Skip to content

Our work at St Michael's Mount

A view looking up at St Michael's Mount from the surrounding cliff garden, in Cornwall
St Michael's Mount from its surrounding garden | © National Trust Images / Marianne Majerus

Perched atop a rocky island off the south coast of Cornwall, St Michael's Mount can be a challenging site to look after. Discover how the gardeners at St Michael’s Mount use abseiling to weed and strim the cliff face garden, hanging up to 50 metres above the sea.

Extreme weeding at St Michael's Mount

Keeping the granite stones free of invasive weeds involves abseiling 50m down the castle walls. The gardeners at St Michael's Mount 'rope up' three times a year to carry out extreme weeding on the 12th century castle.

Protecting the stonework

The work ensures that stonework remains intact and strong, and allows succulents such as aloes and aeoniums to thrive.

While abseiling down the cliff face the gardeners remove invasive plants such as hotentott fig, and plant pockets of succulents within the cliff face.

A view of plants growing on rocks in the garden at St Michael's Mount, Cornwall on spring day
The gardens at St Michael's Mount | © National Trust Images / Hugh Mothersole

A gardener’s eye view

As Head Gardener Lottie Allen explains, ‘Abseiling has become an important skill to complete essential strimming and planting of the many nooks and crannies within the cliff face.

'Plants grow in spite of the salty winter storms and the baking summer temperatures. It is a thrilling and unique experience to tend these gardens which are designed to be viewed from above.

'Abseiling allows me to appreciate the spectacular views of our gardens across the seasons and in all weathers.’

Thank you

With your ongoing support, we're able to continue our vital conservation work. Thank you for helping to protect these special places.

Summer flowers framing a view over the sea at St Michael's Mount

Discover more at St Michael's Mount

Find out when St Michael's Mount is open, how to get here, the things to see and do and more.

You might also be interested in

A view across the water at low tide at St Michael's Mount in the distance

Things to see and do at St Michael's Mount 

Explore the iconic rocky island of St Michael’s Mount. Step inside the castle, stroll through the subtropical garden and soak up the spectacular views.

Ranger in National Trust fleece inspecting white blossom on tree in orchard

Our cause 

We believe that nature, beauty and history are for everyone. That’s why we’re supporting wildlife, protecting historic sites and more. Find out about our work.

A group of hikers climb a path through woodland towards the camera

For everyone, for ever: our strategy to 2025 

Read about our strategy 'For everyone, for ever' here at the National Trust, which will take the organisation through to 2025.