National Trust Areas of West Cornwall

For those with an interest in National Trust places and spaces, the westernmost tip of Cornwall is home to an intriguing diversity of sites – despite not being known for having a particular high concentration of them. Ranging from gardens which make the most of the county’s temperate climate, to areas which offer a window into Cornwall’s unique past – aside from the region’s fantastic coastline and laid back way of life, it are these sites including those under the management of the Trust which contribute toward making the region such an appealing place to visit.

What follows is a short guide to some key National Trust sites in West Cornwall.

Trengwainton Garden
Trengwainton is a luscious and exotic 25-acre garden situated just a few minutes from the south coastal town of Penzance. The abundance of prehistoric-looking ferns and trees as well as a family trail makes this destination well tailored for any age range, whilst intriguing design flourishes such as a walled garden built to the dimensions of Noah’s Ark and an amazing array of colourful flower varieties may well bring out the more childlike side of older visitors.

Levant Mine and Beam Engine
Mining is a huge part of Cornish history and the Beam Engine at Levant Mine is significant because it is the only still-working Cornish beam engine in its original site. To see the huge water pumping machine working today is quite a sight and does well to conjure much imagining of a world literally powered by steam – and knowing that until the helping hand of a formidable group called the ‘Greasy Gang’ restored it to its former glory (after 60 years!), it is truly a special and unique attraction. Levant Mine and Beam Engine is located north of St Just.

St Michael’s Mount
St Michael’s Mount lies just off the south coast just east of Penzance. The castle and surrounding island is home to the St Auben family and a community of villagers which works to sustain itself as a self-contained parish. The mount and castle is open to the public at specific times relating to the seasons. Yet, despite the necessity to plan your visit, the attraction is more than worth it – and perhaps one of the best links to Cornwall’s amazing past, another way of life, as well as the county’s wider relation to the rest of the world.

Godolphin
Godolphin Estate is a fine example of Tudor/Stuart architecture and garden design located just outside of the small town of Helston. The estate covers around 555 acres in total though restoration is ongoing in places meaning certain areas are currently out of bounds whilst others can only be entered with a tour guide. Despite this there is much to see, and one of the most striking aspects of this attraction is the way in which it has remained so unchanged for hundreds of years. Its tranquil well-kept gardens are also a prime asset.

Three Foodie Attractions You Must Try in Bristol, England

Bristol, located in South West England is a centre for local food initiatives in the United Kingdom. Their Food Policy Council is dedicated to ensuring the people of Bristol have food that is healthy, delicious, good for the environment, affordable, and profitable to the people who grow it. In June of 2012, they are hosting the first ever Food Conference in the UK, as well as the largest farmer’s market in the UK.

During your stay in Bristol, you will have a veritable cornucopia of culinary delights from which to choose. You can stay for a week, and eat every meal at a different award-winning restaurant. However, there are three foods that you absolutely must try while you are in Bristol.

Sweet Treats

First, visit Guilbert’s Chocolates Ltd. In business for over 100 years, they are located in the oldest commercial building in Bristol, a short distance away from the Bristol Hotel. The Foster rooms, the new location of Guilbert’s Chocolates, were the home of John Foster, a merchant during the 15th century. Guilbert’s makes all of its chocolate by hand, using the same methods (with a few updates for electricity) as when they were originally founded. You can buy boxed collections, or select individual chocolate creams, truffles or fondants before deciding which treats are your favourites.

Locally Eats

The second thing to try is not a single food, but rather, a category of food. Bristol is extremely active in the local foods movement for many reasons; they are active in:

  • Encouraging the use of locally-grown, sustainable food
  • Hosting a range food-based events
  • Urban food producing initiatives

If you would like to browse through the selection of fresh local foods available, you can visit one of Bristol’s farmer’s markets held every Wednesday or the first Sunday of the month. Locally-sourced food is also used in many eateries, including several Bristol hotel restaurants. To go one step further than simply locally-grown food, you can also dine at The Lido Restaurant, the Glassboat Restaurant, and Spyglass, each of which share a garden dedicated for use in their delectable dishes. The Lido Restaurant, for instance, creates ever-changing menus based upon what the garden produces. You can learn more about environmentally sound cooking at the restaurant and cooking school, Bordeaux Quay.

Pie, Please

The third food to be sure you must try while in Bristol is pie. Yes, I said pie. Bristol loves its pies, having two locations of the popular Pieminister restaurant and shop. They offer a wide variety of meat pies, vegetarian pies, seasonal pies, and sweet pies which make for excellent eat-in or take-out lunches, dinners, or desserts. But if you can try only one pie, you should make sure to try the classic sweet pie, the toffee apple pie. The Old City location of Pieminister is located near both Guilbert’s Chocolates and the Bristol Hotel, although after eating both sweets, you may want to take a roundabout route back to your hotel to walk off all those calories.

Twenty20 – Sustainable Cricket?

This week has been a bad one for the newest form of our most dearly beloved game. It seemed that 2008 was the absolute watershed moment for the T20 format. The first season of the IPL, the Stanford Millions competition in the West Indies, and of course the T20 World Cup, won, appropriately, by India. But 2009, and particularly this past week, has proved a real test for the form known as ‘Hollywood Cricket’

The man at the center of all of this is the American businessman Allan Stanford. Back in 2008 Stanford famously rolled into the home of cricket, Lords, with a basket full of money, and won quick friends.

His inaugural tournament, at the ground named in his honor in Antigua, saw a bunch of West Indian teams, play the best County side in England, and the England cricket team itself. From the get-go the competition had the real feeling of a farce. Why were West Indian players playing for a team called Stanford Superstars? Why would a national team involve itself in what was set-up as a franchise competition? The answer was of course the mighty dollar…in fact $20 Million or so.

The first sign of problems should have been that the game of cricket was being sold-out to a man who professed to have no interest in the actual game. But the cash strapped West Indians, and for some reason the Poms, jumped straight into bed with the Texan. Another sign of the problems with Stanford was the extraordinary footage of the billionaire cavorting with the English players wives during a competitive game.

But still, although the players made it clear that the situation was becoming increasingly uncomfortable, the lure of the mighty T20, and the dollars that came with it were too much to refuse.

When word first came out last week that Stanford’s millions were in fact based largely on fraud, it really should have come as no surprise. Suddenly the egg on the face of cricket administrators was so apparent, that even they couldn’t shrug it off. Much has now been written about the incredible lengths that the game will go to, to attract corporate funding. The cash cow of T20 was previously unquestioned. Now, of course, the Stanford Millions will be called off, and reports suggest that many of the West Indian players had been talked into investing their prize money back into Stanford’s fraudulent business practices, thus they now had not even the dollars to show for it.

Another blow to T20 is the increasing range of players who are nominally pulling out of the upcoming IPL tournament. Already Australian stars Mitchell Johnson and Michael Clarke have reaffirmed their disinterest with the competition, and now Ricky Ponting, who was admittedly quite poor for the Kolkata Knight Riders, has pulled out. With the cricket schedule so packed, it is increasingly going to be a conscience call for players juggling monetary and national interests. In fact, speaking of juggling, what is to be said of the England cricket team, who heard of their upcoming riches after they had been allowed to be involved in the IPL, and then subsequently got skittled for 51 by one of the weakest teams in the world. Surely players are now seeing that perhaps the juggling act is increasingly difficult. What seemed easy money is now certainly something else.

T20 came around incredibly quickly. Sure it has had a life at English county level for quite some time, but the fact we had an international world cup and the inaugural franchise competition so soon after the game’s inception, is extraordinary. I wonder about the true longevity of the shortest game. The games are certainly exiting, but there is little room for subtlety or intrigue, players either smash it and get a boundary, or smash it and get out. If one of the major arguments against ODI’s has been their sameness, surely the same is only multiplied in T20. For every ‘David Warner’ Moment, there is a myriad of relative sameness. Smash…Six…Smash…Out.

As money dries up worldwide the only real incentive to be involved in the game will diminish also. So far there are no real outcomes to one-off International T20’s as we have seen between Australia and South Africa and New Zealand, this summer. These games are almost International Friendlies, as the main attraction for the game has been the IPL and its riches. But, as I stated, if the dollars dry up, or are lost in fraudulent situations such as that of Allan Stanford, then not only will the administrators have to think about the real purpose of the game, but they will also have to question their decision-making before they jump into bed with any gung ho businessman with a buck.