I’ve watched the bluebells spring up around the country lanes of Cornwall this week and I spotted the first House Martin, back from its long migration to Africa. These twin augers were enough for me to feel spring was at its peek and summer fast approaching and I knew it was time to visit the fabulous swathes of bluebells in the National Trust’s Godolphin estates ancient woodlands and maybe climb to the summit of Godolphin hill to see the landscape of West Penwith stretched panoramically below me.
Our visit to Godolphin’s ancient woodland
As Charles had elected to park with a very good book, I set off alone along the path and quickly found a Robin sitting on the riven wooden fence that dissected a flower strewn meadow and lazy stream, before turning into the woods alive with drifts of Bluebells.
The Bluebell woods at Godolphin Estate
On this sunny spring afternoon the cool pure air was a delight in itself in a way that only a woodland habitat can be. There is something captivating about walking under the towering trees that stretched high overhead; so magnificent and yet humbling in their stature, with the heady mix of the dappled sunlight laced with the lightest scent of the eternally beautiful bluebell on the forest floor below.
The National Trust were not taking any chances with their fabulous bluebell display and the flowers were politely guarded by swags of ropes. Although when I returned later, I saw a mother ushering her child under them into the woods – obviously they weren’t meant for them!
Godolphin Hill – a wonderful walk to breathtaking views
Godolphin hill has always fascinated me – as a teenager in Cornwall it was impossible to access, although I would often ride my pony across adjacent Tregoning Hill with its Iron Age Hill fort but Godolphin Hill remained strictly out of bounds.
All of that has changed these days now since the National trust have opened up the heathland. So I walked on through the woodland emerging beside the ticket office to cross the lane with the atmospheric old Godolphin Manor house to my left. The path climbs gently uphill through the pasture land onto the next drove and I turned right following deep moss covered Cornish banks to eventually to reach a trio of gates. After a few moment thought I chose the far right hand tall slatted one and followed another ancient driveway falling into step for a while, with a lady juggling a Labrador on a lead and camera tripod, until the path gave way to the heathland marked by a knurled tree twisted by time and wind.
The path turned left or right with a centre on climbing straight ahead. Although it was slightly boggy at first, it soon settled to be a traditional moorland path. The boulders were never far from the surface and made handy steps thought the climb. Occasionally as I walked, I met a stunted tree along the route or heard the Buzzards shrill high call far above me, as the countryside slipped away below me to a model landscape intermittently shaded by the flying clouds that flirted around its edges.
– pure blue joy and then the southern coast to the other side
Twin landmarks from the summit
I arrived at the summit and stood mesmerised by the twin landmarks on opposite coasts of The Island at St Ives and St Michael’s Mount. So far below me beyond the tapestry of fields and woodland.
and a race back down the hill
Time to hurry back to the car with the parking meter ticking and I left the hillside using long strides over the sure gritty surface, easily covering the ground down the hill again. This time I started to see larger knots of people whole families groups, perspiring in the suddenly warm sunshine festooned with sweat shirt excited and intent on their own adventure around the Godolphin estate.
As the heathland gave way to the gentler farmland below and I again walked the broad ride.
I returned again through the woods, alive with photographers now, crouching with impossibly long lenses beside the vibrant bluebells. my familiar robin was there again, sitting on the fence, with a beak full of grubs for his nestling and waiting for a break in the passing walkers.
Also near Godolphin House
As we turned out of the gate Charles suddenly suggested “Shall we go and see the frescoes in Breage church and so our adventure continued!
Godolphin House and Estate is now owned by the National Trust. There is an early Manor house once one of the most prestigious in Cornwall and an important early Medieval garden, considered one of the most import early gardens in Europe (currently undergoing restoration) I visited the Godolphin house and garden the following May
The wider estate reflects the wealth made from the mining industry with beautiful landscaping encompassed by estate walls built by prisoners’ from the Napoleonic wars.
Godolphin opens in four different elements: – House, Gardens Outbuildings and Estate and dates are best checked against the diary on the National Trust’s own website.
There will be guided walks and talks every Wednesday at 11.00a.m but do check their website for full details