If the house is worth taking a look at, then the gardens of Coleton Fishacre are even more so. These gardens are my favourite in this part of the world, not only because they’re appealing and well designed, but their proximity to the sea makes them even more enchanting.
You would need a good couple of hours to do these gardens justice, and even then you wouldn’t see everything, so I’m going to highlight the things you shouldn’t miss.
There are a few routes that can be taken but I’m going to suggest taking the most obvious one that follows the stream down through the valley to the cliffs above Pudcombe Cove.
There is a wheelchair/pushchair friendly path that follows the stream downhill, but remember that going down also means that you have to come back up, and if mobility is a problem then it’s probably best to return the same way, as the other alternative routes aren’t quite so easy to negotiate.
The main path starts from outside the house but don’t miss the Seemly Terrace and Rill Garden. If you follow this route it joins up with the main path anyway a bit further on. Humidity is high in this 30 acre garden which is ideal for moisture loving plants, and as you continue down through the valley luxurious ferns and Gunnera soon come into view.
At the bottom of the valley there is a gate which leads out onto the coast path above Pudcombe Cove which is as far as the gardens go.
For the return journey my suggestion, if you can manage it, is to return through the gate and turn right over the bridge and take the climb up Long Close to the Lookout, where you may want to take a breather and enjoy the views. After you’ve got your breath back continue up the steps behind the Lookout and at the top turn right and follow the path along to Scout Point for some magnificent views along the coastline to Froward Point.
It’s a no through path and so you’ll need to return along the way you’ve just come, but continue past the steps you came up and walk along the top of the estate through Paddock Wood. This will eventually bring you out to the Gazebo Borders which will, in turn, take you to the Gazebo for some more great views. Once again you’ll need to re-trace your footsteps along the borders which will then bring you to the Bowling Green lawn and back to the house.
If you’re really keen there’s still the opposite side of the gardens to explore which has quite a few steep slopes, but if after all this exercise you would rather chill out and have something to eat or drink, then I can highly recommend the café.
The National Trust have done a great job here, but there’s still plenty of work to do. To find out more and check out the latest admission times and prices please visit their website below.