Walk: Cotehele, Cornwall

It takes almost a year to grow, harvest and assemble Cotehele’s spectacular Christmas garland. Visit the house and discover how it’s made with a short woodland and riverside walk

Cotehele House, Cornwall

Enjoy a short walk from Cotehele Quay through woodland to a glorious Cornish estate.

On the Cornish side of the River Tamar, the Cotehele estate encompasses 526 hectares of woodland, meadow and riverside countryside. As you enter Cotehele’s house, it is easy to imagine age-old Christmas celebrations around the huge fireplace. 

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Flowers have long had festive significance and Cotehele’s stunning Christmas garland, first created in the 1950s, is a popular seasonal feature. Crafted by staff and volunteers from this year’s bumper crop of over 30,000 flowers grown and dried on the Cotehele estate, the Christmas garland is about 20m long and hangs in splendour in the Great Hall. For the first time this year, there will be an accompanying exhibition about the history, growing and construction of Cotehele’s magnificent garland.

Cotehele House, Cornwall
The Punch Room at Cotehele House takes its name from the tapestries depicting scenes of Bacchic revelry and the making of wine ©Getty

Victorian festivities

Christmas at Cotehele offers something special for all the family. After admiring the garland, find out how the Victorian’s celebrated Christmas at Cotehele Mill, which will be decorated and feature a children’s trail. Sample Wassail cider, enjoy roast turkey at the Barn Restaurant and finish the day with a seasonal cream tea at the Edgcumbe tearoom.

Our 1.7-mile walk offers the option for further exploration around Cotehele’s gardens and up to the Prospect Tower, as well as a diversion to Cotehele Mill. The route is on footpaths and lanes with some hills and one steep downhill section.

The Loe, Cornwall

1. Kilns and mills

From Cotehele Quay car park, walk for 300m along the lane, past lime kilns and around a bend towards the bridge. Follow signs for Cotehele Mill. Don’t cross the bridge; instead walk for 400m through the woods and up the Morden stream. Take a detour here to visit Cotehele Mill and find out more about a Victorian family Christmas. The mill is a working watermill that still grinds flour.

Crane on Cotehele Quay, River Tamar, Cornwall
Cotehele Quay on the River Tamar ©Getty

2. To the tower

At a fork in the path, take the uphill option signposted Cotehele House and climb for 450m, doubling back on yourself, until you reach a pretty white gate that opens on to the lane. Turn right along the upper of the two lanes and continue for 400m until you reach the first Cotehele car park. Cut through the car park and walk down the path for 200m towards Cotehele House and its reception.

Here you have the option to see the Christmas Garland, to wander around Cotehele’s formal gardens and to visit the Prospect Tower. You can also enjoy tasty winter food, including a turkey roast, at the Barn Restaurant, a perfect halfway stopping point on
your walk.

The Garland at Cotehele House, Cornwall
The Garland at Cotehele House, Cornwall ©Getty

3. Valley garden

Behind the Piggery café (open at weekends and in school holidays), go through the brown picket gate and follow the path downhill and around the outside of Valley Garden for 300m. At the fork, take the steep path down to the right and follow it until you reach
the viewpoint.

4. Viaduct view

Admire Calstock Viaduct from the viewpoint then continue round to the tiny and beautifully simple chapel. From here, a gentle 400m stroll along the river will take you back to Cotehele Quay and the prospect of a seasonal cream tea or jacket potato at the Edgcumbe tearoom.

Map

Click on the map below for an interactive version of the route.

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