Conservation grazing

A Ruby Red Devon cow on Godolphin Hill 

A Ruby Red Devon cow on Godolphin Hill

Rough land grazing is the most sustainable form of scrubland management and essential for nature conservation. The current herd of Ruby Red Devons break down dominant species of scrub allowing new growth. The removal of the tougher scrub and reduction of the bracken growth also creates new wind patterns around the hill, which is especially beneficial for butterflies.

Conservation for butterflies

A small pearl-bordered fritillary butterfly © National Trust

A small pearl-bordered fritillary butterfly

The hill is home to a growing population of small pearl-bordered fritillary butterflies, a red data species. As scrub is removed, important food sources, such as the dog violet, are allowed to grow with more ease. Furthermore the wind patterns around the hill change allowing the butterflies to thrive. The butterfly is therefore a key indicator species for good conservation management.

50 things activities on the estate

  • Climb a big hill...
  • ...and roll down it again
  • Make a trail with sticks
  • Go barefoot
  • Dam a stream
  • Create some wild art
  • Go stargazing
  • Catch a falling leaf
  • Try birdwatching
  • Find your way with a map and compass
  • Track a wild animal
  • Climb a tree
  • Set up a snail race
  • Build a den

Mining on the estate

Godolphin was quite literally built on top of the minerals that funded the estate. Around the edges of the hill lie the remains of many mine workings from the late 16th century onwards.

A giant argument

At Godolphin Hill looking towards St Ives

Local folklore suggests that the rock-strewn hilltops of Godolphin and Tregonning were the work of warring giants that stood on top of the hills and threw rocks at each other.


The archaeology on the estate is wide and varied and some features date back to the Bronze Age. Landscape changes started around the Iron Age and medieval field systems are still evident on the hill.

Mark's farm blog

Jess with a newborn lamb

Jess with a newborn lamb

Day-to-day life on Godolphin's tenanted farm

Mark is a tenant farmer on the National Trust Godolphin estate in West Cornwall. Alongside his family, he has been farming at Godolphin since 2005. Working with the National Trust Godolphin property team, Mark shares the highs and lows of life on the farm.

Riverside walk

Abandoned mine and pit head buildings on the estate at Godolphin House © Aerial-Cam/Adam Stanford

A beautiful, short riverside walk, with two wooden troll bridges. It's an ideal place for wild flowers and a great spot for picnics in the summer months. Grade of walk: Trainer (all rounder) …