Our work at St Michael's Mount
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 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.’
With your ongoing support, we're able to continue our vital conservation work. Thank you for helping to protect these special places.
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.
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.
Read about our strategy 'For everyone, for ever' here at the National Trust, which will take the organisation through to 2025.