of history about this garden with it’s wrought iron gates and small pathways. Lots of tropical vegetation that was not at it’s best unfortunately. The stone archway, which reminded one of Stonehenge, was the finishing touch.
Well worth a visit if you are in Falmouth, especially the quarry garden which is approached via steep narrow steps which go down into an overgrown gorge which has a mature gunnera in the middle of it. I should think at dusk this could be a creepy place! Mushrooms or toadstools all ready for Halloween! And the ubiquitous hydrangeas which abound in Falmouth. This one on the left is a macrophyllia(spelling?) variety.
And this small chapel is on the pavement on the sea side of the road from the gardens. It was also built by the Reverend Cope. In 1903 the estate was sold to Falmouth town council and has been in their ownership ever since!