The shop and tearoom at one of the area's biggest and best-known nurseries have been destroyed by fire. Thousands of pounds worth of stock, as well as shop and catering equipment, was lost in the blaze at the Duchy of Cornwall Nursery in Lostwithiel. An occupant of a house close to the nursery, which is part of the original Duchy of Cornwall estate, raised the alarm in the early hours of Wednesday morning but it was too late to save the building. A nursery spokesman said: 'The alarm was raised by the occupants of one of the adjacent houses but by the time the fire brigade arrived the wooden building was ablaze from end to end.' Reopen Prince Charles is said to have made a private visit to the nursery in the summer. A spokesman at Clarence House said the Prince, who has just returned from a high-profile visit to America with the Duchess of Cornwall, would be told of the fire. The nursery was closed after the blaze but is expected to reopen on Saturday. The nursery spokesman said: 'Most of our business is about selling plants, that should be relatively unaffected. 'We are hoping to get a shop up and running in another building within a fortnight.'

A Christmas fair planned for December 4 will also go ahead and include local crafts and food, traditional Irish and silver band music and fresh local Christmas trees. The nursery sells around 4,000 varieties of plants, including many rarely available elsewhere. The majority are grown at the nursery, which is situated across the valley from Restormel Castle, the home of the first Duke of Cornwall. The range of goods stocked in the shop had been gradually increasing and included gardening books, plant care products and Duchy Originals goods such as chilled meat and toiletries.