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Exploring the estate at Godolphin

Visitor walks along a dirt path at Godolphin Hill on a summer's day
Exploring Godolphin Hill in the summer | © National Trust Images/James Dobson

There's lots to discover around the mighty Godolphin estate. Butterflies thrive here thanks to conservation land management and a little help from a herd of Ruby Red cows. The estate also has plenty of historical sites to uncover, including Tudor mines and Bronze Age features. There are also walks with far reaching views out to rugged Cornish coast.

Godolphin Hill

A gentle climb to the top of Godolphin Hill on a clear day rewards you with panaromic views which strech across two coastlines, from St Michael's Mount in Mounts Bay across to St Ives Bay.

Granite stone tops the peak of the hill, making it a perfect place to stop for a picnic and regain energy for the walk back down.

Local folklore suggests that the rock-strewn hilltops of Godolphin and nearby Tregonning Hill are the remnats of warring giants that once stood on top of these hills and threw rocks at each other.

The River Hayle

A shorter circular walk from the car park combines country views with walking along the River Hayle. Take in wooden bridges that traverse the water and return for refreshments in the Piggery tea-room.

Walking maps for Godolphin estate are available at the Welcome Hut at Godolphin.

A close up of a small pearl-bordered fritillary butterfly on a green plant in Killerton, Deon
Small pearl-bordered fritillary butterfly | © National Trust Images / Matthew Oates

Wildlife and Conservation

The farmed land in the Godolphin estate is managed using sustainable practices which provide habitats for a variety of smaller creatures. Rough land grazing is the most sustainable form of scrubland management and essential for nature conservation.

Red Ruby Devon cattle

Simply by grazing, the current herd of Ruby Red Devon cattle break down the dominant species of scrub allowing new growth. The removal of the tougher scrub and reduction of the bracken also creates new wind patterns around the hill, which is especially beneficial for butterflies.

Butterfly spotting

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. The butterfly is a key indicator species for good conservation management.

View across fields at Goldolphin House, in Cornwall, with abandoned pit head buildings in the foreground
Abandoned pit head buildings at Godolphin House | © National Trust Images / Aerial-Cam

Historical sites

The long history of the Godolphin estate is visible across the landscape. Godolphin was quite literally built on top of the minerals that funded the estate. Around the edges of the hill are the remains of many mine workings dating from the late 16th century onwards.

Archaeology on the estate

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.

Walking your dog around Godolphin estate.

Godolphin estate is a beautiful spot to walk your dog and enjoy the countryside. For more information about walking your dog around Godolphin, including where dogs must be kept on leads click here.

Two adults walk through the garden in the sunshine at Godolphin, Cornwall

Discover more at Godolphin

Find out when Godolphin is open, how to get here, the things to see and do and more.

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Things to do in the garden at Godolphin 

Godolphin’s garden paths provide a natural space that’s rich in history. Find out how the garden provides a home to the native Cornish bee. Explore the orchard, side garden paddock and King’s Garden.

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Running at Godolphin 

Get outdoors and get fit at Godolphin. Take part in our monthly Trust10 running trail and discover the countryside estate at the same time. Suitable for 5k and 10k running abilities.

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Godolphin is a two pawprint rated place. Take a gentle walk around the garden or head up to Godolphin hill for expansive country views. Find out all you need to know to enjoy your time here with your dog.

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History of Godolphin 

Added to the UNESCO World Heritage list, Godolphin has special status. Find out about the people who lived here and how they created their wealth from the estate.

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