Tehidy Country Park, not far from the old mining town of Redruth, was once part of the enormous Basset estate and considered one of the most important gardens in Cornwall in the early 19th century. The Bassets, one of the most ancient families in Cornwall, are thought to have lived at Tehidy for some 900 years, from the 11th century until the 1900s. This meant that generations of the family, who had become tremendously wealthy through their mining enterprises, lavished money on their manor house and grounds.
There were sweeping lawns, lakes and Grecian Temples, statues of lions, a deer park and acres of ornamental gardens as well as huge plantations of trees. In 1794 the then Lord of the manor recorded planting Scotch firs, Spanish Chestnuts, oaks, beech, lime, birch and sycamore trees and in its glory days the park covered around 700 acres.
The oldest tree is over 250 years old
The oldest tree which survives in the woodland today is known as The Twisted Beech because of its spectacularly twisted trunk. This tree appeared on a map of the estate back in 1788 and is thought to be at least 250 years old. In 2022 The Twisted Beech joined 70 other trees on an official list of ancient British trees drawn up to celebrate the late Queen’s 70 years of service.
Though little of the original grandeur of the gardens can be seen today there are still more than nine miles of paths weaving across 250 acres of forest making Tehidy by far the largest area of woodland in West Cornwall. The park is now owned and managed by Cornwall Council and visitors are free to explore this flora and fauna rich environment, which stretches from the enviros of Camborne and Redruth to the wild north coast.
There is a lake packed with birdlife, picturesque riverside walks and man-made waterfalls to enjoy. A particular highlight are the extremely tame squirrels and birds who will often come very close in the hope of a treat. Another unmissable yearly event is the stunning displays of bluebells which carpet the woodland in spring.
All year round
There is always something to see and do whatever the season however, whether it is enjoying the autumn colours, treating yourself a shady summer picnic or getting muddy on a rope swing. Throughout the year Tehidy’s resident theatre company, Rogue Theatre, uses these beautiful woods for their exciting story-telling, creating atmospheric, immersive and visually stunning shows. Look out for them at Easter, during the summer, at Halloween and Christmas.
Tehidy Country Park has five main entrances and free parking at the North Cliffs, East Drive and South Drive carparks. A small visitors centre and café can be found near the South Drive (opening times vary during the winter months.) Dogs are welcome all year round too, although there are recommended and signposted dog walks which avoid the bird reserve areas.