Rosamunde Scott was born in 1924 in the small village of Lelant in Cornwall. She spent many happy times growing up on the cliffs and beaches, and the Cornish landscape had a profound influence on her. In 1946 she married her husband, Graham Hope Pilcher, and moved to the opposite end of the British Isles, to Dundee in Scotland.
She began publishing some of her writings in 1949, first under the pseudonym Jane Fraser, and then under her own name. Although living in Scotland, the landscape and scenery of her childhood in Cornwall provide the setting for many of Pilcher’s stories. Pilcher went on to sell more than 60 million books worldwide.
Prideaux Place by Dave Malby
Pilcher’s books have been turned into television series and films. These programs are particularly popular in Germany, where over 160 television series based on Pilcher’s works have been produced. Sunday evenings are even affectionally known in Germany as ‘Rosamunde Pilcher Night’, and her shows attract a weekly audience of 7 million viewers.
Picher country is so popular that 350,000 German tourists visit Cornwall every year, and two-thirds of all foreign visitors who come to Cornwall are from either Germany, Austria, or Switzerland.
Below can be seen some of the scenic locations across Cornwall that serve as the backgrounds to the Rosamunde Pilcher films and television series.
If Rosamunde Picher fans were pilgrims then Prideaux Place would be the Holy Land. The Elizabethan country house has been used as a filming location in numerous Pilcher series
The house is situated near the fishing village of Padstow, and lies on the south bank of the Camel River. Built in 1592, and comprised of 81 rooms, the house sits in its own estate of 3,500 acres. The current owner of the Prideaux estate, Peter Prideaux-Brune, has featured in several of the series, his roles to date include: chauffeur, gin taster and coroner.
Prideaux Place by Dave Malby
Prideaux Place, its grounds, the nearby town of Padstow have all been used as settings. If you are a fan and plan on visiting Cornwall then Prideaux Place is a must-see location.
More information: prideauxplace.co.uk
Very close to Prideaux Place, on the banks of the Camel Estuary, lies the picturesque town of Padstow. This town grew as a fishing port and, while some fishing vessels still harbour here, it now accommodates more modern and luxurious yachts alongside the traditional fleet.
In addition to being a stop on the Pilcher tour Padstow is a tourist destination in its own right, known for its stunning views across the Camel Estuary and as the home of Rick Stein’s fish restaurants.
More information: padstowlive.com
Rosamunde Picher was born in the small village of Lelant, just two miles outside of one of the most beautiful seaside towns in Cornwall – St. Ives. It is therefore fitting that St. Ives has been used as the location for some of her dramas.
St. Ives is famous for its beaches, ice cream, and artistic heritage. It was also the location of the G7 World Leaders Summit in 2021.
Boasting no less than five different beaches, encompassing 270 degrees of orientation, there is always a coastal scene catching the light in St. Ives. This is perhaps one of the reasons why artists have been attracted to St. Ives, a group of these painters have even become known as the ‘St. Ives School’.
As well as being geographically unique, St. Ives town is renowned for its quaint narrow streets, little fisherman’s cottages, and idyllic vistas.
More information: stives-cornwall.co.uk
St. Michael's Mount is an island in Mounts Bay, off the South Coast of Cornwall. The island is home to a Castle with rugged and beautiful gardens, village, and harbour.
At high tide the island is completely cut off from the mainland except by boat, but at low tide it is linked to the town of Marazion by a causeway.
According to legend the island was occupied in the 6th Century by a giant called Cororan, who terrorised the locals by eating animals and children. He was finally trapped and killed by a local farmer’s son, named Jack, and so was born the story of ‘Jack the Giant Killer’.
In addition to being a filming location for Pilcher films, the island has also been a location for the prequel to ‘Game of Thrones’, called ‘House of the Dragon’.
If you’re visiting then we recommend a walk across the causeway at low tide, and then around the village and gardens. At high tide it is possible to take a tour around the island by boat.
More information: stmichaelsmount.co.uk
Further around the bay from St. Michael’s Mount can be found the fishing village and harbour of Mousehole. This pretty village is well known locally for its Christmas decorations, which light up the whole harbour. It is also the setting for the popular Children’s story ‘The Mousehole Cat’.
Just 3 miles to the South West from St. Michael’s Mount lies the small fishing cove and harbour of Lamorna. Known for its rugged beauty Lamorna Cove is also immortalised in a well-known Cornish Folksong, ‘The Way Down To Lamorna’, about a wayward husband receiving his comeuppance from his wife.
Lamorna Cove by Simon Smith
This cove was a popular location for landscape painting with some of the artists from ‘the St. Ives School’, and even today you’re likely to see artists at work painting the scenery.
The coastline between the Village of St. Agnes and the beach at Chapel Porth is another location that appears in several Pilcher series. Here, on the high cliffs of Cornwall’s North coast, can be found some of the breath-taking views before which a young couple might stop for a romantic picnic as they make their way along the cliff path.
One of the iconic views of the North Coast of Cornwall is that of the Towanroath Pumping Engine House, which was part of Wheal Coates mine, which sits right on the edge of the cliffs to the north of Chapel Porth. This is a symbol of Cornwall’s rich mining heritage, which meant that in the 19th Century it was one of the wealthiest places in the world.
At low tide one can walk around the cliffs to the right of the beach at Chapel Porth and see the engine house from the beach below. At high tide there is no beach to be found, but one might still enjoy a ‘hedgehog’. Do not be alarmed… this consists of a scoop of vanilla ice cream covered in Cornish clotted cream, and then rolled in toasted hazel nuts and brown sugar!
More information: nationaltrust.org.uk/chapel-porth
North of Newquay, on the North Coast, lies Bedruthan Steps. Also known as Pentire Steps, or its Cornish name of Carnewas, this is probably the most awe inspiring and dramatic setting on our list of locations. It consists of a series of geological stacks, which rise out of the sands across the bay. Each of the stacks has a name, such as: Queen Bess, Samaritan Island, Redcove Island, Pendarves Island, and Carnewas Island.
The name ‘Bedruthan’ it has been said comes from a mythological giant, who used the stacks as steppingstones. The earliest records of this myth, however, indicate that it was most likely invented to entertain the Victorian tourists of the last 19th Century. The name itself is more likely to have originally been the name of one of the miners paths that lead up the cliff from the beach.
Steps leading to the beach were covered by a rock fall, and unfortunately there is currently no safe way down. However, the views from the top of the cliff are still astounding!
More information: nationaltrust.org.uk/carnewas-at-bedruthan
Not far from the tip of the Lizard Peninsula, which is the most Southerly point in Cornwall, lies our next location – Church Cove. At the North end of this cove sits the small church of Saint Wynwallow. This church has a detached tower, which is actually set into the rock of the headland behind it: hence the name, Church Cove.
This area is rich is smuggling history, and there are also several shipwrecks just off the coast here. While Church Cove is a beautiful beach, swimming is not advised outside of lifeguard season as it is also well known for its strong currents and dangerous seas.
More information: nationaltrust.org.uk/gunwalloe
Trelissick is a country estate, with house and gardens, near the village of Feock on the Carrick Roads Estuary.
The house was designed around 1750, and built up on the proceeds of copper mining in Cornwall in the 19th Century. The estate overlooks the Fal River and the King Harry Ferry, and has views towards the coastal port of Falmouth.
Run by the National Trust, the estate gets over 200,000 visitors a year. The gardens are noted for their rare shrubs and collections of rhododendra, azaleas, hydrangeas and camellias.
More information: nationaltrust.org.uk/trelissick
If we have missed any of your favourite Pilcher films and the locations in them then please let us know.
About Rosamunde Pilcher: