There is a beach, hidden from view at the bottom of one of Cornwall’s most beautiful gardens. If you have ever been there, you are probably muttering Trebah! Trebah is a magical place just a short car ride from Falmouth, Cornwall. The gardens are open to the public, offer reasonably secure free parking and have a cafe.
The nearest town is Mawnan Smith, and Trebah is situated on the road that runs between Mawnan Smith and Helford Passage and if travelling from Mawnan Smith the garden can be found clearly identified beyond a cross road and Glendurgan Garden. For Satnav users the postcode is TR11 5JZ.
The beach is actually a private beach called Polgwidden Cove that is only easily accessible via the gardens. Although, doing so is no hardship; the subtropical gardens are beautiful at any time of year and offer a variety of well kept pathways down to the beach. The walk down through the remarkable gardens offers many opportunities for stunning ocean views and tantalizing glimpses of the beach as you get closer.
There are boats moored close by and there is passing marine traffic up and down the Helford River, however coming ashore from a boat is not allowed at Polgwidden Cove.
The garden began with Charles Fox, a wealthy Quaker, bought the house, garden and Polgwidden Cove, from the Nicholls family in 1838. Fox’s aim was to make the 26 acres into a pleasure garden and he oversaw the planting of hundreds of Pines and Oaks to create a shelterbelt against the worst of the elements. The Fox family created six gardens in the locality, stocking them with exotic plants. During 1856-57, a fine Victorian house was built positioned to look down the centre of the garden to the cove. During the early part of the twentieth century the boathouse was built and the mallard pond at the bottom of the garden was created.
The beach is mainly shingle with a few sandy patches and beautifully sheltered by the natural cove position, and a concrete breakwater offers further protection. The upper area is a concrete terrace with picnic benches and seating built into the wall that separates the beach from the garden. The beach shelves to quite deep, quite quickly, so it would be advisable for all except strong swimmers to stay close to shore.
However there is a reasonable amount of beach and it is family and dog friendly; dogs are welcome on the beach all year round, although they do ask that they are kept under control and on a lead. Buckets and spades can be bought or even borrowed subject to availability from the Boathouse cafe. That’s another great thing about the beach the boathouse has been transformed into a cafe and ice cream parlour.
It’s a very civilized place to visit and spend some time.