the coming home trees

Everyone who travels along the A30, the main route in and out of Cornwall recognises this copse of trees on a hill near the border between Devon and Cornwall.

Cookworthy Knapp is near Lifton and the clump of 140 beech trees have inspired numerous works of art over the years. The site is known by many different names including ‘the coming home trees’ or ‘the nearly home trees’,ย ‘the unicorn’s wood’ and ‘fairy wood’.ย The story behind the landmark remains a mystery, but they are believed to have been planted around 1900.

I have been wanting to take a photo for years, but rarely go out of the county now, in fact the last time was at the end of 2018 and it was pouring with rain on our return. On Sunday I managed to get a photo. Not the greatest nor sharpest shot as this was through the windscreen of my car using my phone, though I was parked in a lay-by in case you were wondering! There was a pause between showers, but it was extremely windy so I didn’t want to get out of the car.

From here I am about an hour and fifteen minutes from home.


  1. Sandra says:

    And I am about 45 mins from home at that point. Though I generally travel via A38. Perhaps I’ll make a change next time. It’s been a while since I smiled at those trees. Great shot by the way, especially under such conditions.

    1. Heyjude says:

      They do make you smile don’t they!

  2. beetleypete says:

    On the way to my childhood holidays in Cornwall, they would have been the ‘nearly there’ trees. But I don’t remember them. I used to look out for the regimental badges cut from chalk hillsides, The Fovant Badges. Driving from South London, they always made me feel I was ‘nearly there’, though they are only near Salisbury. ๐Ÿ™‚ Back then there were no motorways, and few by-passes. From London, we had to drive through almost every town centre on the way to Penryn.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    1. Heyjude says:

      Ah, yes, those were the days when you had time to get out of the car and make a cup of tea on the verge whilst waiting for the traffic to move!

      Stonehenge looks tiny from the road! And no visitors there at the moment.

      1. beetleypete says:

        We used to have to stop at least three times each way for car breakdowns or punctures too. My dad used to fix the car at the side of the road, and carried a watering can full of water for when the radiator boiled over.!

        1. Heyjude says:

          Haha… those were the days!

  3. Murtagh's Meadow says:

    Great trees and everything is sooo green

    1. Heyjude says:

      There’s a reason for that ๐Ÿ˜‚

      1. Murtagh's Meadow says:

        Yes I think I know what that is๐Ÿ™‚

  4. That grass is so green. The rain really has been doing its work. Glad you had a nice outing.

    1. Heyjude says:

      It was lovely to see the family again.

      1. We visited our daughter and son in law for two nights in Brisbane last week. They’re expecting their first baby so it was extra special. I even felt some tiny baby kicks.

        1. Heyjude says:

          My youngest son and wife are expecting their second baby in August, but she has been quite ill so they are more or less self isolating. I hope I will be able to visit when he is born.

        2. Oh dear, poor thing. I hope she is improving. Are they in UK?

        3. Heyjude says:

          They are. Being supported by a London hospital. Not too long to go now, so we keep our fingers crossed ๐Ÿคž

        4. I hope all goes well for her. ๐Ÿ’š

  5. Jo Shafer says:

    This mystery copse looks like what was left of Dunsinane (Birnham Woods in MacBeth) after it was cut down. Actually, that never happened, as you know from Shakespeare. Birnham Woods was Malcolm’s Army disguised with uprooted trees and limbs. Oh, well, That’s what came to mind. Nevertheless, your ‘phone shots came out quite clear, didn’t they?

    1. Cathy says:

      I love the idea of the ‘nearly there’ trees and that they have inspired works of art too. There is a particular woodland I always notice when we drive up to my Mum’s, visible from the M74, but sadly it does not mean we are nearly there but barely half way with nearly 200 miles to go, but at least it’s the easier part of the kourney, albeit the slowest as half of it is not motorway. I don’t know if other people notice these woods though…

    2. Heyjude says:

      Funny how things come to mind! The phone has a very good camera, but the light wasn’t very good.

  6. Sue says:

    Some similar trees in a copse on a hill visible from the A303…couldnโ€™t say where it is….

    1. Heyjude says:

      The only landmark I notice on the A303 is Stonehenge, which looks so tiny from the road.

      1. Sue says:

        Oh, Stonehenge is an old friend…and I always marvelled at how it looked in different light as I whizzed past, or more latterly crawled past, on that road. As driver, I never got any photos. But in the mid 60s, we got up close, even touching the stones

        1. Heyjude says:

          I too have run around those stones, we even picnicked there on the way to London from Devon.

        2. Sue says:


      2. Dina says:

        It’s brilliant driving past the icon stones, the view is quite good.

        1. Dina says:

          iconic stones of Stonehenge …

        2. Heyjude says:

          Yes. Hard not to look at them.

  7. Dina says:

    It’s good to have landmarks meaning you’re getting closer to home. I can’t recall the trees, I’m afraid. It was rainy and foggy when we entered Cornwall in January two years ago.

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