Back from paradise


I’ve just returned from what feels like paradise. Although getting to paradise has involved a fair amount of travelling.

First stop Painswick, the delightful Gloucestershire village with the churchyard with many yew trees – a folklore tradition states there will only ever be 99, I didn’t count them, just enjoyed the peace.



This stopping, space for breathing – for me, is essential. I am happy to be away. After a night in Stroud I am now joined by my travelling companions, Gemma and her dog Samson, and we set off.


Next stop Truro – you don’t often see multiples of red telephone boxes anymore. I visit the cathedral.

Yes, monkey puzzle trees are found and noted, although we have passed through TA monkey-less. (Note – if you are in Truro, I would like a photograph of the monkey puzzle tree at The Alverton hotel, and the one at Penmount Crematorium). Many of the trees I spot in Cornwall have already been catalogued thanks to Agent Jim.

We arrive at Porthtowan, which doesn’t look like paradise in the grey drizzle.


And we are staying at ‘Ocean Breeze’, right on the edge of the beach. I’m not quite sure what to call it – a holiday flat or apartment…

cabin arrow

These holiday flats are part of a development which includes the Blue Bar, the location is amazing. Access to the flat is at the rear.


The next morning is sunny and blue. We are in paradise.

We take the coast path and walk to Chapel Porth. I haven’t see so many violets like this anywhere else before.

And we walk in paradise.

The day comes to an end, we all enjoy a brief paddle, and the sun sets on paradise. Swimming costumes and wetsuits were packed, but not worn.

The next day we set off for Heligan, or ‘The Lost Gardens of Heligan’, which is one of my favourite places and I can hardly believe it’s eight years since I’ve been in Cornwall and visited here. It’s such a lovely place – and, yes, monkey puzzle trees were found.

PL333 and 334 Heligan pic2 Sarah

PL333 and PL334, with Pseudopanax ferox planting underneath.

PL333 and 334 Heligan Sarah

PL333 and PL334. Splendid.

The Monkey Map catalogue already contained PL10 and PL11 from Matthew Pottage’s collection, and a recent find PL332 from Agent Naturanaute. But there were more… all in the part of Heligan called ‘The Jungle’.

PL Heligan

We return to Ocean Breeze for our final sunset….

And return to Stroud the next day across Dartmoor.


Unbelievably, in this strange landscape, I do find a monkey puzzle tree! It’s in the garden of The Cherrybrook B&B, slap bang in the middle of Dartmoor.

PL The Cherrybrook map

PL The Cherrybrook Dartmoor PL20

We don’t have time to stop, as Gemma has to get back to Stroud for a work meeting, so I find the tree on Google later, wondering if I had in fact imagined it. I’ve asked the owners if they’d like to send me a photograph.

So, that was my trip to paradise, and back.


Thanks to Gemma and Sammy for making the trip.


We stayed at Ocean Breeze Porthtowan Air BnB.




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