Cornwall is such a beautiful part of the UK. Thousands of people are working every day to preserve and restore natural and man-made landmarks across the county and beyond. The Classic team spent a day with the National Trust at Penrose estate to see all the hard work that they do and have a go ourselves.
Whilst on holiday in Cornwall, you may have visited Glendurgan gardens, St Michael’s Mount or used the South West coastal path. These places are stunning areas of natural beauty mixed with the keen eye and excellent restorative skills of a select few who have the patience and passion to keep them alive. Behind one property or garden are hundreds of people working together to bring the best out of old and crumbling places and preserve our national heritage.
For years the National Trust have slowly invested and taken care of landmarks and places of natural beauty around the UK. Their portfolio of properties and gardens grows each year. As a trust which relies very heavily on volunteers, they do an excellent job in keeping our heritage alive and kicking as well as inspiring the next generation to engage with history and the environment. Recognising the inspiring work that the Trust do for our county, a small team of Classic Cottages volunteers went to the Penrose estate to get all green-fingered and outdoorsy with the rangers.
On arrival to the estate, we met Laura who would be our guide for the day. As a ranger for the National Trust, Laura is expected to do a whole host of jobs across Penrose which all contribute to the restoration and upkeep of the estate. We also made a new furry friend – Ivy, Laura’s gorgeous puppy. We at Classic love dogs so it was great to see Ivy enjoying the Penrose estate as much as us.
Laura showed us to the vegetable patch we would be working on for the day. A south facing vegetable patch that grows plenty of produce throughout the year to use in the cafe on site. Now that the cold had started creeping in some of the old plants needed clearing out and the soil had to be turned. The Classic team has some significant experience in gardening. Personally, I have no gardening skills. I tend to kill plants. But working with Laura made the process very easy and enjoyable. She was always on hand to talk about what a certain plant was, what it could be used for or (as in my case) pointing out that it was in fact a weed that needed taking out. We all have to start somewhere, I guess.
So we grabbed some gloves and got going.
Each of us took a section that we quite fancied and started working away with various tools, including a fairly impressive scythe. After an hour or two we stopped for a cup of tea and some biscuits before getting back in amongst the leaves and soil. The day was perfect weather for gardening. All of us had wrapped up in fear of the cold and found that we spent most of the day in t-shirts, even breaking a sweat when the sun was at its peak. Some brilliant weather for the middle of October.
A quick pasty break in the middle of the day and a slow walk around the Penrose estate with Laura telling us of the history of the patch we were working in and the history of the estate itself - there has been records of a settlement here since the 12th century – we got back down to business.
It was such lovely weather for the day it would have been hard not to enjoy being outside in such a picturesque setting. We all commented on how you could see a significant difference to the patch after we’d spent the day clearing and cutting. The day was a great experience with the National Trust and certainly brought us closer together as a team.
Enjoy the Penrose estate in Cornwall with a holiday cottage nearby.