Cornish Lavender farm prepares to harvest

Lavender fields at Roskorwell
Lavender fields at Roskorwell Credit: ITV News

A specialist lavender grower on Cornwall's Lizard Peninsula has become an unexpected visitor attraction.

Lavender fans now flock to Roskorwell Farm near Porthallow every June and July to see the pretty purple fields.

The farm first started its lavender production in 2016, and now farmer Mark Hall-Digweed is about to harvest his latest crop.

Mark Hall-Digweed, Lavender Farmer: ''We don't like continous damp, but this year we had a little bit of the opposite - an extremely long long dry spring. The plants were behind to start off with, but with recent rains they're now catching up and I think we're now going to be ahead of last year.''

Mark Hall-Digweed Credit: ITV News

Mark says tours of the fields have become popular with visitors from all over the world, including artists wanting to come and paint the scene - which could be mistaken for Provence.

Mark says ''Even on a stormy day as we've had the last couple of weekends, if you stand at the top corner, you feel like you're being washed with lavender, it carries in the wind, it is very calming.''

The lavender is turned into essential oils and soaps. Harvested in the mornings, the lavender is brought back to the barn for steam distillation in a custom-made still.

Mark has trialled growing 14 varieties, and whittled it down to 5 that grow the best.

Melissa Lilac Lavender Credit: ITV News

Mark Hall-Digweed: ''The first variety we're going to harvest is the Melissa Lilac. This is the mellowest of all, so we advise using this for culinary purposes but it makes the loveliest oil and we've got a french perfume house interested in buying that oil from us.''

Artist Melissa Chadwick has been running painting classes at the farm.

Melissa Chadwick Credit: ITV News

Melisa says ''You're just being immersed in the fields and you just have such a better experience drawing from life rather than drawing from a photo. I also find that when I'm drawing from life, when I look back at the painting I just am instantly taken back to that moment, the sounds and the smells.''

The lavender at Roskorwell is now almost at its peak, with harvesting due to begin in early July.