Review of Trelowarren, Lizard Peninsula, Cornwall
The Rooms: Set on the Trelowarren estate, which is made up of 1000 acres of woodland, there are 18 different cottages with planning permission for a further 32. From 17th century thatched cottages renovated with a careful eye for eco-design, to timber-framed new builds made from local and sustainable materials, all of them are carefully spaced out so you never feel crowded. Most impressive is a vast woodchip boiler which provides hot water and heating for the entire estate, including an all-year-round, chlorine-free swimming pool.
Inside my cottage – Tregenna - it was easily as plush a top hotel, but care had been taken to consider the environmental implications of everything, from the water, which comes from the estate’s borehole and appears from aerated taps to ensure that less is used, to the organic linen and green cleaning products.
The Food: At the heart of the estate is the award-winning New Yard restaurant that sources 90 per cent of its ingredients from a ten mile radius. Try clams from Helford River, local fish and game, and fruit and vegetables from the estate. There’s also a farm shop promoting local goods, as well as a community food scheme, enabling guests to choose from a wide-range of local produce, which will be waiting for you in your fridge when you arrive.
The Activities: You are spoilt for choice with all the beaches, walks and cycling routes. The Lizard Peninsula is a dream for anyone who enjoys being outdoors. I must admit, I barely left the estate, so much did I enjoy walking in the grounds, through orchards, walled gardens and organic vegetable patches, but I would have liked to do some sailing if I'd stayed longer. There’s also an all-weather tennis court, a swimming pool and plans for a sauna and Jacuzzi.
The Green: Sir Ferrers Vyvyan has established a green holiday model that manages to be both luxurious and eco-friendly. The concept, which he calls “eco-timeshare”, is a reminder that buying a stake in a holiday home is a socially responsible thing to do. What’s greener than sharing a home with other owners? Especially in a part of the UK that suffers from second-home syndrome, where nearby villages have declined to the point that only a handful of residents live there full-time, and where there are disappearing local shops and services. It also means that properties are occupied for most of the year helping to sustain businesses in the region without pushing up property prices. The other green triumph is the woodchip boiler, fuelled by waste wood from a local sawmill as well as trees from the estate. It is one of the biggest pieces of biomass technology in the South West, contributing to an estimated 240 tonnes of CO2 that the estate saves by employing green technology. There’s also endless little eco touches in the cottages, from natural wool insulation to low energy lights.
Top tip: The beaches are among the best in the UK, see here for a list of nearby coves: www.trelowarren.com. And don’t leave without trying the home-made ice cream at the restaurant.
Verdict: So long as you can manage the journey down there, Trelowarren is an ideal spot for those who don’t want to compromise on luxury. The accommodation and grounds are gorgeous - I'm sure that being able to build up a long-term relationship with the place would be deeply rewarding. It’s fantastic for families, too, as children can explore the woods and run wild together, while their parents relax by the pool.
Getting there: By Train: the nearest station is Falmouth train station from where you'll need to take a taxi to get to Trelowarren. The station doesn't have either a taxi rank nor a cab office so advance booking is essential. Taxi hire firms include: Victor: 01326 312887; Abacus: 01326 212141; Donalds: 01326 313123.
By Car: From Falmouth take the A394 to Helston, follow signs to Culdrose, after Culdrose turn left at the roundabout. Follow signs to Garras, turn right at the Mawgan memorial and left almost immediately after Garras School. By car approx 40mins.