Cream of Cornish cottages
HOLIDAY cottage accommodation in Cornwall is a big industry, with many farm buildings converted into cottages. How to choose? Luckily, we have been told of Treworgey Cottages, just north of Looe, where 30 years ago Bevis and Linda Wright bought two adjoining farm workers’ cottages and started to build a business that’s now five-star rated by Visit Britain. But with the formidable competition they now face, the Wrights must stay one step ahead. They do, and it shows.
Deep in sun-dappled woodland of ancient beech and bluebells, a finger-post sign points us to Treworgey up a narrow lane that after about 2km opens into a mini hamlet. Each of the 17 stone cottages, once farm buildings, hides behind walls that enclose little flower-filled gardens. Overlooking the East Looe river, the name Treworgey aptly describes the spot: it’s Cornish for the place where the river flitteth beneath.
We arrive late in the afternoon and have been told to look for our name on a board outside the cottage gate; we find the key in an envelope on the door handle as directed and let ourselves into the one-bedroom Hollyhock Cottage. We walk into a sun-filled sitting room and fling open the French windows, gaze down the valley and are soothed by country sounds. Genuine antiques, Laura Ashley fabrics, polished floorboards and tribal rugs help us feel richly at home. There’s a four-poster bed, luxurious bath, a basin set on an old washstand and separate shower.
We have heard about Trawlers, a seafood restaurant on the quay at Looe, and are lucky to get a table for dinner. We are served by Bevis and Linda’s daughter Holly, who saw us arrive earlier as she was setting off for work. The meal is excellent: a Cornish goat’s cheese salad and a crab risotto.
Next morning, the sun is shining and in the lane, where little traffic seems to pass, a magnificent rooster and his harem of hens are scratching in the dust. Children ride ponies under the supervision of a young woman clad in bright pink jodhpurs, her black hair tamed by a purple headband. The collie, Meg, intently watches the ducks on the pond through the fence.
We have only three days and must make the most of our time here. Where to start? History abounds: the scenery ranges from coastal coves to windswept moors and, if you’re lucky enough to be here in May, woodlands are carpeted with bluebells. History first, we make a trip to Lanhydrock, a National Trust property with a lovely garden near Bodmin (worth a visit just for the amazing kitchens).
Then we drive 12km to Bodmin Moor from Lanhydrock for its wild Stone Age atmosphere and open skies. Another day we laze by Treworgey’s pool and walk to the stone circle at Duloe, having a pint afterwards at Ye Olde Plough House, the local Duloe pub. On the last evening we sample its food and, feeling well indulged, wander down the lane before bed, listening to the foxes in the valley. As we turn for home, a badger crosses the road, its grey fur merging with the dusk, the white stripes on its face as startling as the Queen Anne’s lace growing in the hedgerow.
Sweet dreams: Hollyhock Cottage