Blogs for May 2019

Glendurgan Maze fundraisers raise over £12,000 thanks to Barclays

Posted on Thursday 23rd May, 2019

Glendurgan Maze fundraisers raise over £12,000 thanks to Barclays

The National Trust’s project to restore Glendurgan’s maze has been given a generous helping hand by quiz enthusiasts and Barclays.

Barclays ‘Test the Team,’ a one-off event in support of Glendurgan’s garden maze restoration appeal, invited local supporters and suppliers to join an interactive quiz. 21 teams took part in the quiz, which, along with sponsorship, raffle prizes and auction prizes donated by local businesses  , raised over £6000. Everything donated on the evening was generously doubled by Barclays, with every pound going straight into the restoration ofthe historic maze. This brought the fundraising total of the event to an impressive £12,495.

Jon Cummins, Visitor Experience Manager for The National Trust at Glendurgan,Trelissick and Trerice says ‘the historic maze is an incredibly special feature, one of its kind in Cornwall, and is one we continue to take great pride in looking after. The quiz evening in partnership with Barclays was a fantastic event. It was humbling to spend the evening with people who were so enthusiastic in donating, bidding and raising funds, all of which helps ensure the future of the maze for generations to come.’

The National Trust’s four year restoration project of Glendurgan’s maze is now inits second year and will reinstate the historic puzzle back to good health,ensuring it continues to cope with the 90,000 or so visitors walking its winding paths every year. Some of the vital work has been undertaken throughout the winter months while Glendurgan was closed, so as not to impact on visitor enjoyment, meaning the maze will remain open to visitors throughout the rest of the restoration project. Each of the maze’s 173 wooden steps will be individually replaced with robust stone, and new durable paths will be laid.The hedges, while trimmed annually each June to keep them looking neat, will be restored to their former glory by cutting them back a few inches further,removing any dead stems and encouraging healthy new growth.

Glendurgan’s maze was originally planted in the 1830s by Quakers Alfred and Sarah Fox to entertain their growing family, and has ‘a series of irregular, winding walks that remind us of life, where we may go wrong in a multitude of ways, but right in only one.’ Taking inspiration from the maze at Sydney Gardens in Bath, which sadly no longer survives, much of the cherry laurel hedge contains the original plantings established by the Foxes.

Ongoing fundraising continues for the maze appeal with money being raised at Glendurgan through raffle ticket sales from the main entrance building and in the volunteer-led fish cellar building at the bottom of the garden in Durgan village. Every £1 raffle ticket purchased is worth another £1 in National Trust matched funding. Donations are welcomed by the National Trust at the property, and online donations can be made via

Glendurgan is open daily Tuesday – Sunday with the maze open to all to visit (admission prices apply or join the National Trust membership scheme).


Picture Credit: SkyFly Video

Pirate Treasure Hunt at Charlestown Harbour and Shipwreck Museum

Posted on Thursday 23rd May, 2019

Pirate Treasure Hunt at Charlestown Harbour and Shipwreck Museum

Fearless families can embark on a treasure hunt at Charlestown Harbour and Shipwreck Museum over the May Half-Term Holidays and come face to face with a pirate.

Pick up a treasure map and track down the clues among the museum’s unique collection of shipwreck artefacts from around the world.

Crack the code and then head down to the harbour and aboard the tall ship Kajsamoor for an encounter with Charlestown’s very own pirate Captain Casek who will reveal the next set of clues. Solve them all and claim your prize.

While on board you can also find out all about life on the high seas and the golden age of piracy.

The Harbour is also a popular TV and film venue and has had a starring role in BBC’s hit series Poldark as well as featuring in Doctor Who, Taboo and several Hollywood movies including Alice in Wonderland, Rebecca, Return to Treasure Island and The Three Musketeers.

Located above the historic port of Charlestown, a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Shipwreck Centre provides a unique insight into the port’s rich maritime history.

Discover the largest private collection of shipwreck artefacts in Europe with nearly 8,000 objects on display from over 150 individual wrecks.

Venture through underground tunnels that were once used to load clay on to ships moored in the harbour.

The Centre also has a newly-refurbished gift shop offering a variety of nautical treasure, Poldark themed gifts, sea worthy books, authentic shipwreck coins and local Cornish souvenirs.

There’s even an exclusive selection of fine wines, rum, cognac, and other goods that were delivered into Charlestown Harbour by the Grayhound, a three-masted custom lugger that travels around Europe selling high quality food goods.

Charlestown Harbour and Shipwreck Museum. Open Daily from 10am. Adult: £11.50, Children (5-17): £.4.50, Under 5s: Free, Family Ticket (two adults and up to three children): £30. For more information visit

Pirate Treasure Hunt takes place throughout the day from Saturday 25 May until Sunday 2 June 2019.

Captain Casek will be on his Pirate Ship every day throughout Half Term.


May Half Term at Pirates Quest

Posted on Tuesday 21st May, 2019

May Half Term at Pirates Quest

Man the decks and weigh anchor, because the most beastly buccaneers and putrid privateers are boarding Pirate’s Quest this May Half Term to reveal the most disgustingly fun facts about real pirates! Learn about all of the disgusting duties, nauseating nonsense and lousy living conditions of pirate life with Captain Calico Jack and his crew.

As part of the new storyline for 2019, Calico Jack’s crew of live pirate performers will be tasked with guiding you through the authentic sets and scenes of Pirate’s Quest and introducing you to four of history’s most scandalous scallywags. It will then be down to each group of visitors to vote which Pirate Hero they will crown as leader of the Republic of Pirates. Will it be Black Bart the Puritan Pirate, Anne Bonny the Princess of Piracy, Henry Every the Pirate King or the notorious Captain Blackbeard?

But before deciding on your favourite rogue, you will first have to survive an adventure of your own. Prepare to be transported back 300 years to the height of the Golden Age of Piracy.

Batten down the hatches, because you’ll begin your adventure on board the doomed Royal Anne – a real Pirate Hunter’s vessel that wrecked off the coast of Cornwall in 1721. Fortunately for you, one of Calico Jack’s crewmates will be at hand to rescue you from the sinking ship, lead you through a secret passage, and into the coves of Lizard Point, where Plymouthian Pirate, Henry Every, is rumoured to have hidden his bountiful booty in the early 1700s.

As you navigate your way through the mystical caves and murky streets of Eighteenth Century Cornwall, your live pirate guide will tell tales of the rancid rapscallions that ruled the waves, giving all ages the chance to learn something new about the horrible history of the real pirates that sailed the Caribbean, including Anne Bonny, one of the fiercest female pirates to ever sail the seven seas.

Once you’ve arrived at the docks of Towan Blystra, look out for Black Bart’s fleet on the horizon and then venture into Blackbeard’s Tavern; a scene originally introduced to Pirate’s Quest to mark the 300th Anniversary of the famous Captain’s death in 2018.

As well as the heroes of piracy, there’s a chance to become better acquainted with Pirate Villains if you decide to brave the optional scare section, the Locker of Davy Jones – a graveyard of lost ships and souls! Finally, you’ll board the crew’s galleon, ready to set sail to the Spanish Main once you’ve used your newfound knowledge to elect your favourite Pirate Hero as leader.

The Pirate’s Quest Experience also includes a detour through the Cornish Land of Legend, a mythical realm filled with Arthurian knights and gruesome giants. Plus there’s a chance to earn yourself some booty if you fill in a treasure map along your journey, with challenges for all ages.

Throughout the attraction, the experience has been enhanced with new costumes, special effects, lighting and sound in addition to the ‘Pirate Heroes’ storyline new for 2019.

What: BEASTLY BUCCANEERS this May Half Term at Pirate’s Quest, Newquay.
When: May Half Term, 25th May – 2nd June 2019 (Check website for available dates and timeslots)

Why Visit: Join the LIVE Crew at Pirate’s Quest and discover the horrible history of Piracy

Admission: £10.95 Adult, £7.95 Child (3-16), Under 3s go FREE, Group rates available

BOOKING: Due to popularity, it is strongly advised to book well in advance to secure the date and entry time of choice. All Experiences are available to book online at or call 01637 873379

Newquay Zoo’s cute world first

Posted on Tuesday 21st May, 2019

Newquay Zoo’s cute world first

A zoo keeper at Newquay Zoo in Cornwall is hand-rearing a rare and beautiful jungle mammal.

The female Owston’s civet was born in early April. Head Keeper Dave Rich has put his life on hold since then to care for the youngster. He’s an experienced animal professional, but that doesn’t make him impervious to her considerable charms – far from it. “She’s incredibly cute!”

It’s likely that Dave’s quick actions saved her life shortly after she was born. Mother Nam started to go into labour the very day that Newquay Zoo Curator John Meek returned from a key civet conference in Vietnam. When Dave checked in on Nam first thing in the morning, he found she had given birth to triplets, though sadly two were stillborn.

“They were all wet and Nam was not tending to them, so I caught them all up in my jumper, after-birth and all, and got them to the vet, but only one was alive.”

They got the surviving new-born warm and fed – and she’s been part of Dave’s life ever since. The first few days are always uncertain, and she has been back to the vet a couple of times, but she seems to be out of the woods: “She is important to the future of her species, we couldn’t risk losing her.” She goes home with him and stays with him on his day off, though “day off” is a bit of a misnomer right now…

The Cornish charity zoo is a leading authority on the Owston’s civet. It’s home to more of this Endangered species than any other collection in Europe, with 5, plus the new arrival. There are currently just 17 adults in zoos and sanctuaries globally - 10 in Europe and 7 in Vietnam. No one really knows how many there are in the wild, but it’s fair to say that there are not enough.

Newquay Zoo was the last zoo to breed civets, and that was three years ago. In the UK, only Newquay Zoo, Shaldon Wildlife Trust in Devon, Port Lympne in Kent and Thrigby Hall in Norfolk have them.

The civet kitten is on Royal Canin Babycat Milk, warmed to body temperature and fed to her from a very small bottle. At first she took 2ml at each feed every 1.5 to 2 hours. She is now happily guzzling 10ml per feed, every 4 hours. Dave: “She has a very quirky little routine – she’s far too busy wanting to make noise, explore and wrestle with the bottle for the first two attempts and then almost every time takes the bottle on the third try and guzzles the lot!”

She travels in style, in a small portable brooder kept at 28 to 30 degrees centigrade. Dave: “It’s getting heavier by the day!” She makes a lot of squeaks and sniffing noises (coupled with the occasional burp after a good feed). Her calls are a combination of craving for food, eagerness to explore and desperation to communicate. “She lets you know when she’s not impressed with having her bum wiped!”

She was 115 grams when she was born on 15th April. At day 18 she weighed 178 grams. Other than a little trouble with constipation, she’s strong and lively, sleeping between feeds but very active at feeds. “Her eyes are just starting to open now.”

If Dave is successful, it’ll be a world first – no one has ever hand reared an Owston ‘s civet to adulthood. As he says, no pressure… Newquay Zoo has five Owston’s civets, Con Trai, Quy, Dong Ha, mother Nam and father Bao. This charismatic nocturnal small carnivore is native to Vietnam and the surrounding region. It’s listed as Endangered by conservationists as the population continues to decline in the wild.

Newquay Zoo is a registered charity. For more information go to or ring 01637 873342.


Lappa Valley's new £1.2m cafe and play area

Posted on Friday 10th May, 2019

Lappa Valley's new £1.2m cafe and play area

Lappa Valley Steam Railway are delighted to announce that they will be constructing a new £1.2m building on the fun park site, creating a brand-new café and indoor soft play area at the much-loved family visitor attraction.

The Engine Shed, a 7,000 square foot new building, will contain a large coffee shop and café overlooking the picturesque boating lake, with a substantial soft play area where young children can play safely. There will also be an outdoor park area, as well a beautiful decking to enjoy coffee and lunch outdoors.

The building will also allow the Lappa team an indoor space to run activities and workshops throughout the year and will see Lappa Valley opening year-round when they open for the 2020 season.

Planning permission was granted in February 2019 and, following some trial digs in the area in April, work will begin in earnest in coming weeks. The building work will commence during 2019, with The Engine Shed opening to the public in 2020.

Keith Southwell, owner at Lappa Valley Steam Railway, said: “This is a really exciting time for the whole team at Lappa Valley. The Engine Shed will provide a place for parents to refuel and for children to let off steam.

“Here at Lappa, we’ve always been at the mercy of the great Cornish weather – but this building will give us an indoor space for families to enjoy as well as all of our great outdoor fun. We are looking forward to running classes, workshops and activities in The Engine Shed too, which is a new departure for us. We can’t wait to open the new building next year, and we hope all our visitors will love it too!”

The current Whistle Stop Café will be transformed into a retro-style ice cream parlour, while the Carriage Café, a former full size railway  carriage converted into a café, will offer sandwiches and afternoon teas, as well as the traditional Cornish cream tea.

A project manager has been appointed to oversee the smooth running of the project.

Lappa Valley Steam Railway offers a steam railway ride into a family attraction – with a boating lake, crazy golf, play areas and two more railways lines, we’re the best place in Cornwall for families of under 10s. For more information, please visit


Zoo celebrates with Ring Tail Ale

Posted on Friday 10th May, 2019

Zoo celebrates with Ring Tail Ale

Newquay Zoo is fifty years old this year – and what better way to mark the anniversary than with a celebratory tipple? 

The charity zoo has teamed up with Keltek Cornish Brewery to produce Ring Tail Ale, named after one of the most iconic Newquay Zoo species, the ring-tailed lemur. Launched at the start of May, Ring Tail Ale is available in bottles and on tap at various local outlets from now until stocks last.

Richard Heath, Managing Director of Keltek Cornish Brewery, said: “Keltek Cornish Brewery is proud to have been asked to help celebrate Newquay Zoo’s 50th Anniversary by brewing Ring Tail Ale. Using only whole hop flowers and British malts, Ring Tail Ale is a 4.2% Cornish bitter in the finest tradition.”   

Pippa Craddock, Director of Marketing & Development for parent charity the Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust, added: “We’re delighted to be working with Keltek. The support that they are giving us will make a real difference to vital conservation work both at home and overseas.”

For every pint or bottle of Ring Tail Ale sold, the brewery is donating 10p to the charity zoo. So you can raise a glass to Newquay Zoo’s birthday knowing you’re raising funds for a good cause. Newquay Zoo marks its fiftieth birthday on Sunday 26th May with a day of festivities.

Newquay Zoo is a registered charity. For more information go to or ring 01637 873342.


Wheal Martyn's Success at the Cornwall Heritage Awards 2019

Posted on Thursday 9th May, 2019

Wheal Martyn's Success at the Cornwall Heritage Awards 2019

Wheal Martyn are delighted to announce that they have won the Innovation Award in the 2019 Cornwall Heritage Awards. The awards, which are organised by Cornwall Museums Partnership and South West Museums Development Programme, were this year hosted by BBC Radio Cornwall, on Thursday 21 March 2019 at Trenderway Farm, near Looe.

The museum won the award in recognition of their recent Clay Stories campaign. Clay Stories aims to unlock historic stories from Wheal Martyn’s collection, centering around various monthly themes. These stories are shared through social media, exhibitions, themed children’s activities, engagement projects, and even new café creations. The Clay Stories themes allow staff and volunteers to highlight not only the importance, but also the variety of stories around the clay industry. Focusing on different areas of the industry, such as clay landscapes, the importance of water, and local stories, the museum has relished the opportunity to promote the clay industry’s global importance, whilst reinforcing its close connection to individuals in Cornwall.

A particular highlight is Arthur’s story, a dedicated Wheal Martyn volunteer. As part of the museum’s Kettle Kids theme in summer 2018, visitors were able to discover the fascinating story of Arthur’s role in the clay industry as a Kettle Boy, from the young age of 14. The tale was brought to life through an interactive trail and quiz, children’s activities, dressing up and Kettle Kids menu in the café, in addition to information snippets and interaction on social media, and coverage on ITV news, BBC Radio Cornwall and St Austell Bay Radio.

To learn more, follow Wheal Martyn on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, visit the website or call 01726 850362.


Stepping into Eden for National Walking Month

Posted on Thursday 9th May, 2019

Stepping into Eden for National Walking Month


The Eden Project today (Wednesday May 8) marked National Walking Month by bringing together health groups for a special stroll around the garden.

Each Tuesday Eden hosts a COPD Walking Group and on Wednesdays a Diabetes and Cardiac Group.

Today they were joined by walkers from across the local network of ‘Heart of Cornwall’ Walking for Health groups.

In all, 64 walkers and one dog teamed up for some healthy exercise, including representatives from various Walking Groups such as Par Bay Big Local, Treverbyn Community Hall and Pine Lodge.

Eden has hosted inclusive health walks since 2005, with routes varying from half a mile to a mile and half, providing options for all abilities, all led by qualified volunteer Walk Leaders.

Heidi Morgan, Nature’s Way Programme Manager at Eden, said: “Today was a great opportunity for everyone who regularly takes part in any walk in the local area to come together at Eden to celebrate walking together.

“As well as the many physical benefits, walking outside in nature and in a group is a sociable activity which can help people feel more connected to each other. In our experience being connected to each other and the world around us has a really positive effect on wellbeing.”

Hayley Burgoyne, Social Prescribing Facilitator at St Austell Healthcare Group, said: “This is a fantastic way to celebrate National Walking Month by getting all of our walkers together to meet each other and to celebrate together, as well as being able to enjoy the great outdoors and physical activity.”

To find out more about any of the walks, please contact the Group Coordinator at Eden, Karen Dawkins, on 01726 818881 or


May Half Term at National Maritime Museum Cornwall

Posted on Thursday 9th May, 2019

May Half Term at National Maritime Museum Cornwall

This May half term National Maritime Museum Cornwall is packed to the gunwales with great things to do for all the family, including Ship Wreck Survivor demonstrations, craft making and survival trails.

Become a ‘Shipwreck Survivor’ with instructors from ‘Footsteps of Discovery’ and learn how to stay alive on a desert island! There will be live demonstrations and fascinating talks where intrepid explorers can discover bush craft, fire-lighting techniques and an introduction to primitive weapons. The sessions are informative and fun for children and adults of all ages.

There are two sittings of Shipwreck Survivors every weekday from 10.30am – 12.30pm and 2pm – 4pm. The sittings are led by real experts who will give four half hour demonstrations every week day, with plenty of opportunity to join in and take part.

Footsteps of Discovery, who return to National Maritime Museum Cornwall after a hugely successful visit earlier this year, specialise in extreme survival and have been sharing their skills and knowledge for over a decade.

Get hands on and join in survival craft making and complete a makeshift mini shelter and handy pair of binoculars. Find all the clues on the survival trail, dotted throughout the museum, to become a champion desert island survivor.

All the special May half term activities are included free of charge as part of the ticket price to enter the museum. Also included is access to 15 galleries, including dedicated spaces to Cornish maritime history, the Titanic Exhibition and all the usual family favourites such as the Treasure Island Play Zone, the Survival Zone where you can climb aboard the exhibits and the Tidal Zone.

Go to NMMC.CO.UK for dates, times and more information.


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