A lovely day out

I wrote this post in early April while on a trip to Cornwall. It tells our story of a lovely day out in the sun and reviews Trebah Gardens from the perspective of someone bringing baby out in a buggy. All photographs and video taken on my humble Samsung Galaxy S6, rather than the Nikon D7000 (as that stayed at home in Bristol).

Archie and I had been in Cornwall for a few days staying with my folks; me enjoying a change of scenery and little A getting to know his grandparents more (I find it hard living so far from my parents with a young baby). The weather treated us tremendously well so one day we went out en masse to make the best of it. Our initial plan was to head to the National Trust’s Glendurgan Gardens (we’re all members) but the car park was full and queuing so that provided an excellent opportunity to treat ourselves to a visit to (non-NT) Trebah Garden ‘next door’.

Trebah Garden valley view to the sea
View from the top of the valley through the lush vegetation to the sparkling sea.

Paradise found

Trebah has always been one of my very favourite places to visit when the weather is fair because, quite simply, it is a little patch of paradise. Steep-sided and bursting with tropical and exotic trees, plants, and flowers, the flora tumbles down the valley to its own beach and the sparkling sea. Springtime is, in my humblest opinion, the very best time to visit when the rhododendrons are in full technicolour bloom, the gunnera is sprouting madly, and all the many birds that live there are filling the air with joyful songs telling that winter is over.

Trebah Garden in Springtime
Trebah Garden in Springtime is simply delightful – it is full of colour, scent and song.

Baby-on-wheels access

I’ve circuited and traversed the valley many times during my childhood and adolescence but this visit was different – Archie was with us in his (Mountain) buggy. I loved sharing it with him: he was quite awake (5 months old then) and loved looking at the trees and flowers that bent over him as he lay in his bassinet.

About 80% of the gardens are accessible for motorised wheelchairs (and hence buggies), depending on how they can cope with steep hills. I didn’t fancy a couple of the steepest ones (they are VERY steep) which meant we stayed mostly on one side of the valley. We were not disappointed though, there were many wheelchair-accessible paths that we explored together which were similar to all other paths in the valley. They retained the lovely wildness of the gardens being a bit rough and gravelly. The paths weaved in and out through the trees, hugged by giant plants, and were consistently wide enough and not too steep for our set of three wheels. The Mountain Buggy (Terrain) was perfectly at home in this environment – its manoeuvrability making easy work of tight corners (through the Bamboozle!) and its tyres making the ride nice and comfy for Archie, who had a good snooze towards the end of our visit.

Dinosaur rhubarb by the sea

We snuck through shady avenues of tree ferns, admired great views across the valley and listened to birdsong from Alice’s Seat (check out the video!). We wound our way down the valley past the gunnera plantation (aka dinosaur rhubarb – that’s what I always called it as a child!) and the ponds to the beach. I had spied the glittering sea from further up the valley and knew my Mountain Buggy Terrain could cope with a bit of sand but sadly the gate was locked for some reason and only the stepped access was available, so I had to content myself with peeking over the fence to see the sea. Being new to exploring places like this with wheels, I didn’t think to ask about access so this is something I’d now do – to check which areas of an attraction you can get to/are open on a given day.

Avenue of tree ferns
Cool avenues of tree ferns await and transport you to a tropical wonderland.
Trebah Garden gunnera plantation
The Gunnera Plantation is a jewel of Trebah. In Spring it sprouts rapidly to produce a canopy of spiky, prehistoric-looking giant leaves. Dinosaur rhubarb!

Feeding naturally, in nature

Breastfeeding can be fraught with difficulties in the early days, as it was for Archie and I. But thankfully having surmounted these we now enjoy easy feeding that is fulfilling for the both of us. I enjoy feeding Archie outdoors in quiet beautiful spots and Trebah provides these in abundance. Archie needed a feed when we were at the bottom of the valley so we stopped at one of the many conveniently-placed benches, overlooking the gunnera plantation and lake. I could thoroughly relax and we both listened to the birdsong as he fed. It was quite magical really. These little moments, that I’m sure will be over so quickly, will stay with me forever.

In the Bamboozle
Our MountainBuggy Terrain made fairly easy work of the Bamboozle which was fun for both Archie and I!
Family day out at Trebah Garden
My Mum and I with StepDad and Archie in the background. A lovely day out for the whole family.

 General facilities

While we didn’t use the restaurant on this visit, I noted that it was spacious with a variety of bench-style seating and my parents have reported that the food is very nice. We did use the baby changing facilities and it was spacious and clean with a lockable door. It was conveniently located just off the main atrium where you enter, by the ladies and gents loos. The atrium provides a good space to meet up with companions during the visit, stop and grab a drink and bite to eat, and browse the well-stocked gift shop. However, as a result it can be quite noisy, which woke Archie up when we first arrived (he had been snoozing in the car and Mummy managed an expert car-seat-to-buggy transfer!). The garden shop which you have to go through as you leave is lovely and I’m always tempted to buy a tree fern or something else exotic. This time I restrained myself and purchased a pack of gunnera seeds. Our garden is rather fertile and fairly moist so I am hopeful it might be able to support the requirements of this characterful plant. I’ll report back on how it goes when I try to get some going! One aspect I haven’t commented on here is the entertainment for children (rather than babies) as we had no need to use it just yet. There are a couple of play areas hidden in the trees, Fort Stuart and Tarzan’s Camp. By the sounds emanating from these as we passed them, I think they rank sufficiently highly on the fun factor!

I hope you’ve found this post a good read and helpful – I thoroughly recommend visiting Trebah Garden if you’re in the vicinity. At any time of year it has some beauty and wildness to offer, a great place to reconnect with nature and take in some interesting horticultural specimens.

 

Today’s task: Have you visited Trebah Garden, and do you have any other recommendations for great places for the whole family to visit and get a nature fix?

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