Lower Marsh Farm, a former Duchy of Cornwall renowned daffodil farm, is on the outskirts of the pretty village of Landulph in the Tamar Valley on the Devon / Cornwall border. It’s quietly tucked away in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and set in over 40 acres of grounds sloping down to the River Tamar.
Where the farmhouse now stands, pilgrims would gather before setting sail for Compostela in Spain. Back in the 15th century, Landulph was one of the approved starting points for people making the pilgrimage, and hundreds of licences to take part in the pilgrimage to the shrine of St James were issued at Landulph. The church at the end of the drive holds several interesting artefacts and can be visited by prior arrangement.
The building of a sea wall in the early 1800s turned the former medieval harbour into salt marsh pasture, with rare flora such as bulrushes and yellow iris, as well as a rich display of wading birds. This salt marsh is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest and this rare habitat is maintained by grazing 4 stunning Highland cattle on the land.
According to folklore there was a plan to create a spa here in the 1800s, based on the alleged medicinal properties of the Landulph water, hence there is an elaborate well house just behind Kingfisher Barn.
In more recent history, Lower Marsh Farm was home to the brothers Dan and Peter du Plessis of Daffodil breeding fame. During the 1950’s the du Plessis brothers started commercially growing and breeding new strains of daffodils, and regularly winning awards at the then new Tamar Valley Flower Show. At its height, the farm had several hundred varieties of daffodils and narcissi being grown across about 20 acres and the brothers were recognised by the Daffodil Society (Dan was elected vice president at one point). They bred approximately 40 new named varieties including Noss Mayo, Tamar Fire, Bere Ferrers, Chenoweth, Kingsmill and Haye. Dan du Plessis was awarded the Royal Horticultural Society (R.H.S.) Peter Bart Memorial Cup in recognition of his achievements with daffodils. Also during this time, Prince Charles, Duke of Cornwall visited the farm. The brothers retired in 1990 and the farm then changed hands. Their nephew, renowned daffodil expert Ron Scamp, continues their legacy on a farm in Falmouth. Still every Spring the remains of the daffodil farming are evident in the fields which have a sea of daffodils flowering and is one of our favourite times of years. We are working to identify these and also to re-plant the varieties developed by the brothers.