Off the Beaten Track: A Wander on the Penryn Campus

What does a wander around our campus look like? Holly takes a stroll and uncovers a few hidden gems.


It’s a mild, white-sky afternoon. I start in an odd direction. I cut through campus towards the new sports hall, continue down the path and beyond Tremough Barton Cottages. 

At the end of the path, I stumble upon the Marine and Natural History Photography’s wildlife hideout. The hideout has a wooden shed on stilts with cameo curtains, where photographers hide for a greater chance of photographing birds and other visitors without disturbing them.


Surrounding are perches and bird feeders to attract wildlife. The shed is padlocked, not in use today. 

I turn around, and behind me is a house, almost hidden, rustic and being overtaken by wildlife. I shouldn’t, but I can’t resist; I ignore the warning signs and have a fleeting look inside. 


The walls have crumbled. Ivy has clambered over every brick. Students have printed art work onto the plaster. 

Scattered slabs start to move under my feet, so I make a quick exit. Heading back towards the centre of campus, I take a sideways detour towards the textiles building.


The student’s work areas here are always so impressive, with ideas pinned up in every workspace, research lying in bits and pieces across tabletops. 

Each desk is individual to the next, everything personalised. Hard work happens here. 

Heading outside of the Textiles block, you witness the view over campus. I stop behind the School of Writing and Journalism, and sit on a single, round bench. 

I spot a close thicket of trees, just beyond Tremough House, which I haven’t ever explored. Curiosity takes command; I jog down the cement steps, down more steps, and turn, and down again, following the walkway until I come to a concealed wooden door.


I’ve heard of this place before, but never thought to come here: this is the walled garden, also called by some students the Secret Garden, stretching over a quiet patch of land, islanded from the rest of campus by old stone walls. 

In every slight breeze, magnolia trees shed their petals across the path. A few quiet souls have staked out space in and around the greenhouse, scribbling poetry or love letters (or sportswear designs?) in note pads, sipping coffee.


I leave the garden and walk back up toward Tremough house.

Ahead, a white rise of architecture, the Chapel lecture hall, with its tall stained glass windows and its subtle ship shape. 


I take the long road back through the student village. The woods can be seen from the road. Mostly undisturbed, this area is the perfect place to sit and think.


by Holly Challinor