And spends the day on the captivating Antony Estate.

Anita seems captivated by the calm of the estuary

If you have visited Antony Woodland Garden on the Antony Estate you will know the evocative sense of place, space and timelessness.  If you have gazed out across the calm waters of the Lynher estuary, you will know how peaceful and tranquil the setting can be.

Yet there’s a great deal going on here, some of it quite unexpected.  Because beyond the trees, just out of sight is the Royal Navy’s School of Seamanship.  Moored where the estuary narrows and the tidal current is at its strongest, is training ship HMS Brecon.  With a story of such contrast to tell, on a cold, damp day in February we contacted Countryfile and invited them to come to Cornwall.

An early start as BBC CountryFile Comes To Cornwall

After many months of questions, research and then more questions and more research, filming day finally arrived. And so it was that shortly after day-break, on Thursday 4th July the BBC ‘rolled into town’!  On a stunning summer morning we assembled on the Royal Navy pontoons at Jupiter Point, ready to board our boats…

Jupiter Point in the morning sunshine

… and the Lynher looked spectacular!

Then, warmed by the early morning sun and with hardly a ripple upon the water, we set off towards St Germans. In an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and one that is designated as an Area of Special Scientific Interest, the objective of the exercise was to carry out a survey. We wanted to see evidence of wildlife and test the quality of the water too. We knew that despite lots of human activity, wildlife appeared to be thriving and we wanted to formally record our findings.

Aboard HMS Brecon

Survey of the Lynher Estuary

From the relative comfort of the support vessel, we had a great view of the survey boat. Aboard were Lt Cdr Andy Taylor, our Estate Manager Ian Rideout, and our fearless survey volunteers. Also crammed into the small space were the film-crew and the very lovely Anita Rani.  The exercise went off without a hitch (which is short-hand for ‘no-one fell in the drink!).  Then, with lungs full of fresh sea air, plenty of data and wonderful footage in the can we headed back to meet some Royal Navy trainees.

The military has had a presence at Jupiter Point since the Second World War.  Anyone that has read our recent D-Day Blog will know that the US 29th Division billeted beneath the trees at Antony Woodland Garden, before leaving for the beaches of Normandy in 1945.

HMS Brecon

Today, Jupiter Point is the home of the Royal Navy’s highly successful School of Seamanship. Each year some 9,000 trainees, many still in their teens, pass through the School on their way to completing basic training.

Each week, HMS Brecon serves as the perfect training ship, providing recruits with what is often their first taste of life and work at sea.  The estuary is transformed into a bustling noisy place. Young men and women fling themselves into the strong current, learn survival skills and how to navigate tricky conditions.

And all the while, bemused Cormorants look on…

Sunshine on the water, shade in the Garden

Filming beneath the Ilex Oak

With so much to tell, you won’t be surprised to learn dear reader, that we spent some six hours on the estuary. Then after a well earned lunch at Broomhill Cottage we re-grouped in the Gardens beneath the shade of the mighty Ilex Oak that line the foreshore.

Our Grade 2 listed, Repton inspired landscape is an environment dedicated to the study of the science of botany. A place where we seek to improve the methods and practice of horticulture whilst conserving biodiversity and preserving trees and other plant specimens.

The day was perfect, without a cloud in the sky. All manor of mini-beasts flitted about the sun-baked rides of wild flowers. Rolling countryside, still waters and green trees shimmered in the background.  We think that we successfully captured the juxtaposition of MOD hustle and bustle on the water, and peace and quiet in the Gardens just a short distance away.  In the end, many hours of stunning footage was captured, until eventually someone yelled ‘its a wrap’!!

And all the while, bemused visitors looked on…

For the full story, don’t forget to watch: 

BBC CountryFile on Sunday 21st July 2019 »


Sarah Bartlett



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