Coleton Fishacre


Coleton Fishacre


 The weather has been glorious the last few days.

How could we let this last fling of summer pass us by without another trip to the coast?


An extract from the National Trust guide:

Travel back in time to the Jazz Age of the 1920s at the country home of the D’Oyly Carte family (of Gilbert and Sullivan fame). The Arts and Crafts-style house, with elegant Art Deco-influenced interiors, is stylish but retains the friendly, carefree environment of the country home it once was. The house was built in the mid-1920s and acquired by the National Trust in 1982. 

A luxuriant 30 acre garden surrounds the house. The Trust is recreating the garden as it once would have been, with the help of the D’Oyly Carte planting books and photographs. Humidity is high in the garden thanks to the sea and the stream that runs down through the valley, and many exotic plants thrive beneath the tree canopy. Spring starts early at Coleton with bluebells, camellias, Chilean fire trees and echiums. In the summer, the glorious Rill Garden is closely planted with flowers in cool pastel shades, and autumn brings the hot colours of the salvias and cannas in the terrace border in front of the house. 



There is a definite feeling of elegance about the house and on more of a domestic scale than many National Trust properties. As with Agatha Christie’s Greenway just up the road (here), it is easy to imagine living at Coleton Fishacre albeit the servants’ area alone is bigger than many of our homes.



 But it is the setting that gives this place its wow factor.

Nestling at the head of a valley running down to the sea, it reminded us very much of Trebah Garden which we visited earlier in the summer (here).



 Glimpses of the sea through the trees



A glade of tree ferns




I found many plants that would not survive outside for me, in the same county but further inland.



Amaryllis belladonna?

I’m fairly sure of the identity of this one but happy to be corrected.



Dianella tasmanica

Last year, following a visit to Overbeck’s garden in Salcombe further down the coast (here), I had to do a similar internet search exercise to try to identify a plant. At Coleton Fishacre this same plant has a label, so that mystery is now solved!



The valley leads down to the Coast Path and a lovely view over Pudcombe Cove

As a sign at the top seeks to warn you, ‘what goes down must come back up’. The return to the house is quite a steep climb.



 The terrace gardens



 Common Blue butterfly on what Mike has nominated as our ‘Plant of the Year’, Erigeron karvinskianus.

Now that we have discovered the Mexican Daisy I am noticing it everywhere.



The hot borders



The Rill Garden

But my favourite part of the garden had to be here. The peace and tranquility of the Rill Garden. Except, should you gaze for too long at the water, there is an unsettling impression that it is actually running uphill!