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History of the garden at Lanhydrock

National Trust garden at Lanhydrock, Cornwall
Lanhydrock's garden blooms with colour in summer | © National Trust Images/Hugh Mothersole

With a history dating back to the 17th century, Lanhydrock’s garden has many stories to share. Here, we highlight some of its key developments.

The early history of Lanhydrock

It’s not entirely clear how the landscape around Lanhydrock looked prior to the 16th century. However, in 1545, then-tenants Thomas Glynn and Jane Clicker were evicted from the site for allowing the house to fall into disrepair and for stealing apples. This suggests that part of Lanhydrock was made up of orchards.

Richard Robartes' vision

After purchasing the Lanhydrock estate in 1620, Richard Robartes, 1st Baron Robartes of Truro, set about constructing a new country seat that would help establish his family as one of the most important in Cornwall. Reconstruction of the farmhouse that had existed on the site was completed by Richard’s son John in 1651, with a newly designed garden likely to have taken shape in the two decades prior.

Lanhydrock garden: a timeline

The 1600s

The garden takes shape


Richard Robartes designed the double avenue that climbs through the parkland to the house tucked into the wooded ridge behind. Planted with sycamore trees, this imposing stretch was intended to provide a grand approach to the house for important visitors.  


The Lanhydrock Atlas of 1694 shows that the area where the broad path and magnolia glade are now located was once a kitchen garden. 


The 1695 Lanhydrock Atlas shows a bowling green in the area where the parterre now stands. The same publication depicts the north garden, beyond the tennis court, as a wilderness garden. This was an area interlaced with gravel paths in the form of a Union Jack between small shrubs and trees. Family members and guests could escape the busy house for a quiet stroll and to take in the fresh Cornish air.

The wilderness garden extended north to where, today, the National Trust reception building is situated. 

Avenue of beech trees at Lanhydrock in Cornwall
How the double avenue looks today | © National Trust Images/James Dobson
Family visitors walking in the garden at Lanhydrock, Cornwall

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