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Visiting the estate at Lanhydrock

Autumnal view up a long, straight drive, lined by beech trees, to a stone gatehouse, lit by low sun with a blue sky
Looking up the Beech Avenue to the gatehouse at Lanhydrock in autumn | © National Trust Images/Hilary Daniel

There are lots of things to look out for while exploring the outdoors, from a wide variety of wildlife species to the hidden history of the Lanhydrock estate. Here, we round up some of the things you can expect to see.

Cornish Meadows Project at Lanhydrock

Six hectares of neutral grassland at Lanhydrock are being turned into species-rich meadow as part of a major grassland creation project that will see 250 hectares of Cornish wildflower meadows created in the next three years.

At Lanhydrock, staff, volunteers, and members of the public kick-started the initiative by sowing the first of the grassland with seeds that should see the early establishment of species such as yellow rattle, knapweed and oxeye daisy. Other plants will take longer to establish, but it is hoped that further species such as eyebright, betony, and eventually, orchids will also appear over the next few years. Such species-rich meadows will provide benefits for local wildlife and a spectacle for the many visitors to the property in years to come.

Seeds have been collected from healthy, already species-rich meadows across Cornwall, including through partnerships with Natural England, Cornwall Council, Meadow Match, private landowners, and the National Wildflower Centre. A significant portion of the seed used at Lanhydrock was sourced from Bodmin airfield, which is less than 5 miles from the new meadow.

Fern Smith-Carroll, Project Officer for the National Trust, said: “With so little of this habitat left in the country, Cornwall can play a critical role in providing a lifeline for some of our most cherished native species that depend on grasslands for food or shelter – from the Burnet moth to the Barbastelle bat.”

“We also know creating species-rich meadows can lock up carbon, especially in the first ten years of restoration. So they play an important role in climate change mitigation."

The project has been made possible by a generous supporter legacy and donations to the charity. If you’d like to support the Trust’s nature recovery work, you can donate via the website:

A green tractor mowing grass with round hay bales in the background
Mowing the parkland before sowing native meadow seeds | © Faye Rason

Mushrooms and lichens

The many ancient and veteran trees across the estate are home to rare lichens that grow particularly well in the South West due to the damp conditions and clean air.

Taking a gentle stroll through the Lanhydrock countryside at this time of year, you’re also likely to stumble across a troop of fresh mushrooms (a tight group of mushrooms is called a cluster, a looser group is called a troop, and scattered and irregular mushrooms are gregarious). Below are some that you can find on the estate.

Cauliflower fungus

Cauliflower fungus, also known as wood fungus or even brain fungus, is a pretty, creamy white fungus with waved filigree patterns that become browner with age. Look out for them at the base of trunks or stumps, or at the roots of conifers.

Chicken of the woods

Chicken of the woods is a bold, creamy yellow and orange fungus that grows from the trunks of oak, cherry, sweet chestnut and poisonous yew trees.

Fly agaric

A beautiful red mushroom with white spots, fly agaric can often be seen on grassy banks.

Shaggy ink cap

Shaggy ink cap, or lawyer’s wig mushroom, is unusual because it turns black soon after it's picked. Found across the estate, these stately mushrooms grow in clusters or in long lines.

Turkey tail

So named because its body resembles a plume of turkey feathers, turkey tail grows on tree bark in tiled layers.

Fly agaric fungi
Fly agaric can be found around the estate | © National Trust/Rob Coleman


Lanhydrock is home to hundreds of different wildlife species, some common, others quite rare.


The estate is the best place in Cornwall to spot bats, with 13 of the UK's 18 species recorded here. If you’re exploring the estate at dusk, you’re sure to see them flitting about.

Butterflies and bees

A 'corridor' of pollinator-friendly grasses and wildflowers at Lanhydrock helps bees and butterflies to find the plants and flowers they need to thrive.

During the summer months, the parkland is full of butterfly species, including meadow brown, painted lady, orange tip, large white, tortoiseshell, speckled wood, gatekeeper, common blue, ringlet and large skipper.

Frogs, tadpoles and newts

The swimming pool is home to frogs, tadpoles and palmate newts. These newts are the smallest UK species, and are usually found in shallow acidic ponds on heaths and moorland. It’s unusual to find them in woodland and in such deep water.

However, this part of Cornwall used to be covered in moorland, so perhaps the descendants of the newts that thrived back then have managed to keep a stronghold in the swimming pool.

Logs and felled trees

You may notice logs and felled trees as you walk around the estate. Standing and deadwood timber is left in place as it’s a great wildlife habitat. In fact, a dead tree can provide a home or food source for hundreds of species of birds, mammals, reptiles and invertebrates.

Oil beetles

The area near the swimming pool is a good place to spot oil beetles. These rare creatures grow very big so are easy to spot.

Be careful if you try to touch them. Not only are they rare in the UK (several types are completely extinct), but they squirt out an oily substance when disturbed, which can really sting.

Walking around the estate

There are three circular routes around the Lanhydrock estate, each of which provides unique views of the natural surroundings and the wildlife habitats that live there. Stroll towards the Victorian swimming pool, head out around the parkland or really stretch your legs by taking the historic deer park route.

Two visitors walking dogs in the late autumn parkland with bare trees and gold leaves on the ground at Lanhydrock, Cornwall.
There are miles of walks to enjoy around the Lanhydrock estate | © National Trust Images/James Dobson

Hidden history

There are some hidden historical gems to find as you explore the Lanhydrock countryside.

Victorian swimming pool

The swimming pool was regularly used by the Victorian Agar-Robartes family; you can still see the outline of the old changing room. Today it is a haven for wildlife, including palmate newts who love to bask in the warm water by the steps.

Deer park wall

Lanhydrock was once home to a medieval deer park. You can spot the remaining stretches at different points around the parkland.

The HaHa

The haha consists of a raised wall and ditch, designed to contain livestock without interrupting the view with ugly fences. The name is said to derive from the response whenever an unfortunate visitor failed to notice the edge and took a tumble.

Jacob's quarry

The remains of an old tin works here on the estate, now a haven for wildlife.

The Beech Avenue

The historic avenue was planted in celebration of the end of the Civil War.

View across a long rectangular pool, lit by low sun and surrounded by autumnal trees
The Victorian swimming pool at Lanhydrock | © Jacqui Abrahamsen-Levy

Follow the Countryside Code

Enjoy spending time outside at the countryside places we care for? You can help us to keep them safe and enjoyable by following a few simple guidelines during your visit. To find out more, read the Countryside Code.


As well as spoiling the beauty of Lanhydrock's landscape, litter can be dangerous for wildlife, which can easily become entangled or mistake it for food. Litter can also act as fuel for wildfires.

If you have a picnic or produce any other litter during your visit, please keep hold of it until you find a bin, or take it home with you.

Family visitors walking in the garden at Lanhydrock, Cornwall

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