The Heritage Cottages, built on the site of an old malt house, date from the 18th century. Of the three, Rose Cottage was the home of the Wilton family. William Wilton, who lived here in 1895, was a local coastguard. In his spare time he tended his allotment, above the cottages, where his prized crop of cider apple trees took pride of place. Cider was, and still is, a favourite Cornish
tipple, and William’s home-brew became much in demand. Rose Cottage remained in the Wilton family until 1966 with George Wilton being the last occupant. All three cottages were then taken over by Horatio Thatcher who opened its doors as the Newquay museum. The exhibits came from his private collection of tribal art, mineral specimens, preserved animals and insects which he had collected over many years. Before moving into the cottages, these and other curios were housed, firstly on his schooner, ‘Ada’, then on his second vessel, also called ‘Ada’, both moored on the river Gannel. Sadly, due to several break-ins, this museum was forced to close. It re-opened its doors as the Heritage Cottages a few years ago showing life in Newquay during the early 1900’s.
Beyond the Heritage Cottages you will cross Trenance Road into the continuation of Trenance Gardens. Here you will see the rose walk. See how many varieties of roses you can recognise. As you stroll through the gardens it is interesting to note that this was once a barren marsh which was flooded by the River Gannel at high tide. It was known as the Old Moor and once belonged to the Manor of Treninnick. References to this manor can be found recorded in the Doomsday Book.
The gardens were first laid out in 1906 but it wasn’t until 1932 that the boating lake was formed. This was during the great depression. Local unemployed men were paid dole money, some tobacco and a pasty per day, at the end of each week their wives were given a packet of tea. Whilst work was in progress the Prince of Wales, later Edward VIII, came to Newquay and witnessed the work in progress. Trenance Lake has been used for a variety of sporting events. The Trenance Bashers, the Harbour Rats and the Mayfield Mob would often challenge each other here, and in the summer months they would throw down the gauntlet to visiting children. Paddle boats races on the water and other innocent games were much enjoyed in this beautiful park.
The lake attracts a variety of wildlife; Cormorants, Dabchicks, Coots, Moorhen and a family of Swans. Otters, which must have come across from the River Gannel, have also been observed around the lake.
At the far end of the gardens, on the corner of Mellanvrane Lane and Trevemper Road, are the remains of Mellanvrane Mill. Although mostly hidden from view in a privately owned garden, it is of particular interest. Its name means the ‘Mill of the Rooks’. It had an overshot wheel which was fed by a leat, which now feeds the boating lake. There has been a mill here since before 1775 and the last mill wheel was made around 1875 by John Currah of St Stephen.