As Restronguet Barton is located in a designated “Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty” or AONB, so it is not surprising that the farm and the location are wonderfully scenic. From the sheltered creeks lined with gnarled Cornish oaks to Norman parish churches, to castles built by Henry VIII to protect Falmouth from the French.
The coast and the maritime climate dominate Cornwall and our part of it, it is a long thin county that juts out into the Atlantic Ocean. Although the sun is as intense as it is “uplong” the moderating effect of the sea means that summers are not as unbearably hot, winters are milder for the same reason and frosts and snow are a rarity.
Lush gardens with their temperate plants and sub tropical species brought to Cornwall by Victorian collectors feature strongly. Some are close by, Trelissick, Trebah and Glendurgan for example. Others a little further away, Trengwainton to the west and near to the almost fairy tale St Michaels Mount and the famous Lost Gardens of Heligan about a thirty minute drive to the east. The spectacular Eden Project is a similar distance from us and one of the “must see” destinations.
Cornwall is a county of incredible variety, from the ancient Celtic standing stones and the Christian/pagan Cornish crosses, to the vibrant surf scene that makes Newquay Britain’s “Surf City”. The rugged Atlantic coast gives way to sheltered farmland and valleys but also high open moorland. The softer Channel shoreline hosts beautiful inlets and estuaries like our own, the Helford, Fowey and Tamar. The beaches at Falmouth offer safe bathing but the small, private beach down the hill from the farm is perfect for a refreshing dip or for children to practice their swimming. The surf beaches of the north coast are only twenty minutes away and they offer quality waves for the beginner or the experienced surfer.
Fresh fish and seafood restaurants are a must when down here. From the Cove at Maenporth, Sticky Prawn at Flushing, Three Mackeral at Swanpool to name three local venues, to Rick Stein’s at Padstow to Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Cornwall at Watergate Bay and the Tresantern at St Mawes. Local produce is ever more prominant in our restaurants from the fruits of the sea to herbs and veg to locally produced meat – minimal food miles, high quality and the ultimate in traceability.
South West Coast path
The South West Coast path offers some of the most spectacular walking in Britain but there is also an amazing network of footpaths throughout the county – the Saints Way from Fowey to Padstow being one of the better known ones. Our area is very well served in paths. Cycling is booming here as it is in the rest of the country. As well as the pretty country lanes there are dedicated trails like the Mineral Tramway that links the two coasts of Cornwall. Running for about twelve miles, Devoran is the usual start point and it ends at Portreath where a pasty and an icecream overlooking the harbour or a cream tea will recharge the batteries before heading south again. The Camel Trail along the river links Blisland on the edge of Bodmin Moor to Padstow via Bodmin and Wadebridge – a stunning ride.
Closer to home is the village of Mylor Bridge, five minutes in the car or ten minute down across the fields on the footpath. There are a good range of shops and facilities that include a general store and newsagent – both have off-licences and are open from 8am to 8pm – a hairdresser, fishmonger, butcher, pub, post office, car repair, doctors and dentist. The other side of our peninsula from the village is the Pandora Inn – the Cornwall Tourism Pub of the Year.
Thirteenth century hostelry
The thirteenth century hostelry with its waterside location thatched roof, slate floors and low beamed ceiling is one of the country’s best known pubs and it often graces the front covers of pub guides. The 40 metre long pontoon alllows access for boats at most states of the tide and offers an almost unique location for a drink or a meal. It is only a scenic fifteen minute walk from the farm.
Mylor Harbour or “Dockyard” as it is known locally is the main local boat harbour and it boasts a cafe, resaurant and a bistro/winebar in addition to excellent boating facilities. If we are unable to find a spare deep water mooring down the hill from us there are usually some available there. Just a couple of hundred metres across the water from the end of the farm it is about three miles by road around the end of Mylor Creek. There is boat hire there, a sailing school and the Cat Clinic – maritime rather than feline – where you can learn to sail high performance catamarans, dinghies or windsurfers.
Falmouth is nearby and it is a town that has a vibrancy and lively feel to it. The National Maritime Museum Cornwall is a factor in this but the nice shops, bistros and restaurants combine with the huge natural harbour to create a buzzing atmosphere. Foot passenger ferries can carry you across to lovely St Mawes or the pretty village of Flushing – or Nankersey as it was known before the Dutch workers that built Falmouth Docks renamed it after their home town. There are also passenger boats that offer trips up the Fal or across the bay to the Helford.
Truro is the “County Town” and only nine miles from Restronguet. It is the place to go for more serious shopping or just a break from walking or beaching. The tall cathedral dominates the skyline and the centre of this small “city”. When the tides are right the boats run between the two towns.