Thursday 7 August 2014

Where the Heyl is Helford? [2]

We did, yesterday, find Helford Passage. From here there is a passenger ferry across the river to Helford.
Cornwall's timetable information has not been updated since 2012 but it is reasonable to assume that there has been no change since.
It tells us that the ferry runs "on demand" between 0930 and 1700. So, where does the connecting bus from Falmouth stop?

Travelling from Mawnan Smith to "Helford Passage" you first come to Durgan Crossroads, the terminus of the 1973 timetabled service.
Click on the picture below and you may be able to discern the name "Durgan" on the fingerpost.
There is also a "white on brown" tourist sign to the next two stops ...
... note, Glendurgan first followed by Trebah. Sadly, Cornwall County Council  doesn't quite understand the basics of cartography ...
... putting these two places of interest in the wrong order. But at least Cornwall implies that the bus goes to Helford Passage. Unlike First Bus ...
... which gives the terminus as Trebah Gardens.

Google, as you would expect, compounds the problem with three stops labelled Trebah Gardens ...
... and Traveline has the same three stops at the end of the route; all purporting to be Trebah Garden. Yes the site is a singular garden, not plural; as is its neighbour Glendurgan Garden.
If First Bus is correct, and the 35 terminates at Trebah Garden, then it is a long walk to Helford Passage.
Helford Passage is at "A" and this particular garden entrance is in the top right hand corner, well before the road curves back south for the village. Even in 1973, the terminus of the Western National summer route ...
... was shown as HELFORD PASSAGE (Trebah). But there was no Trebah Garden open to the public in 1973.

Trebah was first laid out as a pleasure garden by Charles Fox, a Quaker polymath of enormous creative energy. His son-in-law, Edmund Backhouse, M.P. for Darlington, took the work further.

From 1939 to 1981 the garden fell into decline, since the substantial Trebah Estate was sold off in small packages, of which the house and garden was one.
In 1981, on their 64th birthday, Tony and Eira Hibbert bought Trebah as their retirement home. They were persuaded to give up the first three years of retirement to restore the garden. Indeed, when Major Hibbert agreed to three years, little did he know it would become a quarter century. This decision, influenced in part by a bottle of gin, "has given us the happiest twenty-four years of our lives."

The garden was opened to the public in 1987 and by 1989 visitor numbers had reached 36,000. In 2000 visitor numbers had exceeded 105,000 and continue too grow.

So where was "Trebah". And old map shows the "settlement" called Trebah, located somewhat nearer to Helford Passage than the present entrance to the Garden and advertised terminus of the main part of the 35 service.
At last, we are able to resolve the problem frustratingly posed by the title of this, and yesterday's blog. Buses have NEVER run to the village of Helford Passage. The service has always turned at "Trebah", NOT Trebah Garden.

That's where it turned when fbb took his penultimate journey which became his ultimate journey on Friday 27th June.
There are no road names to use as a destination; the lane to Trebah is now anonymous and you are not told anywhere that it is a further two thirds of a mile walk to the village, and very much uphill coming back.

So the bus does not serve Helford Passage and does not terminate at Trebah Gardens; so in various ways every source pf information is WRONG. There is nothing, no bus top pole, no timetable frame; nothing to identify that it is a terminus. Now here's an fbb call for help. What should we call this stop? fbb's best offer is "Port Navas turn for Helford Passage". Any better ideas much appreciated.

Budock Vean (also on the sign) is, effectively, a posh hotel and golf complex.
A quick check on line reveals that a single room for a weekend in September would be £131 per night. That probably doesn't include breakfast or golf! Fbb will stick to Travelodge-style.

Mind you, it does look rather splendiferous.
Perhaps the service 35 terminus should be (correctly) called Helford Passage Budock Vean Lane to encourage customers who may wish to come by bus.

Hmmm? It's still quite a hefty walk to the hotel.
Thanks for Plymothian Transit for drawing our attention to this amusing use of language (or use of spell-check software?)
Jacketts ...
... are making changes to their tendered service 52 in Plymouth (Derriford Hospital to Plympton via Estover & Leigham). Here is their on-line announcement:-

Changes to service 52

From Monday 8th September 2014 there will be changed made to some of the evening journeys on service 52.

The 16:15 journey will not leave Derriford Hospital at 16:25 and will run 10 minutes later throughout.

The 17:15 and the 17:45 will be replaced with a single journey at 17:40.

These changes are to ensure the long term inability of this route. 
 Next bus blog : Friday 8th August 


  1. Wikipedia offers the following: "Trebah (Cornish: Tre Worabo, meaning Gorabo's farm) is a 26-acre (110,000 m2) sub-tropical garden situated in Cornwall near Glendurgan Garden and above the Helford River (grid reference SW767273). Part of the parish of Mawnan, the gardens are set within an area of the same name, which includes the small settlements of Trebah Wartha and Trebah Woolas (both are of medieval origin)." I have a distant memory of a Western National timetable having 'Trebahwartha' as the Helford Passage timing point.

  2. Perhaps its the ghost of former smugglers trying to lure unsuspecting visitors onto the 'rocks'. In older days by misleading lights now by misleading place names!!

  3. I beg to suggest that, on this occasion, FBB is Wrong and the provider of the bus stop pole, flag and timetable frame at Trebah, Helford Passage has been unduly maligned.

    There is, in fact copious provision of these three essential components, although FBB might not have spotted them from his terminating bus. They are, in fact located behind the road sign photographed, at the head of the dead end road down to Helford Passage, as though the bus was going to continue down to the ferry boat. This is probably not the most logical place for a terminating bus to stop, as it would involve a hazardous reverse onto the junction, which may be why FBB's bus didn't actually serve it.

    The stop in question can be found on Google Streetview, beyond two parked cars in a layby.

    But its location would suggest that, at some time in the past, buses might well have continued down the lane for the extra 1/2 mile to Helford Passage itself. Maybe in the mists of pre-history, before the Western National timetable of 1973 !

  4. The 1961 W N book for Cornwall shows five variants of a service 43 (43, 43a, 43c, 43d, 43e and 43f), of which all but E (there is no B, but adjacent service 44 has a B variant!) serve Helford Passage, on one of the pages "(Trebah)" is added.

    The 1979 timetable uses the same wording for services 563 and does the Cornwall CC booklet for 1981.

    The 1996/7 booklet drops the Trebah when it is Truronian service 324 (T4).

    That's just a quick look at what I can easily access.

  5. Whoops - the 43f was a misleading light and I've hit the rocks!

  6. The Winter 1993 Western National timetable includes Truronian service 324 from Falmouth to Gweek, with a timing point of Helford Passage: Trebah Gardens (and yes, they did use a colon), a 3 minute double run from Mawnan Smith.