St. Dominick, Calstock, PL12 6TA
Tel: (01579) 351346
Ancient Cornish estate
Cotehele, owned by the Edgcumbe family for nearly 600 years, is a fascinating and enchanting estate set on the steep wooded slopes of the River Tamar. Exploring Cotehele's many and various charms provides a full day out for the whole family and leaves everyone longing to return.
The steep valley garden contains exotic and tender plants which thrive in the mild climate. Remnants of an earlier age include a medieval stewpond and domed dovecote, a 15th century chapel on a bluff above the river and an 18th century tower with fine views over the surrounding countryside. Near the top of the valley a series of more formal gardens, terraces, an orchard and a daffodil meadow surround Cotehele House.
Cotehele is a superb example of a medieval dwelling, it was occupied by the Edgcumbe family but is now owned by the National Trust. The house was built by Sir Richard Edgcumbe in 1485. One of the least-altered medieval houses in the country, Cotehele is built in granite, slate and sandstone, blending naturally into the landscape. Inside, the ancient rooms - unlit by electricity - are famed particularly for their furniture, textiles and tapestries. The Great Hall has a spectacular arch-braced roof and collections of armour and early dark oak furniture. The chapel contains the oldest working domestic clock in England, still in its original position. The medieval estate of Cotehele was a significant producer of silver for the Royal Mint. The house was donated to the National Trust in 1947. It was the first property to be accepted by the Treasury in payment of death duty. The house is a Grade I listed building, having been so designated on 21st July 1951.
This Tudor home has remained virtually unaltered since the move to Mount Edgcumbe. A tower was added in 1627, which added three impressive bedrooms to the facilities at Cotehele. King Charles I is said to have stayed the night here. Most of the original furnishings and tapestries remain at the house. Each room has its own fine example of a tapestry. You enter the buildings via the Great Hall and you immediately walk into an impressive display of arms and armoury, set amongst a collection of period furniture and tapestries beneath the a high, arched timber roof. The contents of Cotehele House are on loan from Lord Mount Edgcumbe's trustees. Cotehele has three internal courtyards and a splendid old kitchen and a tower. The chapel clock installed in 1489 is a great rarity. It is pre-pendulum and is powered by two 90 pound weights.
King George III and Queen Charlotte came to see the estate's ancient and romantic interior in 1789, and found it festooned with tapestries and adorned with textiles, arms and armour.
Queen Victoria visited the house and quay in 1846 and also stopped at the quay again in 1856.
Cotehele was used in the filming of Trevor Nunn's 1996 film adaptation of Twelfth Night. It was used for scenes taking place in the quayside tavern and the inside of Orsino's castle.
Near the house, Sir Richard Edgcumbe's great medieval barn now houses the National Trust Shop and plant sales, selling a wide selection of gifts, and the licensed barn restaurant which serves a delicious range of home-cooked meals.
The Gallery is dedicated to exhibiting and selling the work of West Country artists and craft makers.
A further walk through woodland alongside the Morden stream leads to the old estate corn mill which has been restored to working order. The surrounding buildings and workshops house a cider press and collections of estate worker's tools.
A walk through the garden and alongside the river, or down the lower drive, leads to Cotehele Quay which was a busy river port in Victorian times. Today the quay has found a new life through the re-use of its old buildings and now offers a number of attractions to visitors. The Cotehele Gallery sells a variety of local paintings and craft products.
There is a ferry service from the quay to Calstock during the summertime only.
The Edgcumbe Arms licensed tea-room offers light refreshments and has an open air tea lawn.
The National Maritime Museum Worked with the National Trust to set up the museum in the old granary which explains the vital role that the Tamar once played in the local economy. As a living reminder of those days, the restored Tamar sailing barge 'Shamrock' is moored here.
This large estate with its many footpaths offers a variety of woodland and countryside walks, opening up new views and hidden places.
The Danescombe Valley with its long history of mining and milling, is of particular interest. A leaflet describing a number of walks is available at Reception.
A regular programme of events is held throughout the season and up to Christmas including open-air theatre, guided walks and craft demonstrations. For details contact the Property Manager.
There are ten holiday cottages available to let on the estate. For details and a brochure, contact us.
Wheelchairs are available at Reception, but in the house only the Hall and kitchen are accessible by wheelchair. The garden is very steep and has many steps, but there are paths from the Quay to the mill and the Chapel in the Wood which may be negotiated with care. There are adapted lavatories and car parking near the house. Braille guides and further information available at Reception.
Three miles east of Callington, sign-posted from the A388 Saltash to Callington road.
28th March - 2nd November
Callington Calstock Cotehele Quay Cotehele Mill National Trust Properties River Tamar Saltash
Cotehele Gallery The Tamar Valley Donkey Park Pentillie Castle & Estate The Tamar Valley