The head gardener at one of Cornwall’s most beautiful attractions believes visitors can expect one of their best-ever Spring floral displays

Thanks to the mild Winter there appears to be huge numbers of Magnolia blooms just waiting to burst into flower at the Antony Woodland Garden, which opens to the public on March 1.

And this year the Carew Pole Garden Trust, which runs the attraction, is hoping more people than ever before will visit the International Camellia Gardens of Excellence.

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The Camellias are already flowering on sheltered slopes and by opening day Head Gardener Valerie Anderson believes the 100-acre garden will be alive with a riot of breath-taking colour.

And this year a new walk will provide better access to the Higher West Down area of the garden, where new Magnolias have been planted amongst the Bluebells and Primroses.

Valerie, who has been working at the gardens for more than 40 years, said: “There’s a large number of buds on all the Magnolia trees and some of the Camellias are in full flower.

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“It does look as though this year is going to be really special. With the new walk we’re developing in Higher West Down visitors will be able to get even closer to the new Magnolias, as well as the Spring bluebells and wild flowers.”

The Antony Woodland Garden is known as a haven of peace and tranquillity – just a short ferry ride away from Plymouth.

The unique setting, near Torpoint, runs along the Lynher Estuary and is often described as an undiscovered gem.

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The gardens offer beautiful walks, stunning scenery and the chance to see wild birds including oystercatchers, grey herons, egrets, cormorants and shelducks, with breath taking views across the Lynher Estuary and along the River Tamar to Brunel’s Royal Albert Rail Bridge.

Valerie added: “We want more and more people to discover this beautiful garden, which we like to call maintained but not overly manicured.

“It’s a marvellous place to visit. Not just because of our fabulous plants, gorgeous walks and amazing flower displays.

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“We are also in an amazing location where walkers can overlook one of the best views in the South West.”

A magnificent variety of flora and fauna has been planted by successive generations of the Carew Pole family, who have lived at Grade I listed Antony House, just outside Cornish village of Antony, since the middle of the 16th Century.

It is home to more than six hundred different varieties of Camellias, including the National Collection of Camellia Japonica, and nearly two hundred and fifty different types of Magnolias.

Tremayne Carew Pole is part of the family and recently took over the ownership of the local village pub, which will be enjoying its first Spring this year under new management.

The newly refurbished Carew Arms, previously the Ring O’Bells, opened last Summer and is gaining a reputation for its great seasonal menu brimming with local produce, overseen by consultant chef Emily Watkins – Heston Blumenthal’s former sous chef.

And the pub is running “A Good Lunch and a Good Walk” offer throughout March and April offering diners free entrance to the Antony Woodland Garden if they have a main course and either a starter or pudding.

Mr Carew Pole said: “It’s great to offer visitors not just a walk in one of the most beautiful settings in England but also the chance to enjoy some of the best cooked local produce on offer.

“We are all really looking forward to the opening of the garden and the start of Spring. This is going to be an exciting time for Antony as even more visitors discover the unspoilt and unknown beauty of the Antony Woodland Garden.”

The gardens reopen on Wednesday, March 1st, and tickets cost £6, with children under-16 entering free.

They are open from 11am until 5pm every day except Mondays and Fridays, although they will be open over Bank Holidays and Good Friday.

Season ticket holders can also bring their dogs on leads to enjoy the Woodland Walk for £30 per year for two adults and two children.

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Steve Ott
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