Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens

Many moons ago before I returned to Cornwall, I was visiting my family in anticipation of the total eclipse that happened on August 11th 1999. See this youtube footage taken by Ed Richardson.

This has been my one and only encounter with a total eclipse and who knows maybe my only time. I remember trying to isolate the thousands of people around me and predominantly remember an eery silence as all the birds seemed to respond by silencing their voices and flight. James Turrell an american artist concerned with light and space created a giant pin hole camera at Newlyn gallery and i remember finding that sense of absorption in natures light tank in a contemplative space as deeply moving.

So I was excited to discover that James Turrell was one of a few artists who have created pieces for the Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens just outside Penzance. A new garden to visit, but one that has art and a great new cafe – fantastic!

Tremenheere Gardens are set in a sheltered valley to the east of Penzance, with a view to St Michael’s Mount.

Tremenheere (pronounced Tre-men-ear) is about two miles from Penzance and nestles between the villages of Gulval and Ludgvan. You won’t find any road signs; nor will you see a great Cornish mansion from afar because there’s no house here, just a wonderful landscape. Neil Armstrong is a great admirer of Victorian garden designer and writer, William Robinson, who lived at Gravety Manor in Sussex. Both share the vision that gardens should be “wild”, and Armstrong believes that “form and foliage should be king”; with “drama and poise arising from line and foliage alone”.

This is a garden of green architecture, and swooping grasses responding to the trickle of wind that normally dominates this part of the coast but is gentled by the protective arm of the valley. It’s a garden to have adventures in, with large exotics and jungle like planting, giant leaves and seedpods the size of heads.

My friend demonstrating how a leaf could clearly be made into a new outfit.

Prior to 1290 the land at Tremenheere was owned by the monks of St Michaels’ Mount. William De Tremenheere bought the land at that time, having probably already been established as a tenant farmer and thus began an unbroken lineage of 600 years where the land carried the name Tremenheere. This persisted until 1890 with the last Tremenheere being Seymour Tremenheere. The gardens are greatly indebted to this man as it was he who planted the beech, the oak, the sweet chestnut and holly throughout the woods in or around 1830.

Neil Armstrong is the person that has lead the new pathway for the direction of Tremenheere. He explains that ”  his vision is for the creation of a garden in the style of William Robinson: Sympathetic to the natural setting:  a planting scheme where form and foliage were king; drama and poise arising from line and texture alone.  ‘A garden for the Millennium – something the next generation could aspire to’.  Here too would be a sculpture garden where man- made pieces could blend harmoniously with the landscape and planting.” (taken from cornwall gardens trust)

And so the site is a mix of permanent and temporary sculpture and installation, including the work at the moment  of James Turrell,  Kishio Suga, David Nash and Billy Wynter.

My dog being slightly intimidated by a David Nash sculpture

Billy Wynter’s Camera Obscura below.

James Turrell’s – Tewlwolow Kernow – An underground elliptical domed chamber which James Turrell has designed as a space from which to view the sky, especially at twilight.

Now people that know me or have read my blog previously will know that I love food, so to find a great cafe alongside a great garden is my idea of heaven. So don’t forget to check out the Lime Tree Cafe that is open 10am until 5pm every day. Here’s a lovely pic from their website of some of their delicious food.

Well i hope i have inpsired you to go and check out these (newish) gardens.

Thanks keri – Humble Cottage x



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