The land of milk and honey
Not to mention Brazilian rhubarb, Koi carp, bamboo glades and Tarzan's Camp - can this really be Cornwall?
Saturday 10 July 1999
Together with some friends and our four young children, we started our journey just north of the Helford at Trebah Garden. Trebah is an extraordinary, magical, old Cornish garden, planted in the 19th century on a steep ravine that drops sharply to a private beach on the river. Everything in the garden is massive, from the magnificent trees that stand sentinel along the cavernous banks of the valley to the giant tree ferns, palms and rhododendrons that dominate its centre. The children were thrilled by the huge eight- foot-wide leaves of the Brazilian rhubarb plants that drooped over our heads.
Running down the centre of the ravine is a stream. It flows through lily ponds full of shimmering giant Koi carp, through the bamboozle - a huge glade of thick-stemmed green bamboo - and then winds through two acres of luscious pink and blue hydrangeas. At the bottom of the valley, the stream and the visitors spill on to the beach to contemplate a view over the mouth of the river Helford, small sailing boats scudding across the water.
The beach is an ideal spot for a picnic and the boys stormed about, pretending to be the American soldiers who set sail from Trebah, bound for the D- Day assault on Omaha Beach in 1944. Playing soldiers was fun, but by far the best bit of Trebah for the children was the jungle trail and Tarzan's Camp.
Tony and Eira Hibbert, the owners of Trebah, have six grown-up children and lots of grandchildren, and they obviously know how to make little boys and girls happy. Tarzan's Camp is set beneath a gigantic tree canopy with knotted ropes, ladders and wooden frames for climbing overhead and soft bark chippings to cushion any falls. Ben, four, loved it, stripping off his T-shirt and hurling himself about like his hero, George of the Jungle.
Wrenched away from their fantasy, the children napped as we drove off to Tregellast Barton Farm where the Roskilly family have been making mouth- melting Cornish ice cream since 1988. Joe Roskilly, his wife Rachel and their three children have made their farm into a haven of organic dairy farming. The signs that hang at the farm entrance - which smelt strongly of silage - warn of "free range children and animals", and Joe Roskilly has made a delightful walk for visitors across his fields. He dug out the lily ponds himself; the willow trees in the withy woods were planted hundreds of years ago to make crab pots.
The farm shop and tea rooms sell all the different flavours of Roskilly ice cream. "Clotted cream vanilla" was my favourite - rich without being sickly - but other treats included "hokey poky crunchy caramel" with sticky lumps of caramelised sugar, "ginger faring" and a simple "raspberry" that was perfectly tangy and tart. The ice cream is scooped out of the tubs with big flat spoons and dolloped generously over the sugar cones, unlike the mingy little scoops that you usually get from ice-cream stalls.
After stuffing ourselves, we went to watch the 90 honey-coloured Jersey cows being milked in the automated milking parlour. The children were fascinated to watch the milk gushing out and along transparent plastic tubes to the milk storage tanks. The cows themselves seemed perfectly contented as they munched on their pellets and stared at us with big, liquid-black eyes. Alfie, five, gawped at the cows for ages but then said he wanted to go somewhere else as it smelt a bit "ponky". In search of fresh sea air, we drove down to Kynance Cove near the Lizard Point, the most southerly spot on the peninsular. We parked in the National Trust car park that perches at the top of towering cliffs and looked down at the beautiful jagged coastline around us.
Down in the cove, we stared across at the huge, olive green boulders that jut out into the sea and took off in search of the caves hidden under the cliffs and only accessible at low tide. As we peered into the dripping, slimy darkness of the caves, the waves were crashing fast up the beach behind us.
Concerned holidaymakers called out "don't get cut off" and we dashed back over the rocks and up the steep steps to the safety of the clifftop cafe, our pockets stuffed with beautiful, green-veined pebbles - excellent souvenirs of our delightful day on the Lizard.
Life & Style blogs
Blood test that predicts Alzheimer's disease
Scientists find the origin of 'bad' fat linked to heart disease and cancer
Amputee drummer gains 'superhuman' skills with robotic arm
Stevia wonder: The plant that's a super sugar alternative – and free from calories and carbs
International Women's Day 2014: Google makes 80 second video of inspirational women from across the world for animated Doodle
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
If you're horrified by a flame-roasted dog, you should be shocked at a hog roast
Poor 'live like animals' says Boris's privately educated sister after going on 'poverty safari'
Exclusive: Impact of immigrants on British workers ‘negligible’
Vince Cable: Teachers 'know absolutely nothing' about the world of work
Ukraine crisis: Russia pledges to 'retaliate against sanctions' as Ukrainian president says Crimea vote will not be recognised
- 1 International Women's Day 2014: The shocking statistics that show why it is still so important
- 2 Australian man Rod Sommerville reacts to bite from deadly snake by reaching for cold beer
- 3 Singapore sting: Sky-high prices are pushing locals to the edge of affordability
- 4 Teacher shows sex tape featuring herself to pupils during class by mistake
- 5 David Cameron resorts to paying for Facebook fans because not enough people like him
£40000 - £45000 per annum: Charter Selection: Global leader in its respective ...
£6720 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Nottingham: Male and Female PE te...
£130 - £161 per day: Randstad Education Nottingham: Do you have a qualificatio...
£6720 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Nottingham: The school is much la...