The Nearly There Trees ~ Symbol On A Border

Close to the Devon and Cornwall border, high on a hill, sit a copse of beech trees that have become iconic to those travelling past.nearly there trees

Nearly Home Trees by Duncan Scobie

These trees go by many names, such as: the ‘nearly there trees’, ‘nearly home trees’, 'Cornwall beyond', 'grandma's trees', 'the unicorn's wood' and 'fairy wood'. The actual place name where they can be found is Cookworthy Knapp, which is near Lifton in Devon.

These trees are symbolic because they can be seen for miles around and mark the point in a journey where travellers are just about to cross the border from Devon into Cornwall. They are a sign that drivers are ‘nearly there’, whether ‘there’ is the start of a holiday or a return to home.

Facebook groups such as ‘Love Cornwall & Devon’ are full of pictures of the trees from people passing, marking the start of their holidays. Such is the popularity of these trees that they now figure on tee shirts and mugs as well as, of course, inspiring painters and photographers.


Where did these trees come from?

The trees were planned in about 1900. There are about 140 beech trees in the shape of a circle, or some say the shape of a heart. There are many different local stories as to why they were planted. Some say that they were simply put there to offer shelter to farm animals, while another story goes that they were a gesture by a local farmer to help remember his late wife.

It doesn’t really matter which of these stories is true. The trees are now firmly rooted as a symbol in Cornish seaside holiday culture as symbols marking the border between holiday and home.

Where are the nearly home trees?

On a hill just South of the A30, near Lifton in Devon,

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The Poppies of West Pentire

Each year, at some point between mid-June to early July, the fields on the West Pentire Headland, erupt into numerous shades of red and yellow as the poppy and corn marigold fields flower.

west pentire view

View over West Pentire by Jamie Turnbull

These fields, found on the headland between Crantock and Polly Joke, are carefully managed by the National Trust. The Trust use old arable farming techniques to grow these fields of rare wildflowers, which in turn offer a haven for wildlife and a beautiful spectacle for human visitors.

top down poppies

Poppies Top Down by Duncan Scobie

I’ve been visiting the fields in flower for some years now, and I have to say that this year (whether as a result of management, or the weather) they were very dramatic ~ the red of the poppies being particularly sensational.

View to Crantock by Scott Fisher

As the wildflowers blossom, the fields attract aerial photographers looking to offer their own unique perspective on this remarkable phenomenon. This is not an easy site to fly at though: the majority of the land is owned by The National Trust, and it also boarders an SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest).

crantock poppies

Poppies on the Coast Path by Jamie Turnbull

As the colours of the fields thicken and deepen, social media starts to populate with people taking adoring pictures of the fields. If you are visiting the poppy fields then please stick to the footpaths. Instagram is full of posts of people standing in the fields having their photographs taken, but as the National Trust point out: ‘Flowers Don’t Grow Where Feet Go’.

cornflowers west pentire

Corn Marigold Fields West Pentire by Jamie Turnbull

Skylarks also build their nests in the flower fields, and so it is important not to disturb them. When done responsibly, aerial photography is perhaps a more environmentally friendly way of photographing the beauty of these fields?

Flower Fields at Sunset by Jedd

If you're thinking of visiting West Pentire the following might be useful.


How to find the poppies at West Pentire?

The closest village to the flower fields in Crantock, which is near Newquay. There is a footpath leading from Crantock, through the flower fields, to the coastal path.

You can find the foot path by using the following:

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Where to park?

There are three carparks within walking distance of the poppy fields.

Polly Joke National Trust Car Park


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Polly Joke Car Park

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The Bowgie Inn Car Park


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By Jamie Turnbull