Tales from the Sea Garden
Tales from The Sea Garden
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Monday 25 November 2013
I now spend a good deal of my time in Calstock, as this is where J lives. Together with Morwelham Quay Calstock was once the bustling centre of mining in the Tamar Valley, and during the 19th and early 20th Century the village thrived off market gardens and the flower growing industry, particularly daffodils and narcissi, which grew well on the south-facing steeply sloping sides of the valley and were sent to the flower markets of London by rail. Mum and Dad were coming to visit nearby Cotehele House today, and as it was lovely and still and sunny I decided to walk there.....this is my route......
The enormous viaduct which still carries the railway line dominates the valley, and terraces of small cottages are nestled into the cliff beneath.
When the train goes over (and it is only ever two carriages long) it has all the appearance of a little toy chuff-chuff trundling along!
The road follows the gently flowing Tamar River, with Cornwall on this side, and Devon on the other.
along the road are dotted little interesting sheds and outhouses.....
including this old railway carriage.
Next comes the boatyard...
and then you can look back at the viaduct in all its glory.
At the bend in the river the path begins to climb steeply up through the woods towards Cotehele House......and glimpses of the garden can be seen. Below is the old stone dovecote.
Cotehele is now owned and protected by The National Trust. The Tudor Manor House is built around an inner courtyard
At this time of year the main attraction in the Great Hall is the magnificent flower garland, created from over 40,000 individual flower heads as well as a mass of foliage, all grown in the garden and arranged over ten days by enthusiastic helpers. It is a Cotehele tradition that has been going on for years; quite how long I'm not sure. The enormous garland is suspended from the ceiling from one end of the Hall to the other.
The fire had been lit and that wonderful smell of wood burning filled the air
A close-up of the garland reveals just how colourful it is and how many different flowers are used, but they are all varieties that dry well and so will remain looking good right up until Christmas.
The jaw bones of a whale adorn either side of this door, and a different flower garland of pink, purple and white.
Pots on a side table contained all the different flower varieties that have been used to make the garland this year.
Dad wisely stayed in front of the warm fire whilst Mum and I had a look around the craft gallery. On the ground floor we found the 'Victorian Library', with an old restored harmonium which the public were invited to play.
So Mum had a go and played a few merry tunes!
The East front of the house....
with terraced gardens overlooking the valley towards Calstock. The afternoon sun was lighting up the trees beautifully.
In the large orchard they have planted many old Cornish varieties of apple which were in danger of dying out. Kim Cresswell has created this living willow sculpture of man and horse.
Lovely reflections.....I was thinking that trees at this time of year almost have the same appearance above ground as below....the bare branches look much like roots.
After a nice warming cup of hot chocolate and piece of shortbread I said goodbye to Mum and Dad and headed back down the path through the woods; Calstock and the viaduct all lit up now in the setting sun.
The beech leaves are all hung out to dry.....
A flash of red here and there......
On the wall by the roadside the most wonderful reindeer moss.....
Back in the village I pass the little gallery,
and 'Make New and Mend', a second-hand clothes shop as well as an alteration service. These are the only retail outlets in Calstock apart from the general grocery store. It is a quiet, gentle place, a little bit bohemian, at the end of a dead-end, and I love it. Hope you enjoyed seeing a bit of it too. x x x