Over 45,000 Mount visitors journey through time

A new collection of artworks has captivated the hearts and minds of visitors from across the world. The Steward’s House gallery, home to the Sheila Hichens Collection of Newlyn School art, has become a hub of cultural significance, drawing in over 45,000 visitors in its inaugural year alone.

Founded on the testament of Sheila Hichens, a stalwart protector of Cornwall’s heritage, the Sheila Hichens Trust was established with a single purpose – to commemorate everyday Cornish life, as it thrived a century ago. And what better way to manifest this vision than through the masterpieces of the Newlyn School artists?

As visitors walk through the gallery, they are transported back in time to an era when life revolved around the bustling fishing village of Newlyn and the surrounding countryside. The talents of revered artists such as Stanhope Forbes and Walter Langley fill the walls, breathing life into their subjects with each brushstroke. Pioneers of British plein-air painting, they captured the soul of West Cornwall, the landscape, and its hardworking people.

“For over 45,000 people to visit this exhibition in its first year is extraordinary and confirms both the public interest in this fine collection, as well as the unique location The Mount provides to exhibit it.” William Rogers, Trustee of the Sheila Hichens Trust

The significance of this collection extends beyond the walls of the gallery. It serves as a veritable time capsule, preserving for future generations, a period that shaped Cornwall’s cultural and social fabric. Educational initiatives from the St Aubyn Foundation have helped engage the local community, providing opportunities for learning and promoting a deeper understanding of the artists and their contribution to Cornwall’s artistic legacy.

“Born in Cornwall, Sheila had a great interest in local history and art. Her final wishes were to create a trust to purchase an art collection which reflected her interests. She would have been so grateful to the trustees for their hard work in fulfilling her wishes. I know that she would have been thrilled that this exhibition has been such a success in its first year and that it has been seen by so many people.” Debbie Osborne, goddaughter to Sheila Hichens

The Steward’s House gallery is free to access for all visitors from 01 October until 30 April, during opening hours. Check causeway times in advance of your visit.

‘The Letter’ by Frederick Millard’The Letter’ by Frederick Millard

Mount Garden Team support Wave Rangers Community Project

On Thursday 20 July, the Wave Rangers installation in St Anthony’s Gardens, Penzance was officially opened. Wave Rangers, the nature-based educational programme from The Wave Project, opened the garden designed by pupils from Nancealverne School Sixth Form. The garden is a unique collaboration between pupils from Nancealverne School, The Wave Project, Cornwall Wildlife Trust, St Aubyn Estates, Jubilee Pool, garden designer Michael Harvey, graphic designer Amelia Berkely and the RSPB.

During the planning stage, pupils visited St Michael’s Mount and worked with the garden and Learning Hub team to propagate succulent plants which have subsequently been planted in the gardens. They visited the RSPB in Marazion and worked with Cornwall Wildlife Trust to learn about the intertidal zone. They learnt how special and unique their local environment and community is and created the garden to send a message to visitors and the community to love and respect their local area.

Showcasing a notice board describing the journey and involvement of the pupils, the garden display will form part of the Cornwall Wildlife Trust Marine Trail in Mount’s Bay.

Find out more about Wave Rangers on The Wave Project website here.

St Michael’s Mount Garden opening raises £4,800 for National Garden Scheme

During the King’s Coronation weekend in May, hundreds of visitors enjoyed exploring the island’s unique, terraced garden with proceeds donated to a worthy cause.

The National Garden Scheme supports a range of beneficiaries from the income generated from private garden openings that take place across the country each year. This extends across healthcare from Macmillan Cancer Support, Marie Curie and Parkinson’s UK, through to Perennial, the UK’s only charity to support gardeners and their families during difficult times.

Dr Sarah Gadd from the National Garden Scheme said:

“On behalf of us all, I want to thank the St Aubyn family for their generosity, which reaches back more than 60 years when they first opened their beautiful garden for our charity. Raising over £4,800 during The King’s Coronation weekend was an amazing result and testament to their visitors’ love of this very special place and its beautiful, inspiring garden. The island’s Head Chef kindly created delicious Coronation cupcakes which went down a treat with visitors, the proceeds of which were also kindly donated.”

The beneficiaries of the charity donations raised will be close to the hearts of many of us at some stage in our lives. In Cornwall, the charity will continue to support this vital work for many years to come.

George Plumptre, Chief Executive of the National Garden Scheme added:

“To have the support of one family and one very special garden since 1959 is wonderful for the National Garden Scheme. The fact that many gardens open for us year on year speaks volumes about the importance of our work and the enduring pleasure that people get not only from opening their gardens but also from visiting them.”

To learn more about the NGS and future garden openings, please visit: ngs.org.uk

Further information about the garden at St Michael’s Mount can be found here.

Coronation Weekend at St Michael’s Mount

Bells, boats, bunting and a Big Lunch, to celebrate this momentous occasion…

Special garden opening for National Garden Scheme

There will be a special opening of the beautiful garden at St Michael’s Mount in support of the National Garden Scheme (NGS) during the King’s coronation weekend as part of the island’s celebrations.

On Sunday 7 May, visitors can explore the inspiring garden that has evolved over the years since the creation of the initial Walled Garden in the 1780s.

The island’s garden is not normally open on a Sunday and all proceeds from garden tickets sold for this day will be donated to the NGS.

Dr Sara Gadd from the National Garden Scheme said:

“St Michael’s Mount is a fascinating and iconic landmark. We are so pleased that Lord and Lady St Levan are opening the stunning garden once again as part of their support for the National Garden Scheme. The St Aubyn family have backed the NGS for more than 60 years, first opening their garden for our charity in 1959.”

The National Garden Scheme supports a range of beneficiaries from the income generated from private garden openings that take place across the country annually. This extends across healthcare from Macmillan Cancer Support, Marie Curie, Hospice UK, and The Queen’s Nursing Institute. It also supports Perennial, the UK’s only charity that provides help for gardeners and their families during challenging times.

Originally established as a charity in 1927 to support District Nurses from The Queens Nursing Institute, today it provides access to more than 3,500 exceptional private gardens with more than £3.1 million donated to their chosen charities in 2022.

The garden will be open from 9.30am to 5pm with last entries at 3.30pm on the day. Admission to the garden is £11 for adults and £6.50 for children (age 5-17), under 5s go free. Discounted family tickets are also available.

To book tickets click here.

To learn more about the NGS and future garden openings visit ngs.org.uk

The St Michael Returns After Refit

An oversized amphibious vehicle made for an unusual sight on Cornwall’s roads recently as it made the 22-mile journey on a specialist lorry from Falmouth to Marazion after undergoing a major refit in the Cornish port.

The St Michael, a ‘Sealander 32’ amphibious vehicle that is as happy on land as it is on water, is more commonly found making light work of the half-mile journey through the waves from St Michael’s Mount to Marazion beach.

It provides a transport lifeline to the 30 residents of St Michael’s Mount during the winter months when the Marazion to St. Michael’s Mount duty boat service is not possible to operate. It ferries the residents and staff, including taking the island children to school and brings provisions from the mainland.

Originally built in Falmouth and launched in 2003, the versatile twin-engine amphibious vehicle measures 11.5 metres in length and has a beam (width) of 4.7 metres. It can carry 38 passengers or up to 1,000kg of cargo.

The St Michael was specifically commissioned by Lord St Levan and is the latest in the line of amphibious vehicles that have served the island and its residents since the 1950s.

The acquisition of the first amphibious vehicle, a World War Two DUKW, came after the then Lord St Levan witnessed these vehicles transporting scrap from the grounded HMS Warspite from the sea just off the island. Several other amphibious vehicles were used in the intervening years to connect the island to the mainland until the St Michael took over the role 19 years ago.

The major overhaul by A&P Falmouth will enable the vehicle to continue to undertake its vital role in connecting the island community. It re-entered service after some final maintenance touches were undertaken after arriving back at Marazion.

The St Michael’s most notable passengers to date were Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and The Duke of Edinburgh when they visited the iconic Cornish landmark in 2013.

The Queen’s Green Canopy in Friendship Woods

Over 250 pupils from St Hilary and Marazion schools in West Cornwall gathered in Friendship Woods this week to plant 500 new trees as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy, a nationwide initiative to create a living legacy in Her Majesty’s name. The project, to mark the year of the Platinum Jubilee, will see one million new trees planted across the nation.

Friendship Woods is part of the St Aubyn Estate and is a favourite with walkers. There are a variety of tree species in the woodland, including many majestic, mature pines. An initial planting area measuring 70m by 30m that sits in the heart of Friendship Woods, has been planted with of a variety of native trees including a mix of sessile oak, beech and birch for the main area, with mountain ash, field maple, crab apple and cherry planted on the perimeter.

The initiative teaches children to plan, plant and protect a new tree. It helps future generations understand the importance of trees in our environment and community, as well as providing a vital habitat for local wildlife. The young trees are planted around the focal point of a central, mature oak tree.

“Asking local children to plant new trees felt both symbolic and appropriate,” said Kerry Rice, Education Officer from St Aubyn Estates, “mighty oaks from little acorns grow, and this project certainly has that ambition for success.”

Lord St Levan and Rowan Shaw of TreeWise Tree Services helped the children to plant the trees and with plans to plant a further 3,000 in the coming years, the new Green Canopy in Friendship Woods will serve as a lasting tribute to Her Majesty’s extraordinary service to her country and her people.

St Michael’s Mount - Where Learning Comes to Life

A new initiative to engage with schools and community groups across West Cornwall has been created by St Aubyn Estates. The Learning Hub is headed up by Kerry Rice, Education Officer, who joins the Estate following 10 years of teaching at a local primary school and before that, 20 years as Learning Curator at Tate St Ives.

Based at St Michael’s Mount, Kerry will lead and shape a new educational programme on the Mount with plans to establish an outdoor learning strategy across the entire Estate. Working with schools and community groups across West Cornwall, the programme will be designed to engage children and young people in creative and collaborative experiences that bring the history of the island and its locality to life.

Kerry will be supporting teachers to plan group visits, helping them create links to the National Curriculum and providing them with relevant teaching resources. This includes literacy-focused visits to learn about the myth of Cormoran the giant; geography-focused trips to understand the nature of a tidal island; art-focused visits to view paintings from the Newlyn School art collection, history-focused tours that delve deep into the timeline of the Mount and science-based topics exploring the wildlife and shoreline of Marazion beach and marshes.

Several exciting projects are already in the pipeline. This December will see the planting of 500 trees for the Queen’s Green Canopy in Friendship Woods with pupils from St Hilary School and Marazion School planting saplings to be enjoyed by future generations.  The Gwelva Time Capsule project launches in the new year and hopes to bring Marazion School children together to create or source items for a time capsule to be buried on Gwelva Boat Landing, one of the boat landings where visitors take boats to and from the Mount. Next summer, the West Cornwall Primary School Book Festival, a project sponsored by the St Aubyn Foundation, will take place at Penwith College.

“Schools and learning groups have always been welcomed to the Mount and the wider Estate. The introduction of a dedicated Learning Hub brings structure to our offer and provides the vital resources that teachers need to bring important subjects to life.” Harvey Thomas, CEO, St Aubyn Estates.

The Learning Hub is funded by the St Aubyn Foundation, a charitable programme that supports initiatives in West Cornwall that make a difference to the local community.

St Michael’s Mount Extends Local’s Pass to include all west Penwith parishes

St Michael’s Mount is set to extend its Local’s Pass to ensure free entry onto the Mount all year round for anyone from the west Penwith parishes that ring the historic island.

The Local’s Pass was first introduced as the Marazion Pass after the Covid-19 pandemic forced St Michael’s Mount to limit the number of people visiting the island.

After a 12-month trial with free access available to anyone living in Marazion, the scheme is to be opened to anyone living in the parishes from Sennen in the west to St Hilary and St Erth in the east.

That means that people living locally will be able to visit the harbour and village for free whenever the Mount is open for business.

Residents from the 16 parishes of Sennen; St Just; St Levan; St Buryan, Lamorna and Paul; Sancreed; Morvah; Madron; Marazion; Zennor; Penzance; Perranuthnoe; Ludgvan; St Hilary; St Erth; Towednack can now apply for a Local’s Pass on the day they visit the island.

Access for all other visitors to the island during the months of May to September will continue to be only with a castle or garden ticket. From October to April access to the harbour and village will be free for all visitors.

Ticket-only visiting has significantly reduced pressure on the island’s infrastructure and its team, made visiting the island more enjoyable and lessened traffic congestion in Marazion.

St Aubyn Estates chief executive Harvey Thomas said:

“During the early part of the pandemic, we had to make decisions to protect the Mount in a hurry. Making the island ticket only was vital. We were always aware that this impacted our local community.

“We introduced the local’s pass and included everyone living on our immediate doorstep, in Marazion, with a commitment to review the success of the system and, having operated it for 12 months, it’s clear that we can widen it out.

“We know that many people living in west Cornwall have a strong connection with the Mount - it’s part of the sense of place that we all feel.

“The extended pass will mean that anyone who lives within the 16 parishes around the Mount, the people who see the Mount every day, can apply for a pass and visit any time when we’re open to the public.”

The Mount’s access arrangements will continue to be reviewed to ensure that the sensitive infrastructure of the Mount, which is also home and workplace to its own small community, is protected.

People living outside the 16 parishes can still apply for a Mount Memories Pass, these single-use passes are available on application to anyone who feels a special emotional tie to the island.

St Michael’s Mount garden opening raises £7,000 for National Garden Scheme

Visitors enjoyed exploring the island’s unique terraced garden was designed in the 1870s for Sir John St Aubyn, who later became the 1st Lord St Levan.

Dr Sarah Gadd from the National Garden Scheme said:

“St Michael’s Mount is a totally unique place, and we are very fortunate that Lord and Lady St Levan are such fabulous supporters of the National Garden Scheme. On behalf of us all, I want to thank the St Aubyn family for their generosity, which extends back more than 60 years to 1959 when they first opened their beautiful garden for our charity.

“Raising over £7,000 on their open day during The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee weekend was an amazing result and testament to visitors’ love of this very special place and its inspiring garden. I was amazed by the kindness of all the St Michael’s Mount staff who came in on a Saturday, which is usually their day off, to support our charities.”

The National Garden Scheme supports a range of beneficiaries from the income generated from private garden openings that take place across the country each year. This extends across healthcare from Macmillan Cancer Support, Marie Curie and Parkinson’s UK, through to Perennial, the UK’s only charity to support gardeners and their families during difficult times.

Originally established as a charity in 1927 to support District Nurses from The Queens Nursing Institute, the NGS donated over £3 million to charities post-pandemic in 2021 alone.

Dr Gadd added:

“The Benefactors of the charity donations raised by wonderful gardens such as St Michael’s Mount, on behalf of NGS, will be close to all of our hearts at some stage in all of our lives, from Cornwall to Northumberland.

“In Cornwall, the charity will continue this vital work with the help of our garden owners for many years to come. A very special thank you goes to Lord and Lady St Levan for one of Cornwall’s largest single donations to our charity this year.”

To learn more about the NGS and future garden openings please visit www.ngs.org.uk

Further information about the garden at St Michael’s Mount can be found at www.stmichaelsmount.co.uk.