A popular National Trust garden says it was to “transform” how visitors arrive – which includes plans for a 250-space car park to cater for expected growth in visitor numbers. 

A planning application has been submitted for the development of visitor infrastructure at Trelissick Gardens in Feock.

The improvements include a new 250-space car park and a reconfiguration of how visitors enter the site.

The site says it was to “provide increased car parking provision and improved sense of arrival for visitors, including reconfiguration of the existing main car park at Trelissick, works to the highway to create a safe crossing point and extended 30mph zone, and creation of a new 250 space car park.”

The Trelissick estate covers 255 hectares and was gifted to the National Trust in 1955. In a design and access statement accompanying the application, it says that it is “one of the Trust’s most significant visitor business properties in the South West”.

It says that visitor numbers are expected to continue to increase having risen from 126,000 in 2013/14 to 225,000 in 2019/20. The document explains that “the current arrangement for parking will not accommodate the expected rise in visitor numbers”.

It adds: “Even under current circumstances it causes traffic management problems and safety issues. Other infrastructure including the food and beverage facilities are at capacity and cannot manage existing visitors nor absorb additional ones.”

The proposals include removing car parking from its current location next to Grade II-listed buildings and plans to restore a Grade II-listed walled garden. The changes would “transform visitor arrival”.

The Trust said there were “key issues” that now “urgently require resolution”.

These included car parking, which it described as “now unsafe,” causing queuing on the highway and having insufficient capacity for growing visitor numbers, while at peak times it needed to be supervised by seven members of staff.

The Trust went on to say that it was currently unclear which direction visitors should go and how they should access parts of the property, there was a “conservation backlog and a tradition of under-investment,” and that the property was accessed by the same road as the King Harry Ferry, which created “a procession of cars leaving and queuing for the service.” It also pointed out that pedestrians also walk up the narrow road, despite “poor visibility” and a standard 40mph speed limit. “Trelissick is at a point in its history where ‘do nothing’ is no longer an option,” it added.

For more information and to submit comments search for planning application number PA22/10184 on the Cornwall Council planning portal. 

History of Trelissick

The estate is centred around the Grade II* listed Trelissick House, set within a Grade II* registered park and garden of special historic interest which provide the setting to a host of other listed buildings.

The Iron Age fort at Round Wood and the standing cross within the garden are both Scheduled Monuments, and part of the property falls within the Fal and Helford Special Area of Conservation (SAC), whilst a large portion forms the Upper Fal Estuary and Woods Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

Trelissick was gifted to the National Trust by Ida Copeland in 1955, whose family remained living in Trelissick House. Over several decades Trelissick Garden became a popular visitor attraction, with the Trust saying that by 2013 the garden had become one its “most significant visitor business properties in the South West.”

In 2013 the Copeland family left the main part of Trelissick House, which although already owned by the Trust then came into its daily stewardship. The decision to open the house regularly to visitors in 2014 has been “a catalyst for more significant growth,” according to the Trust, which attributed it to a combination of increasing popularity in National Trust membership, ‘staycations’ and growth in local housing.