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CornwallofPlacesHidden

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Western Isles

Published by:

Travel Publishing Ltd Airport Business Centre, 10 Thornbury Road, Estover, Plymouth PL6 7PP

ISBN13

9781907462047

© Travel Publishing Ltd

First Published: 1989 Second Edition: 1992

Third Edition: 1996

Fourth Edition: 1998

Fifth Edition: 2000 Sixth Edition: 2003 Seventh Edition: 2005 Eighth Edition: 2007 Ninth Edition: 2009 Tenth Edition: 2011

Please Note:

All advertisements in this publication have been accepted in good faith by Travel Publishing.

All information is included by the publishers in good faith and is believed to be correct at the time of going to press. No responsibility can be accepted for errors.

Editors:

Hilary Weston and Jackie Staddon

Cover Photo:

East Porthleven Beach. © International Photobank / Alamy

Text Photos:

See page 185

This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not by way of trade or otherwise be lent, re-sold, hired out, or otherwise circulated without the publisher’s prior consent in any form of binding or cover other than that which it is published and without similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchase.

THE HIDDEN PLACES OF

CORNWALL

Edited By Hilary Weston and Jackie Staddon

© Travel Publishing Ltd.

FOREWORD

This is the 10th edition of the Hidden Places of Cornwall but it is also the first Hidden Places title to be published simultaneously in printed form and as an e-book which reflects the significant growth in the demand for travel information in digital form.

The free-to-download digital edition is reproduced in full colour and reflects many of the changes made to the printed version with an attractive new cover and redesigned page layouts. The changes will significantly improve the usefulness, accessibility and appeal of the guide. Editorially, the new style continues Travel Publishing’s commitment to exploring the more interesting, unusual or unique places of interest in Cornwall. In this respect we would like to thank the Tourist Information Centres who helped us update the editorial content of the book.

As an e-book of course readers are able to quickly browse the guide on a page-by-page basis, search for, and locate places of interest using the index and find out more information on our advertisers by clicking on their website or email address. In addition, any part of the guide can be printed off for readers who want information on specific places.

Cornwall has been described as “an isolated beauty that contains some of the most dramatic and spectacular scenery in the country”. It is surrounded by rugged coastlines and has often been referred to as the ‘English Riviera’ encompassing pretty fishing ports, secluded scenic villages, narrow winding lanes and strong, romantic seafaring traditions. This is a land of strong Celtic heritage and ancestry, a place that is dotted with monuments such as crosses, holy wells and prehistoric sites and where legends of old still hold their romance amongst the Cornish people.

The Hidden Places of Cornwall contains a wealth of information on the history, culture and the hundreds of interesting places to be found within the county. But it also promotes the more secluded and little known visitor attractions and advertises places to stay, eat and drink, many of which are easy to miss unless you know exactly where you are going. These are cross-referenced to more detailed information contained in a separate, easy-to-use section to the rear of the book. This section is also available as a free supplement from the local Tourist Information Offices.

We include hotels, bed & breakfasts, restaurants, pubs, bars, teashops and cafes as well as historic houses, museums, gardens and many other attractions throughout the area - all of which are comprehensively indexed. Many places are accompanied by an attractive photograph and are easily located by using the map at the beginning of each chapter. We do not award merit marks or rankings but concentrate on describing the more interesting, unusual or unique features of each place with the aim of making the reader’s stay in the local area an enjoyable and stimulating experience.

Whether you are travelling around Cornwall on business or for pleasure we do hope that you enjoy reading and using this book. We are always interested in what readers think of places covered (or not covered) in our guides so please do not hesitate to give us your considered comments. We also welcome any general comments which will help us improve the guides themselves. Finally if you are planning to visit any other corner of the British Isles we would like to refer you to the list of other Hidden Places titles to be found to the rear of the book and to the Travel Publishing website (see below).

Travel Publishing

Did you know that you can also search our website for details of thousands of places to see, stay, eat or drink throughout Britain and Ireland? Our site has become increasingly popular and now receives hundreds of thousands of visits. Try it!

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CONTENTS

4

Foreword

6

Regional Map

GEOGRAPHICAL AREAS:

8

Cornwall

ADVERTISEMENTS:

118

Cornwall Advertisements

INDEXES AND LISTS:

183

List of Tourist Information Centres

185

Image Copyright Holders

186

Order Forms

187

Index of Towns, Villages and Places of Interest

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LOCATION MAP CornwallofPlacesHidden
LOCATION MAP
CornwallofPlacesHidden

Accommodation

1

The Beach At Bude, Bude

pg 9, 119

2

West Point Bed & Breakfast, Morwenstow pg 12, 119

3

Bullers Arms Hotel, Marhamchurch

pg 14, 120

4

Penpethy Holiday Cottages, Penpethy

pg 15, 121

6

Hentervene Holiday Park, Crackington Haven

pg 18, 122

7

The White Horse Inn, Launceston

pg 21, 123

13

Sheviock Barton Bed & Breakfast, Sheviock

pg 34, 127

15

Wringford Down, Forder

pg 36, 129

16

Trenethick Farmhouse Bed & Breakfast, Trerulefoot

pg 37, 130

17

Hay Lake Farm, Landrake

pg 37, 129

20

Tom Sawyers Tavern, Hannafore

pg 39, 132

21

Polraen Country House, Sandplace

pg 39, 133

22

Windermere House, St Martins

pg 39, 133

23

Old Lanwarnick, Duloe

pg 39, 134

24

Cornish Quay Holidays, Liskeard

pg 41, 135

26

Bridge On Wool, Wadebridge

pg 42, 137

28

The Cornish Arms, Pendoggett

pg 46, 139

29

The London Inn, Padstow

pg 46, 140

30

The Golden Lion Pub, Padstow

pg 46, 141

33

The Falcon Inn, St Mawgan

pg 54, 143

37

St Agnes Hotel, St Agnes

pg 58, 146

38

Little Trevellas Farm, Trevellas

pg 60, 147

39

Fowey Harbour Cottages, Fowey

pg 63, 147

42

Rooms at Polgassick, Polgassick

pg 68, 148

44

Collon Barton, Lerryn

pg 69, 149

45

The White Pyramid, Trewoon

pg 70, 150

55

The Old Quay Inn, Devoran

pg 81, 157

56

Tregenna Guest House, Falmouth

pg 82, 159

61

Portreath Arms, Portreath

pg 85, 162

64

Carwinion House, Mawnan Smith

pg 88, 163

67

The Five Pilchards Inn, Porthallow

pg 94, 165

68

The Haven Bed & Breakfast, Ruan Minor

pg 95, 168

69

The Top House Inn, The Lizard

pg 96, 167

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Accommodation

70

Colvennor Farmhouse B & B, Cury

pg 97, 168

72

Kota Restaurant & Rooms, Porthleven

pg 98, 169

74

abode Bed & Breakfast, St Ives

pg 100, 171

75

Anchorage Bed & Breakfast, St Ives

pg 101, 172

76

Blue Hayes Private Hotel, St Ives

pg 101, 173

78

Mount Haven Hotel & Restaurant, Marazion

pg 105, 174

84

Number Nine, Penzance

pg 108, 178

86

The Cornish Range Restaurant With Rooms,

 

Mousehole

pg 110, 180

Food & Drink

 

3

Bullers Arms Hotel, Marhamchurch

pg 14, 120

7

The White Horse Inn, Launceston

pg 21, 123

8

Jamaica Inn and Museums, Bolventor

pg 23, 122

9

The Weavers, Bodmin

pg 27, 124

10

Bodmin & Wenford Railway, Bodmin

pg 27, 125

11

Penlan Eating House, Fourwinds

pg 29, 126

14

St John Inn, St John

pg 34, 128

18

Kelly’s of Looe, Looe

pg 38, 131

19

Daisy’s Cafe, Looe

pg 38, 132

20

Tom Sawyers Tavern, Hannafore

pg 39, 132

21

Polraen Country House, Sandplace

pg 39, 133

25

The Highwayman, Dobwalls

pg 41, 136

26

Bridge On Wool, Wadebridge

pg 42, 137

27

Bluetomato, Rock

pg 43, 138

28

The Cornish Arms, Pendoggett

pg 46, 139

29

The London Inn, Padstow

pg 46, 140

30

The Golden Lion Pub, Padstow

pg 46, 141

31

The Olive Tree, St Merryn

pg 50, 142

33

The Falcon Inn, St Mawgan

pg 54, 143

34

Lappa Valley Steam Railway, St Newlyn East

pg 57, 143

35

The Smugglers Den, Trebellan

pg 57, 144

36

The Bowgie Inn, West Pentire

pg 58, 145

37

St Agnes Hotel, St Agnes

pg 58, 146

45

The White Pyramid, Trewoon

pg 70, 150

46

The Kings Arms, Luxulyan

pg 71, 150

47

The Shipwreck and Heritage Centre, Charlestown

pg 72, 151

49

Gravy boesti, Truro

pg 75, 152

50

The Heron Inn, Malpas

pg 76, 153

51

The Kings Arms, Tregony

pg 77, 154

52

The Roseland Inn, Philleigh

pg 78, 155

53

The Royal Standard, Gerrans

pg 79, 156

54

Halwyn’s Tea Gardens, Old Kea

pg 80, 158

55

The Old Quay Inn, Devoran

pg 81, 157

56

Castle Beach Cafe, Falmouth

pg 82, 159

57

Finn M’Couls, Falmouth

pg 82, 158

58

Pea Souk, Falmouth

pg 82, 160

60

Miss Peapods, Penryn

pg 83, 161

61

Portreath Arms, Portreath

pg 85, 162

62

The Melting Pot ‘Krowji’, Redruth

pg 87, 163

Food & Drink

63

The Brea Inn, Higher Brea pg 87, 164

65

Trevarno Estate and Gardens, Trevarno

pg 91, 165

66

The Gweek Inn, Gweek

pg 91, 166

67

The Five Pilchards Inn, Porthallow

pg 94, 165

69

The Top House Inn, The Lizard

pg 96, 167

72

Kota Restaurant & Rooms, Porthleven

pg 98, 169

73

Cafe Mundo Bar, St Ives pg 100, 170

77

Angarrack Inn, Angarrack

pg 104, 174

78

Mount Haven Hotel & Restaurant, Marazion

pg 105, 174

79

The White Hart, Churchtown

pg 105, 175

80

Wayside Folk Museum, Zennor

pg 106, 175

81

Wave’s Cafe Bar, Penzance

pg 108, 176

82

Blue Bay Cafe, Penzance pg 108, 177

83

The Honey Pot, Penzance pg 108, 178

85

Country Cousins Cafe, Penzance

pg 108, 179

86

The Cornish Range Restaurant With Rooms,

Mousehole

pg 110, 180

87

Jessie’s Dairy, Mousehole

pg 110, 179

88

The Cook Book, St Just pg 115, 181

89

Trewellard Arms, Trewellard

pg 116, 182

Shopping

 

34

Lappa Valley Steam Railway, St Newlyn East

pg 57, 143

41

Bellamama Deli, Lostwithiel

pg 68, 148

43

The Parade, Lostwithiel

pg 68, 149

47

The Shipwreck and Heritage Centre, Charlestown

pg 72, 151

48

Atishoo Designs, Charlestown

pg 72, 151

65

Trevarno Estate and Gardens, Trevarno

pg 91, 165

71

Halzephron Herb Farm, Porthleven

pg 98, 168

80

Wayside Folk Museum, Zennor

pg 106, 175

88

The Cook Book, St Just

pg 115, 181

 

Places of Interest

5

Museum of Witchcraft, Boscastle

pg 17, 121

8

Jamaica Inn and Museums, Bolventor

pg 23, 122

10

Bodmin & Wenford Railway, Bodmin

pg 27, 125

12

Cotehele House, St Dominick

pg 33, 127

32

Blue Reef Aquarium, Newquay

pg 51, 142

34

Lappa Valley Steam Railway, St Newlyn East

pg 57, 143

40

Restormel Castle, Lostwithiel

pg 68, 148

47

The Shipwreck and Heritage Centre, Charlestown

pg 72, 151

59

National Maritime Museum, Falmouth

pg 82, 160

65

Trevarno Estate and Gardens, Trevarno

pg 91, 165

71

Halzephron Herb Farm, Porthleven

pg 98, 168

80

Wayside Folk Museum, Zennor

pg 106, 175

CornwallofPlacesHidden

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CORNWALL

“I like Cornwall very much. It is not England,” wrote DH Lawrence. That was more than 80 years ago, but the ancient Duchy of Cornwall remains stubbornly distinct from the rest of England, not just in its dramatic and spectacular scenery, but in its strong Celtic heritage. The landscape is dotted with ancient monuments, crosses and holy wells, and ancient legends – especially those relating to King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table – appear to have been hot-wired into the Cornish psyche.

Cornish people have been recognised as a separate identity by the Commission for Racial Equality and they have their own distinctive and attractive dialect. According to the Cornish Language Board, around 2600 people still speak Kernuack, the original language of the peninsula. A firm in Helston occasionally publishes books in the ancient language and Kernuack has been recognised as a living language by the European Commission. Elements of Kernuack still survive in the names of Cornish places and people – as Sir Walter Scott put it: “By Tre-, Pol- and Pen- , You shall know all true Cornishmen.” One simple fact about the county helps to explain its distinct character. Wherever you are in Cornwall, you are never more than 20 miles from the sea. Maritime trade started early here – in the days of King Solomon, the Cornish people were already trading tin with the Phoenicians. Cornish eyes, it seems, were always turned seawards rather than inland, and the people’s cultural affinity was with the Celtic diaspora of Ireland and Brittany rather than their mainland neighbours. Added to this cultural separation was the county’s physical distance from major centres of population. Even

today, Cornwall’s population

of around 500,000 is less than that of the city of Bristol. There’s not a single mile of motorway within its boundaries and long stretches of the main through route, the A30 from Penzance to London, are still single carriageway. It was this isolation – and the luminous light of the area – that attracted major artists to the little seaside resort of St Ives, which now boasts a world-class art gallery in the Tate St Ives. More recently, an abandoned china clay pit has been transformed into what has been described as the Eighth Wonder of the World, the inspired – and phenomenally successful – Eden Project, whose enormous bio-spheres celebrate the complex relationship between plants, people and resources. Elsewhere, the county boasts the third largest natural harbour in the world, Falmouth; acres of glorious gardens such as the Lost Gardens of Heligan; King Arthur’s legendary fortress at Tintagel, and other medieval castles at St Mawes, Falmouth and St Michael’s Mount; the wonderful Elizabethan mansion of Prideaux Place at Padstow; and, of course, Land’s End where the granite bulwark overlooks the Atlantic waters beneath which lies the legendary Land of Lyonesse.

Porthmellin Head
Porthmellin Head

CornwallofPlacesHidden

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Crooklets Beach, Bude
Crooklets Beach, Bude

BUDE

Up the windswept and dramatic coastline of north Cornwall lie the sheltered beaches of Bude. The wide seafront is Bude’s chief attraction, which has been entertaining visitors since Victorian times. The town still retains the charm and atmosphere of a traditional sea side resort, coupled with modern services and facilities to satisfy today’s discerning visitor. The birthplace of British surfing (often referred to by Australian surfers as the ‘Bondai of Britain’), the area has some of the best surfing beaches in the UK, due to its exposed position on the Atlantic coast, and was the site of the first life-saving club. Bude lifeboat station, operated by the RNLI, Royal National Lifeboat Institution, has been in service for over 125 years and the crews have been presented with twelve Silver Medals and four Framed Letters of Thanks for gallantry. The RNLI is a registered charity dedicated to saving lives at sea. In September 2000 the RNLI introduced a pilot scheme to evaluate

1

THE BEACH AT BUDE

Bude

Luxury Boutique Accommodation in Cornwall with Stunning Sea Views.

See entry on page 119

in Cornwall with Stunning Sea Views. See entry on page 119 the potential expansion into beach

the potential expansion into beach lifeguarding around the UK. A pilot service was launched in 2001 to cover 26 beaches in the central south and south west of England, with the aim of providing a ‘joined up service to save more lives’. The RNLI district of Bude is made up of Blackrock, Widemouth, Summerleaze, Crooklets, Northcott, and Sandymouth on the West Coast with Westward Ho! and Sandymere tucked away further up the coast to the north, over the border in Devon. Recognisable by its dramatic landscape, there’s something magical about this stretch of coast, with dozens of strange and wonderful rock formations and outcrops giving this area masses of character. There are beaches to suit all tastes - just along the coast to the North is Summerleaze, which is an enormously well loved destination, and it’s easy to see why. Surrounded by sand dunes on one side and a canal on the other, this beach has loads of personality with plenty to look at, including the Bude Lifeboat Station that is based here. Further up the coast is Crooklets, another photogenic beach with impressive rock formations and dramatic cliffs. Crooklets is popular with visitors and locals alike due to its close proximity to the town centre and its reputation for clean waters and great

amenities, A recent addition at this beach enables you to ‘walk on water’ in a giant plastic ball. Northcott is a rural beach set in

a National Trust area. A pretty low key affair,

this beach has a relaxing, tranquil atmosphere, and is great for spotting wildlife as it is relatively undisturbed. Northwards is Sandymouth, another National Trust beach, popular with surfers and beautiful for walking, especially at low tide This beach also has enchanting sunsets. Next is Sandymere, which is renowned for its

watersports, but if you’re not feeling quite so active the pebble and sand-covered beach is

a charming spot to sit down and spectate.

CornwallofPlacesHidden

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Finally, Westward Ho! This is incredibly popular with families because of its clean waters and outstanding amenities. It also has a lost child centre should one of the little folk wander off, which provides that extra peace of mind for parents. Add to all this a Designated Area of Outstanding Beauty, local nature reserve, unique sea-lock and canal with easy disabled access, a friendly town with mostly locally owned shops, special events and festivals throughout the year, and you have all the ingredients for a great holiday location. A few minutes walk from the town centre and you can be exploring the dramatic scenery of the South West Coastal Path or walking in some of the most unspoilt rural areas to be found in the South West. Those more interested in history will find much to explore in Bude’s past geological features, with cliffs laid down 300 million years ago, its maritime connections, canal and unique sea-lock, castle, the battleground at Stratton and the dozens of beautiful churches in the area. Originally a busy north Cornwall port, Bude developed rapidly after the Bude Canal to Launceston was opened in the 1820s. The canal was an engineering feat of the early 19th century that intended to connect the Atlantic with the English Channel via the River Tamar. The only stretch to be completed was that between Bude and Launceston and it was, in many ways, remarkable as the sea lock at the entrance to the canal was the only lock on the whole

length of the canal - although it ran for 35 miles and rose to a height of 350 feet in 6 miles. The canal today has a new use as a resource for fishing, canoeing, kayaking and walking, and the Bude Canal Trail follows this tranquil backwater into the heart of Cornwall. To discover more there is a canal exhibition in Bude Tourist Information Centre. The flat tow-path, which is pushchair and wheelchair friendly, provides a pleasant two- mile walk from Bude to Helebridge. Close to the entrance to the canal stands Bude Castle, an unusually small fortification designed as his home by the 19th century engineer and prolific inventor, Sir Goldsworthy Gurney (1793-1875), a local man who was probably the greatest inventor Cornwall - a place renowned for its inventors - has ever produced (see also Launcells). The castle, modest by Tintagel’s standards and decidedly more modern, is renowned for being the first building in the country to be constructed on sand, its foundations resting on a concrete raft - a technique developed by Gurney. The Castle is now Bude Castle Heritage Centre with exhibition galleries, an archive with research facilities, an education room, shop and a restaurant with breathtaking views to the breakwater and Chapel Rock and over Summerleaze Beach to the sea beyond. Following the exhibitions, you can find out about Sir Goldsworthy Gurney – Cornwall’s Forgotten Genius - and his many inventions which include a steam jet, a musical instrument consisting of glasses played as a piano, and the Bude Light, an intensive light obtained by introducing oxygen into the interior flame and using mirrors. He used this to light his house, in lighthouses and to light the House of Commons, where his invention replaced 280 candles and gave rise to the expression ‘in the limelight’. This earned the inventor his knighthood and the light served the House of Commons for 60 years. At the heritage centre you can also discover about the

Bude Canal
Bude Canal

CornwallofPlacesHidden

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history, flora, fauna and port development of Bude and its surroundings. You can also measure yourself against the Cornish Giant, Anthony Payne (see also Stratton). The Bude Castle and Marshes won a prestigious Green Flag in 2010, hailing it as one of the best green spaces in the country. One of the high spots in the Bude calendar is the annual Jazz Festival, which takes place in late August and runs into September each year. This is when ‘New Orleans comes to Cornwall’, and with over 20 different indoor venues in and around the town, it is one of the leading festivals of its kind in Britain. Around the time of this festival is Bude Carnival, which dates from 1920 when it was held on Thursday, 2nd December. There has been a Bude Carnival every year since though it is now held on the third Saturday of August. Money collected on the day, after expenses, is donated to local charities and organisations.

AROUND BUDE

POUGHILL

1 mile NE of Bude off the A39

The thatched cottages of the old village of Poughill (pronounced ‘Poffle’) stand around the St Olaf’s Parish Church, one of the treasure houses of Cornwall. Though its foundations are Norman, the church as you see it now, dates largely from the 14th century, and is dedicated to a Norwegian king and martyr. Noted for its late 15th century carved oak bench ends (78 in all) telling the story of the Passion in remarkable detail and pair of immense 15th Century paintings of St. Christopher facing each other across the nave, keen eyed visitors will also spot that the Royal Arms of Charles II have been incorrectly dated 1655. Over the church door is a tablet commemorating Sir Goldsworthy Gurney, a gift, along with the church clock, of his daughter. A notable event in Poughill’s calendar is the Revel and Cuckoo Fair that takes place in the centre of the village and always on the first Thursday of August. It is a traditional English village fete welcoming

St Olaf’s Parish Church, Poughill CornwallofPlacesHidden
St Olaf’s Parish Church, Poughill
CornwallofPlacesHidden

holidaymakers, with a mix of activities to try (archery, horse riding, treasure hunts, and other children’s games) and plenty of homemade cakes and homegrown produce to sample. Many of the villages around Bude have similar ‘Revels’, each on different weeks. The culmination of all of these Revels is the Bude Carnival in late August, where a large procession of floats arrives in town, each carrying the May Queen and her deputies from each of the surrounding village Revels.

MORWENSTOW

5½ miles N of Bude off the A39

Tucked into Cornwall’s northwest tip, Morwentstow has an appealing end-of-the-road feel to it. This isolated hamlet is surrounded by windswept cliffs and fields, and, though at times rather storm-lashed, this is a marvellous place from which to watch the changing moods of the ocean. Not surprisingly, shipwrecks have been common down the ages along this stretch of coast and, though many floundered as a result of storms, it was also not unknown for local criminals to lure unsuspecting ships on to the rocks by lighting lanterns from the cliff tops or the shore. One of the first people to show concern

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for the number of merchant vessels that were coming to grief along this perilous stretch of coastline was the Reverend Hawker, who spent much of his time monitoring the sea and would often climb down the cliff to rescue shipwrecked crews or recover the bodies of those who had not survived. He insisted on giving shipwrecked sailors a churchyard rather than a traditional beachside burial, with the result that forty mariners now repose here. In the

graveyard, look out for a white figurehead commemorating a tragic shipwreck. The shipwreck was that of the brig, Caledonia of Arbroath, which was lost with all hands - apart from one crew member - in 1842. Celebrations in 2008 marked the completion of a four-year restoration of her historic figurehead, a famous relic of the days of sail. Hawker’s lasting credit to the church was introducing to England the custom of the Harvest Festival in 1843 and his most famous poem is the rousing Cornish anthem, The Song of Western Men, which contains the well-known line ‘And shall Trelawney die?’ It was first published anonymously in a Plymouth newspaper. Many people thought it was a traditional Cornish song composed in the 17th century about Bishop Jonathan Trelawney, imprisoned with six other bishops during the reign of James II. Eccentric to the end, Hawker became a Roman Catholic on his deathbed, even though he had written an anthem to Trelawney, who was a staunch Protestant. Interestingly 100 years later, Michael Ramsey, the retired Archbishop of

Vicarage Cliffs, Morwenstow CornwallofPlacesHidden
Vicarage Cliffs, Morwenstow
CornwallofPlacesHidden

Canterbury, preached at an ecumenical service in his honour. Ramsey described Hawker as ‘a beyond man in a beyond place’, to whom all English Christians should be grateful. While visiting the area try the award-winning Rectory Tearooms located in the Rectory Farmhouse run by the National Trust. Welcombe and Marsland Valleys Nature Reserve, set in the forested valley slopes, is a haven for butterflies. At Higher and Lower Sharpnose Points, to the south of Morwenstow, the erosion caused by the constant bombardment of the sea can be seen clearly as there are boulders strewn along the bottom of these crumbling cliffs; some of the outcrops of harder rocks have begun to form tiny islands. The rugged coast on either side of Morwenstow makes for strenuous but exhilarating walking.

KILKHAMPTON

4½ miles NE of Bude on the A39

Kilkhampton, or ‘Kilk’ as the place is known locally, sits 600 feet above sea level, and claims to be Cornwall’s most northerly village of any size. Sitting astride the A39, it is thought to have been an important settlement in Saxon times, as the surrounding area is littered with ancient burial grounds. The village’s tall and elegant St James’s Parish Church was built in the 15th century on the site of the previous Norman church, of which only the splendid doorway remains. St James’s Day (July 25th) is still celebrated in

2 WEST POINT BED & BREAKFAST Morwenstow Come and relax in the warm and friendly
2
WEST POINT BED & BREAKFAST
Morwenstow
Come and relax in the
warm and friendly
atmosphere of this
first class
4 star spacious
bungalow.
See entry on page 119

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the village. The church contains many monuments to the local Granville family, many of them made by Michael Chuke, a local man and a pupil of Grinling Gibbons. Equally notable are the magnificent carved bench-ends, and the organ is the one played by Purcell when it was in Westminster Abbey. The Granvilles (who also used the surname Grenville) at one time lived in the very grand Stowe House, which no longer stands but is described vividly by Charles Kingsley in his Westward Ho!

STRATTON

1½ miles E of Bude on the A3072

This old market town predates its much larger neighbour of Bude and is believed to have been founded in Roman times. In fact, when its ancient St Andrew’s Parish Church was first being built, Bude was simply an unimportant part of the town. The church is well worth a visit, its main feature being a tomb with a cross-legged knight, thought to be that of a member of the Blanchminster family. Originally from Shropshire, their manor house was at Bien Amee, now a moated site near Binhamy Farm. Situated on a hill, the steeply sloping main street is lined with fine Georgian houses and cottages, many of which are still thatched today. During the Civil War, the town was a stronghold of the Royalists and their commander, Sir Bevil Grenville, made The Tree Inn his centre of operations. In May 1643, at the Battle of Stamford Hill, Grenville led his troops to victory over the Parliamentarians, who had been holding an Iron Age earthwork just northwest of the town. The dead of both sides were buried in unmarked graves in Stratton churchyard. Each May, on the closest weekend to the anniversary, there is a two-day re-enactment of the battle, fought over the Saturday and Sunday, together with a procession through the streets of neighbouring Stratton village. It’s well worth a visit. The Tree Inn was also the birthplace of the Cornish giant, Anthony Payne. Also known as the ‘Falstaff of the West’, he was seven feet four inches tall and weighed 38 stones. For all his size and bulk, the witty

Payne showed no signs of clumsiness, but awed everyone with his dexterity and very quick reflexes. They also say he had the brains to match the brawn that had thrust him into the role of a mighty man. He was an excellent choice as Sir Bevil’s bodyguard and they fought together at Stamford Hill and later at Lansdown Hill near Bath. When he retired he returned to Stratton to live in the Tree Inn. He died in 1691 and his coffin had to be lowered through the ceiling, as it was too large to move any other way. The Tree Inn, whose beams are made from the timbers of wrecked ships, still remembers Stratton’s most famous son and a life-size portrait hangs in the inn’s courtyard.

LAUNCELLS

2½ miles E of Bude off the A3072

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Though the name ‘Launcells’ is applied to the area, there is no Launcells village. There was a church here in the time of the Domesday Book, when the manor, of which there are no remains, was held by the Earl of Cornwall. The current church, set in a delightful wooded combe, is dedicated to St Swithin and was built in the 15th century. It

St Swithin’s Church, Launcells
St Swithin’s Church, Launcells

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is delightfully unrestored, prompting John Betjeman to declare it ‘the least spoilt church in Cornwall’. The church is notable for its fine Tudor bench-ends and for over 1,400 15th century Barnstaple floor tiles, with raised griffins, lions, pelicans and flowers. Just outside the church is a small holy well, and in the churchyard lies the grave of the remarkable Sir Goldsworthy Gurney (see also Bude).

MARHAMCHURCH

2 miles SE of Bude off the A39

The Celtic Saint Morweena apparently founded this village in the early 6th century, and the 14th century St Marwenne’s Parish Church is dedicated to its founder. It was originally a Norman structure, but nothing remains of it. The church has a magnificent 15th century oak door and a ‘sanctuary knocker’, which allowed fugitives to seek 40 days protection in the church. Marhamchurch Revel is a festival held every year, on the Monday after 12th August. During the festival a Queen of the Revel is chosen from the village schoolgirls and crowned by a person representing Father Time (whose identity is not supposed to be known) in front of the church. Following these events a procession led by the local band and the newly crowned Revel Queen then proceeds through the village to the Revel Ground. Here the villagers are entertained with a show of Cornish dancing, Cornish Wrestling and other entertainments.

WEEK ST MARY

6 miles SE of Bude off the B3254

This small village was the site of a Norman fortress, and has the 15th century St Mary’s

3 BULLERS ARMS HOTEL Marhamchurch A much loved venue, renowned across the county for its
3
BULLERS ARMS
HOTEL
Marhamchurch
A much loved venue,
renowned across the county
for its great value restaurant
and comfortable
accommodation.
See entry on page 120

Parish Church. The ‘week’ part of the name comes from the old English ‘wic’, meaning a dairy farm. It was the birthplace of Thomasine Banaventure, who was born in humble circumstances, but who later, as Dame Percyval, founded a school in the village and rose to become Lady Mayoress of London. To the west lies Penhallam , the grass-covered ruins of a 12th to 14th century moated manor house which has been excavated, revealing low walls on a central ‘island’ and a flat-bottomed moat, which was 18 feet wide and over 5 feet deep.

POUNDSTOCK

4½ miles S of Bude off the A3

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The unusual Guildhouse, found here in a wooded hollow, is the only surviving one of its kind in Cornwall. It was constructed in the 14th century, probably to house the masons working on the building of St Winwaloe’s Parish Church. It remains a fine example of a once common style of non-secular building. After the church had been built the guildhouse became a meeting place; over the years it has also acted as a poorhouse and a village school. Nearby, Penfound Manor is reputed to be the oldest inhabited house in England, with parts of it dating from Saxon times. It is said that William the Conqueror gave it to his half brother Robert. Ghost stories reveal that the Manor is haunted by the ghost of Kate Penfound, who was killed by her own father (a Royalist) while trying to elope with John Trebarfoot, a Parliamentarian. Her father and John then fought, each dying from wounds they received.

WIDEMOUTH BAY

3 miles S of Bude off the A39

Widemouth Bay is surrounded by intriguing rock formations, most notably the spectacular Blackrock. All of these somehow give the beach a rather ancient, mystical feel. It’s easy to imagine the area being battered and shaped by the sea over the centuries and you get a real sense of history when you stand on this coast. It’s no surprise

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Blackrock, Widemouth Bay
Blackrock, Widemouth Bay

then that Widemouth is one of the most exciting places for rock pooling, with a plethora of marine life to be spotted on its shores. The surf is suitable for beginners to intermediate, perfect for those not yet ready to face the biggest waves. There is ample parking and several campsites, plus other types of accommodation in the locality. Blackrock joins up with the neighbouring beach Widemouth for most of the day, but at high tide it becomes cut off, looming up out of the water majestically. This is an excellent beach for photography enthusiasts because of the unique outcrops and the spectacular light. The sunsets round here are legendary, and apart from very early in the morning, Blackrock gets sunlight all day long.

TINTAGEL

The mention of Tintagel conjures up a host of images - wild Cornish cliffs and rugged shores, mysterious ruins clinging to a windswept island, gift shops, tearooms and all things ‘Arthurian’. With an atmosphere like no other place, it’s not surprising that Tintagel has attracted poets, artists, historians and sightseers since the Victorian era. Renowned for its association with the legend of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table, the magic of the association is captured particularly by the black, forsaken ruins of Tintagel Castle, magnificently sited

on the rocky littoral a short walk west of the village. It is a hard climb up some 300 steps to The Island but well worth it. At the foot of The Island is Merlin’s Cave, where visitors can listen to the waves booming. Although the castle makes a plausibly resonant candidate for the abode of the ‘Once and Future King’, it was in fact a Norman stronghold occupied by the Earls of Cornwall. The castle remains on the mainland are of a castle built by Earl Reginald of Cornwall, the earliest parts dating from the mid 12th century. Reginald was the brother of the Earl of Gloucester, who encouraged Geoffrey of Monmouth to write his History of the English Kings, a chronicle that mentions Tintagel as being Arthur’s birthplace. So maybe Reginald saw Tintagel as the natural site for his new castle. Along with Caerleon in Wales, South Cadbury in Somerset, Camelford in Cornwall, Greenan in Ayrshire and Kelso in Roxburgh (and a few more besides!), Tintagel also lays claim to being the site of Camelot, the mythical headquarters of the Knights of the Round Table, and an annual attraction is a re- enactment of the Battle of Camlann, where Arthur was reputedly slain. The town naturally owes much of its popularity to its Arthurian connections. On the main Fore Street, King Arthur’s Great Halls is the only building in the world dedicated to the Arthurian legend, the brainchild of the philanthropist millionaire Frederick Thomas Glasscock. Designed and built in the 1930’s the granite and slate

4

PENPETHY HOLIDAY COTTAGES

Lower Penpethy, nr Tintagel

Four beautiful barn conversion cottages await with luxury bathrooms, bedrooms and sun drenched courtyards.

Four beautiful barn conversion cottages await with luxury bathrooms, bedrooms and sun drenched courtyards.

See entry on page 121

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building encapsulates the world and legend of King Arthur. Visited by people from all over the world and boasting over 2 million visitors since it opened in 1933, among the many sights are numerous carved slates and stones, one of only seven Pillow Swords, and 72 stained glass windows, which bear the Knights’ Coats of Arms and depict some of their adventures. And in the Arthurian Experience Merlin takes his audience on a journey through time, telling Arthur’s story in laser lights, music and sound. The halls are open daily, all year round, and in the shop is a vast selection of Arthurian, Celtic and Anglo-Saxon books, postcards, jewellery, gifts and swords. Also on the main street, though this time not connected with King Arthur, is the weather-beaten Old Post Office (National Trust), housed in a small manor house dating from the 14th century and still retaining the stone-paved medieval hall complete with its ancient fireplace. At the time of the introduction of the penny post in 1840, Tintagel had no post office, and with the increase in the volume of letters the trek from Camelford became too much of a burden. A post office was set up in a rented room in the house, and in that role it served the village until 1894. It was then sold to an artist, Miss Catherine Jones, who with the help of other artists raised money to repair the building. In 1903, it was purchased for £100 by the National Trust. One of their very first acquisitions, it has remained in the Trust’s care ever since. One room has been restored in the style of a letter receiving

office as it was in Victorian times. St Materiana’s Parish Church is set some distance away from the centre of the village on an exposed cliff and its early 15th century tower has long been used as a landmark by sailors. St Materiana is also known as St Madryn, a princess from Gwent, and the much-restored original Norman building displays some Saxon fragments in its structure, and still retains its Norman font. To the north of the village of Tintagel lies the mile-long Rocky Valley, a curious rock- strewn cleft in the landscape which has a character all of its own. In the wooded upper reaches can be found the impressive 60-feet waterfall known as St Nectan’s Kieve - named after the Celtic hermit whose cell is believed to have stood beside the basin, or kieve, at the foot of the cascade. The tranquil kieve has been a place of worship and reverence since pre-Christian times, and the waterfall is in a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest. Here too can be seen the Rocky Valley Carvings, on a rock face behind a ruined building. It has been suggested that the carvings date from early Christian times, around the same time that St Nectan was living here. However, it is impossible to be accurate and other suggestions range from the 2nd century BC to the 17th century.

AROUND TINTAGEL

BOSSINEY

Old Post Office, Tintagel
Old Post Office, Tintagel

½ mile N of Tintagel off the B3263

Bossiney is situated on one of the most romantic stretches of a truly awe-inspiring coastline, much of which is now preserved by the National Trust. Legend gives Bossiney Mound a fascinating niche in the Arthurian story. According to Cornish tradition, beneath the mount lies Arthur’s Round Table. If Arthur ever returns, a legend says that the table will rise from the mound to accommodate him and

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Boscastle Village
Boscastle Village

his knights once more. Reached by a short signposted footpath from the village, Bossiney Haven is a beautiful, sheltered beach surrounded by a semi circle of cliffs. The beach is still relatively quiet compared to much of the surrounding area, as people tend to completely miss it as they go from Tintagel to Boscastle although it is overlooked by a hotel and small campsite.

BOSCASTLE

3 miles NE of Tintagel on the B3263

Boscastle came to prominence in August 2004 as a result of the terrible floods that devastated this quiet fishing village. Four years later a £10m flood defence scheme was officially opened in the village. The recovery was remarkable and the damage done no longer evident. Designated an Area of Outstanding Beauty, the National Trust own and care for this beautiful medieval harbour and surrounding coastline. Here too a lovely valley heads inland, a path follows a fast

5 MUSEUM OF WITCHCRAFT Boscastle A fascinating museum housing the world’s largest collection of witchcraft
5
MUSEUM OF WITCHCRAFT
Boscastle
A fascinating
museum housing
the world’s largest
collection of
witchcraft related
artefacts.
See entry on page
121

flowing burbling stream which leads to several hidden churches allowing you to discover the little known connection between North Cornwall and Thomas Hardy. Pentargon Waterfall is featured in Hardy’s novel A Pair of Blue Eyes. The straggling village grew up around the harbour, and takes its name from, the now demolished Bottreaux Castle built by the de Botterell family in Norman times. The picturesque inlet, between the cliffs, is the only natural harbour between Hartland Point and Padstow and is formed by the rivers Valency and Jordan. The renowned Elizabethan seafarer, Sir Richard Grenville, built the harbour’s inner jetty in 1584, at a time when the village was prospering as a fishing, grain and slate port. The outer jetty, or breakwater, dates from the 19th century, when Boscastle had grown to become a bustling commercial port handling coal, timber, slate and china clay. Because of the dangerous harbour entrance, ships had to be ‘hobbled’ (towed) in by boats manned by eight oarsmen, and centred in the channel by gangs of men pulling on ropes. The 2004 floods took their toll on Boscastle’s Museum of Witchcraft, an intelligent, comprehensive and non-gimmicky account of witchcraft throughout the ages; when you visit look out for the green marker on the right hand door, it shows the level the flood water reached. The museum houses the world’s largest collection of witchcraft- related books, artefacts and regalia and was originally opened in 1951 by Cecil Williamson on the Isle of Man. It is said that Williamson knew so much about witchcraft and the occult that his knowledge helped Britain’s war efforts during World War II, as some of the leading Nazis were steeped in the occult. Penally Point on the northern side of the harbour is home to the Devil’s Bellows – a blow-hole that occasionally shoots out plumes of water at low tide when there is enough swell running.

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ST JULIOT

4 miles NE of Tintagel off the B3266

Tucked away in the wooded valley of the fast flowing River Valency, this hidden hamlet is home to St Juliot Parish Church, upon which Thomas Hardy worked when an architect, and also where, in 1870, he met his future wife, Emma Gifford, the rector’s sister-in-law. Emma later professed that the young architect had already appeared to her in a dream and wrote how she was ‘immediately arrested by his familiar appearance’. Much of the couple’s courtship took place along the wild stretch of coastline between Boscastle and Crackington Haven and, when Emma died, over 40 years later, Hardy returned to St Juliot to erect a memorial to her in the church. Following his death in 1928, a similar memorial was erected to Hardy himself.

CRACKINGTON HAVEN

7½ miles NE of Tintagel off the B3263

Crackington Haven is a small sheltered beach that slopes away gently to the sea and is overlooked by towering 400-feet cliffs and jagged rocks. A rock lover’s paradise, a dramatic period of the world’s formation is frozen forever in these spectacular cliffs. The small and narrow sandy cove is approached, by land, down a steep-sided wooded combe which has a few houses, an inn and a village shop at the bottom. Originally a small port that imported coal and limestone and exported slate, this small haven is now a popular beach with locals and visitors alike. Viewed from the sea it is difficult to see how sizeable vessels once landed here to deliver their cargoes of limestone and Welsh coal. For those of you who do not want to hit

HENTERVENE HOLIDAY PARK 6 Crackington Haven Just moments from the beach, this sheltered, peaceful family
HENTERVENE HOLIDAY PARK
6
Crackington Haven
Just moments from the
beach, this sheltered,
peaceful family park
lies on the stunning
North Cornish coast.
See entry on page 122

the beach, fear not as there are some stunning views to absorb with a little help from Shank’s pony (your feet). Some of the most spectacular coastal scenery can be viewed by walking the cliff-top path from Crackington Haven to Cambeak to the south, but, though impressive, the cliff rock is often loosely packed and care should be taken at all times when close to the cliff edge. Just to the south of Crackington Haven a difficult path (so take care) leads to The Strangles, a remote beach with a rather curious name. Although, at low tide, large patches of sand are revealed among the rocks, the undercurrents here are strong and swimming is always unsafe. During one year alone in the 1820s, some 20 ships were said to have come to grief in this cove. Above the Strangles is High Cliff, and it justifies this name because it is over 735 feet above the rolling Atlantic ocean (the highest point on the Cornwall coast) and the views back towards Crackington and beyond or south towards Boscastle are to be experienced in the flesh. So dramatic is the scenery that some episodes of the TV series Poldark were filmed around here. On the coast road a mile and a half south of Crackington Haven is the National Trust’s

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Crackington Haven Beach
Crackington Haven Beach

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Trevigue, a working livestock farm, where the wildlife includes badgers, deer, foxes, rabbits, birds of prey, bats and glow worms.

CAMELFORD

4 miles SE of Tintagel on the A39

Bridge over River Camel, Slaughterbridge CornwallofPlacesHidden
Bridge over River Camel, Slaughterbridge
CornwallofPlacesHidden

means of a video and photographs. There are also gardens with riverside walks, and a tearoom overlooking a children’s play castle. The main base of the centre, however, is the 6th century inscribed King Arthur’s Stone, which supposedly marks the place where King Arthur fell at the Battle of Camlann in AD 539 with Mordred, ending the fellowship of the Round Table.

TREBARWITH

1½ miles S of Tintagel off the B3263

Trebarwith with its vast cliffs, dark caves and fine golden sand, together with Gull rock, almost reminiscent of a dog’s head keeping watch off shore, make an excellent scene. A good surfing beach, Trebarwith Strand, some 2 miles west of this hamlet, is the only easily accessible beach between Polzeath and Crackington Haven. Backed by crumbling cliffs that were once quarried for slate, this sandy stretch of coastline is strewn with rocks and, though popular during the summer, swimmers must be wary of being swept off the rocks - or hit by falling rocks. It’s also a popular surfing spot, and has been used as a backdrop by filmmakers.

TREWARMETT

1½ miles SE of Tintagel on the B3263

A mile or so up the valley from Trebarwith Strand is the Prince of Wales Slate Quarry, whose ponds and spoil heaps are now a

Camelford, formerly ‘Cam Pol’ which is Cornish for ‘curved river’, sits astride the River Camel. It is a small town once thought to be the site of King Arthur’s

Camelot. It built its prosperity on the wool trade, and the central small square is lined with 18th and 19th century houses; the early-19th century town hall has a camel for a weathervane. Two museums offer some diversion from the wilderness of moorland, the most conventional of which is the North Cornwall Museum and Gallery. Housed in a building that was originally used for making coaches and wagons, it shows aspects of life in this area from the 19th century and includes the reconstruction of a moorland cottage. A full range of tools used by blacksmiths, cobblers and printers is also on display, as well as a large number of items varying from lace bonnets to early vacuum cleaners, and a collection of Cornish and Devonshire pottery. Camelford’s Tourist Information Centre is housed in the North Cornwall Museum. Just outside Camelford on the Boscastle

road lies the British Cycling Museum housed in an old Victorian railway station. It is open from Sunday to Thursday each week throughout the year and has more than four hundred examples of different cycles in addition to an old cycle repair workshop, with tools from long ago. There is an extensive library of books here and such interesting articles as the first cycle oil

lamp.

history since 1881. On the riverbank at Slaughterbridge, lies

another museum; the Arthurian Centre houses the Land of Arthur exhibition, covering Arthur-related art and poetry by

The museum documents cycling

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peaceful and little visited nature reserve. The Quarry’s pumps were steam powered and the well-preserved Beam Engine House is a prominent feature on the skyline. Another quarry, Jeffrey’s Pit, has a picnic area beside it - a good place to wrap yourself in the mystery and grandeur of Cornwall’s industrial past - the dog will love it too! Close by the woodland is carpeted with bluebells in April and May. This moorland village, like so many places in this area, has associations with the legend of King Arthur - here an ancient rectangular enclosure surrounded by stone slabs is said to be one of the places where King Arthur held court.

DELABOLE

3 miles S of Tintagel on the B3314

Cornwall’s only producer of slate today is the massive operation at Delabole Slate Quarry. It claims to be the largest man-made hole in Europe. The high quality dark blue slate has been quarried here without interruption since Tudor times, making it the oldest continuously worked slate quarry in Europe. It is known that in around 2000 BC the Beaker folk on Bodmin Moor used slate as baking shelves. Delabole is almost literally, built of slate: it has been used for houses, walls, steps and the church. Once known as ‘the great slate road’, the lanes to the west of Delabole used to carry vast quantities of stone to the harbours at Port Gaverne, Port

Isaac, Port Quin and Boscastle until the railways took over the transport of the stone in the 1890s. This slate village overlooks both the ocean and the moors, thus affording the onlooker stunning views inland towards Roughtor and Brown Willy, with equally breathtaking seascapes of the North Cornwall coast in the same vista.

LAUNCESTON

Launceston (pronounced ‘Lance-son’) is the ancient capital of Cornwall and was once the site of the Royal Mint and the only walled town in Cornwall. Situated on the Devon and Cornwall border and between two moors - Bodmin and Dartmoor - the town allows easy access to West Devon, the Tamar Valley and North and South Cornwall. It is a town of contrasts, from the antique to the ultra modern, overlaid with a sedate, well-to-do charm. The architecture is stunning and can only be appreciated on foot. It was here, shortly after the Norman Conquest, that William I’s half-brother, Robert of Mortain, Earl of Cornwall, built a massive castle overlooking the River Kensey. A place from which Robert tried to govern the fiercely independent Cornish people, Launceston Castle was subsequently the base of the Earls of Cornwall. Visited by the Black Prince and seized by the Cornish rebels of 1549, the castle changed hands twice during the Civil War before becoming an assize court and prison that was famous for imprisoning and executing ‘on the nod’. It was here, in 1656, that George Fox, the founder of the Society of Friends, was held for several months. Launceston developed around its castle, which still dominates the skyline from the top of a grassy mound just west of the centre, though all that now remains is the rough-hewn cylindrical keep and round curtain

Delabole Slate Quarry
Delabole Slate Quarry

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walls. The outer bailey is now a public park. During World War II the castle was used as a military hospital. North of the castle, Castle Street was described by John Betjeman as ‘having the most perfect collection of 18th century townhouses in Cornwall’. Its red brick buildings include Lawrence House Museum, a graceful setting for some well-displayed local exhibits, which includes items relating to John Couch Adams, co-discoverer of the planet

Neptune, who was born in nearby Laneast (also see Laneast). The museum is closed during the winter. East off Castle Street, on Church Street, the 16th century St Mary Magdalene Parish Church is almost all the work of a local squire Sir Henry Trecarrel and is noted chiefly for its ornately carved granite fa•ades – no mean feat, considering the unyielding qualities of granite. Portraits of Sir Henry and his wife can be seen on the south side of the porch, while under the east window is a recumbent figure of Mary Magdalene; according to local lore, if you throw a stone over your shoulder and it lands on the effigy’s back, you will receive good luck. Highlights inside the church include the fine Perpendicular pulpit painted red, black and white, and contrasting Art Nouveau carved bench ends. The tower is much older, being part of the original church built by Edward the Black Prince in the 14th century. To the west of the town, and running through the beautiful Kensey Valley, the Launceston Steam Railway takes visitors on a journey back in time. Travelling in either open or closed carriages, passengers can enjoy a round trip along 5 miles of narrow- gauge track to Newmills and back. The

Launceston Steam Railway
Launceston Steam Railway

locomotives used to haul the trains were built in the 1880s and 1890s by the famous Hunslet Engine Company of Leeds, and worked on the slate-carrying lines high in the mountains of North Wales. In addition to a station buffet (cream teas a specialty), the railway also has a model railway display, workshops open to the public, a transport museum and a book and gift shop. There are also veteran cars and motorcycles on show in the small transport museum here. Close to the station at Newmills is a riverside farm park with indoor and outdoor games for children. Just off the A30, 3 miles west of Launceston, Trethorne Leisure Farm – ‘The Gateway to Cornish Leisure’ – has a great variety of farm animals. Visitors are encouraged to touch them and to bottle feed lambs. There are also pony and shire horse rides, ballpool, fun castle, indoor maze and tenpin bowling. Open every day (except three days over Christmas), all year round.

AROUND LAUNCESTON

LANEAST

5 miles W of Launceston off the A395

7 THE WHITE HORSE INN Launceston The White Horse is known for it’s excellent food
7
THE WHITE HORSE INN
Launceston
The White Horse is
known for it’s
excellent food and
friendly
atmosphere.
See entry on page
123

The village of Laneast was home to one of the moor’s most famous sons. John Couch Adams (1819-92) was a brilliant scholar who went on to attend Cambridge and eventually became director of the Cambridge Observatory. He is best remembered for determining the presence of Neptune (work which at the time was ignored). Couch Adams refused a

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knighthood offered by Queen Victoria to honour him for his accomplishments. Laneast is also home to one of the many holy wells found in this part of the county. The well is now housed in a 16th century building, close to which stand a tall Celtic cross and St Sidwell and St Gulvat Parish Church, which is mainly Norman.

ST CLETHER

6 miles W of Launceston off the A395

An elaborate holy well can be found a few hundred yards northwest of this tranquil village, standing on its own on a bracken- covered shelf in the valley of the River Inney. With its adjacent 15th century chapel, this well is the most enchanting of its kind in the county. The village itself has St Clederus Parish Church, which is part Norman but heavily restored by the Victorians; however, a number of earlier features have survived, including the Norman stone pillars and font, and the 15th century tower.

NORTH PETHERWIN

5 miles NW of Launceston off the B3254

Situated above the River Ottery, this village is home to the privately owned Tamar Otter & Wildlife Centre. The sanctuary is open for visits from 1 April (or Good Friday if earlier) to the end of October. Otters are fed at noon and 3pm and owl talks take place at 11.30am and 2.30pm. Remember to sponsor an animal on your visit; all proceeds go towards the upkeep of the centre and wildlife. The parish church is one of the oldest in Cornwall and is beautifully maintained by the vicar and parishioners.

WARBSTOW

8 miles NW of Launceston off the A39

This village is overlooked by Warbstow Bury Hillfort, one of the county’s finest forts. On the interior is a low mound known as ‘King Arthur’s Grave’, once believed to be a Neolithic long barrow, but now regarded as a medieval pillow mound or rabbit warren. There are wonderful views over northern Bodmin Moor from the fort.

BODMIN MOOR

Ask many people about Cornwall and they probably will not even mention Bodmin Moor. It does not incorporate a wonderful coastline, there are no ‘hidden gardens’ or superb biomes - but it does have stunning countryside, wonderful wildlife, unspoilt villages and some of Cornwall’s most

important prehistoric sites, including The Hurlers and Trethevy Quoit – ‘Quoit’ is the Cornish name for a type of megalithic structure comprising granite rocks arranged into what may have been burial chambers, whose outer covering of earth has washed away over the centuries. Stretching for 30 miles through the middle of Cornwall Bodmin Moor, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which lies between 800 and 1,400 feet above sea level and covers around 100 square miles, is the smallest, mildest, most accessible of the West Country’s great moors. The granite upland is characterised by saturated moorland and weather-beaten tors and from here the rivers Inny, Lynher, Fowey, St Neot and De Lank flow to both the north and south

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The Cheesewring, Bodmin Moor
The Cheesewring, Bodmin Moor

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coasts of Cornwall. At 1,377 feet, Brown Willy is the highest point of the moor and of Cornwall while, just to the northwest, lies Roughtor (pronounced ‘row tor’), the moor’s second highest point. Standing on National Trust- owned land, Roughtor is a magnificent viewpoint and also the site of a memorial to the men of the 43rd Wessex Regiment who were killed during World War II. Throughout

this wild and beautiful moorland there are the remains left behind by earlier occupiers: there are scattered Bronze Age hut circles and field enclosures, such as Fernacre Stone Circle, and Iron Age hill forts.

Dozmary Pool, Bolvemtor CornwallofPlacesHidden
Dozmary Pool, Bolvemtor
CornwallofPlacesHidden

her baby and the spirit of a young smuggler who is believed to have been murdered at the bar and who has been reported to be seen sitting on the wall in the courtyard. Just to the south of Bolventor lies the mysterious natural tarn, Dozmary Pool, another place that is strongly linked with the legend of King Arthur. According to one tale, King Arthur was brought here following his final battle at Slaughterbridge, near Camelford (many places lay claim to the site of his death, and indeed to his birth). As he lay dying at the water’s edge, he implored his friend, Sir Bedivere, to throw his sword, Excalibur, into the centre of the lake, where it was received by a lady’s hand rising up from the water. However, there are several other lakes around the country, notably Looe Pool at Mount’s Bay and both Bosherstone and Llyn Llydaw in Wales, which also lay claim to being home to the Lady of the Lake and the resting place of Excalibur. The lake is also the source of another, more obviously Cornish myth, that of Jan Tregeagle, a wicked lawyer and steward of Lanhydrock who sold his soul to the devil. His

8

JAMAICA INN AND MUSEUMS

Bolventor

 

There are fascinating displays, as well as good food, drink and accommodation at this inn Immortalised by Daphe du Maurier in her novel.

displays, as well as good food, drink and accommodation at this inn Immortalised by Daphe du

See entry on page 122

BOLVENTOR

Lying at the centre of the moor, Jamaica Inn is one of the area’s chief focuses for walkers, sightseers and coach parties alike. The authoress Daphne du Maurier immortalised Bolventor when she chose it as the setting for her famous novel Jamaica Inn, featuring Cornish smugglers – she described the inn as being ‘alone in glory, four square to the winds’. Now Cornwall’s most famous inn, it was once a former coaching house; an inn has occupied the main road through the village since 1547, the present building dates to 1750. The combination of its literary association and its convenient position has led to its development as a hotel and restaurant complex to the development of a Smuggler’s Museum. Modern visitors to the inn can relive the smugglers’ experience, which boasts one of the finest and most extensive collections of smuggling artefacts in Britain; there is also a display of various items owned by Daphne du Maurier, including her writing desk and typewriter. Rumoured to be haunted, the Jamaica Inn featured in an episode of Living TV’s Most Haunted. Notable apparitions include a malevolent figure of a highwayman in a tri- cornered hat, a distressed young mother and

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many evil deeds include the murder of the parents of a young child whose estate he wanted. As a punishment, so the story goes, Tregeagle was condemned to spend the rest of time emptying the supposedly bottomless lake using only a leaking limpet shell. His howls of despair are said to be heard there to this day. The diamond-shaped lake usually preserves an ethereal air, though it’s been known to run dry in summer, dealing a bit of a blow to the legend that the pool is bottomless.

AROUND BOLVENTOR

ALTARNUN

4 miles NE of Bolventor off the A30

By the picturesque packhorse bridge, the chiefly 15th century church in Altarnun - dedicated to St Nonna, mother of David the patron saint of Wales – has been dubbed the ‘Cathedral of the Moors’. The church has a 108-feet pinnacled tower that rises high above the peat-stained river. Look out, too, for the set of 79 superb bench ends, carved at the beginning of the 16th century, boldly depicting secular and sacred subjects – such as saints, musicians, clowns, moorland sheep and even a bagpipe player. In the churchyard stands the only relic of St Nonna’s time, a Celtic cross that is thought to date from the same time as her journey here from Wales in around AD 527. Also in the churchyard are slate memorials that were carved by local sculptor Nevil Northey Burnard, who became famous when he sculpted the head of Edward VII, then Prince of Wales and Duke of Cornwall, he is also responsible for the effigy of John Wesley, the founder of Methodism (see also Trewint). Situated in a steep-sided valley of Penpont Water, this pretty, granite- grey village also has literary associations with Daphne du Maurier; the Old Rectory of 1842, which lies close to the church, is featured in her most famous novel Jamaica Inn. The land around Altarnun, known as East Moor, is an unrestricted open access area that includes the 1,100-feet Fox Tor and the Nine Stones Circle.

CornwallofPlacesHidden St Nonna’s Church, Altarnun
CornwallofPlacesHidden
St Nonna’s Church, Altarnun

TREWINT

3 miles N of Bolventor off the A30

The busy A30 carries visitors from Launceston to Bodmin and beyond and cuts through Trewint but if you don’t know where to look, you will miss the hamlet altogether. And that would be a pity for in the village there is one of the most hallowed Methodist sites in Cornwall. Wesley Cottage is the former home of Digory and Elizabeth Isbell who entertained John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, on some of his visits to Cornwall in the mid 18th century. But there is much more to the story than that. One day in 1743 two of Wesley’s men, John Nelson and John Downs, came to Trewint and called at the house of a stonemason called Digory Isbell. Digory was at work at the time, so his wife Elizabeth gave the two men refreshment. They then insisted on paying, and fell on their knees to pray without using a prayer book. Digory was told this story on his return, and was so impressed that a year later Wesley himself was entertained in the house. Shortly after this, Digory was inspired by a passage in

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the Bible to build an extension to his house for the use of Wesley and his preachers. The rooms, thought to be the smallest Methodist preaching places in the world, have been maintained in the 18th century style and visitors can see the specially constructed ‘Prophets’ Chamber’ and ‘Pilgrims’ Garden’. Digory and Elizabeth Isbell are both buried in the churchyard at nearby Altarnun. Local legend has it that if you run round the iron railings surrounding their tombstone twelve times, then put your fingers in your ears, you will hear the bells of heaven.

UPTON CROSS

7 miles SE of Bolventor on the B3254

A handsome village that is home to Sterts

Theatre, which has one of the few open-air amphitheatres in the country, Upton Cross is also the place where Cornish Yarg Cheese originated from and Cornish Blue, which was the winning cheese in the World Food Awards of 2010.

MINIONS

6 miles SE of Bolventor off the B3254

In the heart of the former 18th century

granite, copper and lead mining belt of

Bodmin Moor is the village of Minions. Here you can walk along the disused mineral railway and the surrounding area also offers a wealth of archaeological interest from early Bronze Age onwards. This was also the setting for EV Thompson’s historical novel, Chase the Wind. Today, a former mine engine house of the Phoenix Mine has become the Minions Heritage Centre, which covers over 4,000 years of life on the moorland and includes the story of mining as well as the life and times of much earlier inhabitants of this area. Close to the village stands The Hurlers, a wide complex of three stone circles dating from about 1500 BC. The purpose of these stark upright stones is not known, though

local lore declares them to be men

turned to stone for playing the Celtic game of hurling (a form of hockey) on the Sabbath. Visitors from all over the world come to dowse the stone circles, claiming to feel energy emanating from them. A line drawn through the centres of the circles points to Rillaton Barrow, a large burial mound known as ’tumulus’. In 1837 a gold, corrugated cup was found within the barrow; this is now in the British Museum, with a copy in the Royal Cornwall Museum in Truro.

ST CLEER

6½ miles SE of Bolventor off the B3254

Like nearby Minions, this sizeable moorland village was overwhelmed, and transformed, by a copper-mining boom in the mid 19th century, which has been compared in its intensity and in its social and economic repercussions, to that of the North American gold rush. There are older historical stories to be told here too; dating from Neolithic times and found a mile east of the village, Trethevy Quoit, also known as ‘The Giant’s House’, is an impressive enclosed chamber

tomb, which originally formed the core of a vast earthwork mound. The largest such structure (known as a dolmen) in the county, Trethevy Quoit is believed to be over 5,000 years old and, although the rectangular hole cut into the stone blocking the tomb’s entrance was thought to allow bodies to be placed inside, the reason for the hole in the capstone is not known with any certainty.

The Hurlers, Minions
The Hurlers, Minions

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Also close by is King Doniert’s Stone, a tall stone cross which was erected in memory of King Durngarth, a Cornish king thought to have drowned in the nearby River Fowey in AD 875. The Latin inscription on the cross, which is now sadly in two pieces, reads, after translation, ‘Erected for Doniert for the good of his soul’. In the village itself is St Cleer’s Holy Well, in a beautiful 15th century building. There used to be a total immersion (or ‘bowssening’) pool here which was used for the attempted

cure of the insane; the patients were tossed up and down in the waters until they became sane. Downstream from King Doniert’s Stone, the River Fowey descends for half a mile through dense broad-leaved woodland in a delightful series of cascades known as Golitha Falls. This outstanding beauty spot is also a National

Nature Reserve, and the grey wagtail and the great spotted woodpecker are among the rare birds to be seen.

Golitha Falls, St Cleer CornwallofPlacesHidden
Golitha Falls, St Cleer
CornwallofPlacesHidden

ending up by the amazing underground lake. It also merits a visit for its splendid 15th century St Anietus’s Parish Church, which contains some of the most impressive medieval stained-glass windows of any parish church in the country. In one, God is depicted measuring out the universe during the Creation while, in another, Noah can be seen with his Ark, which takes the shape of a sailing ship of the period. Perhaps the most interesting window of all is that of St Neot, the diminutive saint after whom the village is named. St Neot became famous for his miracles involving animals and one story tells of an exhausted hunted doe who ran to the side of the saint. A stern look from the saint sent the pursuing hounds back into the forest, while the huntsman dropped his bow and became a faithful disciple. Another tale, and one that can be seen in the church window, tells of an angel giving Neot three fish for his well – saying that, as long as he only eats one fish a day there will always be fish in the well. Unfortunately, when Neot fell ill his servant took two fish from the well, cooked them and gave them to Neot who, horrified, prayed over the meal and ordered the fish to return to the well. As the dead fish touched the water they came alive again.

WARLEGGAN

5 miles SW of Bolventor off the A30

The remote location of this hamlet, up a steep wooded lane, has led to its long associations with the supernatural and it has long been acknowledged as a haunt of the

ST NEOT

6 miles S of Bolventor on a minor road

St Neot is one of Bodmin Moor’s prettiest villages and is a good access point for the southern part of the moor. For a true underground experience, be sure to pay a visit to Carnglaze Caverns and The Rum Store. Carnglaze consists of three underground caverns set in the Loveny Valley at St Neot. Carnglaze which means ‘blue rock pile’ in Cornish, goes back long before the dinosaurs roamed the earth. The mud which would become the slate that is Carnglaze was being laid down underneath the seas from as long ago as 500 million years. Now the caverns are available for all to see. In recent years Carnglaze Caverns has found notoriety as an unusual concert venue. The first of the caverns, The Rum Store, is so called because the Royal Navy used it during the Second World War to store its supply of rum. In 2001 it was converted into an auditorium with seating for 400. You can take a guided tour around the main spectacular cavern, walking down the steps, going underground, and

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Cornish ‘piskies’. However, Warleggan’s most eccentric inhabitant was the Reverend Frederick Densham who was the parish priest from 1931 to 1953. Disliked by his parishioners he built a high wall round the rectory and withdrew from the world. He even painted the church and rectory in garish colours, but was ordered to remove the paint by the Bishop of Truro. As no villagers would go to his church he preached to an empty church and filled it with cardboard cutouts for a congregation; one record in the parish registry of the time reads, ‘No fog. No wind. No rain. No congregation’. It does appear that the rector did have a kinder nature, however, as he constructed a children’s playground in the rectory garden. After his death people began returning to the church. It is said his ghost still haunts the village.

BODMIN

The town of Bodmin itself lies to the west of the moor, equidistant between Cornwall’s north and south coasts and at the junction of two ancient cross-country trade routes. It would be easy to pass through Bodmin without seeing anything more than another non-descript market town, but the dismissive passer-by would be missing a wealth of attractions and historical curiosities. From the old Town Jail and Military Museum, to the Steam Railway and Camel Trail, to the wild beauty of nearby Bodmin Moor and immaculate formal gardens of Lanhydrock, a wide variety of treasures are open to anyone willing to pause a moment and look closer. A prominent landmark in Bodmin is the Gilbert Memorial, a 144-feet obelisk occupying a commanding location on Bodmin

9 THE WEAVERS Bodmin You are in for a treat at The Weavers. There is
9 THE WEAVERS
Bodmin
You are in for a treat at
The Weavers. There is
fantastic hospitality as
well as tremendous
food.
See entry on page 124

Beacon, a high area of moorland south of the town centre. It was erected in 1856 in memory of Sir Walter Raleigh Gilbert, a local dignitary who distinguished himself as a general in the Bengal army. On Mount Folly, the Gilberts and other local worthies in the town’s history are recalled in Bodmin Town Museum. More absorbing is the next-door Courtroom Experience, housed in the Georgian Shire Hall – formerly the assize court. The exhibition features an hourly re-enactment of the trial of Matthew Weeks. Weeks went to the gallows for the murder of Charlotte Dymond, but was he guilty? Visitors can hear the evidence and cast their votes as part of the jury, and the 45-minute session also includes a visit to the cells. The Cornish poet Charles Causley remembers Charlotte Dymond in a ballad:

It was a Sunday evening And in the April rain That Charlotte went from our house And never came home again.

Housed in The Keep, next to Bodmin General Station, The Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry Regimental Museum covers the history of the regiment, which was formed as marines in 1702 and played an important part in the capture of Gibraltar in 1704. The museum has two main galleries and its many important exhibits include eight Victoria Crosses and George Washington’s bible captured in 1777 during the American War of Independence. Battle honours decorate also the largest parish church in Cornwall. In the 6th century, St Petroc, one of the most influential of the early Welsh missionary saints, visited Bodmin and in the 10th century the monastery he had founded

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10

BODMIN & WENFORD RAILWAY

Bodmin

 
Discover the excitement and nostalgia of steam travel with a journey back in time on

Discover the excitement and nostalgia of steam travel with a journey back in time on the Bodmin & Wenford Railway, Cornwall’s only full size railway still regularly operated by steam locomotives.

See entry on page 125

 

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Bodmin Jail
Bodmin Jail

in Padstow moved here as a protection against sea raids by the Vikings. The granite hulk of St Petroc’s Parish Church is one of six dedicated to the saint in the county, and indeed the 15th century building is certainly one of the most impressive in all Cornwall. Because of this, when Cornwall became a Church of England diocese in its own right in 1877, Bodmin was one of the places considered for its new cathedral (see also St Germans, St Columb Major and Truro). Building began on the site of the former Norman church in 1469 and, funded by the townsfolk – even the local vicar gave a year’s salary – the church was completed in 1472 at a cost of £268. Though remodelled in the 19th century, it has retained its splendid Norman font, whose immense bowl is supported on five finely carved columns, and the ivory casket that is thought to contain the remains of St Petroc. The town is also renowned for its abundance of holy wells; one of them, dating from the 6th century, is in the churchyard, along with a little well house. Work started on the Roman Catholic St Mary’s Church on St Mary’s Road in 1937, having first of all been located next to the Anglican church. It finally opened for worship in 1965. It is unusual in that it was founded by the Canons Regular of the Lateran. Of the places and buildings to visit here, Bodmin Jail, on Berrycoombe Road, is the most interesting, a spooky, all-weather attraction. It was the former county prison and dates back to 1779 when it was built for King George III, using 20,000 tons of granite from the local quarry. The jail is menacingly

redolent of the executions that were once guaranteed to pull the crowds. The last hanging took place here in 1909. You can explore parts of the original 18th century structure, including the condemned cell, all now considerably run down and gloomily eerie. This too was the place where, during the Great War, Crown Jewels, state papers and the Domesday Book were hidden for safe keeping. Head north of the town and you are on the famous Camel Trail – 18 miles of traffic-free walking, cycling and horse riding along the River Camel – where you can make for the edge of Bodmin Moor or coastwards, along the lovely Camel Estuary, to the market town of Wadebridge and the charming harbour at Padstow. In summer, you can also approach the Camel Trail on steam locomotives of the Bodmin and Wenford Railway. There are one-off events throughout the year, including jazz specials, fish and chip specials, steam and diesel galas and murder mysteries. Lovers of the days of steam will enjoy a generous dose of nostalgia when seeing the resident steam locomotives:

GWR pannier tank 6435, GWR prairie tank 5552, 2-8-0 tank 4247 and ex-Southern Railway 30587, a 2-4-0 well tank dating from 1874. There are also four diesels in residence.

AROUND BODMIN

CUTMADOC

2 miles S of Bodmin off the A38

To the west of the village lies one of Cornwall’s most absorbing country houses, Lanhydrock House. Entered through an imposing pinnacled gatehouse (1651), Lanhydrock was originally constructed in the 17th century, the house was laid out on four sides of a square, but the east wing was removed in 1780, creating the present U- shaped house. That was until a disastrous fire in 1881 destroyed most of the building and brought about the death from shock of its owners, Viscount Clifden and his wife. The granite exterior remains true to its original

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The Gatehouse, Lanhydrock
The Gatehouse, Lanhydrock

form, retaining all the splendour while being High Victorian in tone. Fifty rooms are open to the public, and as well as admiring the magnificent plaster barrel-vaulted ceiling, depicting scenes from the Old Testament, in the Long Gallery visitors can also see the nursery wing and the grand dining room and play the Steinway piano. Most illuminating of all is the kitchen, built in the style of a

college hall with clerestory windows and supplemented by an unending series of dairies, sculleries, larders and pantries, with

a pit large enough to roast an entire cow. Lanhydrock is possibly the grandest house in Cornwall, and you should allow at least one and a half to two hours for a complete tour. Plus the thousand acres of wooded parkland bordering on to the River Fowey are worth a prolonged wander, especially in spring for the spectacular beds of magnolias, azaleas and rhododendrons. Catering outlets in the servants’ quarters and old stable block offer a variety of menus, and the shop sells a wide range of goods, many of them locally produced.

CARDINHAM

3 miles NE of Bodmin off the A30

A small village on the western slopes of

Bodmin Moor. St Meubred’s Parish Church is 15th century, and in its churchyard stands a worn 10th century cross richly decorated

with intricate spirals and rings. It was damaged during the war by bombs intended for Bodmin. St Meubred was one of those obscure Cornish saints about whom very little is known. It is thought that he was in fact Irish, and came to Cornwall to preach. He was later beheaded in Rome, and his body was sent back to Cardinham for burial. Now a peaceful backwater that is enjoyed by both walkers and cyclists, the 650-acre Cardinham Woods was in medieval times the site of Cardinham Castle, a Norman motte and bailey castle. Belonging to the Cardinham family, under-lords of Robert of Mortain, Earl of Cornwall, the structure was abandoned in the 14th century and today only an earthwork mound remains on which a few traces of the original keep have been preserved. There are also the remains of an old silver mine. This attractive and varied woodland was acquired by the Forestry Commission in 1922 and is managed by Forest Enterprise for commercial forestry, producing, among others, a high quality Douglas fir for the British timber industry. It is a haven for a wide variety of wildlife, with otters on the river, red and roe deer, ravens and buzzards. The site has several waymarked woodland trails, and cycling is allowed on some of them. Visitors will also find a cafe and a picnic area with barbecue facilities. Close by is Pinsla Garden & Nursery, a magical space full of intense scent and colour surrounded by wild Cornish woodland. The 1 acre garden contains herbaceous and shrub

11

PENLAN EATING HOUSE

Fourwinds, nr Cardinham

 

A diverse eaterie, cafe by day and an inviting licensed restaurant by night, serving fine food coupled with quality service.

diverse eaterie, cafe by day and an inviting licensed restaurant by night, serving fine food coupled

See entry on page 126

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borders, alpines and cottage garden beds, jungle planting, paths lined with granite boulders, a tree tunnel and a stone circle in the meadow. The owners grow and stock a wide range of plants in the nursery.

BLISLAND

6 miles NE of Bodmin off the A30

Found down a maze of country lanes, at the centre of this moorland village is the tree- lined village green which has stayed faithful to its original Saxon layout - an uncommon sight on this side of the River Tamar. Fine Georgian and Victorian houses, a rectory and an inn complete the picture but it is the uniquely dedicated St Protus and St Hyacinth Parish Church that takes the attention of most visitors. A favourite of Sir John Betjeman, who described it as ‘dazzling and amazing’, the part-Norman building has a bright whitewashed interior, a good wagon roof, an unusual mock-Renaissance altar and two fonts, one Norman and the other dating from the 15th century. A couple of miles further northeast, the village of St Breward grew from the granite quarrying industry in the area that left a legacy of sturdy granite cottages and small, granite-hedged fields.

WASHAWAY

5 miles NW of Bodmin on the A38

In the opposite direction to Lanhydrock, and near Washaway village, the mile- long drive at Pencarrow House might suggest something on the same scale, but this country house has a very different, more intimate feel. The Georgian building was erected in the 1770’s by the Molesworth-St Aubyn family and, still living here, they have over the years remodelled the house on two separate occasions. Of the many beautiful items to be seen on a visit to this award-

winning house, the series of family portraits, many by eminently fashionable painters of the time, are particularly superb. A guide will give you the lowdown on the family’s history and encourage you to tinkle the piano on which Sir Arthur Sullivan, a guest here in 1882, composed much of the

music for Iolanthe. Excellent furniture and exquisite porcelain are also on show, along with a collection of antique dolls. It was Sir William Molesworth, the Secretary of State for the Colonies, who, during Parliamentary recesses in the mid 19th century, began the ambitious remodelling of the gardens and grounds. Today’s visitors benefit from his splendid plans as this internationally renowned garden contains over 700 different species of rhododendron, camellia, blue hydrangea and specimen conifers. Leave plenty of time to explore these beautiful wooded grounds.

NANSTALLON

2 miles W of Bodmin off the A389

Close to this village, on sunny slopes above the River Camel, are Camel Valley Vineyards, where red, white and sparkling wines are produced from 20,000 vines. The Lindo family’s vineyard is open to visitors from April to the end of September. The village has two routes onto the Camel Trail,

one at Boscarne, the other at Nanstallon Halt on the old railway line.

Camel Valley Vineyards, Nanstallon
Camel Valley Vineyards, Nanstallon

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SALTASH

Situated on the west bank of the beautiful River Tamar, and once the base for the largest river steamer fleet in the southwest, Saltash has gone through a number of names in its 1,000-year history. It’s been called Villa de Esse, Ash, and Assheburgh over the years. With narrow streets that rise up steeply from the riverbank, the town has long been the ‘Gateway to Cornwall’ for many holidaymakers, who cross the River Tamar into Cornwall at this point via one of the town’s mighty bridges. The wrought-iron Royal Albert Bridge carries the railway while, alongside, is the much more slender Tamar Bridge, completed in 1961. This modern suspension road bridge replaced the ferry service which had been in use since the 13th century. A tunnel was also constructed to ease the ever-increasing flow of cars through the town. Though older than Plymouth, on the other side of the Sound, Saltash, particularly with the construction of the road bridge, is now becoming almost a suburb of the city. However, though heavily influenced by its neighbour, Saltash has retained much of its charm and Cornish individuality, and Saltash people still talk of ‘going over into England’ when crossing one of the bridges. The town’s strategic position and maritime interests led to its involvement in many important events. The Waterside is

considered the historical ‘heart’ of Saltash; this is where the main trade and commerce originated. Modern visitors should look out for the painted mural on the side of the Union Inn, depicting local characters and events. During the Civil War, 1642-46, fighting took place here on several occasions, resulting in numerous fatalities (mostly on the Parliamentarian side) and the destruction of many buildings. The engineer-genius Isambard Kingdom Brunel chose Saltash as the site for a bridge, of unique design, to carry the railway in to Cornwall. The Royal Albert Bridge, Brunel’s masterpiece completed in 1859, is undoubtedly the town’s most famous feature. On the old quayside there are several interesting buildings to discover. The mainly 17th century Guildhouse stands on granite pillars and close by is Mary Newman’s Cottage, a quaint old building that was the home of Sir Francis Drake’s first wife. Dating from the 15th century, the cottage and gardens are occasionally open to the public April to October. Soon after the Conquest in 1066, the Normans built a motte-and-bailey castle in a commanding position 1.5 miles southeast of Trematon village. Trematon Castle (not open to the public) has walls that are over 15 feet thick, and so secure was it that the treasures collected by Sir Francis Drake after his trips abroad were stored here.

AROUND SALTASH

Royal Albert Bridge, Saltash
Royal Albert Bridge, Saltash

CALLINGTON

7½ miles N of Saltash on the A388

This old market town, which lies at the foot of Kit Hill (to the north), began life as a Celtic settlement called Celliwic, and was then settled by the Saxons. Once a prosperous mining town, the area’s heritage, landscape and character can be seen by wandering around the interesting and unusual Mural Trail, where local scenes have

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been painted on the walls of the town’s

buildings by professional and amateur artists.

A booklet available from the Town Clerk’s

Office explains where the murals are, who painted them and what they depict. There really is something to be seen around every

corner. Callington Heritage Centre is housed

in an old cemetery chapel on Liskeard Road.

The town is the headquarters of Ginsters, the well-known firm of pasty makers. Overlooking the River Lynher, to the southwest of the town, lies Cadsonbury Hillfort - a massive Iron Age bank and ditch, encompassing a hill, that are thought to be the remains of the home of a local chief. To

the east of Callington lies the attractive early 16th century Dupath Chapel, a granite building that houses Dupath Well. The waters of the well were thought to cure whooping cough, and were also used in baptisms held

in the chapel.

KIT HILL

8 miles N of Saltash off the B3257

Climbing to just under 1,000 feet above sea level Kit Hill is the highest point of Hingston Down Ridge, within the Tamar Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. From the summit

Kit Hill Summit
Kit Hill Summit

there are outstanding views across southeast Cornwall to Plymouth Sound, and on a clear day south as far as the Eddystone Lighthouse 37 miles away. The abundant archaeological remains are a reminder of the metal and stone extractive industries, which once took place on the hill. It was at Kit Hill in AD 835 that the Battle of Hingston Down took place, where King Egbert of Wessex defeated Cornish and Danish forces. In the 18th century a man called Sir John Call built a folly to commemorate the battle, and its remains can still be seen.

ST ANN’S CHAPEL

7½ miles N of Saltash on the A390

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The Tamar Valley Donkey Park is Cornwall’s only donkey sanctuary situated in beautiful Cornish countryside, with views to Plymouth Sound, between Gunnislake and Callington. It is home to 28 donkeys, over 20 goats, ponies, sheep, pigs, rabbits and more. Visitors are able to feed and pet the friendly animals. The Donkey Drop-In all weather play barn, provides indoor play and covered donkey rides for wet-weather days. The sanctuary survives only by the entry charge and the Adopt-a- Donkey scheme. Open daily from April for the summer season and weekends in winter.

ST MELLION

5 miles N of Saltash on the A390

Named after St Melaine, a 6th century bishop of Rennes in France, the village is now best known for the St Mellion International Golf Resort. The resort was selected as the venue for the revived English Open in 2009 and will host it until at least 2014. The English Open was last held at Forest of Arden in 2002 and it is 13 years since the Cornish venue played host to a tour event.

GUNNISLAKE

8 miles N of Saltash on the A390

Often referred to as the first village in Cornwall, Gunnislake is a charming community that is set in the beautiful wooded valley of the River Tamar. In the

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Cotehele House, nr Calstock
Cotehele House, nr Calstock

1520s, Sir Piers Edgcumbe of Cotehele House built the New Bridge, a striking 180 feet long, seven-arched granite structure which continues to serve as one of the major gateways into the county. In fact, this remained the lowest crossing of the river by road until the early 60s when the massive suspension bridge linking Plymouth with Saltash was opened. The river crossing at Gunnislake meant that the village was a place of strategic importance, a feature which made it the centre of bitter fighting during the Civil War. Part of the Tamar Valley Discovery Trail between Plymouth and Launceston is the Gunnislake Village Trial, which consists of several walks between one and three miles long with easy-moderate walking (some hills). These walks take you past historic sites of interest with stunning views of the River Tamar and Valley. The trail takes in scenery painted by JMW Turner in 1815 such as his famous painting Crossing the Brook, a picture of New Bridge and the surrounding valley at Gunnislake.

CALSTOCK

6 miles NE of Saltash off the A390

An important river port since Saxon times, the village of Calstock with its tall white houses clings to the steep Cornish bank of the Tamar. It was mentioned in the Domesday Book, and was part of the Earldom of Cornwall in the 13th century. Calstock’s

zenith as a port came in the last century when it served as an area of intense industrial and mining activity, when vast quantities of tin, granite and copper ore were brought here for loading on to barges to be transported down the Tamar to the coast and beyond. In the countryside surrounding Calstock the remains of old mine workings, along with the spoil heaps, can still be seen along with the remains of the village’s boat-building industry. A mile downriver stands Cotehele House, owned by the National Trust since 1947, it is one of the best-preserved and least altered medieval houses in the country. Built largely between 1485 and 1539, it remained in the Edgcumbe family for, 600 years though their residence at Mount Edgcumbe (see also Cremyll) from the end of the 17th century meant that Cotehele remained mostly unmodified, preserving its tranquil Tudor character. Each of the rooms displays something that grabs the eye. The fine arch-braced Hall, with its bare lime-ash floor, has a rare set of folding, mid 18th century chairs, still with their original leather, while the Old Dining Room, hung with Flemish tapestries, leads to the chapel in which you can see the earliest domestic clock in England, dating from 1485 and still in its original position. The house also incorporates some charming individual features such as a secret spy-hole to the Great Hall. Near the house, a great medieval barn contains a gift and plant shop and a restaurant with dishes that reflect the special character and history of Cotehele.

12 COTEHELE HOUSE St Dominick, nr Saltash Set in a riverside estate, Cotehele has many
12 COTEHELE
HOUSE
St Dominick, nr Saltash
Set in a riverside estate,
Cotehele has many features
including Tudor fireplaces
and rich hangings.
See entry on page 127

CornwallofPlacesHidden

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The grounds are densely wooded and full of surprises. A mile-long walk brings you to the working Water Mill on the Tamar. Also along the river, and close to the estate’s old cider house and restored corn mill, lies Cotehele Quay, a busy river port in Victorian times. The quay buildings now house The Discovery Centre, an art and craft gallery and a licensed bistro. The restored Tamar sailing barge Shamrock is moored alongside the museum. Also in the grounds, at the foot of a combe stands a tiny chapel situated on a promontory 70 feet above the river’s edge. Upstream, beyond Calstock, Morwellham Quay was another important 19th century river port, from which the ore and minerals extracted from the local mines was transported to the coast. In 1844 the largest copper lode in Europe was discovered 4 miles from the quay, and a company called the Devon Great Consols was formed to exploit it. A railway was built in 1856 to bring the ore to the quay, and another inclined plane railway was built, passing beneath the cottages in a specially dug tunnel. In its day, Morwellham Quay was the greatest copper exporting port in Britain, and supported a population of 300 people. Today, the staff in Victorian garb help to bring history alive. Visitors can take a riverside tram ride and explore the George & Charlotte copper mine; watch blacksmiths, potters and carpenters at work in the old cottages; say hello to the shire horses; take a carriage ride around the village; and make the most of the countryside in the nature reserve, a mixture of marshland, woodland, meadows and fields that is designated both an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and a Site of Special Scientific Interest. There’s also an opportunity for you to play your part! Authentic replica costumes are available for you to try on, while the children find out what life was really like working on the

Morwellham Quay, nr Calstock CornwallofPlacesHidden
Morwellham Quay, nr Calstock
CornwallofPlacesHidden

‘dressing-floors’ of the mine or acting as servants in the ‘Sampler’s House’.

TORPOINT

3 miles SE of Saltash on the A374

This small town grew up around the ferry service that began running across the Hamoaze (as the Tamar estuary is called at this point) between here and Devonport in the 18th century. South of the town is a pretty inlet of the sea known as St John’s Lake, one of the few salt water lakes in England. However, this can only be seen at

13

SHEVIOCK BARTON BED & BREAKFAST

can only be seen at 13 SHEVIOCK BARTON BED & BREAKFAST Sheviock, nr Torpoint Fantastic bed

Sheviock, nr Torpoint

Fantastic bed and breakfast accommodation housed in a 300 year old building with flagstone floors and oak beams. See entry on page 127

14 ST JOHN INN St Johns, nr Torpoint Beautiful country pub that serves quality cask
14
ST JOHN INN
St Johns, nr Torpoint
Beautiful country pub
that serves quality
cask ales and
excellent locally
produced food.
See entry on page 128

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certain times as it is completely tidal and dries out as the tide recedes. Just 2 miles northwest of Torpoint is Antony House and Gardens, chosen by Director Tim Burton as a location for the 2010 Disney adaptation of Alice in Wonderland. The estate has been transformed so visitors can enter the oversized land of Alice: have a go at croquet; look out for the giant chessboard; become the queen, king or a knight; enjoy tea parties; meet the Mad Hatter, Cheshire Cat and Alice herself. When the house is open, you’ll be able to spot several of the film’s locations and read about the changes that were made during the filming, and there’s a recreation of Alice’s bedroom where children are able to play.

CREMYLL

4 miles SE of Saltash on the B3247

This village, which is linked to Plymouth by a foot ferry first started in about 1204, is an excellent place from which to explore Mount Edgcumbe House, the 16th century home of the Earls of Edgcumbe who moved here from Cotehele House, near Calstock. Mount Edgcumbe is a winning combination of Tudor house, landscaped gardens and acres of beautiful rolling parkland alongside the sea. Though the house is a reconstruction of the Tudor original that was gutted by incendiary bombs in 1941, the inside is predominantely

18th century, with authentic Regency furniture in the elegantly restored rooms. The contents include paintings by Sir Joshua Reynolds, Irish Bronze Age horns, 16th century tapestries and 18th century Chinese and Plymouth porcelain. In the adjacent Earl’s Garden are several ancient and rare trees, notably a 400-year-old lime and a Mexican pine. The extensive, magnificent grounds, which incorporate land from Cremyll westwards along the peninsula to Tregonhawke, include the historic 18th century gardens that contain an orangery, and Italian, French, English, American and New Zealand gardens. Since 1976, Mount Edgcumbe has housed the National Camellia Collection. The Country Park, which takes in a stretch of heritage coastline, has freely roaming fallow deer and numerous buildings sited to create views and atmosphere.

MAKER

5 miles S of Saltash off the B3247

Dating from the 15th century and retaining much of its original charm, Maker church, whose name is derived from a Cornish word meaning ‘ruin’, was comprehensively restored in the 19th century. It is the family church of the Edgcumbes, and inside the church is a copy of a portrait of the early 18th century vicar here, Thomas Smart. It is not the subject but the artist that makes this work particularly special: at the age of 12, Joshua Reynolds made drawings of the vicar on the back of his hymn book during a service and then, back at a Cremyll boatyard, painted the original portrait on to canvas. Just north of the church, surrounded by woodland and hidden within an oratory, lies St Julian’s Well, which is dedicated to the 5th century saint who is, aptly for this area, the patron saint of ferrymen. Also known as ‘the poor

French Gardens, Mount Edgcumbe
French Gardens, Mount Edgcumbe

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man’, he was a popular saint in Western Europe, which has also made him the patron saint of innkeepers and - curiously enough - circus performers.

CAWSAND AND

KINGSAND

5½ miles S of Saltash off the B3247

Kingsand Beach CornwallofPlacesHidden
Kingsand Beach
CornwallofPlacesHidden

Rame itself is the older, 13th century Church of St Germanus, which is still lit by candles; for centuries its west tower and spire acted as a landmark for sailors.

WHITSAND BAY

5 miles S of Saltash off the B3247

Running between the hamlet of Portwrinkle and Rame Head, this impressive stretch of beach is more a series of coves than one continuous expanse of sand. There are various paths leading down the slate cliffs - some of which are over 250 feet high - to the gently curving bay. Tregonhawke is the main beach in the area and has a small cafe and toilet facilities. Access to the beach is via a narrow, steep cliff path. Whitsand Bay Surf Lifesaving Club is located on the beach. With the wind blowing from the southwest, the 4 miles of flat sands here get long ranks of rollers, but as the currents can be strong, swimmers should take care not to go too far out. The South West Coast Path runs the length of the bay.

PORTWRINKLE

5 miles SW of Saltash on the B3247

This small seaside village on Whitsand Bay developed around its medieval harbour and once had a thriving fishing industry. Portwrinkle has two sand-and-shingle beaches with rock pools. If you walk east

Cawsand’s narrow lanes of colour-washed and red-stone cottages descend to a quay and beaches in a protected bay. Until 1830, the Devon/Cornwall border divided the village from

Kingsand, its slightly smaller twin village just a few minutes’ walk north up the coast and marked by its Institute clock tower right on the sea. From Cawsand or Kingsand, you can follow the coast path south around the peninsula for sweeping views of Plymouth Sound and the open sea from the headlands of Penlee Point and Rame Head, while both villages lie just a mile east of the extensive sands of Whitsand Bay, the best bathing beach in the area.

RAME

6 miles S of Saltash off the B3247

Positioned at the southeastern end of Whitsand Bay and the southernmost point of Mount Edgcumbe Country Park, spectacular Rame Head guards the entrance to Plymouth Sound. There are, naturally, superb views from the 400 feet cliffs but this beautiful headland has its own special feature - the ruined 14th century St Michael’s Chapel, from which a blazing beacon told of the coming of the Armada. In the little hamlet of

15

WRINGFORD DOWN

Forder, nr Rame

Forder, nr Rame

Fantastic self-catering and bed & breakfast accommodation located on the picturesque Rame Peninsula.

See entry on page 129

 

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out of the village towards Crafthole, a signpost points you towards Tregantle Fort, built between 1858 and 1868 as part of the Plymouth defences.

ST GERMANS

4 miles W of Saltash on the B3249

Port Eliot House, St Germans CornwallofPlacesHidden
Port Eliot House, St Germans
CornwallofPlacesHidden

grounds, opened to the public for the first time in March 2008. Home to the Eliot family since 1564, Port Eliot is one of the most magical and hidden stately homes in England with a long and fascinating history. The present Grade 1 listed house, with its Gothic style turrets, is largely 19th century, although it does include fragments of the ancient monastic buildings. The grounds date from the late 18th century when Humphry Repton laid them out. Currently the 10th Earl and Countess of St Germans occupy the house although the contents of the house reflect the accumulation of 30 generations of the ever prospering Eliot family. Amongst the family’s collections there are family portraits and a seascape showing Plymouth by Joshua Reynolds and several interesting pieces of museum quality furniture including an early Boule armoire. The park and more than 100 acres of gardens include a cast rhododendron garden, a maze, a bowling green, orangery, arboretum and magnificent view of the estuary and a Brunel viaduct. Considered one of the most magical gardens in England, the house and grounds remain secluded from the outside world. It is a tranquil haven. Recently, it has been the venue for a literary festival, the Port Eliot Lit Fest. Another of St Germans’ exceptional buildings, the Sir William Moyle’s Almshouses, were built in 1583 to an unusual design - the row has prominent gables and a long first-floor balcony which is reached by a sturdy external staircase. Surrounded by neatly kept stone cottages

The village of St Germans is on the River Tiddy, part of the beautiful estuary of the Lynher which joins the Tamar just downriver from Saltash. The glory of the village is its magnificent

Norman church, St Germans Parish Church named after St Germanus, bishop of Auxerre in France in the 4th and 5th centuries. It stands on the site of a Saxon cathedral and was the largest church in the county until the construction of Truro Cathedral in 1910. In 1877, when Cornwall became a diocese in its own right, St Germans was one of the places that put its name forward as the site of the cathedral (see also Bodmin, St Columb Major and Truro). Inside the church are several striking features, the most impressive being the Burne-Jones east window and the monument to Edward Eliot. The Eliot family acquired the priory shortly after Henry VIII’s Dissolution of the Monasteries and renamed their new estate Port Eliot. Port Eliot and

TRENETHICK FARMHOUSE B&B 16 Trerulefoot A real Cornish experience for you and your horse. See
TRENETHICK FARMHOUSE B&B
16
Trerulefoot
A
real Cornish
experience for you
and your horse.
See entry on page 130

17

HAY LAKE FARM

Landrake

Landrake

A

small holding

offering

comfortable bed

and breakfast

accommodation

with a spectacular breakfast and warm welcome.

See entry on page 129

 

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set in flower filled gardens, the almshouses were restored in 1967.

LOOE

Looe was drawing crowds as early as 1800 when the first bathing machines were wheeled out, but the arrival of the railway in 1879 was what really packed its beaches. The two Looe rivers, the East Looe and the West Looe, create a tidal harbour which has been a fishing and seafaring port from at least the beginning of the 13th century through to the 19th century, when stone and copper from the quarries and mines in the north were shipped for export. Even today, it still has Cornwall’s second largest fishing fleet. Originally two separate towns called East Looe and West Looe which faced each other across the narrow estuary, they were first connected by a bridge of 14 arches in about 1411, the first estuary bridge in Cornwall. They were finally, officially incorporated in 1883. The present day seven-arched bridge dates from 1853 and carries the main road linking the two towns. Of the two distinct parts of the town, East Looe is where most of the action takes place and also the older, with its narrow cobbled streets and twisting alleyways. Housed in one of the town’s

18

KELLY’S OF LOOE

East Looe

East Looe

Award winning and well loved this popular fish restaurant and takeaway offers excellent hospitality and excellent facilities for all, year round. See entry on page 131

19 DAISY’S CAFE East Looe Have a pit stop in Looe at Daisy’s café where
19
DAISY’S CAFE
East Looe
Have a pit stop in Looe
at Daisy’s café where
kids, dogs and muddy
boots are all welcome.
See entry on page 132

several old buildings is the Old Guildhall Museum in Higher Market Street, East Looe. It dates from 1500, and details much of Looe’s history along with that of the surrounding area. The building’s old magistrates’ bench can still be seen here as well as three log books of Looe’s lifeboats, the official town regalia and a collection of minerals and ores. Aside from the museum, it’s East Looe’s long harbour that holds all the interest. Looe is also an important venue for sailing events and is the traditional home of the Redwing. It was a style of boat designed in the 1930s by Uffa Fox specifically for Looe Bay, and was reasonably cheap to build while still seaworthy enough to cope with the Cornwall coast. Swimming, sunbathing, fishing and boat trips are other popular ways of spending a few happy hours, while the more intrepid can don mask and snorkel and take to the water to visit the wrecks that lie scattered along the coast. Among these is HMS Scylla, an ex-naval frigate deliberately sunk in 2004 to become a haven for divers. One of the most popular excursions is out to Looe Island (variously known as St

CornwallofPlacesHidden

Looe Harbour
Looe Harbour

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George’s Island and St Nicholas’ Island), a mile or so offshore. The island comprises 22 acres of woodland and was made famous by the Atkins sisters, Babs and Evelyn, in their books We Bought an Island and Tales from our Cornish Island. Since their deaths, it has been handed over to the Cornwall Wildlife Trust. A natural sanctuary for sea and woodland birds and one-time haunt of smugglers, its known history includes a Benedictine chapel built in 1139 of which only a few stones remain visible. Legend has it that Joseph of Arimathea landed here with the child Christ. Looe Island can be reached, throughout the summer, when the Wildlife Trust’s Islander boat provides trips across. In the West Looe Valley, Kilminorth Woods are a Local Nature Reserve rich in woodland plants and wildlife. The area has been wooded since at least 1600, and also here is the Ancient Monument known as the Giant’s Hedge, a 6th century bank about 15

20

TOM SAWYERS TAVERN

Hannafore

Hannafore

With breathtaking views, fine cuisine, a well stocked bar and two stunning letting rooms, this inn really has it all.

See entry on page 132

 

21

POLRAEN COUNTRY HOUSE

Sandplace, nr Looe

 
Known for warm friendly hospitality, a relaxed country house atmosphere, and excellent food, Polraen Country

Known for warm friendly hospitality, a relaxed country house atmosphere, and excellent food, Polraen Country House Hotel offers an ideal escape from the stresses and strains of everyday life. See entry on page 133

WINDERMERE HOUSE 22 St Martins, nr Looe Alun and Zelia would like to offer you
WINDERMERE HOUSE
22
St Martins, nr Looe
Alun and Zelia would
like to offer you a
clean, quiet and
relaxed bed and
breakfast holiday to
tour Cornwall.
See entry on page 133

miles long between Looe and Lerryn, probably built to defend the territory of a local chieftain. Overlooking Looe Bay is the famous Monkey Sanctuary - for over 40 years the Victorian house and gardens have been home to several different species of monkeys, including Amazonian Woolly, Capuchin and Barbary Macaques. This is an active rescue centre, and experienced keepers are on hand to give talks while indoor displays explain more about the monkeys’ life and their natural habitat. The gardens around the sanctuary are home to many native plants and insects. Plants for the monkeys to eat are grown in a forest garden, and the Tree Top cafe takes care of hungry humans.

CornwallofPlacesHidden

AROUND LOOE

SEATON

3 miles E of Looe on the B3247

Seaton is a small village to the east of Looe at the mouth of the River Axe. The mile long beach is excellent for watersports and is popular with dog owners. There is also the Seaton Valley Countryside Park, a woodland walk along a river valley. It is now a local nature reserve with a level path that is suitable for wheelchairs. Seaton’s unique tramway runs inland, along the Axe Estuary, to the medieval market town of Colyton.

DULOE

3½ miles N of Looe on the B3254

Nestled unobtrusively in the corner of a field beside a Cornish hedge stands Duloe Stone Circle, the smallest stone circle in Cornwall.

OLD LANWARNICK 23 Duloe Where the beauty, mystery & ancient history of Cornwall meets modern
OLD LANWARNICK
23
Duloe
Where the beauty,
mystery & ancient
history of
Cornwall meets
modern luxury
living!
See entry on page 134

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Some 38 feet in diameter with

seven (of eight) standing quartz stones, this circle is said to be older than Stonehenge. The present setting is the result of restoration in the last century when a burial urn of the late Bronze Age (2000-500 BC) was found at the base of one of the stones. The circle can be accessed via a signposted track between two houses in Higher Stonetown to the southwest. The Duloe Torque, a gold bracelet from the Bronze Age, was discovered in a field near the village, and is now in Truro Museum.

Duloe Stone Circle CornwallofPlacesHidden
Duloe Stone Circle
CornwallofPlacesHidden

ST KEYNE

5 miles N of Looe on the B3254

St Keyne, anciently called Lametton, is believed to be named after one of the daughters of King Brychan Brycheiniog, a Welsh king. Her famous holy well, St Keyne’s Well, lies a mile southeast of the village. In Victorian times the well had the reputation of conferring supremacy to the marriage partner who first tasted it. Robert Southey (1774-1843) the poet even wrote a famous poem about it. One of the more curious episodes in St Keyne’s history took place during the reign of Catholic Mary Tudor, when the local rector and his wife (who had married during the reign of Protestant Edward VI) were dragged from their bed in the middle of the night and placed in the village stocks. The only other distraction hereabouts lies at the exhibition of Magnificent Music Machines, where an hour’s enthusiastic tour brings you face-to-face with a delicate 1895 polyphon, a Wurlitzer cinema organ from 1929 and various fairground and cafe organs.

LISKEARD

7 miles N of Looe on the B3254

A picturesque and lively market town, situated on undulating ground between the valleys of the East Looe and Seaton rivers, Liskeard was one of Cornwall’s five medieval stannary towns - the others being Bodmin,

PELYNT

4 miles W of Looe on the B3359

The Parish Church of St Nonna, in this large and rather exposed village, not only has an unusual classical aisle (dated 1680) but it is also associated with Bishop Trelawny (1650- 1721). Hawker’s famous song Song of the Western Men, which is almost a Cornish ‘national’ anthem, recounts the story of Bishop Sir Jonathan Trelawny’s incarceration in the Tower of London. As well as seeing the chair put inside this 14th century church in his memory, there is also a fragment of the bishop’s coffin and his pastoral staff. The Trelawney family lived at Trelawne, one and a half miles south east of the village.

LANREATH

5 miles NW of Looe on the B3359

The village of Lanreath has been awarded the ‘Best Kept Village’ accolade in Cornwall. Walking around this pretty village you can enjoy the old ‘cob cottages’ on Fore Street. They were built using material from the earth. Many originally would have sported a thatched roof. In 1620, the Punch Bowl Inn became the very first licensed public house in the Land, parts of the building date back even earlier. The building has served variously as a courthouse, coaching inn and smugglers den.

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Lostwithiel, Truro and Helston. The name stannary comes from the Latin word for tin, ‘stannum’, and these five towns were the only places licensed to weigh and stamp the metal. However, the town is an ancient one, and was mentioned in the Domesday Book in 1086. In 1240 it was granted its first Royal Charter by Robert, Earl of Cornwall, brother of Henry III, giving it the right to hold a market. In 1294 the town sent two members to parliament and continued to do so until the Reform Act of 1832. Notable among the MPs were Edward Gibbon, author of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, and Isaac Foot, father of the famous Foot family. The town has a long history as a centre for mineral extraction and, for centuries, the medieval Cornish tinners brought their smelted tin down from Bodmin Moor for weighing, stamping and taxing. The construction of the Liskeard and Looe Union Canal, linking the town with Looe, saw, by the 19th century, great quantities of both copper ore and granite also passing through Liskeard bound for the coast and beyond. In the 1850s, the canal was replaced by the Looe Valley branch of the Great Western Railway and a scenic stretch of the line is still open today, though the industrial cargoes have long since been replaced by passenger

24

CORNISH QUAY HOLIDAYS

Liskeard

Offering a series of over 50+ holiday cottages and waterside properties, this business is superb.

Offering a series of over 50+ holiday cottages and waterside properties, this business is superb. Each building is fabulously decorated and finished to a high standard.

See entry on page 135

25

THE HIGHWAYMAN

Dobwalls, nr Liskeard

This is a delightful establishment, serving great food at phenomenal prices. Popular with both locals and visitors alike.

This is a delightful establishment, serving great food at phenomenal prices. Popular with both locals and

See entry on page 136

carriages. There are still remnants of the canal to be seen, which was finally drained and abandoned in 1910. An annual walking festival using the railway takes place each September. The Looe Valley Line starts from its own station in Liskeard and drops under the main line to the quiet junction at Coombe. Here the driver and guard change ends and the train reverses along the East Looe Valley for the 7-mile trip to Looe. Though a small town, Liskeard boasts two sets of public buildings which are a reminder of its past importance and prosperity. The Guildhall was constructed in 1859 while the Public Hall opened in 1890 and is still used as the office of the town council. Adjacent to the Passmore-Edwards Public Library stands Stuart House, a handsome Jacobean residence where Charles I stayed in 1644 while engaged in a campaign against the Parliamentarian forces at nearby Lostwithiel. St Martin’s Parish Church is also worthy of a mention as, not only is it the second largest parish church in Cornwall, but this mainly 15th century building stands on Norman foundations, and has an early 20th century tower that blends in perfectly with the medieval architecture. In June 2002 HRH Prince Charles formally opened the Liskeard and District Museum, housed in the former Foresters Hall. It has a lively display of artefacts connected with the town. Finally, one of Liskeard’s most curious features can be found in Well Lane, where an arched grotto marks the site of Pipe Well, also known as the Well of St Martin’s and the Well of Lyskerit, a medieval spring that is reputed to have curative powers, especially afflictions of the eyes. The well has never been known to run dry.

CornwallofPlacesHidden

WADEBRIDGE

Wadebridge, one of north Cornwall’s main market towns and gateway to the Camel Trail, is not only attractive but also renowned for its craftware. One of the earliest recorded mentions of the town of Wadebridge, was in 1313 when a market and two fairs were granted to Wade – the name of

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Royal Cornwall Show, Wadebridge
Royal Cornwall Show, Wadebridge

Wadebridge before the bridge was built. At this time the town was in two parishes, Egloshayle and St Breock, either side of the river Camel. There were also two chapels, St Michael’s on the west side and King’s chapel on the east. Travellers gave thanks at both sides after a safe crossing. A major development occurred in the next century. The bridge, which must have revolutionised life in the town, was built by the Reverend Lovibond in 1460 and has 17 arches along its 320 feet length. Legend has it that it was built on wool sacks or bales but it seems more likely that this suggestion, that the bridge was ‘built on wool’, means that the money used from its construction came from the wealth of the wool trade. So important was the bridge that Oliver Cromwell himself came with 1,500 troops to take control of it in 1646. The bridge still carries the main road which links the town’s two ancient parishes. The churches of these two parishes can still be seen today: 13th century St Breock’s Parish Church stands in a picturesque wooded valley that is known as Nancient

26

BRIDGE ON WOOL

Wadebridge

This property is beautifully decorated and offers great food, drink and bed and breakfast accommodation, perfect for families and those wishing to explore the history of Wadebrudge

See entry on page 137

to explore the history of Wadebrudge See entry on page 137 (from the Cornish for ‘holy

(from the Cornish for ‘holy well’) while across the river from the main town, stands St Petroc’s Parish Church, in Egloshayle, the church at the centre of Reverend Lovibond’s ministry and to which he donated the money to build the imposing 80 feet tower. To the southwest of St Breock lies St Breock Downs. In the heart of this exposed land stands the ancient St Breock Downs Monolith (English Heritage), a striking Bronze Age standing stone that was originally 16 feet high and now weighs at least 16.5 tons, making it the heaviest in the county. It is also known as the Men Gurta (the Stone of Waiting). Other prehistoric remains, such as the Nine Maidens, a row of nine stones dating from the Bronze Age, can also be found on the downs. The town’s former railway station is now home to the John Betjeman Centre dedicated to the life and work of the much- loved Poet Laureate. The main building was formerly the Old Wadebridge Station, used by both Great Western and Southern Railways. The last passenger train left Wadebridge for Bodmin in January 1967, and after years of neglect the building re-opened as a day recreation centre. It opened in 1988 and a new building was added in 1991. The Memorabilia Room contains a variety of personal mementos, drafts of his works, academic honours and furniture that belonged to the author. Although the railway line, which opened in 1899, closed in the 1960s, a stretch of the trackbed has been used to create the superb Camel Trail. The trail leads up into the foothills of Bodmin Moor, to the east of Wadebridge, whilst to the west the path follows the River Camel to Padstow through an area that is rich in wildlife and, particularly, in wading birds such as herons. Wadebridge is more or less in the middle of the Camel Trail, which is part of the Cornish Way, a network of cycle routes covering Cornwall.

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AROUND WADEBRIDGE

ROCK

4 miles NW of Wadebridge off the B3314

Rock could hardly be less appropriately named as its popularity is largely due to the long stretches of find sandy beaches washed by the tidal waters of the Camel estuary. Rightly acclaimed as one of the major watersports centres in Cornwall, sailing, windsurfing, water skiing, canoeing and rowing are all activities that can be carried on in the relatively calm waters of the estuary. Also known as ‘Little Chelsea’, Rock attracts the young and posh from London. The Black Tor ferry runs from Rock to Padstow all year round during daylight hours and there is a water taxi available for late night revellers. With the increase in water activities, the RNLI have now stationed a D Class lifeboat on the ferry beach, providing cover in case of emergencies. Open-air readings of the poetry of Sir John Betjeman are held during the summer on Brea Hill at Rock.

TREBETHERICK

5 miles NW of Wadebridge off the B3314

The beach at Trebetherick is well known for its fine bathing and excellent surfing. Few people are tempted away from the sand and sea to visit the 13th century St Enodoc Parish Church, which stands, enigmatically, among the sand dunes above Daymer Bay. So invasive were the surrounding sand dunes that it was often necessary to enter through the roof for services, as a result of this, the church was once known locally as ‘Sinking Neddy’, though

27

BLUETOMATO

known locally as ‘Sinking Neddy’, though 27 BLUETOMATO Rock Looking out across the water towards Padstow,

Rock

Looking out across the water towards Padstow, the only café in Rock serves delicious home cooked food year round from its sunny seaside terrace.

See entry on page 138

CornwallofPlacesHidden Sir John Betjeman’s Grave, St Enodoc
CornwallofPlacesHidden
Sir John Betjeman’s Grave, St Enodoc

some say that this is no more than a fanciful tale. The sand was finally cleared away in the 1860s, when the church was restored, and the bell in the tower, which came from an Italian ship that was wrecked nearby, was added in 1875. The beautiful churchyard contains many graves of shipwrecked mariners who came to grief on the local sandbank known as Doom Bar or at other treacherous places along this

stretch of coast. What draws most people to the quiet place of Trebetherick is Sir John Betjeman’s Grave, just inside the gate. The fondly remembered Poet Laureate spent many of his childhood holidays in the villages and coves around the Camel Estuary and his affection for the local people and the surrounding countryside was the inspiration for many of his works. One of his most famous poems, simply called Trebetherick, recalls his boyhood days spent here.

POLZEATH

5 miles NW of Wadebridge off the B3314

Polzeath ‘the thumping heart of cool Cornwall’ according to the Sunday Times, has a magnificent surfing beach known to be one of Cornwall’s finest. Tucked just inside the Camel Estuary, the combination of Atlantic swells and the gradually shelving, sandy

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beach means the long, slow breaking

waves produce ideal conditions for improving your surfing skills at every level from novice to advanced. To the north of the village, and much loved by Sir John Betjeman, is wonderful walking country that takes in the cliffs and farmland of Pentire Point and Rumps Point. From the headland of Pentire Point, views unfold for miles over the offshore islets of the Mouls and Newland, with their populations of grey seals and puffins. In the 1930s, Pentire Head was saved from commercial development thanks to local fundraisers who bought the land and donated it to the National Trust. Half a mile to the east, the scanty remains of an Iron Age fort stand on the humpy back of Rumps Point.

Port Isaac Harbour CornwallofPlacesHidden
Port Isaac Harbour
CornwallofPlacesHidden

‘port of corn’. A busy port since the Middle Ages, fishing is still an important industry here, though the heyday of Port Isaac was in the 19th century when not only fish, but cargoes of stone, coal, timber and pottery were loaded and unloaded on the quayside. Huge quantities of pilchard were landed and

processed here and, after the arrival of the railway, these were gutted and packed in the village’s many fish cellars before being dispatched by train to London and beyond. One of these old cellars is now an RNLI inshore D class lifeboat station, while other cellars have been put to a variety of uses. Port Isaac has seen lifeboats launched off the north Cornish coast for over 100 years. At the harbour, known locally as the Platt, fishermen still land their catches and the village becomes a hive of activity. Port Isaac has been the focus of two TV series. The BBC costume drama Poldark, based on the novels by Winston Graham, was one of the most successful British TV adaptations ever, which was sold to over 40

countries. With 29 episodes broadcast between 1975 and 1977, Port Isaac starred as a frequent location. More recently the village was central to the ITV series, Doc Martin, starring Martin Clunes, going by the fictional name of ‘Portwenn’. Fisherman’s Friends are a 10-man sea- shanty singing group, all of whom grew up within half a mile of Port Isaac harbour, and several with links to the sea. Having sung for fun since 1995, they landed a major record deal in 2010 after being spotted in a pub by a holidaying music mogul.

PORT QUIN

5 miles N of Wadebridge off the B3314

This tiny hamlet, along with its small shingle cove, suffered greatly in the 19th century when the railways took away the slate trade from its once busy quay. The demise of the port was so swift that, at one time, outsiders thought that the entire population of Port Quin had been washed away in a great storm. The headland on the south side of Port Quin is known as Doyden Point, which is picturesquely ornamented with a 19th century castle folly once used for gambling parties. Now it is a National Trust holiday property, as is nearby Doyden House.

PORT ISAAC

5 miles N of Wadebridge on the B3267

An inspiration for artists, writers, and poets for centuries, this is one of the most beautiful and unspoilt parts of Cornwall. Port Isaac is a wonderful old-world fishing village that is so charming everyone falls in love with the place. The character of the village permeates the air and its dramatic setting, under high, rocky cliffs gives the whole area a timeless feel. At one time it exported corn, which is how it got its name, ‘Porth Izic’, meaning the

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Long Cross Victorian Gardens, Trelights
Long Cross Victorian Gardens, Trelights

PORT GAVERNE

5 miles N of Wadebridge off the B3267

Port Gaverne, sister cove to Port Isaac, a busy fishing port in the 19th century where slate was shipped out, and all kinds of merchandise landed for local use, is now a peaceful hamlet with a quiet, sheltered beach and green headlands. One of the safest beaches along the north Cornwall coast, Port Gaverne beach is pebbled and, at low tide, an expanse of sand dotted with rock pools is revealed.

TRELIGHTS

4½ miles N of Wadebridge off the B3314

south aisle are 15th century. The bench ends date from the 15th century, and are the church’s greatest glory. One represents Adam and Eve, while another represents Henry II, the huge variety of these rich carvings are worthy of close study. The church also owns three ‘Vinegar Bibles’ printed in 1717, which, instead of having ‘The Parable of the Vineyard’ in Chapter 20 of St Luke’s Gospel has instead ‘The Parable of the Vinegar’. As the printer’s name was John Baskett, and there were many other misprints in this edition, it has been called ‘a Baskett full of errors’. The Vinegar Bibles can be viewed by arrangement. An attraction that brings families to St Miniver is the Porteath Bee Centre. One of the simplest and pleasurable aspects here is that it gives you a chance to observe a swarm of bees going about their business. And best of all there is no risk of getting stung! The exhibition opens to the public from Easter to October.

ST ENDELLION

4 miles N of Wadebridge on the B3314

Close to the village lies the Long Cross Victorian Gardens, the only public gardens on the north Cornish coast. A real garden lover’s delight, they remain in the original Victorian garden layout and retain their original splendour.

ST MINVER

4 miles NW of Wadebridge off the B3314

The village is visited mainly because of St Menefreda’s Parish Church. A church certainly stood here in Saxon times, though the present one dates at least from the mid 13th century, when William of Saint Menefreda paid homage to the Prior of Bodmin. The slate pillars in the north aisle are Norman, and the granite pillars of the

This charming village boasts the particularly interesting Parish Church of St Endelienta, built of Lundy Island granite, which houses a major work of the sculptor known as the Master of St Endellion. An anonymous artist in every aspect of his life, the Master of St Endellion has, however, been immortalised by his superb tomb, which is beautifully carved in black Catacleuse stone. The church itself

is dedicated to St Endelienta, a Celtic saint

who lived solely, so it is said, on cow’s milk. When a local lord killed her cow in a dispute with a local farmer, he was himself killed by King Arthur, who was St Endelienta’s godfather. She was able to bring both the cow and the lord back to life. When she died

a cart pulled by an ox carried her body, as

she had decreed, and when it stopped, that was to be the place of her shrine. The church

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has a long tradition of bell-ringing and is also the venue of the St Endellion Music Festivals which take place at Easter and in the summer every year, bringing together a wide range of exciting musicians from all over the world. It was at St Endelienta’s that Sir John Betjeman regularly worshipped, he wrote: ‘Inside, the church gives the impression that it goes on praying night and day, whether there are people in it or not’.

ST KEW

3½ miles NE of Wadebridge off the A39

The delightful village of St Kew is full of character and derives its name from the 5th century Saint Cywa or Kew, possibly the sister of Docco or Docuin, of Gwent in southeast Wales, who founded a monastery at or near the village. The monastery founded by St Kew is believed to have been destroyed circa AD958-975 during the Saxon invasion of Cornwall under King Edgar. The later 15th century St Kew and St Doghow Parish Church can be found in a wooded hollow, along with the large late Georgian rectory and an Elizabethan inn. The village is also home to an Ogham Stone, an unusual feature in Cornwall and one that is more commonly associated with southwest Ireland. Given its name because it is inscribed with the Ines of Ogham script, the stone also bears a Latin inscription.

PADSTOW

Padstow lies on the Camel Estuary, about 7 miles from Wadebridge. The area is one of considerable natural beauty with beautiful bays, golden beaches and many interesting

28 THE CORNISH ARMS Pendoggett Authentic Thai food & traditional pub grub. Accommodation available, all
28
THE CORNISH ARMS
Pendoggett
Authentic Thai food &
traditional pub grub.
Accommodation
available, all with en-
suites
Entry on page 139

walks, particularly along the Coastal Footpath. In fact, Padstow is the start of two of the West Country’s most famous long- distance paths: the 17-mile Camel Trail and the 30-mile Saints Way across the peninsula to Fowey. The site of Padstow was well chosen by its forefathers. For many centuries, Padstow’s sheltered position in a narrow gulley on the western side of the Camel estuary has made it a welcome haven for vessels seeking respite from the perils of the sea. It has the only safe harbour along this stretch of the North Cornwall coast, after the rocks, currents and winds of the river mouth have been negotiated. The town has been settled by many different people over the years including the prehistoric Beaker folk, Romans, Celtic saints and marauding Vikings. However, the silting up of the River Camel in the 19th century created a new hazard for shipping coming in and out of Padstow harbour and the evocatively named Doom Bar, which restricts entry into the estuary mouth, effectively put an end to this ancient settlement continuing as a major port. It is said that the Doom Bar is the result of a mermaid’s curse. The story goes that there was once a merry mermaid who watched over the vessels that went in and out of Padstow. One day, a sailor on a visiting boat shot her.

CornwallofPlacesHidden

29

THE LONDON INN

Padstow

 
This charming and historical inn offers delicious locally sourced meals, real ale and comfortable accommodation

This charming and historical inn offers delicious locally sourced meals, real ale and comfortable accommodation just a stone’s throw from the harbour. See entry on page 140

30 THE GOLDEN LION PUB Padstow The stable of Padstow’s original Oss and a key
30
THE GOLDEN LION PUB
Padstow
The stable of
Padstow’s original Oss
and a key part of the
‘Obby’Oss festival.
See entry on page
141

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Padstow Inner Harbour
Padstow Inner Harbour

The mermaid’s curse was that the harbour would become desolate from that time on. Shortly after, a great storm came wrecking many of the ships in the harbour and throwing up the sandbank. In 1827 the first lifeboat was stationed at Padstow in an effort to make it safer. However, the silting up also necessitated moving the Padstow lifeboat on to the open sea, at Trevose Head, five miles away. The new RNLI lifeboat station at Padstow was completed in 2006 and the Tamar Lifeboat Spirit of Padstow was placed on service shortly after. Padstow was originally called Petroc-stow, after the missionary St Petroc. Legend has it that St Petroc, possibly one of the most important of the Cornish saints, arrived from Ireland around AD520 and built a monastery on the hill above the harbour. The son of a Welsh chieftain, St Petroc, like St Francis of Assisi, had a special empathy with animals and according to legend drew the splinter from the eye of a dragon, saved a deer from a hunt and, most spectacularly, rescued a sea monster trapped in a lake. Before moving on to Bodmin Moor to continue his missionary work, St Petroc founded a Celtic monastery here and St Petroc Major Parish Church still bears his name. On his death, St Petroc was buried in Padstow and subsequently, in the 12th century, his bones were transferred to St Petroc’s Church in Bodmin, where they were placed in an ivory casket, which can still be seen today. The present building dates from the 13th and 14th centuries and, as well as the octagonal font of Catacleuse stone

carved by the Master of St Endellion, there is a striking Elizabethan pulpit and some rather amusing bench ends, depicting scenes such as a fox preaching to a congregation of geese. The walls are lined with monuments to the local Prideaux family, who still occupy nearby Prideaux Place. Beginning at the door of the church is the Saints Way, a footpath that follows the route taken by travellers and pilgrims crossing Cornwall on their way from Brittany to Ireland. On the northern outskirts of Padstow (follow the brown signs off the B3276) stands Prideaux Place, a superbly preserved example of an Elizabethan mansion that for over 400 years has been the home of the Prideaux-Brune family. This E-shaped house was completed in 1592, with later additions and alterations in a variety of architectural styles. In the 18th century Edmund Prideaux added the formal Italian gardens, and in 1810 Edmund’s grandson Charles extended and altered the house in the Gothic style, which was fashionable at the time due to the building of Strawberry Hill at Richmond near London. Inside, you’ll find grand staircases and richly furnished rooms full of portraits and with fantastically ornate ceilings, while outside there are the formal gardens, and a deer park affording long views over the Camel estuary. Also in the grounds are a temple, Roman antiquities, a 9th century Cornish cross and the newly restored stables with their plaster coat of arms and two exhibitions - one of old farm equipment, the other of past film location work at the house. Peter O’Toole, Joanna Lumley, Ralph Fiennes, Helena Bonham Carter, Mel Smith, Ben Kingsley and Richard E Grant have all acted at Prideaux Place. Tourism arrived in Padstow with the railway in 1899, with the Atlantic Express running a regular service between London and Padstow. Today, Padstow’s harbour and nearby shopping streets throng with visitors throughout the summer who come here to

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see the narrow alleyways and tightly packed slate hung buildings of the old quarter, which has managed to retain much of its medieval character. There is a regular ferry across the river to Rock (see also Rock), a village that has lately been all but taken over by the young and posh from London. The influence of the sea is never far away in Padstow and, more recently, it has become linked with seafood and the best and most famous of Rick Stein’s gastronomic outlets, well worth the splurge. Any exploration of Padstow should begin at the town’s focal point, its Harbour, which is now home to a fishing fleet and filled with pleasure boats of all descriptions. Here can be found many of Padstow’s older buildings including, on the South Quay, Raleigh’s Cottage where Sir Walter Raleigh lived when he was Warden of Cornwall, and the minute Harbour Cottage. Raleigh’s Court House, where he collected the taxes and dues, stands close by beside the river. A popular attraction here is the National Lobster Hatchery, a centre filled with information about lobsters; visitors can see lobsters developing from an egg, still attached to a female, into a juvenile ready to be released into the wild. On North Quay is the 15th century Abbey House, now a private residence but once a meeting place for local merchants. Padstow is famed for its May Day celebrations, the origins of which go back to pagan times. Beginning at midnight on the eve of May Day and lasting throughout May 1, the

people of Padstow follow the Obby Oss, - a man in a black frame-hung cape and wearing a groteseque mask - around the streets of the town. It is one of the oldest May Day traditions in Europe and consists of much singing, dancing and general merry making.

AROUND PADSTOW

TREDINNICK

3 miles S of Padstow off the A39

To the south of this small stone-built village lies Cornwall’s Crealy Great Adventure Park

- one of the county’s top days out for the

family. ‘Whisperings from the Past’ horse show gives you the chance to get up close and personal with equine giants and miniature ponies in Cornwall’s biggest live horse experience. New for 2011 is ‘Dizzy Dina’, a dinosaur ride, ‘Pony Express’ a sit-on ride for younger children, and ‘The Beast’, a thrill ride that takes you up and then plunges you back down to earth.

ST ISSEY

2 miles S of Padstow on the A389

On 1st February 1869, the medieval tower of St Issey’s Parish Church collapsed and, remarkably its destruction was captured by an early photographer, the resulting photograph of the tower’s demise also shows

top-hatted policeman looking on helplessly. The present St Issey Parish Church dates from 1871, though there are remnants of some 14th and 15th century work still to be seen. Not only did the church have to be rebuilt, the Catacleuse stone altar piece by the Master of St Endellion had to be meticulously rebuilt piece by piece. There are references to a church at this spot going back to 1190, when the bishop of Exeter gave its patronage to the dean and chapter of Exeter Cathedral.

a

St Issey Parish Church
St Issey Parish Church

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While visiting Padstow in October 1842, the novelist Charles Dickens, inspired by his time in the ancient port, wrote his much- loved story, A Christmas Carol, in which he mentions both Tinnens Cottages and a lighthouse - the one at Trevose Head. He based the character Jacob Marley on his good friend Dr. Miles Marley. His son Dr. Henry Frederick Marley practised in Padstow for 51 years and died at his home in St. Issey on 27th January 1908. In this heartwarming seasonal story, Dickens actually reworks an idea that first began as an interlude in Pickwick Papers and it is plain that the Gabriel Grub character was a prototype for the grasping and miserly Ebenezer Scrooge.

LITTLE PETHERICK

2 miles S of Padstow on the A389

This village sits close to St Issey, on the opposite bank of a little creek. The footpath that follows Little Petherick Creek to its confluence with the River Camel also leads to a splendid viewpoint at which there can be seen an Obelisk, built in 1887 to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee.

BEDRUTHAN STEPS

5½ miles SW of Padstow off the B3276

One of Cornwall’s most dramatic beaches, Bedruthan Steps, whose jagged slate outcrops were traditionally held to be the stepping- stones of a giant called Bedruthan, a

legendary figure conjured into existence in the 19th century. Some of the larger of these massive flat-topped slabs have been given names of their own. Samaritan Island is named after a ship wrecked on the beach in 1846 - with the locals ‘rescuing’ the cargo of luxurious silks and satins for themselves. Another rock, whose curious formation has been likened to the profile of Queen Elizabeth I, is referred to as Queen Bess Rock. However, any resemblance there ever was to the Virgin Queen has long since been wiped away by the wind and the waves. By far the best view of the beach can be found from the grassy clifftops 300 feet above. The beach makes a great place to ramble about, but swimming at Bedruthan Steps is not advised owing to the rocks and often violent waves. The area around Bedruthan is also rich in prehistoric sites; within two miles there are no less than six Bronze Age barrows and two cliff castles dating from the Iron Age.

PORTHCOTHAN

4½ miles SW of Padstow on the B3276

Porthcothan is a lovely sandy bay with a small stream running across a fine golden sandy beach, which is sheltered by sand dunes and craggy headlands. At low tide the beach opens out, connecting up with small coves, and at high tide the beach becomes very sheltered from swell and winds due to the cliffs. Today, the National Trust owns much of the land around the cove, and there is a car park and toilets operated by the local council. A popular beach with families, the lifeguard season dates from May - September. In days gone by, this cove was the haunt of smugglers, who were able to land their contraband safely and in secret. The footpath over the southern headland leads to Porth Mear, another secluded cove beyond which, on a low plateau, is a prehistoric earthwork

Bedruthan Steps Beach
Bedruthan Steps Beach

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of banks and ditches. Porthcothan is part of the ‘seven bays for seven days’ grouping of beaches. These include Constantine, Trevone, Harlyn and Treyarnon, which are all very close by.

TREYARNON

3½ miles W of Padstow off the B3276

This small hamlet lies at the southern end of Constantine Bay and has one of a succession of fine sandy beaches that can be found on either side of Trevose Head. Though conditions here are ideal for surfing, the strong currents around the beach make swimming hazardous. The sand dunes backing the beaches along Constantine Bay are covered with marram grass and tamarisk shrubs and through here the South West Coast Path passes on its way northwards to Trevose Head.

TREVOSE HEAD

4 miles NW of Padstow off the B3276

The stormy headland at Trevose is one of the shorter Heritage Coasts at only two and a half miles (Ed: for consistency this should really be 2½ but I can’t do half in correct size and font) in length. Fine sandy beaches adjoin the headland like bookends, but Trevose Head itself is rugged and severe, carved out of hard volcanic rock. This remote area is reached via a toll road, but it is a trip well worth making as, from the headland, there are wonderful views down the coast that take in bay after bay. The area is popular with surfers, who delight in the strong winds and waves along the whole Atlantic coast of Cornwall. For drier pursuits, there is excellent walking along the cliffs, with wildflowers and buterflies abundant in spring. The South West Coast Path rambles through Trevose Head on its 630-mile journey from south Dorset to north Somerset. At the tip of the headland stands the Victorian Trevose Lighthouse, built by Thomas and Jacob Olver of Falmouth in 1847. The light stands some 204 feet above sea level and from here, at night, lights from four other lighthouses can be seen.

ST MERRYN

2 miles W of Padstow on the B3276

St Merryn was a Welsh saint born around AD 496 who went to live in Brittany. On his way, he founded a small church, where the present St Merryn’s Parish Church now stands. Dating originally from the 13th and 14th centuries, it was partially restored in the 20th century, when the windows, floor, pews and roof were replaced, but there is still much of the earlier church to be admired. The font came from the ruins of the nearby St Constantine’s Church. In the garden of a private house in this small village is a modern day Celtic monument that is as impressive as any of the many prehistoric sites found in Cornwall. The Angel’s Runway, three large, granite standing stones with a huge, flat capstone, was built in 1987, and is a direct copy of a Neolithic chamber tomb. There are other copies of famous Cornish stone circles and rocking stones to be seen here. The parish of St Merryn has no fewer than seven unspoilt beaches on its seaward boundary.

TREVONE

1½ miles NW of Padstow off the B3276

CornwallofPlacesHidden

Sheltered by Trevose Head and Rumps Point, the seemingly gentle and peaceful sandy cove at Trevone is guarded by vicious offshore rocks. A quiet place that can be reached by way of the coastal path from Padstow, the rock pools that are formed on the beach at low tide, particularly one that is around 6 feet deep, provide the safest bathing. An 80- feet deep blowhole just above the beach is a great attraction. In 2007, Trevone Bay was used as the setting for a Renault Clio Ripcurl

31

THE OLIVE TREE

St Merryn, nr Padstow

St Merryn, nr Padstow

A

fantastic restaurant

serving simple food in

a

relaxed atmosphere,

with many dishes being influenced by Italy.

See entry on page 142

 

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Tolcarne Beach, Newquay
Tolcarne Beach, Newquay

advert, featuring two surfers contemplating going into the sea.

NEWQUAY

Newquay has a defiantly youthful air, making it difficult to imagine the town enjoying any history extending more than a few years back. In fact Newquay has 1,600 years of history and has seen a dramatic change of identity from fortified cliff settlement, through tiny port to premier resort. Iron Age Man smelted ore here for weapons and tools, Industrial Age Man made it his conduit for the trade in tin and china clay, but Modern man found its hidden gold; the chain of eleven beaches have transformed Newquay in less than a century into the most popular holiday resort in Cornwall. Sixteen hundred years ago all that existed within the modern boundary was a settlement on Porth Island. In 1439 Bishop Lacey of Exeter allowed the burghers of what was then called Towan Blystra to build a New Quay. It was the beginning of the town’s second life as a fishing port, culminating in

the arrival of the great pilchard shoals of the

18th century and the sgalvanisingtirring

of ‘Hheva!’ from the whitewashed Huer’s Hut, still standing above the harbour. Here, the Huer would scan the sea looking for shoals of pilchards, which caused the water to turn red, and, once spotted, he would alert the fishing crews by calling ‘hevva,

cry

hevva’, meaning ‘found, found’, through a long loud-hailer. He would then guide the boats towards the shoal with semaphore-style signals using a pair of bats known as bushes. The term ‘hue and cry’ comes from the same source. In the 17th and 18th centuries, low wages from fishing and agriculture were supplemented by smuggling and more sinisterly the ‘wrecking’ made famous in Daphne du Maurier’s Jamaica Inn. Celebrity entrepreneur and TV Dragon, Duncan Bannatyne, masterminded Newquay’s latest innovative swashbuckling adventure, Buccaneer Bay (a redevelopment of a long-established attraction, Tunnels Through Time). Stunning visual affects, atmospheric lighting and an amazing sound system provide an exciting backdrop for 21st century attractions such as ‘Scare’ and the ‘The Sunken Village of the Damned’. Take a journey through the coves and lanes of old Cornwall where sight, sound and smell fire the imagination – sort of Madame Tussauds does pirates. These days Newquay is the resort with all the nightlife, but not so much of the culture. However, there is the Lane Theatre, the only theatre in Newquay, it. The theatre seats 136138, has a licensed ‘Cosy Nook’ bar, facilities for the disabled and a free car park. Comedy plays are presented throughout the summer season. The theatre is owned and operated by Newquay Dramatic Society. The stunning beaches in Newquay alone combine the roles of playground, stadium and theatre, providing an unrivalled source for

32

BLUE REEF AQUARIUM

Newquay

Newquay

A magnificent range of marine life from around the world. The centrepiece being a stunning coral reef display housed in a giant 250,000 litre ocean tank.

See entry on page 142

 

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traditional English seaside pursuits as well as

a launch pad for a full range of watersports

such as surfing, kitesurfing, waveski, mountain boarding and extreme activities for beginner and champion alike. Towan Beach is one of those fine beaches overlooked by the town, and is the closest to the town centre. Situated on the Towan Promenade, the Blue Reef Aquarium brings the Atlantic on-shore with a fascinating slice of life beneath the waves. Walk a tunnel through a giant tropical ocean display and enjoy over 30 living displays featuring amazing sea life. There’s a daily programme of talks and activities at this fascinating place. Great Western and Tolcarne are also popular with families, and usually less crowded. The biggest of Newquay’s beaches is Watergate Bay, a glorious expanse of fine sand 3 miles out of town on the Padstow road. Here and at Crantock, Fistral, Towan, Great Western, Porth and Tolcarne and Mawgan Porth beaches a lifeguard service operates in the summerMay to September.

Newquay Town Council hired the first full- time lifeguards in 1959, and during the 1960’s lifeguards were recruited from as far afield as Australia, South Africa and Hawaii. Warren Mitchell, a lifeguard from Australia, worked in Newquay and he saw an a RNLI inshore lifeboat on ain service. He was inspired and he took the idea back to Australia and developed the modern lifeguard inshore rescue boat. All of the above beaches are popular with surfers, but the jewel in Cornwall’s crown and the most

challenging is Fistral Beach, fully exposed to the Atlantic, the fierce breakers make it an ideal venue for national and international competitions. The

standard of surfing in the water

is high, especially at North and

Little Fistral. Experts and intermediates paddle out by the rocks using the rip while beginners stay to the middle of the bay. The National Surfing Centre Surf School on Fistral beach has been established

since 1988 and is one of Britain’s longest running and most highly reputable surf schools. Run to the Sun Festival was created from a natural affinity between the car and beach culture, the surfer’s love of the VW Beetle, and has grown into one of the largest Custom Car, VW and dance festivals in Europe since its conception in 1987. Now thousands of car enthusiasts from across the UK and beyond travel to Newquay to indulge in this annual festival, which attracts somewhere in the region of 80,000 visitors each year. If you feel like escaping the seaside crowds, you’ll appreciate the tranquility of Trenance Gardens, formal gardens with streams and a boating lake next to the Gannel estuary, a haven for wildlife. Here the mild climate caused by the Gulf Stream ensures that palm trees flourish. Within Trenance Leisure Park, Waterworld offers two indoor swimming pools, a 60-metre flume and other entertainment; there’s also crazy golf and a mini train ride. The park is also home to Newquay Zoo, more than 250,000 people visit this zoo each year. The zoo is set in over ten 10 acres of sub-tropical lakeside gardens. Here conservation, education and entertainment go hand in hand. With Red Pandas, zebra, antelope and lions from the African plains to the nocturnal world of the Rodrigues bats, zoo trails and talks by the keepers, there is always plenty here to see and do for visitors of all ages. If you like animals then you and

Surfing at Fistral Beach, Newquay
Surfing at Fistral Beach, Newquay

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the family will love enjoy

DairyLand Farm World, near Newquay, a fabulous all-weather family day out with attractions suitable for all age groups. DairyLand Farm World is a real working farm and children of all ages will love the endless list of attractions on offer to them. From pony rides to tractor rides, bottle-feeding to milking, there is certainly something for everyone. Every season a free newspaper is published, containing features of local interest and a ‘What’s On’ guide. The summer months feature such events as a balloon festival, gig-racing for both men and women’s teams, surfing and surf life-saving events and championships and the RNLI Lifeboat Day. For a full list of events contact the Newquay Tourist Information Centre. Because of its position at the heart of Cornwall, Newquay makes the perfect touring base to explore its history and legend and with its nearby Newquay Airport it’s easily reached too. To the northeast is Tintagel where Merlin wove his spells and King Arthur held court. To the east is Roche Rock, spiritual home of the Cornish Gorsedd and the wildly beautiful moorland of Bodmin. And south is the 11th century Restormel Castle, one-time home of the Black Prince, the beautiful valley of the Fowey and the lushly different riviera of sleepy estuaries, secluded coves and picturesque fishing villages like Mevagissey.