Trematon Castle has belonged to the Duke of Cornwall since soon after the Norman Conquest. Built on the ruins of an earlier Roman Fort it survives, a perfect miniature Norman castle, motte and bailey with a gatehouse built to be fit as lodgings for Edward, Prince of Wales, known as the ‘Black Prince’. When Sir Francis Drake returned to Plymouth from his circumnavigation voyage in 1580, he slipped out to anchor behind St Nicholas Island until word came from Queen Elizabeth for the treasures he had gathered to be stored in Trematon Castle.[3] The horde consisted of gold, silver, and precious stones, mainly emeralds, the result of piracy from Spanish ships along the west coast of South America. Before being moved for storage in the Tower of London, the treasure was temporarily stored in the Golden Hinde. Ruined and forgotten for centuries in 1807 the Duchy granted a naval man and later Surveyor of the Duchy of Cornwall, Benjamin Tucker, Secretary to the Admiral Earl of St Vincent, a long lease and permission to build within the Castle Courtyard a Georgian house. Part of the original Castle wall was demolished to give this house a view to Plymouth Sound. In the words of John Betjeman it has “one of the superb views of Cornwall, a Brunel stone viaduct crossing a foreground creek, the Lynher and Tamar estuaries beyond, and the wooded slopes of Anthony. Trematon Castle is all the more romantic for being still a private residence and un-archaeologised.”


In 2012, garden designers Julian and Isabel Bannerman moved in and began to plant a garden which is intended to play to the Castle’s romantic and pre-Raphaelite glories, the astonishing wild flowers, woodland and orchard, have been intensified with bold borders full of scent, colour, lustre and panache. There is mixed woodland with dogwood and magnolia, tulip tree, foxglove tree, evergreen oaks and oaks. At the end of April the Motte is a riot of wild flowers, carpeted with cowslips and primroses, bursting with bluebells, spangled with campion and purple orchids, and in the summer flushed with ferns and scented with wild thyme, majoram and woodbine. The orchard is awash with Camassias and Pheasant eye Narcissus, and under the shocking pink Cherry Tree are Fritillaries and Tulipa sylvvestris among a starry mass of crocus. Many Cornish favourites are here, Camelias and some Rhododendron, Euchryphia, Carpenteria, Fuchsia, Mimosa and Cornus. to which we have added scented shrubs, loads of varieties of Philadelphus, and Lilac, Ribes odorata, and Daphnes such as D. transatlantica ‘Eternal Fragrance’. There is an aromatic bank of Cistus, Lavender and Rosemary, Cardiocrinums and swathes of Alliums, Acidanthera, Agapanthus and Nerines. For lushness and extravagance amidst the stoney ruins on the shady side of the Gatehouse Gunnera umbrellas reach up and right over a Neptine, while on the sunny side clamber Rambling Roses with Standard Roses in beds of downy Peonies with Lilies. The great arc of the bailey wall to the west of the house shelters a double banked border. This is intended as a mixture of opulence, Topiary, Mecanopsis, Iris, Peony, Roses, Salvias, Campanulas, and mediaeval charmers, the violas, lilies, gillyflowers and sweet rocket of illuminated manuscripts. It is very much a work in progress, very early days for the rambling roses, but a fascinating grouping of history, architecture, landscape and plants to visit even just as it is.

Trematon Castle Gardens. Castle Hill. Saltash. Cornwall. PL12 4QW


By Car:

Follow the A38 through the Saltash tunnel and over the Saltash services roundabout and continue into Cornwall. Take the third left signed ‘Trematon’ and ‘Trehan’, turn left at t-junction, then bear left at fork for ‘Longlands’ and ‘Trehan’. Trematon Castle is 1/2 a mile further along on the left hand side the Car Park will be clearly indicated on the left coming from Trematon and Trehan before the Castle Lodge and Entrance Gate. If you are coming from the Forder direction it will be found on the right, after the Castle Entrance and Lodge.

But for the benefit of local residence and not overly congesting the narrow lanes it is requested that you approach from Trematon and Trehan as directed and leave via Forder, St Stephens and Saltash.

By Public Transport:

The nearest Train Station to Trematon Castle is Saltash which is on the mainline Paddington to Penzance Line. From Saltash station local taxis can be ordered for the remaining 1.5 miles journey.

(Taxi Call: Tel: 01752 541541) (Cottons Taxi: Tel: 01752 848400)

Alternatively, Saltash Station is a short walk from Fore Street, Saltash’s high street, where you can take a the bus heading towards Wearde, getting off at Church Road and continuing to walk the remaining 0.7 miles to Trematon Castle.

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