Walking Holidays in Cornwall
Cornwall has over 360 miles of stunning coastline - the longest of any English county.
33% of Cornwall is designated as an AONB - Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The National Trust protect great swathes of Cornwall too - from secret coves and great surfing beaches to World Heritage Site mining areas, National Trust look after some of the most beautiful places in Cornwall. Back in 1895, NT was founded with the aim of saving our nation's heritage and open spaces. 118 years later, they are still working hard to uphold these values.
The Moors of Cornwall.
There are several areas of moorland in Cornwall, but the chief two are BODMIN MOORS and LANDS END Moors.
These are high, rugged places - relatively unchanged since prehistoric times. The atmosphere is conducive to "time travel" in one's imagination - and certainly provokes much consideration about where we came from and where we are going. There are many Prehistoric remains - from The Neolithic, down to the present day - through the Bronze, Iron, Dark and Medieval ages.
The open moorland is "capped" here and there with "Tors" - high granite hill tops of protruding large boulders of granite, often sculpted by the weather into fantastic shapes and forms. The views are stunning on a clear day and we can often see large areas of Devon and Cornwall from the higher tors. There are some large "logan" stones - naturally balanced stones which "rock" when stood on. These can weigh as much as 50 tons! Associations with King Arthur abound and we also sometimes explore wild remote river valleys which run steeply off the moors too, with moss covered boulders and clean tinkling waterfalls. There is a terrific feeling of great antiquity and timelessness here. Altitude - up to 1470 ft, however our walks are not strenuous.
The Lands End Peninsula of West Penwith, (extreme far west tip).
This far tip of west Cornwall juts defiantly out into The Atlantic Ocean - from where the magical Scilly Isles can be glimpsed - sometimes thought to be the legendary and drowned "Lost Land of Lyonesse" (Cornwall's very own Atlantis.) With more ancient sites and megaliths than perhaps any other area in Great Britain, this peninsula is a place of haunting beauty. High rugged cliffs and remote empty moorland are surrounded by a patchwork of Celtic fields, dating back to The Bronze and Iron ages. Here, we find a continuum that can be traced back over 6000 years.
With more ancient sites and megaliths than perhaps any other area in Great Britain, this peninsula is a place of haunting beauty. High rugged cliffs and remote empty moorland are surrounded by a patchwork of Celtic fields, dating back to The Bronze and Iron ages. Here, we find a continuum, which can be traced back over 6000 years. Spectacular remains of old tin and copper mines balance precariously on the cliff edges in places and here we discover just where and how the industrial revolution had its beginnings.
There are sheltered wooded valleys with little fishing coves and beautiful white sand beaches, from which we often swim. The wildlife is spectacular and as well as all the beautiful flora and usual fauna, the area has a small but vigorous Atlantic Grey Seal population that we can observe closely. There is also a small school of Bottle-Nosed Dolphins resident around the coastline of West Penwith - often seen cruising close inshore. Ancient footpaths weave and wind their way around the peninsula, linking places of antiquity, prehistoric farmsteads, villages and many wonderful locations. Altitude up to 850 feet. Coastal footpaths can be strenuous in places.
The Lizard Peninsula (extreme southerly part of mainland Britain).
An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, with several nature reserves containing 2% of all the natural heathland remaining in Europe. Structurally, an enigmatic slice of fossilised ocean crust formed almost 400 million years ago and then thrust up over the face of Cornwall about 300 million years ago, when the African plate collided with the Eurasian plate - causing the formation of a range of large mountains (now eroded away) along the entire length of England's south west peninsular. The geology of The Lizard is perhaps the most startlingly spectacular aspect of this area, with highly altered crystalline rocks displaying many beautiful colours and patterns. Also, due to the resulting peculiar ultra-basic soils and southerly position, the flora is quite unusual too - the most famous local plant being the rare Cornish Heather, (Erica Vegans), which flowers from mid summer till October - forming beautiful swathes of colour on the cliffs and heathlands.
The Lizard has 2 distinct areas - one is wild heathland and cliffs and the other is "The Meneage" - Cornish for "Land of The Monks" - a place of lush rolling hills, farmland and valleys, with primeval woodland, such as Frenchman's Creek, made famous by Daphne Du Maurier in her famous novel about romance, smuggling and the Cornish coast.
Rare birds sometimes make appearances here - such as unusual Raptors, Bee Eaters, Rollers, Hoopoes, Spoonbills and odd visitors like Sub-Alpine Warblers. Season dictates, naturally. There are also pretty little fishing coves with thatched cottages and old fishermen ready for a yarn! Home made farmhouse clotted cream ice cream - perhaps the most delicious in the world - is found at a farm we visit when it is hot and we need cooling down!
The rest of the south coast.
Apart from The Lizard peninsular, there are about 60 more miles of coastline between Lands End and the border with south Devon at Plymouth. This is an extremely varied coastline, with some high rugged cliffs mixed up with some much softer, lower and much more vegetated (even wooded) coastline. It mostly faces south, so is bathed in sunshine all day and subsequently, the flora is profuse and dense. There are several tidal estuaries that delve deep into the countryside, with muddy creeks such as Frenchman's Creek and another where Daphne Du Maurier lived near Fowey. The most well known towns and villages along the south coast are: Porthcurnow, Mousehole, Newlyn, Penzance, Marazion, Porthleven, Mullion, Lizard, Coverack, Helford, Falmouth, St Mawes, Portscatho, Portloe, Gorran Haven, Mevagissey, Par, Fowey, Polperro, Looe, Seaton, Cawsand and Kingsand. Yachting and sailing generally are very popular along this more sheltered coastline.
Creeks and Estuaries.
Several old river valleys had their lower reaches drowned when the ice sheets melted about 10,000 years ago - creating "Rias", which now form hauntingly beautiful wooded valleys which are largely privately owned and unspoiled. Here are found good examples of "ancient woodland" (meaning unchanged for millennia). We walk around 4 of these Rias at different times and experience great solitude and peace. These creeks are the haunt of many waders and other birds, such as Kingfisher, Curlew, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Godwit, Sandpiper, divers, red and greenshank, dunlin, turnstone and even the odd Osprey!
Pretty little villages and churches show where Christian Missionaries established churches and settlements, to spread the Christian message during the Dark Ages of the 5th to 9th centuries. A great number of Cornish villages and churches are named after famous Saints, (Christian devotees) who journeyed regularly between Ireland, Wales, Cornwall, Brittany, Iberia and The Mediterranean. They have left a great legacy of early Christian relics and a romantic atmosphere in Cornwall. There is a saying in Cornwall that goes - "There are more Saints in Cornwall than in Heaven!"
The North Coast.
Running about 100 miles from lands Ends, up to the border with north Devon - the north coast is dramatic and wild. High cliffs are interspersed with occasional wide sandy bays, which are the domain of surfers. Large dune systems occur here and there, but on the whole, most of this coastline is made up of cliffs of slate and volcanic rocks, with occasional granite. There are deeply indented coves and many caves. Heights range from about 150 feet right up to 730 feet - the highest in Cornwall. Several famous towns and villages lie along the north coast, such as Sennen Cove, St Just, Zennor, St Ives, Hayle, Porthreath, Porthtowan, St Agnes, Perranporth, Crantock, Newquay, Porthcothan, Treyarnon and Constantine, Trevone, Padstow, Port Isaac, Trebarwith Cove, Tintagel, Boscastle, Bude and Morwenstowe.