Eerie photographs show crumbling 1950s Cornish holiday destination

The real ‘Heartbreak Motel’: Eerie photographs reveal inside a crumbling 1950s Cornish holiday destination that has lain derelict for a decade as it goes on sale for £1million

  • The abandoned Cornwall Motel in Ashton, Cornwall, has gone on the market for almost £1million
  • Council recently granted permission for site to be demolished and replaced with holiday lodges
  • It was once a popular holiday destination but has fallen into ruin over the past decade since closure
  • Chalets are now covered in weeds and rubbish that has been left by fly-tipped over the years 

These pictures show how nature has reclaimed a derelict building which has been falling into ruin for a decade but has now gone up for sale for £1million.  

Cornwall Motel in Ashton, Cornwall, has stood empty since plans to demolish it and build holiday homes in its place were refused in 2007.

Since dubbed ‘Heartbreak Motel’, the building has been a target for vandalism and fly-tipping, with rubbish strewn across its grounds and graffiti left on the crumbling walls. 

Meanwhile the abandoned motel has become so overgrown with vegetation it is barely visible from nearby roads.  

Photographer Greg Martin was given special permission by Bradleys Estate Agents to look around after conditional permission was finally given to remove the building in favour of holiday homes – so long as a developer shells out the £1million price tag. 

Cornwall Motel in Ashton, Cornwall, has gone up for sale for £1million after conditional permission was granted to demolish the building and replace it with new holiday lodges. The building, pictured, has been derelict for more than a decade but was once a popular tourist destination in the 1950s 

The former holiday site has fallen into disrepair and is now overgrown with vegetation, while others have used it as a place to dump rubbish, pictured

A variety of bizarre items including this electric fan, pictured, have been dumped in the rooms, which are accessible through broken doors and windows

Photographer Greg Martin was given special permission to access the site by Bradleys Estate Agent and found broken furniture and electronics littered about the floor, pictured

Part of the roof has also been removed from the building, pictured, along with glass from the windows

An old newspaper article, pictured, shows what the building used to look like in its prime during the 1950s

With foliage and debris covering most of the entrances, he said the contents of each room can only really be seen by exploring inside.

Mr Martin was shown around each of the 12 rooms in the motel chalets, as well as a separate bungalow which was the site manager’s home, a double garage and a restaurant in a separate building.

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He said: ‘Walking through the rooms has become treacherous, with layers of mouldy mattresses, broken glass, rubble, furniture and lots of unidentifiable objects.

‘At one time, people on their holidays would have woken up in bed here and looked out across the fields to the sea.

‘Not too long ago, there was still a clear driveway leading up to the chalets, so that people could park in front of their rooms. But now, the motel is hidden in the undergrowth and barely visible from the road.’

Vandals have also been using the site to practise graffiti with the walls covered in spraypaint, pictured 

Other walls have rotted away over the years leaving huge holes in some of the chalets, pictured. The site will be demolished once bought, with brand new lodges put in place

Mr Martin was shown around each of the 12 rooms in the motel chalets, as well as a separate bungalow which was the site manager’s home. This picture shows one hollowed out window frame that has since become a target for fly-tippers

Pictured is one of the doors to the chalets discarded on the floor in front of a room that has been reclaimed by nature

This hollowed-out view of one of the chalets shows one of the mattresses still left in the corner surrounded by broken and rotten wood and smashed up walls

This bathroom has seen better days and is now covered by vines, pictured, although the tiles have held up well

Despite the sad state that the ‘Heartbreak Motel’ has got into since in closed, there are decades of fond memories buried beneath the rubble and detritus, dating back to when it first became a holiday destination in the 1950s.

His images included a ‘No Smoking’ sign that remains where the bed was once against the wall of room 10.

Other pictures show nature slowly reclaiming one of the few bathrooms that is still in tact in the motel.

There were also piles of video cassettes cover the floor of room 9, next to a large broken television which was clearly brought into the room after the motel shut down.

Squatters began using the motel room shortly after it was abandoned when the chalets were still in reasonable condition.  

But it didn’t take long before the windows, doors and roofs were taken off, forcing them to seek shelter elsewhere.

Weeds and bushes, pictured, have been left to grow freely throughout the premises over the past decade and more

Graffiti on the doors, pictured, shows that vandals have been using the site since at least 2008, a year after a previous plan to remove the motel and replace it with homes was rejected

The building has also previously been a target for arson with one of the chalets torched in 2011. These pictures show two rooms covered in broken plastic

The motel, pictured, once had rooms that included a television, electric kettle, central heating and an en suite bathroom

The motel has been described as ‘a coastal development opportunity’ by the estate agents who claim it could be a good location for new holiday homes

The glass doors at the back of room 9 have gone, as has some of the roof, which was destroyed by a fire in 2011, suspected to be arson.

A sofa also lies on its back in part of what was once a restaurant.

Now on sale for almost £1million, the site is described by the estate agents as ‘a coastal development opportunity with sea views over St Michaels Mount and Bay’.

The estate agents added: ‘[It is] Located only a short distance from the beautiful and sandy surfing beach of Praa sands. Planning has been granted for 17 holiday restricted 2 storey units with gardens and parking. The site is a mix of 2 and 3 bedrooms.’

But Mr Martin said the stone fireplace inside the site owner’s bungalow will not be keeping anyone warm these days.

Video tapes have also been left strewn around the site, which reveals just how long ago it was in popular use

The motel is situated in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which is one of the reasons why planning applications in the past decade have been refused

The motel also came with a restaurant which seated up to 30 people, while the manager had their own cabin

The site continues to be a danger to anyone using it as a dump or for graffiti due to the jagged shards in broken windows

This room, once occupied by the manager, has had its entire roof removed while the paint has been peeling off the walls, and a stone fireplace lies partially broken

The estate agents said the building was once popular for its countryside views but empty window frames now only show the extent of vegetation that has enveloped the building

The door to room 6 lies on the ground outside the holiday chalet and with most doors to the rooms now missing, there is nowhere left to hang a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign.

The ladies toilets in the restaurant are out of order and there are uninterrupted views from room 10, ever since the back doors were broken off.

Mr Martin added: ‘The views from some of the other rooms are less scenic and the land around the motel has become so overgrown in the last couple of years that it is barely visible from the road that runs alongside it.

‘Room 11 is described as a bit of a sun trap in the afternoon, ever since the tiles came off the roof while the shabby chic decor in some of the rooms may not be to everyone’s taste.

‘A couple of the rooms still have their baths, although privacy is no longer an option.’

The motel is situated in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which is one of the reasons why planning applications in the past decade have been refused.

The property is being marketed by Bradleys Estate Agents.

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