“Down the wooded lanes, around the twisting of the Helford Creek. Between the bank smothered in primroses, up again along a steep hill with the sun slanting through the blackthorns, passed a great old walled farm with high closed gateway, and a white cat basking in the sunset at a barn door high up in the wall. Then a fine view of brilliant sea, and back into Falmouth past the Swan Pool.” – Beatrix Potter, March 1892.
The famous children’s writer Beatrix Potter first visited Cornwall for an Easter holiday with her family in March 1892. Miss. Potter recorded all her observations from their visit – the places, people and wildlife – in her coded journal. This diary, which Beatrix kept between the ages of 15 and 30, was written in a code of her own invention. And that code was finally cracked by Leslie Linder in the 1960s. The following extracts about the Potter’s time in Cornwall are taken from Linder’s transcription.
At the time of Beatrix Potter’s first holiday in Cornwall she was just 26 years old and still unknown. It was a sunny spring day when the family arrived by train onto the platform of Falmouth station. In fact, the weather that year had been unseasonably warm and dry and the Potters had sunshine every day of their twelve day visit.
Beatrix’s writing show that she was quickly captivated by the hustle and bustle of the busy town of Falmouth and the beauty of the surrounding countryside.
“The spring growth is far more advanced here, green leaves burst on Hawthorn and some Sycamores, where in London are bare sticks . . . we never before had such a glory for weather, cloudless days, burning sun and the air so pure that it transmits every smell within twenty yards, from wall-flowers to fish and manure.”
During their holiday the Potter family took a horse and cart with a local driver to many of Cornwall’s most popular tourist spots. They spent days out on the Lizard and at Land’s End, visited the numerous formal gardens in the area, as well as hunting for cowrie shells on Castle Beach. The long drive to the Lizard “took place as usual in cloudless sunshine” and Potter comments that the dust coating the hedges made them look as if they were “powdered with snow”.
Source: The Cornish Bird
Original publication 20 October 2019
Posted on NatCorn 29th October 2019
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