Wolf's Cove: a model village

Wolf's Cove August 2018

Wolf’s Cove, the model Cornish fishing village which Charles Wade designed to delight himself and his friends.

Wolf’s Cove was once one of the most celebrated features of Snowshill. Designing and building the models was a passion for Charles Wade throughout his life. The creation of the models, canals and railway combined his interests of craftsmanship, design, nostalgia and whimsy. 

To find out more about this world within a world read on below.

A brief history

Wade started the village in 1907 when he was living in Hampstead and had just qualified as an architect. When he came to Snowshill in 1919 he brought the models with him and by the late 1920s he had started to create the model Cornish fishing village, Wolf’s Cove. 

The model buildings include a pub, houses and fisherman’s cottages set. Wade later added the road, canal and railway.

Recreating Wolf’s Cove

For the last few years a team of National Trust staff and volunteers have been working on the ambitious project to recreate the miniature delight. 

The research-led project began in 2010 and has unearthed lots of remarkable photos about the original model village which have provided inspiration for the recreated village. The team have excavated and reconstructed the village and its harbour based on documents and archaeological evidence. 

A group of volunteer model makers have been making replicas of the original models - from tiny fisherman's houses to a pub, railway line to a boat. In 2018 the model train returned once again to the tracks.

The wider team has been fundraising to help cover the costs of the £130,000+ project. Snowshill's General Manager Hayley Gaisford-Gotto, who is leading the project, said: ‘We wouldn't have got this far without the support of our staff, volunteers and visitors. From raffle tickets to individual donations and getting behind the project. For that we are truly grateful.’

A sense of delight

'The charm of Wolf's Cove is that it really sums up everything that Mr Wade valued,' said Hayley. 'It’s made by hand, it encourages you to be playful and use your imagination and there was so much attention to detail in the original, that it just brought the village to life.'

She added: 'You can see from archive photographs that Mr Wade really delighted in putting together the village and we hope that by reinstating it, not only might we be able to bring that sense of delight to our visitors, but we will have restored a key part of Mr. Wade’s legacy to its rightful place.'