Jessica Hope discovers the perfect combination of country and coast as she goes in search of the real Poldark at a Georgian manor house retreat in North Cornwall
As you wander through the luscious gardens of the Grade II listed property Treseren, right at the bottom you may come across the remains of an old rail track which once transported author Winston Graham from the bright lights of London to the Cornish seaside town of Perranporth in the 1920s. The rolling landscape, beautiful beaches and small-town living of North Cornwall soon inspired him to write the historical novel saga Poldark in the 1930s. It’s of some coincidence, then, that less than a century before Graham first passed Treseren on his travels, the property was once the home of a real-life Ross Poldark. Captain Middleton, a well-respected former military man and mine captain, moved into the house in 1841 and ran one of the most lucrative mines in Cornwall.
Fans of Ross and Demelza can get a taster of what it would have been like to live as Poldark, as Captain Middleton’s house is now available as a luxury holiday let. Just 10 minutes from the coast, set in the countryside just outside of the village of St Newlyn East, Treseren is a secluded Georgian manor house, surrounded by two acres of gardens boasting bluebell-lined pathways, tree swings and wild strawberries. Having been carefully restored by owners Paul and Emma Caddis, who previously ran the award-winning Treann B&B in Padstow, the property is a stylish, current space, offering self-catering accommodation for up to 10 guests. The interiors exude modern-meets-Georgian elegance, and you will find charming period features and Murano chandeliers alongside contemporary art and top-range appliances.
The main property (Shepherds House) has four bedrooms, plus there’s a self-catering annex (Skye Cottage) for two people with its own open-plan kitchen and living area. The bedrooms, named after Middleton and his mining legacy, include super king-sized beds and one twin room, with French linen, original fireplaces, antique wardrobes, and far-reaching views across the countryside.
One bedroom has an ensuite, and the main bathroom features a roll-top bath, a marble-clad walk-in rain shower, and organic aromatherapy toiletries from Mary’s Shed in Padstow.
If you’ve plenty of mouths to feed, the kitchen does not disappoint. With a large island, American-style fridge-freezer, double Smeg range cooker and gas hob – as well as an Aga in the winter – you might find there’s a fight on your hands over who plays Prudie in the kitchen. There’s all the crockery, pots and pans you would need for creating a banquet, and storecupboard essentials such as herbs, spices and baking ingredients.
To make you feel right at home, Paul and Emma provide a locally sourced breakfast hamper from Great Cornish Food – an independent, local food store in Truro – featuring smoked bacon and sausages from down the road, St Ewe free-range eggs, Boddington’s Berries strawberry jam and wholemeal bread. Plus you know you’re in Cornwall when you arrive to freshly made scones and Rodda’s clotted cream (it’s jam then cream on top in this county, remember).
There are hours of exploration to be had in the gardens for the kids, with secret paths, tree swings and lawns to play on. For adults, chilled fizz and a barbecue on the patio are a must, and when the sun goes down there’s a fire pit to huddle around. There’s also a ping pong table ready for family tournaments, and a treehouse under construction but, sorry kids, we’re told it will soon house a gin bar.
When the weather turns, the bookshelves in the sitting rooms are full of reading material and board games for all ages, and if you’re feeling like a sing-song, there’s even a glorious Bechstein piano, tuned by Elton John’s piano tuner, and waiting to be played.
As well as offering luxury accommodation, Treseren is an exceptional location for a celebration to remember. Whether it’s a milestone birthday, anniversary or stylish hen party, owners Paul and Emma can organise a dinner menu with matching wine, or private chefs can be hired. The property is also licensed, so can cater for small, intimate weddings for up to 20 people, with exclusive use of the house and grounds for outdoor and indoor ceremonies.
Despite being surrounded by the beauty of the Cornish countryside, this is an ideal location to soak up the sea air as the coast is just minutes away in the car. And by another stroke of serendipity, the property’s nearest beaches – Holywell Bay, Crantock and Perranporth – have all been used as filming locations for the latest BBC remake of Poldark, starring Aiden Turner.
Translated from Cornish as a ‘homestead under the stars’, Treseren offers the ideal country and coastal getaway, Poldark fan or not. Whether it’s lazy summer days in the gardens, or cosy winter retreats in front of the wood-burning stove, this secluded spot is an idyllic place to recharge the batteries.
Top things to see and do in North Cornwall
- From surfing to kayaking, coasteering to a Cornish castaway challenge, the award-winning Newquay Activity Centre offers more than 40 activities for all ages. Try stand-up paddle boarding – one of the world’s fastest growing watersports – on a super SUP (£45pp), where you can explore the coastline, learn about the ancient smugglers coves, and see the area’s vast array of wildlife.
- Treseren is just a short drive away from some of Cornwall’s best restaurants including Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Cornwall at Watergate Bay, Rick Stein’s famous Seafood Restaurant and Paul Ainsworth’s Michelin starred Number 6 in Padstow.
- A trip to Carnewas at Bedruthan, part owned by the National Trust, will certainly blow the cobwebs away. With a variety of walking trails to choose from, soak up the dramatic coastline between Padstow and Newquay and see the spectacular rock stacks.
- Porth Reservoir near Newquay, cared for by South West Lakes Trust,
is a designated bird sanctuary. Spot the owls, woodpeckers and kingfishers on the circular walk through the wildlife reserve. A great spot for families, bird watchers and anglers.
- Celebrating its 50th birthday this year, Newquay Zoo encompasses 13 acres of lush tropical gardens. Discover some of the world’s endangered animals in the themed sections such as the African Savanna, Tropical House and Gems of the Jungle. There’s also an adventure playground, village farm and dragon maze.
• Stays for up to 10 people start from £1,350; treseren.co.uk