Exploring Trenance Gardens, Newquay

Exploring Trenance Gardens, Newquay, can keep you absorbed for hours as there’s more things to discover, explore and enjoy than you might think. There’s no cost of entry, these are public gardens and there’s even free parking on the roadside.  Trenance Cottages Trenance Gardens Newquay

The closest public car park to Trenance Gardens is on the same site as the Zoo and swimming pool, just a 100 yard walk, the other side of the viaduct, if all the free parking around the perimeter of Trenance Gardens is occupied.

Nestling at the head of a sheltered valley, Trenance Gardens enjoy a sub-tropical feel with the plants in the well planted decorative gardens. The gardens and boating lake can provide a haven from strong sea winds during stormy weather.

These public gardens were first laid out in 1906, prior to this it was open marshland directly joining the Gannel. There are lots of plants, walks and benches to sit on. Perfect for a picnic.  There are no charges to visit Trenance Gardens, this is an open public space.

Exploring Trenance Gardens, Newquay

Trenance Gardens, Newquay

Dominating one end of Trenance Gardens is Newquay Boating Lake, which was created in 1932, in the midst of the earlier gardens. Newquay Boating Lake was built by local unemployed men, who were paid dole money, some tobacco and a pasty per day. To keep them turning up, at the end of each week their wives were given a packet of tea. There are rowing boats and pedalos for hire if you want to row, or paddle, around the lake.  This is the only Newquay pedalo hire, none are sea-going.

The Trenance Lakeside cafe is a great spot in the winter, with comfy chairs and big mugs of hot chocolate topped with whipped cream. Watch the world go by through the curtain wall windows.

Trenance Riding Stables

From the riding stables behind the boating lake you can join an organised horse trek along the Gannel and all the way to Crantock Beach. Perfect for horse-lovers who are missing the saddle while away on holiday, or for those who have always wanted to ride a horse on a beach!

Trenance Cottages

Crossing over the road, by the lavatories, using the pedestrian crossing, you’ll discover the old Trenance Cottages. These old cottages date back to the 18th century. Originally built as a malthouse, then converted into cottages, they remained almost untouched until recent years. Trenance Cottages won a Heritage Lottery Grant worth £300k and are now open, having being renovated. Website: Trenance Cottages, Newquay

First recorded in 1327 the valley was a farm, the name Trenance comes from two Cornish words: Tre meaning farm and Nans meaning valley. Trenance was a farm until the early 1900s, There was a malthouse and a Mellanvrane Mill in the valley. If you look on the corner of Mellanvrane Lane and Trevemper Road, hidden in the bushes of a private garden are the final remains of Mellanvrane Mill; you can just see the wall alongside the pavement, the rest is hidden. The Mill was powered by water from a leat, which now feeds into the boating lake.


The towering railway viaduct was built by Joseph Treffry in 1849, five years after he’d completed the Luxulyan Treffry Viaduct. Joseph Treffry was a wealthy engineer who had already bought Newquay harbour and wanted to connect the Harbour to the main railway system. Newquay viaduct was opened on 28 January 1849 by Joseph Treffry riding over it then sending his loaded waggons across with supplies. Later that day barley was sent over the viaduct for shipment from Newquay Harbour. The viaduct was 98′ high from the base of the piers and 630′ long. Originally built purely to transport minerals to and from the harbour, in 1877 Great Western Railway took it over, on a 999 year lease.

The viaduct cuts through the valley, with the zoo, swimming pool, sports centre and tennis courts being the other side of it.

On this other side of the viaduct you’ll find some short strolling routes, a pitch and putt field, children’s playground and the grass bowls club.

Newquay Boating Lake

The gardens are mostly to one end of the large Newquay Boating Lake that the stream leads into.  You can hire rowing boats by the half hour, or simply sail your own paper boats, or model boats. If you’re a local resident there’s a model boat club that meet at the boating lake, this is a small club, just talk to any member that’s at the side of the lake to ask about joining.

Is there Somewhere to Eat at Trenance Gardens?

There are two places to eat, there’s the Lakeside Cafe, a glass-fronted cafe right alongside the boating lake – and there’s the Tea Garden at Trenance Cottages.

Free Things to Do at Trenance Gardens

Trenance Gardens is free entry, it’s a common and open space that’s freely available to everybody.  There’s lots to see walking round, but you can find free things to do too.

  • Pooh Sticks: play Pooh Sticks from the bridges – immortalised by Winnie the Pooh you drop sticks one side of the bridge, then spin round to see whose stick appears first. If you’ve got, or can make, a model boat, you can play with that on the boating lake too.
  • Picnic: You can take your own picnic, Trenance Gardens is an entirely open and available public space for you to bring your own food/drink and enjoy a picnic.  It’s not a “visitor attraction with a door and staff”, it’s like a village green.
  • Trenance Gardens Tree Trail – this tree trail is available as a PDF free download, see what trees are in Trenance. This was first written in 2014 by Newquay in Bloom and Newquay in Bloom, Trenance Gardens Tree Trail

There is free parking alongside the lake, on the main road. The public car park across the road near the Zoo entrance is a pay and display.

Gone, but not forgotten:

Trenance Tea Rooms

Cream Tea, Trenance Tea Rooms

Cream Tea, Trenance Tea Rooms

The Trenance Tea Gardens, closed down in 2006. Located just behind the boating lake, on the eastern end, the business was quirky and unique – and were Taste of the West Award 2005. They also won some national awards, including being voted ‘Top Tea Place in the UK 2001″ – and again in by the Tea Council, and ‘Best for Tea on the Lawn’ by the Independent. The premises are now a private house.

The Willow Men of Trenance

Also gone, but worth a mention, are the three willow men of Trenance. The three headless and armless giant willow men statues were created by artist Serena De La Hey, who also created the giant willow statue alongside the M5 in Somerset. They used to stand on an island in the boating lake, but birds first took away a lot of their twigs, then they nested in them; planting the willow men with plants was tried, but not successful. The cost of repairs, at about £10,000 after just three years, was deemed unsustainable and not a good use of valuable funds, so they were removed. It took a crane to place the three statues in place. The statues were installed on 28 May 2002 at a cost of £25,000, in a state of disrepair by 2005/2006, they were removed in early 2009.

Image: darren shilson, bridge
alex valavanis, cream tea

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