If trees could talk they’d have a thousand stories to tell. Of sun-dappled woodland glades where butterflies dance and foxgloves bow their heads in the gentle summer breeze. Or of woodpeckers tapping out the rhythm of the forest whilst squirrels perch on branches in quiet contemplation, wondering where they left their nuts. And then there are the bluebells. Thousands of delicate cobalt blue specks carpeting the ground, giving the woods an almost ethereal aura. Indeed, if you listen hard enough you might even hear them ring.
Trees can’t talk, but perhaps bluebells can!
Cornwall Glamping at Wrinklers Wood
We were enjoying a few blissfully relaxing days glamping in Cornwall at Wrinklers Wood, just south of St Agnes on the north coast. It’s one of the more unusual places to stay in Cornwall, and we think one of the best! The site is gloriously rural, made up of wildflower meadows, young orchards and an ancient oak forest, with so much privacy that you’d be forgiven for forgetting all about the outside world, just a few minutes down the track.
We’ve spent a lot of time in Cornwall over the years, most of it camping, but the days of sleeping bags, muddy wellies and burnt sausages are well and truly behind us. I didn’t think we’d be back in a tent any time soon, but this wasn’t camping as we knew it. This was pure luxury in a wilderness setting, with all the mod cons and even ensuite bathrooms. Cornwall glamping at its finest. Now that’s the sort of camping I can cope with!
A touch of Africa
Wrinklers Wood Glamping is somewhere that adheres to all the usual cliches of getting away from it all, unwinding in the countryside, and being immersed in nature. Yet it’s so much more than that. The place has soul, and that’s in no small part due to the thought and care that owners James and Alex have put into this project. After spending several years living in Tanzania and running a beach lodge, they returned to the UK bringing with them all the subtle African touches you’ll notice around the camp. Like the intricately woven Swahili rugs, the animal paintings, and of course the tents themselves, which are luxurious safari-style dwellings that have you falling asleep dreaming of endless African savannahs and the adventures of tomorrow.
There are just two glamping tents here at Wrinklers Wood, each sleeping up to six and named after favourite African icons…’Tembo’ and ‘Twiga’, which in Swahili mean ‘Elephant’ and ‘Giraffe’ respectively. We were staying in Tembo, the tent furthest away from the small parking area, and a little more secluded, just how we like it. There’s also a cosy woodland cabin tucked away in the trees for the ultimate couple’s Cornwall glamping experience. It overlooks a tropical garden and is the perfect romantic hideaway for those who prefer walls to canvas.
A Day in the Life at Wrinklers Wood
As usual, I’d planned an itinerary with military-style precision, aiming to cram in as many sights and attractions as possible, and generally return home feeling in need of a break. Yet being on a Cornwall glamping holiday really forced us to adopt an altogether different pace of life, something that Hubbie embraced with open arms, and I discovered I actually rather enjoyed.
Leisurely mornings are non-existent at home, yet here they were natural, and most welcome. Hubbie would sit out on our private deck, steaming mug of coffee in hand, listening to the birds waking up as dawn slowly turned into day. I’d still be tucked up under a cosy pile of duvets, secretly hoping that by the time I emerged breakfast would already be sizzling away in the pan. There’s perhaps nothing quite so pleasurable as tucking into sausage butties or heaped bowls of Cocopops (don’t judge!) whilst sitting outside at our personal picnic bench, enjoying the peace of the countryside, and not being in a hurry to go anywhere.
However, there’s only so long I can sit still, so after hot showers we dragged ourselves away from the tent to explore. And we didn’t even need the car! Our favourite day was strolling along the secret woodland trails of the adjacent Hayman Nature Reserve, a great circular walk suggestion from James that included lunch at the pub in Mithian!
The woodlands here are enchanting. Full of life and colour without another soul in sight, and right on the doorstep. Armed with a map and some helpful hand-written directions, we set off on our adventure, making a few wrong turns along the way but loving every new discovery that greeted us around each corner.
But it was the bluebells that really had us charmed. We’d never seen so many! I’d read somewhere that it takes a trampled bluebell three years to recover. Not wanting to step on a single one, we decided this was going to be a long walk.
Eventually emerging from the woods our walk continued down some glorious Cornish lanes. You know, the ones with towering, flower-filled hedges and a trail of grass growing in the centre, showing that not many people come down this way.
We made it to the little village of Mithian, and rewarded ourselves with lunch at the Miners Arms, a friendly country pub with a peaceful beer garden, quirky decor and a surprisingly good menu.
After lunch we headed back through the woods, getting our fill of babbling brooks, chirping birds and creaking tree boughs. A buzzard circled lazily overhead, and buttercups turned their heads towards the rays of sun that were piercing through the canopy. It was the stuff of fairytales.
Back at Wrinklers Wood we once again got down to the business of Cornwall glamping life. Which for me meant curling up in my favourite spot on the sofa and plotting excursions for our next few days, whilst Hubbie went to collect some more wood for the log burner, ready for a cosy evening in around the fire. He’s got good at poking fires with sticks over the years so that’s always his job!
But first, it was time to cook dinner in our kitchen. There’s something quite relaxing about self-catering on holiday…as much as we enjoy eating out, it can be a hassle getting dressed up, adhering to restaurant reservation times and spending money on fancy dishes when we’d have been just as happy with a cheese toastie on the sofa at home. Here, glamping in Cornwall, we were operating on our own time, and it was actually super easy to cook in our tent with the gas camping stove.
We managed a lemon chicken stirfry on our first evening, eaten at our very own dining table. This is my sort of camping!
As dusk slowly descends into night, Hubbie is once again sitting out on the deck. This time he’s watching bats, and the coffee has been replaced by a cold beer. I’m inside, staying warm by the log burner and finishing off the last toasted marshmallow. An owl hoots from the woods, signalling time for sleep, and dreams of what tomorrow will bring.
Want a closer look at Wrinklers Wood?
Then check out Hubbie’s video…how many bluebells can you count?
Update Summer 2021
We loved Wrinklers Wood Glamping so much that we returned a couple of years later (almost to the day!), this time to stay in the rather luxurious Chui Treehouse which had just been built. You can read all about our treehouse experience here.
James and Alex have been busy since our last visit, revamping the site and rebranding as a couple’s glamping retreat. Both safari tents (and the treehouse) now have their own private wood fired hot tubs, which are just the ticket after a long day out exploring. Wood is available to buy from the store house so you don’t even need to leave the site for supplies!
The tent interiors have been given a warm splash of colour, while still retaining that welcoming African theme.
Since accommodation is now couples only, the bedroom is much larger too, and there’s an added day bed in the living area.
Whilst glamping is great fun for families, as a couple who look for privacy and tranquillity on our holidays, as well as a bit of added luxury, we think the changes at Wrinklers Wood are spot on.
Other things to do in Cornwall
Heading out in the car over the next couple of days we went to check out some of the local sights. With the sun in the sky, the high hedges looming over us in the lanes, and Pirate FM on the radio, we knew we were well and truly in Cornwall.
One of the joys of Cornwall is that everywhere is relatively close and easy to reach, so no matter where you’re based, you’ll be able to take day trips to pretty much anywhere in the county. Here are some of the things we got up to on our Cornwall glamping holiday at Wrinklers Wood:
Distance from Wrinklers Wood: 10 minutes by car
Walking the South West Coast Path along this stretch of Cornwall is simply magnificent, with towering cliffs, turquoise waters, and tin mines dotted strategically throughout the landscape. We loved exploring the Wheal Coates mine, probably the most photogenic in all of Cornwall!
From here you can walk south along to the beach at Chapel Porth (known for body boarding and ice-creams) or north all the way up to Perranporth via St Agnes Head. The views are dramatic along this part of the heritage coast, and some of our favourite in Cornwall!
Trevaunance Cove at St Agnes is a great spot for surfing if that’s your cup of tea, but we much preferred Trevellas Porth, a quiet little cove just along the headland north of St Agnes (you can drive there if you don’t want to walk), surrounded by dramatic cliffs and yes, a few more mine workings! Notice a bit of a theme?
The village of St Agnes itself is pretty, and has bars, shops and restaurants if you want a night off from cooking.
Great Flat Lode
Distance from Wrinklers Wood: 20 minutes by car
I’d had the Great Flat Lode circular walk on my list for quite some time, so we made it a priority for this trip. Just outside Camborne, the lode is a large expanse of mineral-rich rock underlying the landscape in this area, and famous for its multiple mine ruins, some of which have been reclaimed by nature. We particularly loved the site at South Wheal Frances and spent some time here messing about with the camera.
Hubbie fancied himself a bit of an Indiana Jones…
Lost Gardens of Heligan
Distance from Wrinklers Wood: 50 minutes by car
Over on the south east coast of Cornwall are the famous Lost Gardens of Heligan. There comes a point in many peoples’ lives when visiting gardens becomes not only acceptable, but enjoyable too. We seem to have reached that age. Which is why we loved spending a day strolling around the intriguingly named Lost Gardens of Heligan, wobbling across rope bridges in the Jungle, admiring sculptures on the Woodland Walk, and marvelling at wisteria in the herb gardens. Seriously, what’s happened to us? We’ll be going on coach trips to garden centres next!
The Lost Gardens of Heligan were ‘found’ in 1990, after lying dormant for decades on this former grand estate. Re-awakening this land became Europe’s largest garden restoration project, and today it’s a thriving spot with cultivated gardens, wild woodlands and even traditional livestock breeds to visit.
Distance from Wrinklers Wood: 50 minutes by car
We once made a 4 hour round trip for soup. Not just any soup mind, it was crab soup at the Old Cellars Cafe in Cadgwith. The best we’ve ever tasted, and worth the long drive to get there. It’s a bit of a pilgrimage whenever we’re down in this neck of the woods, and we weren’t going to break with tradition on this trip.
If you’re not into soup, then go for the chocolate box thatched cottages, the coastal views and the colourful fishing boats.
There are heaps more things to do in Cornwall that we’ll write about soon, this is just to give you an idea of the possibilities out there! They’re endless!
Tips for staying at Wrinklers Wood
- Bring slip on shoes like Crocs – really useful to wear inside the tent
- Holdalls are better than suitcases – they’ll fit better into the luggage trolley
- Pack warm clothes – the evenings can get chilly
- Don’t forget the marshmallows – for toasting over the BBQ
- Go shopping before you arrive – there is a small honesty shop on site for emergencies (and treats like locally-brewed cider) but it’s quite a way to the nearest supermarket
- Get on your bike – Coastal Trails Cycle Hire is based at Wrinkers Wood, and there are several marked trails to explore around St Agnes
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