The 17th-century grandeur of the National Trust’s Godolphin House, near Helston, makes regular appearances in the latest BBC adaptation as the exterior of Francis Poldark’s estate, Trenwith. Although the house dates back to the early 14th century and the estate the 12th century, if ever there was an estate which epitomised the era of Poldark it is Godolphin.
The Godolphin family’s wealth increased greatly during the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries directly as a result of the copper which lay beneath their lands. As a result the house and gardens and the surrounding estate make an excellent place to explore if you wish to experience the Cornish landscape as Winston Graham’s famed characters might have seen it.
These interesting facts are also very relevant to the walking route, because even today abandoned mine shafts and workings are dotted around the landscape, sometimes guarded by high moss covered walls known as ‘collors’ and so it is very important to stick to the main paths and to keep dogs on leads in some areas.
I have walked this route many times, in all seasons and although it is perhaps at its most breathtaking in the spring, when the bluebells arrive in late April, it is always an inspiring and invigorating walk.
From the main car park, you begin by following signs for ‘pedestrians’ which lead you through a short woodland path, past a map of the estate, to the entrance to the house and café. Before you go in, just beside the edge of the disabled car parking spaces, is a gate signposted towards Godolphin Hill.
I headed through this gate which takes you along a track across a field and then to a wooded lane known as The Slips. This leads you up to scrubland at the bottom of the circular Godolphin Hill. Soon, you reach a junction in path. Turn right following the signpost pointing directly (and visibly) to the top of the hill. As time has passed I have found the hill easier to climb, but be warned, the track is rugged and boggy after wet weather. It is well worth the climb however, as when you read the top you can enjoy a rare view which takes in both the north coast towards Hayle and St Ives, and the south coast, towards Rinsey Cove and Mount’s Bay to the south.