What’s on this month in Cornwall

PUBLISHED: 10:33 27 February 2018 | UPDATED: 14:38 06 March 2018

Daffodils. Picture by Katherine McCormack

Daffodils. Picture by Katherine McCormack


We pick some of the best events and performances happening in Cornwall in March 2018


2-31 March

Evocative archive photographs, recently discovered botanical paintings of pre-1935 Cornish-bred daffodils and Heath Robinson cartoons of the making of the Great Western Railway which transported the ‘golden harvest’ of daffodils from the Isles of Scilly, West Penwith and the Tamar Valley to flower markets all over Britain are at the heart of a new exhibition.

Cornwall’s Daffodil Gold Rush is a free exhibition in Falmouth which celebrates Cornwall’s daffodil heritage and its contribution to the world’s favourite spring flower.

Daffodil breeder Percival Dacres Williams (1865-1935) was known by his horticultural contemporaries as Cornwall’s ‘Daffodil King’. In his fields at Lanarth, St Keverne, he grew more than 500 new daffodil varieties which were snapped up by wealthy collectors and bulb merchants from Holland and America and exported worldwide.

The exhibition includes rarely seen items from a treasure trove of his letters, bulb catalogues, stock and order books during the 1920s and 1930s when fortunes were made – and lost – in Cornwall and the latest new daffodil could fetch £10 a bulb – the equivalent of £457 today.

The exhibition is a prelude to the Falmouth Spring Festival’s Paint The Town Yellow Day on 15 March when thousands of Cornish daffodils are given away to people and shops in the town.

Cornwall’s Daffodil Gold Rush is in the foyer of the Municipal Buildings, The Moor, Falmouth (closed Sundays), Call 01326 315559 for details



3 March

Oggy! Oggy! Oggy! Pasty makers from around the world will head for the Eden Project this month and the seventh annual World pasty makers heading to Eden for seventh annual World Pasty Championships - the climax of the first ever Cornish Pasty Week (25 February-3 March) inspired by the Eden event and delivered by industry membership body the Cornish Pasty Association.

Pasty makers from Cornwall, the UK and around the world will once again be converging on the former clay quarry near St Austell to try to win one of the hotly-contested Oggy Oscars – pasty-shaped trophies crafted from clay.

Eden Chief Executive Gordon Seabright said: ‘We’re very excited about the return of the World Pasty Championships, an event which brings Cornwall and the wider world together in a great celebration of our signature dish.’

Gerry Ramier from Ontario, Canada, will return to defend his title in the Cornish Pasty Professional category and to compete in the Open Savoury Professional category for non-traditional pasties. His non-traditional pasties will reflect the beautiful and delicate flavours of Niagara in the springtime, close to his home, as well as a homage to a traditional dish from Quebec.

Other overseas competitors include British-born Mike “The Pasty” Burgess of The Pure Pasty Co in Virginia, USA, who fell in love with the pasty on childhood holidays in Cornwall and competed last year.

During Cornish Pasty Week, the Cornish Pasty Association will be working with Cornish pasty-makers throughout the county, across the UK and beyond with a social media campaign (#pastysmile) and events in the community.

Jason Jobling, Chair of the Cornish Pasty Association, said: ‘The seventh annual World Pasty Championships at Eden will be a great way to round off all the activities of our first-ever Cornish Pasty Week. This humble dish may have its origins down the Cornish mines, but it is now worth over £300 million to the local economy and is without doubt one of the nation’s favourite foods.’

Entertainment on the day is provided by Dodgy, 3 Daft Monkeys and Hedluv + Passman. Britpop legends Dodgy were a big hit at Eden last summer when they were special guests at the epic Blondie Eden Session. Joining Dodgy are two Cornish acts - 3 Daft Monkeys and rap duo Hedluv + Passman.

For information visit edenproject.com



6 March

Indie-pop band Belle and Sebastian kick off their 16-date UK tour at the Hall for Cornwall, Truro. The Scottish band set up by Stuart Murdoch 19 years ago has a creditable eight studio albums, one film soundtrack, three compilations, one BBC sessions collection and two live albums to their credit.

The UK tour is sandwiched between gigs in Europe and a forthcoming tour of Australia.

Expect to hear tracks from their new EP, To Solve Our Human Problems, The Same Star and I’ll Be Your Pilot. Recent single We Were Beautiful was described by The Sunday Times as “a Pet Shop Boys-like curveball that explodes into a quintessential Belle and Sebastian chorus” and by The Guardian as “an appealing curio”.

Hall for Cornwall, Truro (hallforcornwall.co.uk) or 01872 262466.



8-10 March

Duchy Ballet are joined by Truro School’s Senior Jazz Orchestra for a 20th anniversary performance at the Hall for Cornwall. Their choice will be The Nutcracker, the ballet they choice for their first production in 1998 when the company was set up to mark the opening of the Hall for Cornwall in Truro.

This will be the fourth time Duchy Ballet have performed the enchanting story of Clara, who creeps downstairs one enchanted Christmas Eve and finds herself in a night of magical adventures. She falls in love with the Nutcracker who battles the Mouse King alongside the toy soldiers that have come to life.

Beautiful settings such as the Kingdom of Sweets are given an exciting blend of realism and fantasy in this sparkling production, with a wealth of Tchaikovsky’s familiar favourites, including the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy.

Duchy Ballet was set up to encourage young dance talent in Cornwall by staging productions to a professional standard at the Hall for Cornwall. The company visited Boconnoc for a photoshoot where owners Mr and Mrs Fortescue have been very supportive of the company. It gave the dancers a chance to get some insight into the era of the house that the first act of The Nutcracker will be set.

For tickets visit hallforcornwall.co.uk or call 01872 262466



9-11 March

The first beer festival of the year takes place in the stunning location of Trevaunance Cove, St Agnes, with real ale, great food and live music. The Dark, the Light and the Saison takes place at the Driftwood Spars - a quaint, 17th century, historic venue with two bars over multiple floors. The beer festival is a free entry, three-day event which showcases some of the world’s finest craft beers and ales and some of Cornwall’s most promising musical talent.

Live music includes Saint Agnes, an aptly named rock and roll band playing on the Friday night - their only date in Cornwall as part of their UK tour. The rockabilly Carl Morris Trio play on Saturday night with soul singer Ella Squirrel and Charlie Bowdery’s electro pop on Sunday.

Louise Treseder, landlady at the Driftwood Spars says the focus this year is to expose the best of the Cornwall music scene.

Alongside the usual array of guest ales and craft beers, Driftwood Spars will be serving beer inspired food on Friday and Saturday and the infamous Driftwood Sunday Roast. Beer tasting sessions will be hosted by Pete the Brewer from the Driftwood Spars Brewery which also has a shop open to all in the Cove.

For information visit driftwoodspars.co.uk or call 01872 552428



17 March

Schools, cross country clubs and football teams across Cornwall enter and compete against each other in a vibrant but fun atmosphere at Trannack School. All types of abilities are encouraged to enter and each competitor, no matter of position, receives a certificate and a goody bag with the top three of each age group a gold, silver and bronze medal. There are then trophies presented to the teams who finish in either first or as a runner up. Bacon butties and a cup of tea are available for attendees too!

The event is run solely by volunteers (up to seventy parents and children from a school of seventy students) and provides a fun atmosphere to raise money for Trannack School. This is helped by the sponsorship of four local companies and organisations; Helstonbury, Aaron Brown, At-your-pace and JP Fitness.

For more information visit www.facebook.com/coosetrannack/



18 March

St Michael’s Mount closed in October and re-opens for the season this month. There’s lots to see and do at this National Trust property, still home to the St Aubyn family and over 30 islanders.

Witness gun batteries and suits of armour that hark back to the Wars of the Roses and the Civil War. Visit the Bronze Age Hoard exhibition. See a Joshua Reynolds portrait of the 5th Sir John St Aubyn, displayed in 2013 for the first time in 200 years after a successful bid at Christies, and the 600-year-old Syon Seal gifted to the St Aubyn family at the end of 2012.

Discover the intricate plaster frieze in the Chevy Chase room, armour and weapons in the Garrison Room and a model of the Mount made of champagne corks by a former butler.

The home has sub-tropical gardens with terraced beds boasting tender exotic plants that tier steeply to the ocean’s edge. Romantics can find the Medicago plant that came to the island in the wedding bouquet of the first Lady St Levan and children on a free trail can follow clues to a prize.

The gardens open from 18 April, at limited times. For full opening times visit nationaltrust.org.uk/st-michaels-mount



24-25 March

A dazzling scented display of the finest spring flowers is forecast for this year’s Falmouth Spring Flower Show which was first held in 1910 making it the oldest spring flower show in Cornwall.

The first Isles of Scilly daffodil show 1885, and the first Truro Daffodil show 1897, which morphed into today’s Cornwall County Garden show, were originally purely commercial daffodil shows. The 1910 Falmouth show was planned by the local Chamber of Commerce to be a top horticultural and social event. The chosen venue was Gyllyngdune Gardens, opened to the public in 1907, with its classic cast iron Edwardian bandstand, roofed promenade, and an events marquee extension.

It was opened by Queen Victoria’s daughter Princess Christian, invited by local MP Sydney Goldman in the belief that a Royal “would speed the floral venture on what is hoped will be a long and successful career.” The first day ended with a masquerade ball in a tent with a large sprung floor in Gyllyngdune Gardens. The next year Princesss Alexander, the Queen’s granddaughter, opened the show at the Gardens’ newly built Princess Pavilion where it is still held today.

Displays of Cornwall’s finest camellias, rhododendrons, magnolias, new and heritage daffodils still delight visitors to this unique historic show, together with floral art, potted and cut flowers, cacti and succulents, 12 children’s classes and local trade stands.

Exhibitors include four-year-olds and octogenarians, professional gardeners from Falmouth council gardens, the university, nearby classic Victorian gardens such as Glendurgan and Trebah, local hotels and schools. Non- gardeners can enter their favourite houseplant, share their photographs of the autumn, shadows, or morning dew, and gardening clubs compete in the new Wheel Barrow Challenge.

Last year more than a thousand exhibits were enjoyed by visitors to the two-day show which includes local garden nursery trade stands. There are no entry fees for taking part and all exhibitors get into the show for free on both days, as do children under 16. Closing date for entries is 18 March.

Falmouth Spring Flower Show, Princess Pavilion, Gyllyngdune Gardens, entry £3. For the 2018 show schedule and entry forms call 01326 316866 or email rgsleeman1@talktalk.net



24-25 March

Cornish brides lucky enough to have received a Valentine’s Day proposal should head for the South West’s favourite bridal exhibition for some wedding planning. Bride: The Wedding Show features more than 130 of the region’s finest wedding suppliers and the show will be fit to bursting with inspiration, ideas, tips and trends for all aspects of the big day. The sensational choreographed catwalk shows will be back three times each day at 11.30am, 1.15pm and 3pm showcasing gorgeous gowns, stylish suits, beautiful bridesmaids’ dresses and fashion-forward occasion wear.

There will be live music performed on the café stage throughout the weekend, a marquee of wedding transport, complimentary copies of South West Bride magazine to pick up and competitions to enter. The first 100 brides through the doors each day will be given a goody bag packed full of treats and samples. The show is open from 10am to 4pm on both days at Westpoint Exeter at Clyst St Mary.

For information visit bridetheweddingshow.co.uk. Tickets are £5 each or £15 for a group of four in advance or £7.50 on the day



29 March

Hear songs from the release MOJO magazine called ‘one of the top ten folk albums of 2017’ when Devon duo Phillip Henry and Hannah Martin bring their Edgelarks album back to home territory.

Their fourth studio album gives them a new performing name, replacing their own names with a single word. Much of the new album was conceived during their extensive Australian tour of 2016. Although only one song, Signposts, is directly inspired by their time down under, the warmth and new inspiration of their travels can be heard throughout the work on Edgelarks which was recorded last spring at Cube Studios in Cornwall.

The album is about transitional spaces - the straddling of boundaries and thresholds; crossroads and borderlands; travellers and refugees; dusk and dawn.

Tracks include some fascinating touches. Song of the Jay uses samples of the call of a jay to create a synthesiser that underpins the track; Iceberg includes a field recording of ice breaking and Yarl’s Wood includes the protest chants of ‘set her free’ against the treatment of women at the Yarl’s Wood detention centre. One song the couple came across in Australia is Estren (it means stranger) about an American traveller in Cornwall.

The album is packed with unusual instruments including a pedal powered shruti box - a drone instrument, originally from India – the Indian classical slide guitar, the Chaturangui and a beatbox harmonica.

After meeting while playing with the alt-roots outfit The Roots Union, they were spotted busking on the seafront at Sidmouth Folk Festival by Steve Knightley who invited them to support Show of Hands. They went on the support Seth Lakeman and picked up the prestigious Best Duo award at the 2014 BBC Folk Awards.

Tours of Japan, South Africa, Canada and Australia followed. Their new tour to introduce Edgelarks – the band and the album – has a date in Cornwall.

The Edgelarks play The Acorn, Penzance. Visit theacornpenzance.com or call 01736 363545



31 March-3 April

The largest mechanical puppet ever constructed in Britain will build up a head of steam once more before heading from its Cornish home over the border to thrill onlookers on a Resurrection Tour of Devon and beyond.

The 11.2m high Man Engine was built as the result of a commission from the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site Partnership to celebrate Cornwall’s mining history. It proved such a big hit that National Lottery Awards funding has enabled it to return.

Will Coleman of Golden Tree Productions says there are two different events at each location: “Our ‘Afternooner’ will give families and Big Kids the chance to really get to know their favourite giant miner with an industrial-scale feast of fun and frolics. The ‘Afterdarker’ promises an edgier explosive experience including white-hot pyrotechnics. Suffice to say, we are cranking up the experience that held everyone spellbound in 2016.”

The Afternooner package is aimed at families and includes the chance to sing, dance and play with The Man Engine with giant workshop fun and games.

The Afterdarker is for industrial heritage fanatics who can celebrate the mining, smelting, casting, foundry and forge work of our revolutionary past with some super-scale puppeteering science in show.

The Man Engine was commissioned in 2016 to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Cornish Mining World gaining World Heritage Status. A visionary project was needed that would reflect the ingenuity and entrepreneurialism of Cornish ancestors and reflect the fact that we these qualities are still alive today.

Volvo Construction Equipment will provide the wheeled loader that powers this magnificent feat of engineering.

The Man Engine Resurrection Tour starts on 31 March at Geevor Tin Mine before heading for Heartlands, Pool, Redruth (1 April), Lostwithiel (2 April) and Tavistock (3 April). He then heads north to South Wales, Shropshire, Yorkshire and Derbyshire. For tickets visit themanengine.co.uk

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