Tanglewood Wild Garden

In Brief

Type: Nature attraction
Suitable for: Wild nature lovers
Location: Sancreed Lane, Newbridge, Penzance
Price: Adults £6, children £3 and under-fives go for free
Dog friendly?: Yes

Buying a patch of rural land and letting the brambles and thistles grow all over the place doesn’t sound like the recipe for a successful tourist attraction. But at Tanglewood Wild Garden, this sort of rough-and-ready-nature approach is positively encouraged. And the steady flow of visitors throughout the year is testament to the venue’s unique method.

The nine-acre Tanglewood, in Newbridge, which is just on the outskirts of Penzance, is a natural haven for flora and fauna. It consists of a tranquil garden and woodland, as well as four serene ponds. The whole point of the attraction is that it’s kept as wild as possible, hence the name, creating a different experience to, say, most of the National Trust properties around Cornwall that preen all the green to perfection regularly.

A variety of native trees and plants line the land here, interspersed with several exotic varieties that together work in harmony with the insects, butterflies and bees that flit across these pastures. Dogs are welcome and visitors are encouraged to get out their blankets and hampers on a patch of grass or on one of the park benches for a picnic in the sun as there are no catering facilities on this site. They are also invited to slowly wander around the garden and into the woodland to take in all the creatures and plants. Kids will love the rope swing that the team behind the attraction has put up for them and there are also compost toilets in the grounds.

Tanglewood is a refreshing place as instead of cutting out all those pesky brambles and nettles like most nature attractions, these ‘weeds’ are actively encouraged to thrive so that they create vital habitats for all the wildlife. It could be argued that this creates a more back-to-nature experience for all the visitors that frequent the garden. Even the grasses are only cut down to a height of four inches so that insects get plenty of cover. This means that there are loads of frogs and toads around the ponds and boggy areas, as well as birds like wildfowl, kingfishers, Canadian geese and mallards. Of course, dragonflies flit across the shallow waters and there are regular sightings of lizards and newts, plus, in the wooded areas, owls, rooks and buzzards are frequently spotted alongside badgers, squirrels and rabbits.

New for 2022: the Cake Hut has opened on the grounds at Tanglewood, serving up, well, take a guess. Each cake is homemade and delicious, by all accounts. The hut does a good sideline in hot and cold drinks and other refreshments too but it’s only open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays between 10am and 3.30pm so time your visit well!

All in all, the team at Tanglewood has been working on the ponds and planting trees like willow and poplar around the garden since 2001. Just because it’s ‘wild’, it doesn’t mean the team doesn’t go to great efforts to provide a really quite unique attraction for nature-loving adults and children who want a wild day out in the Cornish countryside.