The National Trust (NT) are responsible for looking after a multitude of properties throughout the West Country, and Cotehele is without doubt one of my favourites.
The Estate has been in the Edgcumbe family since 1353 when William Edgcumbe married into the de Cotehele family. Anybody who is familiar with this part of the world may well have heard about ( or been to) Mount Edgcumbe, which was the family’s main home for many years.
As you can probably imagine, Cotehele Quay would have been a hive of activity in years gone by, not just in its involvement with the local mining industry, but also with market gardening.
The lush landscape along the river valley suited the production of flowers and fruit, such as apples, strawberries and cherries, and so it’s not surprising to find limekilns on the quay. Coal from Bristol, and limestone from Plymouth, would have been brought upriver to be turned into lime for fertilising the fields.
Hundreds of merchant boats would have sailed up and down the river, but today there is only one left – The Shamrock, which is moored up here. Built in 1899 at Stonehouse, the NT and National Maritime Museum joined forces in 1974 to rescue the boat and make it seaworthy again. It’s possible to board The Shamrock if you want to take a closer look at it, and if you want to find out more about life on the Tamar and Cotehele Quay, make sure you don’t miss the nearby Discovery Centre.
The nicest thing about the quay though is to just sit by the riverside, and the Edgcumbe Tea-room is a nice spot to do just that. It used to be the Edgcumbe Arms Inn, which served locals and workers during the 19th century. All the hustle and bustle of those days are long gone, and although it can get a bit busy at times, Cotehele Quay is normally a lovely, peaceful spot to spend an hour or two, especially on a pleasant summer’s day.
To find out about opening times, admission prices and events at Cotehele it’s best to check out their website for the latest information.