A beautiful estate on the Roseland in Cornwall with a hidden industrial history
Growing specialist crops to benefit well being
A working environment committed to replenishing the landscape
The Trelonk Story
Trelonk, which means Long House, or a house of great status which was thought to have been visited by royal guests in centuries past, is a beautiful farm and estate close to the banks of the River Fal.
It is thought that here has always been a farm operating in this location throughout the years and between 1891 and 1907 it was also home to a busy Brickworks, taking advantage of the clay washing down the river and silting up the creek.
The bricks produced were used to build many of the grand houses of Falmouth and Truro but all that remains on this industry now is the tall chimney once used to draw air through the kilns.
Today, Trelonk aims to turn back the clock and bring the soil and environment at Trelonk back to its original glory by harnessing new technologies to improve our farming practices to grow specialist crops.
At Trelonk, our aim is maintain a productive and vigorous synergy between healthy soils, healthy pollinator populations and healthy oilseed crops, and our livestock have their part to play!
Providing for pollinators is both ecologically logical as well as economically necessary and well over a third of our crops at Trelonk required this vital ecosystem service.
Using livestock to manage our pollinator habitats (such as flower meadows and species-rich permanent pasture) allow us, once again, to diverge from the traditional reliance upon heavy machinery and instead plump for management options more akin to our own ethos of environmental responsibility and ecosystem enhancement.
Our journey is experimental and as part of it we will be collecting new data to provide climate and environmental information to support our development and inform the future of farming in Cornwall. Specifically, we will monitor the environment, soil, climate and crops.
What we are farming
We are farming niche, nutrient dense oil seed crops for the purpose of harvesting their essential oils, through cold pressing. These specialist oils will then be used for nutraceutical and cosmetic applications and they have been chosen according to strict environmental criteria.
Our approach to cultivating will be through precision farming, using monitoring and techniques to have a light earth touch, aiming to improve and protect the natural resources of Trelonk. Our crops will include borage, sunflowers, calendula, camelina, hemp fibre, roses, mustard.
farming & the environment
Welcome to the future of farming.
Trelonk Farm is located within a variety of different environmental and ecological designations. Bordered on three side by the internationally important Fal ria and surrounded by Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Special Areas for Conservation (SAC), the obligation to consider the implications of our farming practices on a wider, landscape level is imperative to what we are trying to achieve; a synergy between primary production, environmental regeneration and the provision of habitat for wildlife.
The creation of a model farm enterprise fit to face the 21st century poses some exciting challenges. Balancing primary production of our niche crops with regenerative farming practices that help to restore the farmed environment necessitates the use of agri-technologies.
Agri-tech will allow us to farm more accurately, with greater precision, allowing superior management of our natural resources and ensuring inputs are micro-managed for optimum efficiency.
country stewardship scheme
We are working towards a Mid-Tier stewardship scheme beginning in 2020.
The aim is to deliver significant and accountable ecological gains for the local environment, from the provision of new habitat and sustenance for wildlife to the protection of important water courses and the improvement of air quality.
Here at Trelonk, we have many landscape features that deserve protection and maintenance due to their cultural and historical significance.
The scheme also us to preserve and protect our hedgerows, woodland and water courses for generations to come.
the trelonk bees
For millennia, bees and other pollinators have busied themselves with the task of ensuring food security and nutrition, as well as maintaining the diverse ecosystems that both plants and animals rely upon for survival. One third of all food produced is dependant (in some way, at least) upon pollinators, particularly those plants that produce edible fruits and seeds.
At Trelonk, not only is it morally incumbent for us to provide for pollinators, but it is also a matter of economics. Yields of insect-pollinated crops have been shown to increase by up to 20% following the introduction of pollinators to the crop proximity and by harnessing the power of this association, we believe we can satisfy both our responsibility to provide for insects, as well as our obligation to create a profitable farming enterprise.
As spring continues all around us, barrelling ever onwards towards summer, it is with a tinge of regret that I take my morning walks, the beauty of nature contrasted sharply against the to-do list tugging at my sleeve. I often return to my office in the mornings with a sense of duty, a moral incumbency to enact change and to be the idyll we so often envisage.
When I look at others’ farmland, I sometimes think to myself, “I love that piece of land more than the farmer does”, but this is slightly unfair. Farmers are bound by their profit margins and rarely can they deviate from the line so rigidly espoused by their seed/spray companies (I refer to these jointly as more-often-than-not this is a monopolised industry).
Trelonk on the other hand, has at its core, a sympathetic landowner and two managers hell-bent on reaching profitable agriculture in an entirely different manner to convention. This gives us the opportunity to set up a farm that works with nature, and not against it. I could wax lyrical for a month of Sundays about how we are going to achieve this but, if I may, I have one simplified example with which to illustrate my point.
We have sown two fields of the crop, Borage which famously, is a crop pollinated by organisms (as opposed to the wind) and it has been shown that placing pollinating bee’s in borage crops can achieve anything up to a 20% increase in yield. By leaving space in our borage fields for wildflower meadows, granted, we take land out of production and lose the potential crop value, but instead we get an environmental payment, plus the opportunity to provide for pollinators that may well help increase our yield as well (not too mention providing for a group of animals so widely impacted by the brutalism of 21st century agriculture).
Walk on the Wild Side
Trelonk is lucky enough to be blessed with a vast array of wildlife, making use of the arable field edges, hedgerows, perimeter woodland and tidal mudflats that are exposed once a day.
Throughout the year, there is always something to see; whether it is amphibians around the ponds in autumn, rabbits and deer making use of the warmer spring months, butterflies and day flying moths using our hedgerows as flight paths in the summer or farmland birds gratefully utilising our offerings of seed mixtures to help them through the cold winter.
We have also partnered with the Cornwall Wildlife Trust, an excellent resource for us with regards to habitat provision, management or restoration.
Trelonk is also dedicated to preserving the estate to the benefit of all of its wildlife and affording its livestock where possible, a free range lifestyle.
meet our team
Adam Parnall – Farm Manager
Adam heads up the construction and estate management, driving the design and infrastructure for all development at Trelonk. As a member of the Parnall family, Adam has a deep understanding of the company’s heritage and he is now taking Trelonk forward with the aim of having a positive impact on the landscape and environment by utilising innovative technology.
Having qualified with a BSc in Environmental Geoscience from Cardiff University, Adam’s career has included renovation and new build projects within Cornwall, crewing on superyachts for three years as well having developed his own properties.
Having been part of the original team who literally helped to develop the infrastructure at Trelonk, he now oversees the management of the estate in addition to supporting trainees and apprentices to develop their careers in this field.
Baden Widdows – Grounds Foreman
Baden looks after the grounds here at Trelonk. Having previously driven HGV’s, Baden decided to give up the open road for some fresh country air.
Baden enjoys farming and general building and found a way to combine the two in his role by working the estate and ensuring it is maintained to a high standard. He loves to be outdoors and says that you never know what each day will bring.
Oliver Brooks-Adams – Assistant Farm Manager
Olly joined the Trelonk team at a really exciting time as the farm and estate embarked on a range of projects focusing on connecting the land and environment utilising the latest technology. With a keen interest in the combination of conservation, agriculture and countryside management, Olly is ideally suited to the role.
Originally from the North of England, where he worked as a chef, the lure of the outdoor life led him to study Conservation & Countryside Management firstly at locally here at Duchy College and later the Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester. Whilst studying he worked for the National Trust at Trelissick, just a stone’s throw over the River Fal as a Countryside Ranger before starting at Trelonk.
Angela Fane – Horticulture Lead
Responsible for developing the gardens and grounds at Trelonk, Ange’s role includes the planning, planting and maintenance of a wide variety of external and internal planting areas. Her ethos is focused on retaining the natural features of the site and continuing to provide a wildlife friendly habitat at the same time as a productive vegetable and fruit garden for the hospitality team.
Ange started her career in banking and worked her way through various retail and corporate roles until she was asked to be in a team of three identifying potential clients in order to introduce online banking into businesses which was subsequently rolled out across the country.
At this point, Ange took a different direction utilising her knowledge and skills in finance and administration to assist two small aviation related companies; The Plane Picture Company and the Aircraft Restoration Company which quickly grew to become a full-time role working directly with owner, John Romain.
A move to Cornwall found her busy restoring an old chapel along with her husband Tim, who heads up the Parnall Aircraft Company and joining the Trelonk team.
Harriet Inglis – Horticulture Apprentice
Harriet joined the Trelonk team in October 2018, having previously worked at a nearby estate. With ambitions to run her own market garden, she is busy gaining more practical experience. She loves working outdoors and when her family moved to Cornwall to a house with land available to grow vegetables and flowers, she jumped at the chance to experiment.
Her work at Trelonk has been pretty varied and as well as pruning, weeding and propagating, she attends college one day a week to learn more about the science of planting. She is also busy planning the planting for next year and we look forward to seeing the results of her hard labour.
Bringing her 5 star Stewardess experience onto land, Hannah heads up our Hospitality team. Responsible for helping to create, organise and coordinate all aspects of the day to day services available on site to the highest quality levels. The role covers all aspects of catering, guest relations and event management for Trelonk.
Having moved to Mallorca aged 17 to work on sailing yachts, Hannah is an experienced traveller having crossed the Atlantic five times, quickly progressing to Chief Stewardess reporting directly to the Captain and being responsible for all crew and guest welfare on-board.
Hannah has transferred these skills and experience to her work at Trelonk, managing the team operationally as well as providing that extra special service to guests and visitors – however it’s all on dry land now but always done with a smile.