The bowling green is to the south of the house and is rectangular in shape. From the Retainers’ Court, there is an arch leading to the Meadow which is separated from the Upper Garden by a stone wall.
The Upper Garden is laid out in three terraces; the lower terrace, the middle terrace with its central rectangular pond and Upper Garden or Terrace with its battlemented wall underplanted with a mixed border. The original designs for this border were made in 1970s by Graham Stuart Thomas and John Sales.
When in the Meadow, look up at the north-west tower which was built in 1627. Three windows can be seen from the ground but only two are visible internally. Hidden behind the tapestry is another room, probably created by the Edgcumbes as a hiding place during the Civil War.
Across a field to the north is the Prospect Tower. It was built in 1789 with a similar tower built at Mount Edgcumbe. The latter was demolished in the early twentieth century.
The property is owned by the National Trust.
Cotehele belonged to a family of the same name until 1353, when it was acquired through marriage by William Edgcumbe.
Alterations to the 14th century house were made in the early fifteenth century. Sir Richard and his son Piers made alterations to the house in the late 15th, early 16th century. They also laid out the garden, the bones of which can be seen today. Sir Richard had been knighted after supporting Henry Tudor against Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485.
The chapel was built by Richard Edgcumbe c1484 in thanks for his escape from Sir Henry Bodrugan [Trenowith], a Yorkist. The Rebellion to remove Richard III had collapsed and Bodrugan had been ordered to arrest Edgcumbe. Allegedly, after Edgcumbe’s hiding place in the woods surrounding Cotehele was discovered, Edgcumbe threw his hat into the river. On seeing the hat float by, Bodrugan thought Edgcumbe must have drowned and called the search off.
In the middle of the sixteenth century, Sir Piers Edgcumbe built a new house at Mount Edgcumbe which replaced Cotehele as the family’s principal seat. Colonel Piers Edgcumbe returned to Cotehele during the Civil War and lived there until his death in 1667.
During the Second World War, Mount Edgcumbe was partly destroyed and the 5th Earl returned to Cotehele. On his death in 1945, the 6th Earl gave the property to the Nation in lieu of death duties and it was then passed to the National Trust.