Roundwood in Trelissick's countryside

Dr. Nelleke IJssennagger , Curator Dr. Nelleke IJssennagger Curator
Sunlight streams through the trees in the woodland at Roundwood on the Trelissick estate, Cornwall

From Trelissick car park, a walk through the woodland along the Fal takes you to Roundwood. When you arrive through the woods and see the creeks it feels like everything is slowing down. Roundwood, at the confluence of Cowlands and Lamouth Creek, is from a different time and is crowned by a prehistoric fort.

Iron Age defence

The hillfort, also called promontory fort, is an impressive prehistoric survival. It dates to the Iron Age and is a Scheduled Ancient Monument. What makes it unique is that it consists of a double enclosure, rather than a single one. Therefore, the woodland around the monument is carefully managed to protect it.  

Beech trees can threaten the defensive earthworks at Roundwood
The defence ditch of an ancient Iron Age fort at Roundwood at Trelissick, Cornwall
Beech trees can threaten the defensive earthworks at Roundwood

Because the monument is quite sizeable and situated amidst trees, it is not easy to take in. To get a sense of the extent, I like walking around both enclosures. I  try to imagine what it must have looked like when Iron Age people had their camp here and looked at the same view.

Lovely hues frame the view of the Fal
The Fal river on an autumn woodland walk
Lovely hues frame the view of the Fal

A quay feature

Down at the waterfront you find remnants of the historic quay, which are even more visible from across the creeks. The 18th-century structure is grade II listed. Most likely it was first used for copper smelting and the quay does have an industrial feel. During the ownership of Ralph Allen Daniel (1813-1823) the quay was restored and given new life.

A view of Roundwood Quay
Roundwood Quay on the Trelissick estate, Cornwall
A view of Roundwood Quay

Dancing on the quayside

The new life turned into many lives, as the quayside had a lime house, a Malthouse, a sawpit for shipbuilding and a coal yard over time. All of these fit with the industrial character, which is why I find the more remarkable uses of the quayside so striking. Once there was a tea garden and a boat hiring business. But most extraordinarily, Daniel built an ornamental cottage which is said to have included a temporary ballroom. There cannot be many estates that once had a purpose-built space for dancing on the quayside. It really shows why Trelissick is seen as such a dynamic estate.

Remains of industry at Roundwood Quay
Industrial ruins on Roundwood Quay at Trelissick, Cornwall
Remains of industry at Roundwood Quay