Oliver's Cornwall
Towns and Villages
On the coast and 
in the country
This page reports on towns and villages, great and small, coastal and inland.  Most I like but a few reviews are distinctly critical.

Text and images should align.  To view this page at its best, adjust your zoom to fill the page width

PAGE CONTENTS
Altarnun
Blisland
Bodmin
Bodwen
Boscastle
Boyton
Bradoc
Bude
Cadgwith
Callestick
Callington
Calstock
Camborne
Carharrack
Charlestown
Coombe
Coverack
Creed
Devoran
Duloe
Falmouth
 Feock
 Flushing
 Fowey
 Golden
 Gorran
Grampound
 Gulval
Gunwalloe
Gwennap
Gwithian Halsetown Hayle Helston
Kilkhampton
 Kingsand
 Ladock
 Lamorna
Lanivet
Lanlivery
Lanreath
Launceston
Lelant
Lerryn
Linkinhorne
Liskeard
Looe
Lostwithiel
Luxulyan
Madron
Marazion
Mawgan
Menheniot
 Merrymeet
Mevagissey
Mitchell
Mithian
Morwenstow
Mousehole
Mullion
Mylor
Newlyn
 Newquay
Old Kea
 Padstow
Pelynt
 Penberth
Pentewan
Penzance
 Polkerris
 Polperro
 Porthleven
 Portholland
 Porthoustock
 Port Isaac
 Portloe
Port Quin
Portreath
Portscatho
Poughill
Poundstock
Praa Sands
Probus
Redruth
Roche
Rock
Ruan Minor
St. Agnes
St. Cleer
St Columb Maj
 St Columb Min
St. Day
St. Dennis
St. Ewe
St. Germans
St. Issey
St. Ive
St. Ives
St. Just
St. Keverne
 St. Kew
St. Mabyn
 St. Mawes
 St. Mawgan
 St. Neot
St. Teath
St. Tudy
St. Winnow
 Seaton
Sennen Cove
Stoke Climsland
 Stratton
St Newlyn E
 Talland
Tintagel
Tregony
 Treslothan
Trethevey
 Trevalga
Troon
Truro
Tywardreath
Veryan
Wadebridge
Warbstow
Warleggan
Week St Mary
Zennor

CORNWALL REVIEWS INDEX and SITE CONTENTS

Introductory Guide
What's New?
Oliver's Cornwall Walking Pages
Homes
Gardens
Museums & Galleries
Countryside
Holy Sites & Churches
Antiquities
Castles
Towns & Villages
Miscellanea
Home Page
Contact Me
© Copyright Oliver Howes 2017
Page updated 23 February 2017


Altarnun

Altarnun is an attractive village, along with Blisland the most interesting on this part of Bodmin Moor.  Aalong the main street there is a straggle of houses, stone or slate built, some slate-hung, one or two of them substantial Georgian homes.  At the lower end of the street is the church, dedicated to the mother of St. David, St. Nonna, said to have founded this church in 547AD.  Her Holy Well is just off the road that heads north.  Known as ‘The Cathedral of the Moor’, the church is approached by a narrow and ancient packhorse bridge over the fast-flowing little Penpont Water.  Outside, unexpectedly exotic trees thrive in its churchyard and a Cornish cross stands at the top of a bank.  A little way up the hill in the village is a former Wesleyan chapel, over its door a stone likeness of John Wesley, a regular visitor, carved by local man Nevil Northey Burnard.  Wesley stayed often in the nearby village of Trewint in Digory Isbell's home, now a museum to Wesley and Methodism.  Altarnun, surprisingly, has three shops but no pub or teashop.  Perhaps it doesn't really welcome visitors, although I felt welcome enough when enquiring about a trail leaflet for the Inny Valleys Walk, which I did in July 2006 - there wasn't one, nor a sign from the village which, for a walk shown as a trail on the Ordnance Survey map, really quite shocked me. 
A packhorse bridge leads to St. Nonna's Church
Leave A30 7 miles west of Launceston.  Altarnun 1 mile. 
Inny Valleys Walk: Full detailed directions, and a 2 mile extension by way of Polyphant, are on my Bodmin Moor Walks page
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Blisland
There is a lot that is both unusual and admirable about Blisland, one of Bodmin Moor's, and indeed Cornwall's, most charming villages.  To take the unusual first, you don't find many proper village greens in Cornwall - but you do find one in Blisland.  Roughly triangular, the church is on one side, the Blisland Inn on another, the Manor house is on the base.  The church has an odd dedication, to Sts. Protus (or Pratt) and Hyacinth, and an interior like a pre-Reformation church.  The Blisland Inn has a reputation for its real ales and the atmosphere of a real welcoming local pub.  The Manor house has the four-square appearance of a Georgian home with a two storey Elizabethan style porch - and, most unexpectedly, on its north face two Norman windows and a Norman arch. 
Now for the admirable. It looked at one time as if Blisland was going the way of so many villages, dormitories with no heart, soul or amenities.  But Blisland fought back and now it has not only its pub but a school and, since 2006, a community centre in the real sense of that phrase.  A great effort replaced the lost village shop with a brand new convenience store, whose groceries include local produce, plus cafe, doctor's surgery and internet café. Pub, church, school and store make Blisland a real village. 
Blisland's attractive Manor house
Leave the A30 shortly before Bodmin
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Bodmin
Passing through now, on the road to Wadebridge, Bodmin appears at first glance to be a rather scruffy, inconsequential town.  But first appearances can deceive.  Heading west into Bodmin, as you drop down into the town, look to your right and you will see Cornwall's finest and most important parish church, dedicated to St. Petroc, who founded a monastery here around AD550.  Turn left by it and you will find yourself in Mount Folly Square, filled with handsome Victorian buildings:  The Shire Hall housed the county's Assize Courts until 1988, the Public Rooms were once the social heart of the town.  Continue past these, along the Lostwithiel Road, and you will discover former county regiment barracks and a railway station that served a line to Wadebridge, opened in 1834.  Or follow the road to Wadebridge and you will see signs for Bodmin Jail and pass Westheath Park, now an upmarket housing development and technology park but once site of the county lunatic asylum.  Put all these together and you will realise that this was once once a place of great significance, the County Town from 1836 to 1988.  There are several things for the visitor to see and do, though little advertised.  The Shire Hall houses the TIC, exhibitons and a Court Room Museum.  Bodmin Jail is now a museum with restaurant.  The Town Museum is in the Public Rooms.  St.Petroc's Church should not be missed.  The Bodmin & Wenford Railway operates steam trains on the old Wadebridge line.
Bodmin's 'Public Rooms' built in 1891
Bodmin is signed from the A30 in both directions
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Bodwen
Bodwen scarcely qualifies as a Town or Village;  in reality it is no more than a hamlet.  You could easily miss most of Bodwen, whose name means the old dwelling.  Part of it, the part of greater interest, is down an unsigned dead-end turning.  Here is a small farm, a couple of converted barns and some renovated cottages.  I would guess that Bodwen is a dormitory village for Bodmin.  There are some cottages on the road through to Luxulyan and, at a cross roads south-east of the village, a former chapel now serves as a cold store for a food producer across the lane. 
Ebenezer Bible Christian Chapel
Bodwen Barns
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Boscastle
When I started this web site I didn't like Boscastle very much.  I was about ready to post a critical item when the dreadful flood of August 2004 happened.  That was no time for criticism so I decided to leave it until repair and restoration were complete.  I am glad I did because, before and after a walk up the Valency Valley in June 2008, I took time to explore the village.  Now not only am I most impressed by the way Boscastle has recovered but I also find that I now like it.  It may be very tourist oriented - Visitor Centre, National Trust shop, Witchcraft Museum, art and craft galleries, gift shops, restaurants, cafés - but it looks terrific.  Scenically it is hard to beat thanks to its setting in a steep valley, the River Valency winding down to a small harbour (dry at low tide) with a few fishing boats, beyond it two high headlands, both on the coast path, and the sea.  In the photo a lime kiln stands in front of the former 'pilchard palace';  the latter now houses the  TIC, a National Trust shop and café and a Witchcraft Museum.  And don't miss walking up Old Road, a narrow no-entry street, to admire its charming cottages.  I can't comment on eating places as I have only had coffee here, but for sociability the Wellington Hotel bar is probably top;  other pubs are the Cobweb and the Napoleon at the top of the village.
A Coastal Round Walk from Boscastle includes St. Juliot church.
The River Valency and the former pilchard palace
Boscastle flood photos
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Boyton
On the last Saturday in October 2016 I headed towards the River Tamar and Cornwall's boundary with Devon.  I was fortunate with a warm sunny day but disappointed when I found the first object of my expedition, St. Stephen's Church in Launceston, firmly closed.  What is it about town churches that mitigates against their opening;  I have had the same problem elsewhere, most notably in Lostwithiel.  I continued to Yealmbridge for a photo of the attractive bridge.  Built around 1350, it is considered the oldest surviving and best built of medieval Cornish bridges. Nikolaus Pevsner described it as Cornwall's "most ambitious" bridge.  A pity he felt unable to visit and comment on my next port of call, Werrington Church which, most disappointingly was, like St. Stephen's, firmly locked with no indication of where a key might be found.  I say disappointingly because it is suggested that the church may be one of William Kent's last works;  indeed, the exterior with its pair of low towers and its statuary suggests that could well be the case.  Happily, when I continued to Boyton, although the church was locked, I found the key with a helpful nearby resident.  Inside both nave ansd aisle have b arrel vaulted ceilings with carved roof bosses.  Only a little remains of the original screen and both pulpit and chancel pews have unexpected froated glass panels.  A plain circular font is probably of Polyphant stone.  In the village attractive homes include the former forge and the old Post Office.  Follow the road downhill, cross a recent bridge over the infant River Tamar into Devon and you come to beautifully set Boyton Mill, now an attractive home but still with mill and waterwheel intact.
Boyton Church
Boyton Mill - note the intact waterwheel
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Bradoc
Some would spell it Bradock, some Braddock;  I prefer Bradoc.  Whichever way you prefer it the name is English rather than Cornish and is simply a corruption of Broad Oak.  It is a very strange little place.  Miles from habitation of any size, 1½ miles from the nearest road (as opposed to lane), and consisting only of three proper buildings:  the church, the Old Rectory and the rectory's former Coach House.  It's farm, the organic Penventon, is the best part of a mile away by lane and track;  further along the track is Killboy Cross.  St. Mary's church consists of nave, south aisle, north transept and tower.  It is attractive and has a pretty little north lych gate.  When I went to see the church in January 2016 it was locked and I was unable to see the inside but got some good photos in good light.   I was later able to see inside the church - see item immediately below.  The building is a mix of Norman to 16th century, with original wagon roofs, a Norman font, Elizabethan pulpit and remains of a rood screen.  A number of  carved bench ends have been joined as a panel on the front pew.  There are some unusual panels in what remains of the rood screen (the rest is in Boconnoc church), one of a woman holding a snake's tail.  To the west, in Boconnoc Park, is the site of a civil war battle of 9 January 1643 when Hopton's Royalist forces defeated a Parliamentary army. 
Bradoc Church tower through the south gate
Follow Braddock signs from A390, Lostwithiel - Liskeard, at West Taphouse
I returned to Bradoc in late February 2016, thanks to Churchwarden Carol Spear who very kindly met me at the church with the key.  Before meeting Carol at the church I had taken the opportunity granted by a sunny morning to seek out Killboy Cornish Cross (at grid ref: 16482/62281).  This is accessed by a grassy track from Polventon Farm on the Fortescue's Boconnoc estate.  The cross, set into a circular base, though not long restored is badly degraded, lichen covered and difficult to photograph, thanks to its proximity to a hedge.
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Bude - a once run-down town which gets steadily better and better
Our original 2003 report - but please read also the 2009 update box below
Like Portreath and Hayle, Bude is a run-down town for which we have great affection.  When the railway arrived in 1898 Bude developed as as resort, with hotels and villas with sea views.  After World War II, and the later loss of its railway in 1966, it went downhill and now has no quality hotel but caters rather to the lower end of the bus tour trade.  However, Bude has many saving graces, not the least its superb Summerleaze Beach, where the tide recedes a full quarter mile.  A sea lock there is the start of the Bude Canal (2 miles restored) that once carried sand inland.  Behind the beach look out for the Bude Light, which remembers Sir Goldsworthy Gurney who lived in the castle, built a steam road vehicle in 1829, and devised a complex system of arc lights and mirrors which lighted Parliament for 60 years before electricity.  Above the beach, to the south side, the Pepper Pot stands high on Efford Down, its sides marked with the points of the compass, some 7 degrees out of true;  good views.  Little good eating, except at the bar of the Falcon Hotel by the canal.  An easy round walk takes in Bude, Widemouth Bay and the Canal.  It follows the coast from the Pepper Pot to Widemouth Bay, crosses fields to the excellent Weir café/bistro at Helebridge, then follows the canal back into Bude.
The Pepper Pot on Efford Down overlooks the town
Signed from A39 'Atlantic Highway'
BUDE UPDATE JULY 2009   When my sister May stayed with us in July 2009 we spent a day in Bude, a place we always enjoy.  In the morning we walked the beaches, then lunched at the Castle.  In the afternoon we walked the canal and had tea at Woodlands Tea Rooms at Helebridge (2013, now superceded by The Weir).  We found that, even since our last visit, Bude had improved.  The storm damaged canal sea lock has been restored and more work done on the canal.  The Quay is smarter, the Castle is now Heritage Centre, gallery, museum and restaurant.
Hotels:  2013 - improving.  Hebasca is a boutique hotel in the modern style.  The Beach describes itself as 'Luxury Hotel' and looks good.
Bude Castle:  We were delighted to find that the town has now taken full advantage of the possibilities of the Castle.   Exhibitions on Bude as port, resort and surf centre;   Sir Goldsworthy Gurney exhibition;  research centre;  art gallery;  shop;  Café Limelight.  Helpful staff.  Wheelchair access.
The Quay: New paving makes it feel more spacious and there is now a row of craft and similar shops.  Olive Tree café/bistro good value.
Castle Restaurant: We lunched there and recommended it strongly.  Apparently re-opened as Café Limelight 2014.
Bude Canal:  Now fully restored for its 2 miles to Helebridge, including the two locks along the way.  Wouldn't it be wonderful if restoration could take place on the Marhamchurch incline plane and all the way to Tamar Lakes.  The Visitor Centre in the car park now has a Canal Heritage Centre.  One (walkers) criticism - The tarmac towpath, while wheelchair-friendly, now makes the walk to Helebridge feel noticeably less rural. 
Walks:  Coastal Round Walk from Bude.    Inland Walk Helebridge, Bude and Canal.   More walks on the Bude Canal.
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Cadgwith

One of the most popular villages on the Lizard peninsula - along with Coverack, which I don't much like, and Mullion, which I do (my favourite is St. Keverne) - pretty Cadgwith is tucked away on the east coast between Lizard Town and Coverack.  There are two roads down to the village and cove;  the car park is on the western of the two and may appear to be a long way from the cove but there is a fairly short footpath down.  Once at the cove there are several pretty thatched and whitewashed cottages; one stands on the Todden, a small point overlooking the harbour.  Old net lofts and pilchard cellars are now shops, a tea shop and a restaurant.  The Cadgwith Cove Inn has folk music on Tuesday night, traditional Cornish singing on Friday.  Cadgwith has the largest fishing fleet on the Lizard, inshore boats no longer after the pilchards but now seeking crab, lobster, mullet, mackerel, sea bass and occasionally shark.  They are quite a sight drawn up on the beach.  If you haven't seen The Fisherman's Apprentice, do watch for it, set in Cadgwith.  A mile north on the coast path is Carleon Cove where part of the old serpentine works still stands.  A few hundred yards south is the Devil's Frying Pan, a massive blow hole formed when a large cave collapsed.  Try to catch the sea at the right state of the tide to appreciate the impressive effect.
A coastal round walk includes Cadgwith.
Signed from B3293 Helston to St. Keverne road
Thatched cottage near the harbour - note the boat outside
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Callestick
During a walk in November 2007 from Zelah to Chiverton Cross, as part of the Land's End Trail, I passed through a lot of places with the Callestick (or Callestock) name.  Originally they would all have been the Callestoc recorded in Domesday Book.  I counted Little Callestock, Callestick, Old Callestick Mine and Callestock Veor (Great) plus Callestick Vean (Little) which wasn't on my route.  The present village of Callestick, the largest of the settlements, was presumably originally Callestock Veor.  It is an attractive place in more senses than one.  A handsome Georgian farmhouse, beautifully presented cottages, a former Methodist chapel converted to a home, a well kept Methodist graveyard, a small maker of quality ice cream and the Cornish Cyder Farm.   I stopped at the latter for a coffee and cake when on the Land's End Trail in 2007.  In September 2008 I was again walking the Land's End Trail - this time west to east - with my friend and neighbour Richard.  It was a warm day and, feeling in need of refreshment, we stopped at Callestick Farm for a first-class ice cream.  They also do bacon baps and cream teas.  They are open all year (though in winter just Wed to Sat).  I used to recommend Callestick Farm - until Jane and I were short-changed on a cream tea.
Former Methodist chapel and its graveyard
 Signed from A30, 5 miles west of Carland Cross
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Callington
I was in Callington on a mid October 2016 day when I also looked at Merrymeet, St. Ive Churchtown, West Harrowbarrow and Dupath Holy Well.  It is a very ordinary small town with a populatrion of around 5,000.  I had hoped to see inside St. Mary's Church, fairly impressive from the outside, but it was locked so I had to content myself with views of a much-weathered lantern cross and the adjacent clink, once the town lock-up, now home to a small business.  Opposite the church a lane leads to the Pannier Market.  In Well Street s the old Pipe Well, once the town's water supply.  The town holds a Honey Fair on the first Wednesday of October;  it is a major street fair but I haven't been able to discover its origins.  The two most noticeable features of Callington are the occasional view north to Kit Hill and a series of murals, three of which are seen below.  The town hall has a mural trail leaflet.
Kit Hill Mural
Return of King Arthur Mural
Honey Fair Mural
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Calstock

We discovered Calstock when visiting Cotehele House and Garden.  We always like to include a walk if we can and Calstock is just a couple of miles up the Tamar, a pleasant walk mostly through woodland.  Once Calstock was a very prosperous port, serving local tin and copper mines.  Now it is a quiet spot most of the time, its former wealth shown only by some big three storey homes and a main street that was once clearly full of shops and inns.  Near the water, the Tamar Inn, once quite ordinary, has much improved with good food and a pleasant outside seating area.  An annual regatta remembers the days of the pilot boats that guided the ships into the wharves.  Probably best to avoid Calstock at holiday times and summer weekends;  it then turns into a bustling resort. 
 
UPDATE 2010:  In January 2008 I reported that the Tamar Inn was closing.  When Jane and I walked there from Cotehele in May 2010, we were delighted to discover the Tamar Inn not only open but nicely re-furbished with an pleasant outside terrace.  We enjoyed good food from an attractive menu.  The Boot Inn, up the hill, is more restaurant than pub. 
The viaduct over the Tamar at Calstock
 Signed from A390, just west of Gunnislake
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Camborne
Last time I was in Camborne town, as opposed to the many locations round-and-about such as Heartlands and Carn Brea, was when Jane and I attended Trevithick Day there in April 2006.  This time, in November 2016, I was there to pursue my imterest in the works of the Thrussells.  Unlike all their other work that I have seen, this was indoors:  a thorn tree in the middle of the raised area in the vast Wetherspoons, the John Francis Basset (mining magnate).  This building was once the New Market House, later housing St. George's Hall and the Scala Cinema.  Round the corner is St. Menadoc's church, where there was a Christmas Tree Festival in progress, dozens of decorated trees spread around the nave and aisles.  My main interest here was the churchyard where there are two fine, and very different Cornish Crosses.  Until the 19th century Camborne was a tiny hamlet but the tin and copper boom of that century saw rapid growth.  The last mine closed in 1991 although it is hoped (2016) to re-open Wheal Crofty soon.  Good public buildings include the Josiah Thomas Memorial Building and the Centenary Wesleyan Church.  Outside the Passmore Edwards Library, at the foot of Basset Street, stands a statue of Camborne's most famous son, Richard Trevithick.  His childhood home in Penponds, open on occasion in summer, is now in the care of the National Trust.
Best by the furthest west turning, signed Camborne, off the A30
The John Francis Basset in New Market House
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Carharrack
I had been through Carharrack on several previous occasions when researching the Redruth and Chacewater Mining Trail, though the very first time was on a walk from Lanner Hill to Bissoe, led by Mark Kaczmareck and Kingsley Rickard.  That was one of the relatively few guided walks we have ever joined but one which we were glad to be part of because it gave us our first proper, and most informative, introduction to Cornish Mining and the Mining Trails.  On this occasion, in early November 2016, I was pursuing my interest in the marvellous metalwork of father and son team Gary and Thomas Thrussell which brought me to Carharrack Park Playground.   What I came to see in the archway in the photo on the left.  But I was amazed and delighted to find there was much more in the playground:  Mosaic work, butterflies and bees in the path,  giant wooden mayfly and spider and other work worthy in its way of the Thrussells.  In a way my favourite piece was a waste bin in the form of blue dotted yellow mushroom.  There were also stacked wooden cubes carved with entertaining speed statistics.  Although I was disappointed that the church was locked, my visit to Carharrack was rounded off by spotting a modern Cornish Cross on the road junction opposite.  From Carharrack I continued to St. Day, Gwennap and Gwennap Pit.
The Thrussell & Thrussell gateway arch
On B3298, about 4 miles south of A30 at Scorrier
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Charlestown
I deal with Charlestown in some detail on my Museums page, under maritime museums, largely because of the Shipwreck and Heritage Centre there.  But it is certainly worth an entry in its own right and another photo.  Originally known as West Polmear, you might normally expect that the name of Charlestown would have been acquired in the 17th century and would reflect a connection with King Charles I or II.  But the man it is named for is Charles Rashleigh, landowner with an interest in mines and china clay.  Employing engineer John Smeaton, during the early 19th century he transformed a small fishing harbour into what you now see.  The surprise is that Charlestown has retained its Georgian flavour so strongly, despite the presence of 21st century tourism.  There are a couple of pubs;  the Rashleigh Arms, on Fore Street above the harbour, is preferred, particularly since its make-over.  There are several rstaurants and cafês, most open all day and serving good local produce.  Charlestown is a lovely place to visit but it can get very busy, so you would do best to avoid the height of the holiday season.  The village is signed from the halfway along the A390 St. Austell by-pass, a busy and often congested road;  given the choice and a nice day I would always prefer to approach it along the coast path.
Signed from A390 St. Austell bypass
Charlestown, looking from the outer harbour wall
Go to Charlestown under Maritime Museums
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Coombe
Once part of the Stowe estate of the Grenvilles, the hamlet of Coombe is now owned by the Landmark Trust, which specialises in restoring interesting buildings of historic and architectural importance and letting them as up-market holiday rentals.  The surrounding land is part of the National Trust’s Stowe Barton estate.  The hamlet consists of a tall watermill, once known as Stowe Mill, the mill house, two semi-detatched cottages and a couple of converted barns.  All, apart from  the mill, are rentable.  The mill is intact, including all its machinery and a large waterwheel, but large a colony of bats prevents its conversion at present.  However, the Landmark Trust hopes to use the mill to provide Coombe’s electricity.  The hamlet is divided by a small river with a shallow paved ford and a footbridge.  Cottages are thatched and whitewashed, all are quite charming and easy to photograph.  One pair of cottages is known as Hawker’s Cottages.  For a while Rev. Stephen Hawker, rector of Morwenstow, lived in the left-hand one.  Coombe is just half-a-mile from the coast at Duckpool but, if on foot, the most enjoyable way to approach is from Stowe Barton, on a path through broadleaf woodland.  You can do this as part of a round walk from Northcott Mouth.
Coombe, thatched cottage by the ford
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Coverack

When I posted this report, back in October 2005, I never expected the furious response I received from lovers of Coverack.  So, in December 2010, I am updating my report.  Personally, and that's what this site is all about, I still don't much like the village.  The feeling I get from many visits is of drabness but clearly I am in a minority so I shall now try to be fairer.  Many families holiday here year after year and love it.  The beach can be more rock than sand, even at low tide, but that varies from year to year.  I have often noticed wind-surfers here, the sheltered bay makes a good spot for that.  There are several attractive thatched cottages on and off the main street.  Views are a bit restricted but are best from Dolour Point.  Coverack's one serious claim to fame was its lifeboats which, over the centuries, saved countless lives, many from ships wrecked on the dreaded Manacles reef.  In 1898 the SS Mohegan was wrecked there with the loss of 106 lives.  The following year American liner SS Paris went aground on Dolour Point but no lives were lost.  The village's pleasant pub, the Paris Hotel, commerorates the occasion.  Sadly, there is no longer a lifeboat in Coverack and the former lifeboat station is now a restaurant (good reputation for its fish).  Harbour Lights café is open all year.  Below is an email from my first critic, her view supported in 2010 by Matt Tonkins of St. Keverne. 
Another view of Coverack entirely
A round walk from Coverack
A small fishing fleet operates from the little harbour
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Another View of Coverack - From Tess Warburton

Hi Oliver,  I was just reading your rather critical review of Coverack.  I holiday in Coverack every year, along with many other families who return there each summer to enjoy  beautiful surroundings and friendly inhabitants.  I have been going to the village for almost twenty years and although I have travelled to many places in the south west it is still my favourite. In many ways I am pleased you don't like it.  If you had stayed long enough in the village and been bothered to find out what it is really like you would have written a more far more colourful description. This would however have encouraged lots of other people to holiday there, including people like yourself (who think it is possible to understand and make judgments about a place within a paragraph). I wish you luck with your touring.  However, maybe you should 'stay put' in some of the places you visit before you judge them and influence the decisions of others.
ps.  There are two beaches in Coverack, the beach in the village and the headland beach (named by local people as 'Mears' beach).  The sand washes from one beach to the other anually so that one year it will be on meres and the next it will be in the harbour. 
Late afternoon view to Lowland Point
Thanks for your input Tess.  Clearly families love Coverack. 
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Creed
Jane and I visited Creed for an NGS open garden day way back in August 2006.  Spotting that the garden opens in mid-June this year, 2016, we decided to make another visit.  But first, I decided I would return to re-visit the church and to look around the nearby village of Grampound.  I had a fine sunny day for it and was able to get some good photos.  Oddly, while you might reasonably expect that tiny Creed, a mile south of Grampound, would be no more than an adjunct to it, it is Creed which is the original settlement, with the major church, while Grampound's church is no more then a Chapel of Ease.  There is very little to Creed, just the handsome airy church, the big house, Creed House, and its lodge east of the church, Creed Farm, one of it's barns converted to a dwelling, and a small but handsome old barn with tallet steps abutting the churchyard.  Creed House has a pleasant garden with fine specimen trees.  I had always known that my father's cousin Bertie had, as Rev. A. E. Coulbeck, been rector of St. Just in Roseland.  In 2006 it came as a surprise to me that he had previously been rector here and that Creed House had been his rectory.  Notable figures connected with Creed were William Gregory, discoverer of titanium, and Parliamentarian John Hampden who represented Creed and Grampound in the time of Charles I and Cromwell.
In Grampound, on A390, look out for a small sign pointing S to Creed
St. Andrew's church, Creed
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Devoran

A charming village, tucked quietly away from the busy Truro to Falmouth road, Devoran's present belies its past.  Now a quiet and beautiful creek-side village, boasting a fair number of small-boat sailors, Devoran was once a busy commercial port, shipping copper ore from mines on the Great Flat Lode around Redruth, linked by the horse drawn Redruth and Chacewater Railway, now part of a Coast to Coast trail.   When you see how the creek has silted up - ironically with mine spoil - it is hard to imagine how any cargo boats ever got as far as Devoran - let alone Bissoe further upstream.  The old village is a triangle of streets, Quay Street and the higher St. John's Terrace linked  by Market Street.  Along Quay Street several homes are interesting conversions of old warehouses or of former port worker's cottages.  On the Quay, a series of odd stone enclosures are the old ore hutches where the copper ore awaited shipment.  West down Restronguett Creek there are some mining related remains and at low tide you can see an odd causeway of stepping stones.  The Old Quay Inn has an enjoyable  local atmosphere;  food is fairly ambitious gastro-pub.  We have eaten there on several occasions and have always liked it.  If there is no space in the pub's car park, you should be able to park by the village hall at the start of Quay Street.     A round walk from Devoran
Ore Hutches by the Quay, now storage for boats
Signed from A39 Truro to Falmouth road.
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Duloe
Unusually, this entry appears on three different pages:  here under towns and villages but also on my antiquities page and my churches and holy places page.  The reason is that, for such a small village, there is so much variety of interest.  The form of the church, while not unique to Cornwall, is most unusual.  It consists of nave, north aisle, south transept and a strange leaning tower attached to the south transept.  The tower was once taller but the top stage was replaced by a pyramidal roof  in the 19th century.  It leans northwards at a sharper angle than the Leaning Tower of Pisa;  fortunately the rest of the church holds it up.  Inside, behind an elaborate parclose screen, possibly made from the former rood screen, the chancel aisle was built as the Colshull family chapel and contains Sir John Colshull's tomb, his recumbent effigy on it, and several elaborate slate memorials.  The rood loft may be gone but the stair and loft doors remain.  About 600 yards south of the church, alongside the road to Looe, is St. Cuby's Holy Well.  What is claimed to be his original font was moved from the well site and now stands in the church.  A few yards north of the church a sign directs you to Duloe Stone Circle, a small circle of 8 stones, believed by some once to have enclosed a cairn.  A storyboard, somewhat weathered, stands by the hedge behind the circle. 
Duloe is on B3254, about 4 miles south of A38 at Liskeard
St. Cuby's Holy Well on the road to Looe
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Falmouth
There are really several distinct Falmouths.  Approaching from the north, first the boatyards and marinas of Penryn, once a separate fishing village.  Next Dunstanville Terrace, its grand sea captains' homes looking across the water to Flushing.  Next the much improved cobbled High Street leads to the diminished interest of Market Street and up-and-coming Church Street, its shops improving.  Then opposite the Tudor manor of the Killigrews is a vast timber shed, looking to Flushing and across Carrick Roads to St. Mawes;  this is the superb Maritime Museum, beyond it the dockyard.  Next is fortified Falmouth, Pendennis Castle high on its headland.  Finally, the sandy beaches of resort Falmouth, lined with hotels and apartments.  A good Art Gallery is near High Street in the centre of town. What surprises about Falmouth is that, despite the world's third largest natural harbour and its ideal situation for international shipping, there was no such place until the 17th century.  There were just three small settlements - with Penryn to the north, the Killigrew manor of Arwennack below Pendennis Head, and Henry VIII's Pendennis Castle.  But when Falmouth grew it grew fast and by 1688 was the main Packet Ship port.  The port declined with the advent of steam but from 1863 the railway brought tourists.  Now cruise ships take advantage of the deep water to anchor here. 
Falmouth's  tranquil inner harbour
Ferries operate to St. Mawes, to Flushing and up to Trelissick and Truro
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Feock on the broad River Fal
When I started this entry I couldn't claim to have explored Feock properly, having just stopped off briefly on my way to Trelissick for a Fal Creek walk.  However, I returned in late September 2016 for a more thorough exploration.  The village proper is inland;  to its south is Loe Beach with seasonal parking, a slipway and a seasonal beach café.  To the west, with a small car park above, is Pill Point, about the only public access to the expensive looking Pill Creek.  Above Feock church, said to have been founded by St. Feoca, are its detached bell tower, some attractive white painted cottages and a book exchange in the old phone box.  Beyond the church is the Old Vicarage, now a private home. There are upper and lower lych gates - the lower has a room above it - a massive yew by the east end and a fine Cornish Cross by the porch.  Inside the church are hatchments of local notable families, a 12th century font of blue Cataclews stone, a wall banner of a 1576 map of Cornwall, a low marble (or alabaster) chancel screen, a carved wooden pulpit, a colourful chancel ceiling and an elaborat reredos.  A charming village (there is actually much more of it, very expensive looking) with an equally charming church and churchyard, well worth a visit.  Leaving Feock, I took a wrong turn looking for Kea and spotted an old toll house just off the Playing Place roundabouts. 
From A39 south of Truro, turn left at Playing Place
The detatched bell tower of the church
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Flushing
Originally called Nankersey, the village acquired its present name when Dutch engineers were employed to build  the village’s quays.  They were from Vlissingen, known to the British as Flushing.  Oddly there is another Flushing on Gillan Creek south of Falmouth;  no connection is known.  This Flushing is an attractive village with some big houses on St. Peter’s Hill and Trefusis Street, many once the homes of Falmouth ship’s captains, now probably homes of commuters to Falmouth or Truro.  One such, Rockside on Trefusis Street, looks like a handsome Georgian house but, according to Pevsner, it is a converted warehouse.  Flushing is very much a small boat sailing village and an important annual regatta week is held in summer, complete with swimming and bath-tub racing as well as sailing.  According to Wikipedia Henry VIII had planned to build a castle on Trefusis Point to complement those at St. Mawes and Pendennis in guarding Falmouth but never did.  Flushing is no longer the fishing village it once was but there are still a few commercial boats.  And, sadly, many of the houses are now, like so many in Cornwall’s more attractive villages, used as second homes.   Happily there are still two pubs, the Royal Standard and the Seven Stars, and there is a nicely located restaurant on The Quay, the Waterside with tables outside.  The Trefusis Estate, in which you walk much of the way to Mylor Churchtown, is part of Devon-based Clinton Estates, the Trefusis family holding the title Baron Clinton.
From Penryn, on old A39 Truro-Falmouth follow signs for Flushing
Trefusis Street in Flushing
Click here for a circular walk from Mylor Harbour, taking in Flushing.
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Fowey
An attractive small town with very narrow streets and  a one-way system.  However, its quaint and scenic attractions are less easy to enjoy than those of St. Ives and St. Mawes, comparably pretty waterside towns.  While they both cluster around a harbour and have walkable waterfronts, Fowey has no harbour as such but depends on its deep tidal river.  And while St. Ives and St. Mawes face the water, Fowey's buildings back on to the river and almost nowhere can you walk by the water.  There are attractive shops in Fore, North and Lostwithiel Streets and pretty alleyways climb the steep hill.  Of the several pubs, the King of Prussia is best known and there are now some boutique hotels.  The town has a long maritime history.  In medieval times it provided ships for the Crusades and for the wars with the French.  Henry VIII considered it of sufficient importance to fortify it with a pair of castles and a chain across the River Fowey.  Now there are yachts, fishing boats and a china clay terminal up-river and, thanks to the deep water of the Fowey River, cruise ships visit occasionally.  A major regatta takes place in August.  Don't expect to park in the centre, instead follow car park signs on the periphery and be prepared to walk.  A round walk - Lantic Bay and Polruan 
Fowey Waterfront
Signed from A390 from just west of Lostwithiel.   More Fowey
There are also many literary associations.  Kenneth Graham is said to have gained inspiration for 'Wind in the Willows' here whilst guest of Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch. Daphne du Maurier stayed at Ferryside House in Bodinnick and lived at three rented homes (one was Menabilly, her 'Manderley').  A Du Maurier Festival is held in May
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


More Fowey
Although I have been in Fowey many times since the above report, in April 2016 I decided it was time to revisit with a view to producing a further report.  Here it is.   I parked at Caffa Mill, where the Bodinnick ferry leaves from, much eassier to use than Fowey's other car parks.  I was amused by the promotional hoardings for a new apartment development now being constructed on the north side of the car park.  It promotes itself as having "beautiful estuary views".  I hope someone like the Advertising Standards Authority will take Acorn Blue Developments to task over that:  At that point the Fowey is river not estuary and, except from the upper floors, the view will be of the car park.  I enjoyed wandering along Passage, North and Fore Streets to reach the heart of town.  I admired the old buildings including Scallop Shell House (the former Post Office), the Well House, Noah's Ark, the Town Hall, the King of Prussia pub and the Ship Inn.  I spent some time in St. Nicholas church (also dedicated to St. Fimbarrus) and admired the screen, the pulpit, the font, some fine bench ends, John Rashleigh's tomb and other Rashleigh memorials.  Outside, high on the wall to the left of the porch, I spotted the head of, I think, a bearded fisherman.  I ate my sandwiches on Town Quay, watching the activity on the water, then enjoyed coffee in the Galleon.
Back to main Fowey entry
St. Nicholas (or Fimbarrus) church
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Golden
I would never have thought of visiting Golden, were it not that, when operating my touring business for visiting Americans, I drove Kenneth and Anne Golden from San Diego, California.  His Morley ancestors were from Minstead in the New Forest and I took them there.  By remarkable coincidence, not far from MInstead was a Golden Farm but there was no connection.  Kenneth believed that his Golden ancestors were from Cornwall but had no idea where.  This tiny hamlet must have been his ancestors Cornish home.  Golden is an odd and unexpected little place.  A sign on the road from Grampound Road to Tregony points to Golden Mill.  On the way down the hill, first comes Golden, consisting of Golden Manor Farm, its farmyard and a massive former chapel, now used as a barn.  At the bottom of the hill, just before you come to the little River Fal, is Golden Mill itself with a range of buildings, including Manor Farm Cottage and some handsome barns.  One barn, with the "Vicar and Spaniel" sign in the photo below, may have been the miller's house and is now where the hunt takes its refreshments.  This is all part of the Galsworthy's Trewithen Estate and is a centre for the Trewithen Hunt.  There is a large car park used by the hunt on shoot days, when the game is pheasant - and all sorts of wildfowl, as well as snipe, woodcock and partridge. 
Golden Chapel, now a barn
The Vicar and Spaniel
Golden Manor Farm
On my way to Golden, I looked at Cornelly where I hoped the church might be of interest.  It was locked!
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Gorran Haven and Gorran Churchtown
Jane and I had been here in 2002 on a round walk from Porthluney Cove.  Then we thought little of Gorran.  I repeated the walk in March 2008 and lingered long enough to revise my impressions somewhat.  Gorran Haven is attractive with nice old fishing related buildings clustered around the harbour.  Facing south-east, the harbour dries out at low tide and provides a safe bathing beach with a seasonal café.  Some narrow old streets climb the hill from the harbour and there is a lot of recent development beyond.  Undoubtedly many of the houses are second homes and holiday rentals.  On the way up the hill is the little St. Justus Church, a chapel of ease once used as a fish cellar and net store.  Further up, the former Llawnroc Inn is now the boutiquey Lawnwroc Hotel.  Keep going for another mile and you come to Gorran Churchtown.  Here is the Barley Sheaf Inn (restored and re-opened 2012 by a descendant of the 1837 founder) and the handsome St. Goran's Church.  St. Goran (or Goranus) is probably the Guron of Bodmin, who moved here when St. Petroc arrived there.  His 13th to 15th century church is typically Cornish with its crenellated and pinnacled porch, a fine collection of original bench ends and some good modern wood carvings.  Outside there is an unexpected vault dated WSG 1813 and, when I was there, a lovely display of daffodils.  Short round walk from PorthluneyShort round walk incl. Gorran Haven.
Gorran Haven at low tide
 From A390 at St. Austell, takeB3273 Mevagissey and continue through
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Grampound
In early June 2016 I visited Creed Church, where my father's cousin Bertie - the Rev. Albert Edward Coulbeck - was rector for three years from 1947 before he moved to St. Just in Roseland.  Creed is down a narrow country lane, a mile south of Grampound, so after looking around the church, I carried on to Grampound and parked by the Village Hall.  I walked up one side of the long hill that is Grampound's Fore Street and back down the other, stopping for an excellent light lunch and coffee in the St. Austell Brewery's Dolphin Inn.  A pleasant pub, with car park behind, with something of a gastro-menu but enough ordinary fare to appeal to me.  I enjoyed an excellent, reasonably priced bacon butty.  The name of the village is thought to derive from the Norman French Grand Pont, the great bridge over the little River Fal at the bottom end of the village.  Grampound appears larger than its population of around 700 would suggest but, then, it is not much more than a one street village, climbing a moderate hill up from the river.  For a village which lines a busy main road - the A390 from Truro to St. Austell - it is surprisingly attractive, filled with what appear to be 18th century houses and cottages but are probabaly, like the thatched Manor House, far older.  But it can't be a lot of fun living on such a busy road.
Car parking by village hall, village shop and café
Grampound's clock tower and tiny church.
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Gulval
On New Year's Eve 2016 I headed down west to visit All Saints Church in Marazion to see an exhibition of works by a local artist - no sign of it.  I didn't think much of the church either though I was impressed by a large collection of embroidered kneelers.  I walked around Marazion and was tickled to see that three successive photos were all of buildings or shops with colours in their names - In the Pink, Out of the Blue and Silvermine!  From there I went on to Gulval, an attractive late Victorian dormitory suburb of Penzance.  I was there for the much older church of St. Gulval.  It has an attractive painted chancel ceiling, two unusual reredos, a nicely carved wooden screen, a marble lectern, a carved pulpit on a marble plinth, and god memorials to members of the locsal Bolitho family.  The particular interest to me, however was outside by the porch:  an ancient Cornish Cross head and an inscribed stone.  I wouild have liked to try the Coldstreamer Inn, named for a member of the Bolitho family killed serving in the Coldstream Guards, where Tom Franklin Pryce, formerly of Porthminster Beach Café, is a renowned chef, but time was pressing as I wanted to get on to Ludgvan.where the church has an attractive font and a wooden ceiling with carved bosses.  In the churchyard are two Cornish Crosses.  Adjacent is the simple but good White Hart Inn where I enjoyed a quiet coffee.
The Coldstreamer Inn, Gulval
Gulval is signed from the road in to Penzance off the A30 to Land's End
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Gunwalloe and Church Cove
I had an outing down west in mid-February 2017, primarily to visit Mullion but also to re-visit delightful Gunwalloe Church Cove on the west side of the Lizard peninsula, not to be confused with equally charming Landewednack Church Cove on the east coast of the Lizard.  There is some name confusion here, too, as both are named for St. Winwaloe, also know as Wednack and commemorated elsewhere too:  at Towednack near St. Ives and at Poundstock near Bude.  I was last in Church Cove in 2010 in the course of walking the whole of the Cornish Coast Path. Things have changed a bit;  there is now a large National Trust Car Park with space for 100 cars and, linked to that, the Cove is much busier than I remember it, even in February.  Not surprising, with a sandy beach, all that parking and, in season, refreshments.  Between the car park and the Cove is Winianton Farm, National Trust property but farmed by Roddas, famed for their clotted cream.  On this occasion I also looked around Gunwalloe village, a most attractive and surprising place in that half the cottages are thatched, including Toy Cottage (pictured left) where Compton MacKenzie, author of Whisky Galore, lived in 1908.  A mile or so north of Church Cove is Gunwalloe Fishing Cove, where the catch was hauled up to the pilchard cellars on the top of the cliff by winch, recently enough for one winch to have been petrol driven.  At Chyanvounder, just south of Gunwalloe village is the Halzephron Inn, a bit gastro-pub for my tastes but not unreasonably priced.
Toy Cottage, Gunwalloe
St. Winwaloe's from cliffs
St. Winwaloe's Church
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Gwennap
The name Gwennap occurs elsewhere.  Gwennap Pit may make some sense as it is only about 2 miles away.  Here it refers to St. Gwenap or Wenapa.  Down on the south coast of West Penwith, the headland looming above the tiny Porthgwarra Cove, featured in the 2016 Poldark Series, is also Gwennap;  the name is a puzzle.  After you turn off the Falmouth road, the church car park is straight ahead;  up a drive to the left is the big house, Trevince. The graveyard is vast, the lych gate in the photo is halfway up it towards the church.  Unusually you approach from the north side.  The church consists of nave and two aisles.  There is no tower but a separate bell tower stands to to south west.  When I visited on a Saturday in early November 2016, when I also investigated Carharrack and re-visited St. Day and Gwennap Pit,  I was disappointed to find the church locked, despite the usual 'Welcome' notice in the porch.  Too often recently I have found churches locked;  have those responsible wondered what God might think about his people being locked out of his house?    I probably didn't miss much:  Pevsner merely refers to rebuilding in 1862 and Cornish historian Charles Henderson took the view that "few Cornish churches are less interesting than Gwennap". 
Gwennap Church from the north
From A393 Redruth to Falmouth, signed L at Comford
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Gwithian
A tiny village on the road from Hayle to Godrevy, Hell's Mouth and Portreath, you are almost through Gwithian before you realise it.  But it is worth stopping for a closer look.  At the Hayle end of the village are the attractive Gwithian Farm, handsome Churchtown House, a thatched Methodist Chapel, recently restored and the rather ugly Red River Inn which (2015) has apparently had a makeover and is much improved with enterprising food.  The inn, originally the Pendarves Arms, was renamed for the river that reaches the sea here, discoloured by mine spoil.  At the Godrevy end is another handsome house, Churchtown Farm, and a charming church with a Cornish cross in the graveyard. The church remembers the 5th/6th century St. Gwithian or Gocianus.  The saint's remains were said to have been found in the sands in the 19th century but lost again.  The present church was originally built in the 15th century.  It was rebuilt in 1866 though the tower is original.  Gwithian Towans (dunes) lie between the village and the sea.  The beach runs from just south of Godrevy Point for three miles to the mouth of the Hayle River.  It is popular with surfers, swimmers and families.
From A30, heading west, take Hayle turning and then first right
Gwithian Church;  there is a cornish cross in the graveyard
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Halsetown near St. Ives
I had driven past Halsetown many times, on the B3311 road from St. Ivesto Penzance, but knew nothing about it except that it has a car park and a pub.  Then, in November 2007, I took a walk, with my sisters Mary and Frances, that took in Rosewall Hill, Trink Hill and Halsetown.  Fascinated by what seemed to be, unusually for Cornwall, a planned village, I did a little research and came up with the following (which I have re-interpreted somewhat) discovered on Genuki and St. Ives Trust web sites.
James Halse was St. Ives' leading citizen:  lawyer, mine owner and peddler of influence.  As MP for St. Ives, he was afraid that the Reform Act (passed in 1832), in doing away with 'rotten boroughs', would probably lose him his seat.  Determined to continue as an MP, he established Halsetown in the early 1830s as a 'garden village' to house his workers.  Each householder had just enough land to qualify to vote.  Dependent on Halse for their jobs and homes, they all voted for him and he retained his place in parliament. 
I haven't yet had the chance to explore Halsetown properly but it looks like a fascinating place with its series of 'green lanes' lined with attractive cottages. (I returned a couple of weeks later to explore more fully.)
One of the cottages in Halsetown
On B3311 St. Ives to Penzance. 
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Hayle

We have a soft spot for run-down places - early industrial sites and shabby towns like Portreath.  Despite proximity to colourful, lively St. Ives, Hayle has something of both.  It takes its name from the estuary ('heyl') on which it stands.  From prehistoric days of tin and copper trading it was a trans-shipment point, providing safe passage for men and materials across the peninsula to the port at St. Michael's Mount, avoiding the perils of Land's End.  In early Christian times missionaries travelled through on their way from Ireland and Wales to Brittany.  There was no town until the 18th century when copper smelting and heavy engineering, later explosives manufacture on Upton Towans created a boom town.  The Cornish Copper Company is long gone but there are still remnants of Harvey's great foundry that built the massive beam engines for the mines, built Richard Trevithick's steam locomotives and later built ships.  Harvey's remained in business well into the 20th century and Hayle continued as a port until the 1970s when the power station closed.  The derelict former foundry buildings are now the centrepiece of a vast regeneration project going on in Hayle.  In addition to the foundry, financial multi-national ING plans to regenerate the harbour area.  King George V Memorial Walk, on the north side of Copperhouse Pool, has been colourfully restored.  Walk to the head of North Quay to enjoy views of sweeping beaches, tall dunes, holiday shacks, St. Ives and Godrevy Lighthouse.
Hayle, looking across Inner Harbour to South Quay
Signed from A30, 5 miles west of Camborne
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Helston
I had been wanting to get to know Helston better for some time so, when Jane and I revisited Godolphin House in April 2007, we took the opportunity to have a wander around the town.  Most people really only know Helston for its Flora Day when in May the whole town takes to the streets to celebrate spring with the ritual Furry Dance.  There is a lot more to Helston than that - though, while I enjoyed the town's history and architecture, Jane disliked its shops and steep streets.  Helston no longer has its former importance.  In medieval times it was a stannary town, exporting tin from its own port.  A 12th century castle guarded the crossing of the River Cober.  But the port was lost when Loe Bar blocked the river mouth, the castle fell into disuse and was demolished, and the tin industry declined.  What remains is a legacy of fine buildings. To enjoy Helston's architecture, call into the Guildhall and pick up the excellent Town Trail guide, hot on history.  Best streets are broad, steep Coinagehall Street, winding Church Street and Cross Street with its handsome houses.  Important buildings are the classical Guildhall, the Market House (now a folk museum), the Angel Hotel (once the town house of the Godolphins), the Great Office on Cross Street, Godolphin Hall, the Grylls Monument and the former prison.  There is a large free car park just down the Porthleven road;  opposite, at the top of the boating lake in Coronation Park, is the excellent Lakeside café.
Cross Street, off Church Street near the church
 On A394, between Falmouth and Penzance.   Helston Revisited
A FAVOURITE WALK:   We like to park in the large free car park at the Helston end of Porthleven Road and enjoy a coffee at the excellent café by the boating lake in Coronation Park before setting off on this short walk through the Penrose estate to Porthleven.  We prefer to follow the track (the old carriage drive) along the shorter western side of The Loe, passing Penrose House on the way to Bar Lodge.  From here we simply follow the coast path west into Porthleven, then get the bus from the head of the harbour back to Helston.  The walk is a mere 3¾ miles.  If you prefer to take to longer east side of The Loe the walk would be about 5¼ miles.  Buses from Porthleven go hourly so lunch in Porthleven if the wait allows, or back at the Lakeside café if it doesn't.
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Helston Revisited
In mid- February 2017 I returned to The Lizard, primarily to take a look at the Daffodil Festival at Mawgan--in-Meneage.  First, however, I took another look at Helston, parking in Parc Eglos, not far from St. Michael's Church.  I had really come to find two Cornish Crosses, so I headed first for the one on Cross Street, a lovely street with some fine buildings in it.  I particularly like the doorway to a house called "Great Office", pictured below right.  I then walked back up the hill - Helston is very much a town of hills - to St. Michael's Church, where I found another Cornish Cross on a grave near the tower.  From a distance the church looks conventional enough so it is something of a surprise to enter and discover a Georgian interior.  The church was built for the Earl of Godolphin between 1751 and 1761.  The interior is dominated by an elaborate balcony and an unusual ceiling with elaborate coving.  There is an unusual and attrective font.  Memorials include a marble one to George Simon Borlase and a small War Memorial Chapel.  In the large graveyard, filled with spring flowers when I saw it in late February 2017, is an elaborate memorial to Henry Trengrouse, so moved by the fate of HMS Anson that he devised his "Rocket" apparatus, precursor of the breeches buoy.
Cornish Cross on Cross Street
 Unexpected Interior of St. Michael's Church
Great Office Doorway
Back to Helston Main Entry
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Kilkhampton
I had been in Kilkhampton previously but mostly just passing through and once to seek out the remains of a Norman motte-and-bailey castle, down the lane towards Stibb and the Combe Valley.  On this occasion, in late August 2016, I was visiting three villages and their churches, the others being nearby Poughill and Stratton.  Kilkhampton is a largish village, strung long the A39 north of Bude, with a few shops and a couple of pubs, The London Inn and the New Inn.  I enjoyed a bacon roll and a coffee in the latter.  In the small square, a war memorial commemorates Lt. Colonel Algernon Carteret Thynne DSO, killed in the Great War.  The church is typically Cornish, with nave, two aisles and a battlemented and pinnacled three stage tower.  Above the tower door stands a small statue, presumably of dedicatee St. James.  The porch has a remarkable feature, a deeply and elaborately carved Norman doorway.  Inside are three wagon roofs, higher than is usual in Cornwall, Granville memorials and a coat of arms by a pupil of Grinling Gibbons, and a superb collection of original bench ends. 
'Man and Dog' Bench End
Impressive Norman Porch Doorway
Thynne Memorial in the Square
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Kingsand and Cawsand

This is a charming, tucked away part of Cornwall, more easily accessed by car ferry across the Tamar to Torpoint or by foot ferry from Plymouth to Cremyll than from most of Cornwall.  Here on the very south-eastern tip of Cornwall, the twin villages of Kingsand and Cawsand tumble down their hillsides to meet at small harbours facing broad Plymouth Sound with long views of Drake’s Island and the Devon coast.  Where they meet at the bottom is the Halfway House Inn, a comfortable pub with a good welcome,  a  good atmosphere and excellent food.  Rather surprisingly, until 1830 the Halfway House stood at a county boundary;  Kingsand was in Devon, Cawsand in Cornwall.  This is a great place to explore on foot with steep streets filled with colour washed stone cottages, jostling for space.  Climb high above the Cawsand side to find an old fort, converted to housing with breathtaking views.  Climb above the Kingsand side, past a tiny village green, to find a gate near the cliff that leads into glorious Mount Edgcumbe Park with its house with formal garden and Earl's Garden.  There is more good walking around Rame Head to the south.  There is a smallish car park next to the Halfway House and a much larger one above Cawsand.
Kingsand, Rame Head round walk.    Kingsand, Maker, Cremyll round walk.
By A38, A374 towards Torpoint, B3247 and un-numbered road
Relaxing by Kingsand Harbour
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Ladock
Ladock is a small village which we regularly pass through on our way to Truro.  It is pleasant enough, just passing through, but the best is to be found uphill on the east side of the road.  My first experience of Ladock was visiting Ladock House Garden, open under the National Gardens Scheme, in April 2007.  In June 2016 I parked in the large public car park on the main road through.  Here in the car park is the local shop and post office which sells hot drinks, sandwiches and good Cornish pasties. Outside is a decking area with free Wi-Fi.  The little Tresillian River flows behind the car park.  On the other side of the road is the Falmouth Arms pub, Bissick Old Mill more-or-less behind it.  To the north of the pub a path runs streeply uphill to the church of St. Ladoca.  The church, standing in a large graveyard, consists of nave, south aisle and pinnacled tower.  Inside there are no carved bench ends but the chancel screen seems to made up of them, as does the lectern.  Noteworthy featues included windows by Burne Jones, Ford Madox Brown and William Morris, a dark carved font, possibly of Catacleuse stone from the north coast near Padstow.  There are some interesting old memorial slabs, not easily readable.  Just west of the church, a track leads past attractive Glebe Farm, down into the valley to St. Ladoca's Holy Well.  There is a disabled toilet.
Bissick Old Mill and Mill House, Ladock
Ladock is on B3275 (formerly the A39) Penhale to Tresillian near Truro
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Lamorna
A long and lovely wooded valley drops down for about a mile from Trewoofe to reach the sea at Lamorna Cove.  When you get there it is really something of a disappointment:  to your right a short view of wooded cliffs;  to your left a view, only slightly longer, of the debris of a vast former granite quarry;  in the middle a car park, a seasonal café, rental cottages, public toilets and a small sandy harbour.  Frankly, it is all a bit scruffy.  You would do best to leave the car and walk up the steep hill and its side turnings (where possible) to see what you can of the village.  Cottages, some attractive, some a little ramshackle, are tucked away in woodland on either side of the lane.  Up a side turning is a charming row of cottages, a little way beyond them a tiny waterrmill.  Quarter of a mile up the main lane is the Lamorna Wink inn, set a little back from the road and with tables outside.  It is a plain place inside but with a lot of fascinating nautical memorabilia.  Welcome is not always very friendly but food is simple and good value.  Three gardens here deserve to be better known;  above the village is Chygurno, at the head of the valley are Trewoofe and Trewoofe Orchard.  Lamorna's main claim to fame was as an artistic colony in the early 20th century.  An offshoot of the famous Newlyn School colony settled in the valley here.  It included Lamorna Birch, Laura and Harold Knight and, for a while, Alfred Munnings.  Their work can be found in Penlee House in Penzance.    An antiquities walk from Lamorna.
The coast path is easy north to Mousehole, tough heading west
Lamorna Cove
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Lanivet
A small roadside village on the A389.  I visited Lanivet in mid August 2016, on a day which included also Bodwen, Lanlivery and Luxulyan.  On the road you scarcely have time to notice anything before you are out the other side.  On foot there is plenty of interest.  In the village itself is the pleasant Lanivet Inn which, at lunchtime does a wide range of simple, reasonably priced food, the excellent Welcome Stranger Fish and Chip restaurant opposite, a couple of small busineses, a free car park and public toilets.  Walk up the turning alongside the pub and you come to the church, a handsome, typically Cornish, 15th century church in the Decorated style, ruined by improvement by Victorians, who scraped many frescoes and removed original stained glass.  The reason to visit Lanivet church is the superb collection of stonework dotted around inside and out.  By the porch is a 10th century 'hogback' tomb slab.  Behind the church are a 13th century four-hole Cornish cross and a 10th century wheel cross.  Inside the church are some fascinating memorials.  One from the 5th or 6th century commemorates 'Annicu'.  A portrait tomb slab in the vestry to a Courtney (perhaps related to the Earls of Devon) dates from 1560;  another Courtney was added to it in 1632.  A nearby tomb slab features gilded angels.  Pulpit and reredos are Victorian but attractive.
The Lanivet Inn
On the busy A389 that runs from Bodmin to the A30 at Innis Downs
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Lanlivery

Easily missed, unless you are walking the Saints Way or looking for a good pub, Lanlivery is a charming backwater on the road to almost nowhere.  I found it when I sought out the excellent Crown Inn for some of my American visitors to lunch, in the days when I was still touring.  Jane and I have enjoyed lunch there since.  You would never guess it now but during the 19th century the extensive, largely moorland, parish was heavily industrialised with tin mining, granite quarrying and even some china clay extraction.  The population approached the 2000 mark then;  now it is around 500 and would be less were it not for the second homes and holiday rentals.  The church, originally dedicated to St. Dunstan, is now dedicated to St. Brevita.  Her holy well is in the grounds of Churchtown, part of the Vitalise charity and providing a rural activity centre for the disadvantaged.  Restored in 1993, the church is of relatively little interest, though it has some good memorials.  Far more interesting is the steep little street that runs down from the back of the churchyard.  The attractive Village Hall dates from the 18th century, was first a 'Dame School', later a library.  Below that is the former smithy, now a home, and other attractive houses. What appears to be the Crown's car park is, I think public.  The uninspiring church had, when I was there, some interesting wood carvings on window ledges.
Signed off A390, just west of Lostwithiel
Church, Village Hall and the Old Smithy

Lanreath
In early September I visited the village of Lanreath, abour five miles north-west of Looe.  My primary purpose was to look at the church, of which more later, and to take a look at Court Barton, once the manor house of the Grylls family, now just a farmhouse.  Happily there is a good sized car park by the village stores and post office - what a lucky village, still to have that alive and kicking.  Sadly, the same could not be said for the Punchbowl Inn which closed in 2011 and looks very much like staying closed.  But do look out for its entertaining inn sign, presumably made by a local blacksmith.  Court Barton is a handsome, symetrically fronted early Jacobean house with some massive stone barns.  St. Marnarch's church, its exterior essentially Perpendicular in style and well restored in 1887, consists of nave, south aisle, north transept and three stage tower.  On your way in, do note the carved roof bosses in the porch.  Inside are more roof bosses and two painted ceilings.  A highly decorated font has an unusual octagonal cover.  A board on one wall refers to Charles I as 'Prince' - in 1635!.  Another carries Charles II's coat of arms.  The finely carved rood screen retains some medieval paintwork;  in front of it is a carved Jacobean pulpit and lectern.  A wall monument commemorates Charles Grylls and his wife.  There is a colourful modern altar cloth.
Lanreath's former Punchbowl Inn
Just off B3359 Midle Taphouse to Looe road.  Signed.
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Launceston

My earliest memories of Launceston are of an ordinary little town with a terrible traffic problem.  That was in the 1950s when there were no decent roads into Cornwall.  Now that the A30 bypasses the town, Launceston has regained the character it had before traffic congealed its arteries.  We have visited twice recently - once for antiques (there are none that we could find) and then for quilting exhibitions.  The quilts were wonderful - in St. Mary's church and at Cowslip Workshops at a nearby farm on the road from Egloskerry.  Jo Colwill started Cowslip Workshops when foot-and-mouth had reduced farm income to zero.  You can now learn sewing, quilting, embroidery, drawing and more and there is a shop, a restaurant and a gallery with good exhibitions. Launceston itself may lack good shops but it does not lack interest.  The original settlement north of the river, now known as St. Stephens, has a fine church.  In medieval Launceston you will find a ruined late Norman and 13th century castle, a 13th century town gate (the town walls are long gone), some handsome churches, notably that dedicated to St. Mary Magdalene, a good local museum in the National Trust's Lawrence House and a narrow gauge steam railway with its own museum. We were pleased to find Launceston much better than expected.    Launceston re-visited 2016
St. Stephens church at the original settlement
Signed from A30, just west of the Devon border
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Launceston revisited in February 2016
I was back in Launceston in late February 2016.  First I drove down to the River Kensey and parked there in the hope of seeing the inside of St. Thomas church.  That was closed but the gate to the priory ruins was open.  Not that there is much to see, only a small part of the priory survives and that only to the height of less than a couple of feet.  There is however a good view of the castle keep on its hilltop.  On the way round to the priory ruins, I spotted the base of a massive pillar, presumably from the priory, on it an unexpected Cornish Cross.  I would have liked to have looked round the old railway station, from which steam trains run to New Mills, but I was too early in the season for the Launceston Steam Railway.  I then headed up the hill to the town centre and parked in a handy multi-storey car park.  First I visited St. Mary Magdalen church and got some good interior photos.  Among the impressive features are a fine rood screen, a lovely pulpit and good bench ends.  But the exterior is the star with its intricate stone carving.  Sir Henry Trecarrell is believed to have been responsible for the church's design and construction.  But what struck me most about the town was the remarkable number of attractive original shop fronts.  That in the photo is probably the best with its barley-sugar twist columns.
Back to the first Launceston entry
One of Launceston's many fine shop fronts
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Lelant
In January 2017 I had an expedition down west.  First I went to see Towednack church, closed when I was there recently but happily open this time.  Then I continued to Lelant where a little research in Langdon had suggested the existence of several Cornish Crosses.  I checked on Cornwall Council's excellent Mapping Website and was able to confirm that I should find crosses in the churchyard of St.Uny Lelant, in the large cemetery and even on the main street.  Previously I had only been in Lelant when on the Cornish Coast Path between Hayle and St. Ives.  On that occasion I had taken the path between the church and its separate cemetery and not lingered at he church.  On this occasion I stopped in the town first where, opposite the Badger Inn (formerly the Praed Arms) a Cornish Cross had been built into the wall next to Cross Cottage.  There is now a War Memorial on the site but it looks as if the cross head is mounted on top of the memorial.  In the cemetery I found 3 crosses;  in the churchyard I found a further 2.  The church is delightfully situated, next to a golf course and overlooking Hayle and the Hayle Estuary.  Of interest in the church are 2 ancient slate memorials, an octagonal font, panelling from a medieval screen and a good reredos.
From A30, follow A374 St. Ives to Badger Inn and go forward to Church
Lelant Church
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Lerryn

Although Lerryn in only 3 miles from Lostwithiel, and that seems the obvious way to approach it, I think that probably the best and most interesting way to approach the village is to start from Fowey and and take the Bodinnick Ferry across the Fowey River.  This way not only will you have a good view of Daphne Du Maurier's parents' Ferryside home, but you will then travel along quiet lanes and through the charming hamlet of Lower Penpoll.  Lerryn is clearly a wealthy little village.  A number of  handsome homes stand along both sides of the little River Lerryn, a tributary of the Fowey River.  It is effectively a tidal creek, crossed by a medieval bridge and by stepping stones at low tide.  Small boats line the river but don't move often - the very tidal nature of the river is quite restrictive.  Signs of former industry include lime kilns built into homes and a former barn (maybe a warehouse) by the river.  There is a lovely walk along the north side of the river to the tiny hamlet of  St. Winnow.  Try this walk in spring when the woodland is filled with bluebells and wild garlic.  You can make a round walk of it by returning across fields to Winnow Mill, then through the National Trust's Ethy estate.  We have enjoyed several good meals in the Ship Inn at Lerryn.  There is a small amount of parking by the river, close to the Ship Inn. Round Walk, Lerryn St. Winnow, Ethy
Boats on the river at Lerryn
3 miles SW of Lostwithiel or 4 miles from Fowey via Bodinnick ferry
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Linkinhorne and Stoke Climsland
Linkinhorne lies to the north-west of Callington, Stoke Climsland to the north. I first encountered these villages way back in 2007 when researching the Land's End Trail.  On this occasion I visited both late in October 2016 to complete my researches in the Callington area.  Stoke Climsland is pleasant enough but unexceptional.  Its church disappoints somewhat.  All I could find to enjoy was the attractive, typically Cornish exterior, the studded porch door and the colourful ceilings to chancel and couth aisle.  Linkinhorne, on the other hand is an attractive village, centred around its church, opposite which is the Church House Inn (sadly closed in 2016) and below which are the attractive old buildings of Church Farm.  On the hedge by the lych gate is an ancient Cornish Cross.  The tower is Cornwall's second tallest, after Probus.  Inside is a wall painting (unusual for Cornwall) of Christ, rood stairs, carved wooden rood screen and pulpit and a font of Polyphant stone, 
Linkinhorne, Church House Inn through lych gate
Stoke Climsland church, colourful chancel ceiling
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Liskeard
Liskeard is an odd town.  First impressions were of dull, boring, mainly Victorian architecture, though I must confess that I visited on a dull rainy February 2016 day on which the dark stone of so many buildings left a dull, uninteresting impression.  Previously I had only been in Liskeard (Cornish Lyskerrys, Kerywyd’s Court) on two occasions, once just passing through, on the other seeking a second-hand furniture shop (successful with an excellent buy of oak table and chairs).  It is a town of some historical importance, a stannary (tin coinage) town from the 13th century, becoming a chartered borough in 1240.  It became boom town in the second half of the 19th century, when most of its major buildings were built on tin and copper profits.  The town is also odd in its layout.  It stands on two hills, the western containing most of the major buildings, the eastern with Norman and later St. Martin’s church, the second largest in Cornwall after St. Petroc’s in Bodmin.  On its north and south walls are thirteen consecration crosses, unique in Cornwall.  Barras Street, The Parade and Pike Street have most of the other major buildings: Webb’s Hotel, Stuart House with its museums about the Civil War and about Henry Rice, major mid 19th century Liskeard architect, and excellent tile-hung small Town Museum next to Foresters Hall.  In Well Street, off steep Pike Street, is the 16th century town well with its four outlets. Liskeard Revisited
Tile-hung Liskeard Museum on Pike Street
Signed off A38, 13 miles E of Bodmin;  ample parking
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Liskeard Revisited
A few days after my first visit to Liskeard, I went back, this time with Jane.  We were blessed with a lovely sunny day.  Consequently we covered much more ground than I had covered on my first visit.  We parked in Westbourne car park;  delightfully we left it by Pig Meadow Lane, passing some intereresting murals, including one with Trethevy Quoit and an engine house.  We wandered round all the streets of interest and climbed the eastern hill to visit St. Martin's church. The view to the south front of the church is impressive:  an elaborate 4-stage tower with crenellated parapet and large windows with Decorated tracery.  Inside, the church has nave and two aisles, the southern effectively a separate chapel with its own screen and a fine collection of carved bench ends.  In the graveyard, at the east end of the church is a simple Cornish cross.  By the northern lych gate is an attractive house, Church Cottage.  On our way around town we were struck by just how many interesting buildings there are.  On Well Lane we were shown round an ancient warehouse, still with its winding gear, almost opposite the Pipe Well.  Elsewhere, sadly, we ancountered a handsome Georgian building, empty and going to rack and ruin.  We managed to find suitable places for both coffee and lunch in, respectively, Fat Frog on Market Street and Bean on Fore Street.   I was really pleased that second impressions were so much better than first.  We shall visit Liskeard again.
Back to Liskeard
St. Martin's church, tower and south front
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Looe - a change of heart on a south coast resort town

When I originally reported on Looe a few years ago, I was very harsh about it, really seeing only the tourist tat.  In March 2009 I was in Looe when walking the Smugglers Way.  I spent some time walking around the more interesting bits and taking a number of photos.  Chris Halls, who runs the 'I Love Looe' website, had taken me to task about my scathing judgment on his town.  Having been back in Looe and looked at it through different eyes, I am now happy to revise my original view - though not entirely.   Looe comes in three parts.  Divided by the River Looe are East Looe, the town's main resort and shopping area, and West Looe, residential and poor shops.  The two are joined by a handsome many-arched bridge.  Beyond West Looe is smart residential Hannafore with a beach.  East Looe has an attractive waterfront with a major fish market, serving Cornwall's second largest fleet (the fish is said to be the best), handsome converted warehouses and the new lifeboat station.  Behind these are the charming guildhall and old lifeboat station.  Shops and restaurants look better than I remember (but many seem to close in winter) and I have had good fish and chips in Looe.  There are lovely walks through Kilminorth Woods along the West Looe River.  But, I'm sorry, I still don't like Looe's tatty touristy shops.      More on Looe
For a different angle on Looe go to Chris Halls' I Love Looe web site
Banjo Pier in Looe is the southern terminus of the Smugglers Way
Fishing boats tied up near Looe's Fish Market
PARKING IN LOOE: Perhaps this is really why I don't really like the town.  There is a vast car park at Mill Pool on the western approach.  It is expensive and only as you walk into town do you discover that you could have parked much more cheaply in Pearns boatyard.  There is parking by the quayside in East Looe but it is even more expensive and usually full of shoppers taking advantage of the cheap short-stay rate.  We prefer to park free in Hannafore and walk.
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


More on Looe
Since my original report on Looe, I have passed through it a few times, walking the Cornish Coast Path, but have not spent much time there.  So, in early May 2016, Jane and I parked a the far end of Hannafore, walked round to West Looe, where we enjoyed a powerful coffee at Tasty Corner, a café/restaurant, new to us, with a view across to East Looe.  We continued round, over the many-arched Looe Bridge and into East Looe.  We wandered around the town, surprisingly busy with visitors though still very early in the season, and debated lunching in the Salutation Inn which we had enjoyed on our last visit, but decided to cross back to West Looe and eat at Tasty Corner.  So we took the little ferry across the river - a little precarious getting on and off for us older folks - and enjoyed an ecxellent and reasonably priced lunch.  Jane had a delicious and well filled crab sandwich while I had their fish and chips;  fish, batter and chipe were all excellent.  We walked back round to Hannafore, where we had hoped to get tea and coffee;  unfortunately the kiosk was closed for some unknown reason.  I realise that on most previous visits to Looe the tide has been out.  This time the tide was in, the sun was out so, happily, I was able to get some decent photos.
Banjo Pier and Looe Beach
Back to main Looe entry
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Lostwithiel

This small Cornish town has a lot to offer – history, charming unspoiled streets and the county’s best concentration of antique shops, varying from quality to bric-a-brac.  Once Lostwithiel was a place of considerable importance.  At the end of the 13th century Edmund Earl of Cornwall rebuilt the castle in stone and Lostwithiel then became the administrative centre for the county.  It had a port on the River Fowey, exporting tin, the trade in which was managed from the Stannary Court in the Shire Hall, which also operated as the County Treasury.  When the Earl of Cornwall was made Duke, the Shire Hall grew into the Duchy Palace.  When the river silted up in the 15th century, Lostwithiel lost its tin trade but developed others, pottery, weaving, tanning and pewter-making.  St. Bartholemew’s church  has an unexpected spire of elaborately carved granite.  Unusually, the streets form a grid pattern, originating in medieval times.  Fore Street has the shops and tea rooms.  Quay Street, by the River Fowey, has former lime kilns at one end, at the other the remains of the old Duchy Palace, behind the heavily buttressed former ‘Coinage Hall’.  Across the river, a new apartment development utilises Victorian railroad buildings. 
Restormel Castle is up a country lane, a mile to the north of town.  Built as a huge circular keep with moat, it was rebuilt by Edmund Earl of Cornwall around 1280 and was later a home of the Black Prince. 
If you are here during the day, there are a couple of attractive tea and coffee shops – Muffins and the Duchy Coffee Shop, both on Fore Street – and several pubs.  Best of the pubs are the Royal Oak on Duke Street, above the main road, and (our preference) the Globe at the bottom of North Street, close by the medieval bridge.  There are several attractive restaurants, mostly open only in the evening.
LOSTWITHIEL REVISITED
St. Bartholemew's Tower seen from church lane
On A390 12 miles west of Liskeard
UPDATE JANUARY 2016 - THE OLD DUCHY PALACE:  The Coinage Hall, the major remnant of the Old Duchy Palace, also known as the Stannary Palace, has undergone major restoration .  Closed to the public for more than a century, the Grade I listed medieval building was purchased by the Prince's Regeneration Trust in 2008 and has undergone a major restoration.  It has re-opened as offices and shops but there is no sign of the museum that was promised.
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Lostwithiel Revisited
In January 2016, I had time in hand after taking a look at Bradoc and decided to eat my sandwiches by the River Fowey in Lostwithiel.  My intention was then to visit St. Bartholemew's Church for the first time.  Unfortunately, although both a very clear sign outside the church and the church's own web site proclaim it's opening from 10 to 4 from Monday to Friday, every entrance was firmly locked.  [I subsequently emailed the the Rural Dean, in charge while a new incumbent is awaited, asking about opening of St. Bartholemew's, and also of Bradoc church, but failed to receive the courtesy of a reply]  I trust I shall be able to find it open on another occasion.  In the meantime, I can only report that Pevsner devotes more than a page to St. Bartholemew's, especially admiring its magnificently detailed spire.  Disappointingly, he appears to have missed the lantern cross by the porch and a much deteriorated Cornish Cross.  Pevsner is also disparaging about the town, dismissing it as having "not much character".  I find it a charming place with interesting shops, cafés and restaurants as well as Jeffreys Auction House, a regular on BBC2's Flog It.  On this occasion, for the first time, I crossed the river to walk around Brunel Quays, I. K. Brunel's former railway engineering works, now converted to expensive and attractive waterside housing. 
Return to Lostwithiel
Lostwithiel's medieval bridge over the Fowey River
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Luxulyan
I have long been familiar with the Luxulyan Valley and Jane and I have enjoyed many walks from Ponts Mill to the Treffry Viaduct, heading up along the river past J. T. Treffry's China Clay Works and returning on the other side of the valley past the impressive Carmears Wheelpit.  It is a delightful walk through lovely beech woodland.  I had been in Luxulyan village on only a couple of occasions, both when walking the Saints Way.  On this occasion in mid-August 2016, Luxulyan was one of  group of visits;  first I visited Lanivet for the church then I stopped in Lockengate to photograph a roadside Cornish Cross.  Then, still heading for Luxulyan, I continued by way of Bodwen and Lanlivery.  The first attraction of Luxulyan is its churchyard, for the lych gate with its Cornish Cross and its lantern cross.  The second attraction is the Holy Well below the church, restored but sadly not in water.  The church itself is almost certainly on an ancient site, a small promontory at the top of a steep hill overlooking the valley.  It has nave, two aisles and a three stage battlemented tower, typically Cornish.  There is nothing special about its interior, except for the attractive font and the colourful altar.  One more thing about Luxulyan - it is pronounced Luxillian.
Luxulyan's lych gate and Cornish Cross
Follow signs for Luxulyan from A391 S from Bodmin
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Madron
Madron lies a little to the north of Penzance, just off the road to Bosullow Common, Lanyon Quoit, Men-an-Tol and Nine Maidens Common.  As you drive through you are hard put to decide where to park but, if you head for the church and school, there is ample parking.  There is more here than just an impressive church:  within the churchyard are two impressive memorials - a great mausoleum to Rose Price and a globe-bestriding statue with an unreadable dedication - and two Cornish Crosses (there are two others nearby).  Inside, the roofs have carved wooden bosses, there are two attractive screens and the south chapel has an alabaster plaque of saints, some ancient bench ends topped by beasts.  High on a wall is the "Nelson Banner", carried in the procession that celebrated Nelson's victory at Trafalgar.  In addition to the two Cornish crosses in the churchyard, there are two others nearby, one in a field to the south of the church at 45436/31503, the other on a lane near Madron Well and Chapel, at about 44512/32541.  Well and Chapel are worth visiting, the former a spring identified by trees adorned with strips of cloth, interceding for family or friends, the the latter substantial but roofless.  Both sites are cared for by the admirable Cornwall Heritage Trust.  Nearby is the National Trusts' lovely Trengwainton Garden.
Homes in Bellair Road, Madron
Madron is signed from the Heamoor roundabout on the Penzance by-pass
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Marazion
Marazion is not a place you pass through on the way to anywhere.  So all who go there do so for a purpose.  Mostly that purpose is to visit Saint Michael's Mount or to enjoy the beach with its view of the Mount and of the broad sweep of Mount's Bay.  But Marazion is an interesting place in its own right.  A narrow main street curves down from the east, from the Helston to Penzance main road, petering out soon after it passes the main car park.  Along its way are attractive cottages, a charming small square, a couple of pubs, tearooms, shops (including Philps Bakery, renowned for its pasties), and several art and craft galleries.  Pubs are the Godolphin Arms, also a hotel, and the King's Arms.  We enjoy the view from the bar of the Godolphin but find it impersonal.  We far prefer the cozy King's Arms with its friendly welcome and good value food. Marazion has a remarkable history and may be one of Britain's oldest towns.  It and St. Michael's Mount may have been known to the Romans, who would have traded for tin here, as Ictis, though some authorities dispute this.  The major town of West Cornwall, from 1170 it returned two members to Parliament.  It was incorporated by royal charter in 1257, a charter reaffirmed by Elizabeth I in 1595.  Its importance is seen in its two former markets, the marhas vean (little market) and marhas yow (Thursday market), the latter giving the town its name.
Marazion is the southern terminus of St. Michael's Way
Marazion is signed from A394 Helston to Penzance
Marazion beach early morning, looking to Penzance
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Mawgan-in-Meneage
I give Mawgan-in-Meneage, hidden away on The Lizard, its full title to avoid confusion with St. Mawgan, whose full title is Mawgan-in-Pydar, near St. Columb Major. I visited the village for its Daffodil Festival in February 2017, on a day when I had first been to Helston for another look around.  On my way to the church I stopped first on the village green (unusual for Cornwall) for a photo of the Inscribed Stone (below left).  At the church I was most impresssed, not just by the displays of daffs - which were lovely - but also by the organisation by the local ladies.  Parking for the disabled was close to the church;  regular parking was in a nearby farmyard with short access to the church by a cattle stile into the graveyard.  Teas were available and for those in need of something stronger, the Ship Inn is just down the lane.
Mawgan Inscribed Stone
Daffodils in Mawgan Church
Daffodil Crosses in the Graveyard
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Menheniot
I only discovered Menheniot [the name means Hyniet's land according to Craig Weatherhill, St. Neot's place according to Julyan Holmes - take your choice] towards the end of April 2016.  Jane wanted to see an exhibition of Norman Hartnell's designs and materials, being held in the church.  I drove her there and quite like the look of the village so, a week later, I had an outing to explore the village.  It was a dull day so photos were disappointing but I still enjoyed the village.  There are some good homes and cottages:  I particularly liked the Poads Trust cottages and the old Police Station.  The church is typically Cornish in that it has nave and two aisles, Perpendicular windows and fine wagon roofs with carved bosses.  Less typical is the spire, not seen on many Cornish churches, set on a tower old than the church.  Sadly, inside little that is original remains thanks to over zealous Victorian restoration.  However, the font, of Caen stone, is medieval and a brass by the pulpit dates from 1386, perhaps Cornwall's oldest.  Memorials mostly commemorate Trelawneys.  The churchyard is of little interest - no Cornish Crosses - but does contain a grand Vestry building.  There is, apparently a holy well to the south of the church but somehow I missed it.
Menheniot War Memorial and Church
From A38 eastbound, pass Liskeard and take 1st or 2nd turn on left
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Merrymeet and St. Ive
Before visiting Callington in October 2016 I first took a look at the little villages of Merrymeet (what an odd name, probably Saxon meaning a pleasant meeting place, according to Craig Weatherhill) and St. Ive Churchtown (not to be confused with St. Ives).  Neither is of any consequence.  Merrymeet has a small modern church, a mission church under Menheniot parish.  There is an unusual small organ and a small altar on granite columns.  St. Ive Churchtown (there are also St. Ive Cross, St. Ive Keason and St. Ive Parkfield) has a pleasant church with carved roof bosses in nave and aisle roofs, an attractive altar and reredos in the south chapel, and a carved as well as painted Royal Coat of Arms. 
The unusual altar in Merrymeet church
St. Ive Church and Cornelly House
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Mevagissey and Port Mellon

From the photo on the left you would think Mevva (as the Cornish call it) entirely a delightful place:  busy harbour, old cottages clustered around it, large newer homes above.  I used to think so and I used to drive American visitors down Cliff Hill, along the harbour, and up Tregony Hill on our way to Heligan Garden.   I had never really lingered there before so I got something of a shock when I parked by the harbour in February 2005 and took a walk around.  I concluded that Meva is a bit of an odd mixture, rather spoiled by its own success.  Once a charming small fishing village, in the 20th century it has been over-run by modern development and the worst of cheap tourism.  The harbour is still a delight - if you don't look at the cheap cafes and shops - and it is still Cornwall's third busiest fishing port.  But it is definitely not a place to spend much time in.  However, if you follow the narrow street southwards and climb Polkirt Hill, (great overview of harbour and coast, looking back from here) you come to Port Mellon.  Here is a quiet cove with a boatyard, a decent pub and second homes clustered around.  Continue and walk left up a lane and you come to photogenic Chapel Point, its whitewashed buildings looking rather like a small Mediterranean monastery.  Continue along the coast path and you will soon find yourself in Gorran Haven.
Mevagissey Harbour from Middle Wharf
Signed by B3273 from A390 at St. Austell
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Mitchell
Although Mitchell never benefitted from Cornwall's many mining booms, in its time it was a town of some importance.  Set in a rich lowland farming area, it was also an important staging post on the main coach road from London.  From the look of them it's a reasonable assumption that both the attractive Plume of Feathers inn and nearby Raleigh House were once coaching inns.  There are other attractive buildings in town, too:  the delightful Georgian Wellesley Farm and a row of cottages on the main street.  Politically, Mitchell also once had its importance.  You may wonder at the names Raleigh and Wellesley in a minor Cornish town but there is, in fact, a very simple if surprising explanation.  From 1547 to the Reform Act of 1832 it was a 'rotten borough', it's very few property owning voters returning two members to parliament.  Indeed, in 1593 Devon born Sir Walter Raleigh was one of these as in 1807 was Arthur Wellesley, later Duke of Wellington.  I remember well when the main road to holiday country of St. Ives and Penzance passed right along Mitchell's main street.  Then the holiday season must have made it a traffic nightmare for its residents;  now Mitchell is bypassed by the modern A30 and is a sleepy attractive village.
Signed from A30, 15 miles west of Bodmin
The classy Plume of Feathers Inn in Mitchell
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Mithian
A small village, population only around 500, Mithian lies just over a mile to the east of St. Agnes and is signed from the Chiverton Cross to St.. Agnes road soon after the Chiverton Inn.  It is an attractive village with two notable buildings.  The pub, the Miners Arms, has quite a history.  Built in the 16th century, it has had a chequered career as courthouse, coroners court, smugglers lair and even apparently a house of ill-repute.  The other notable building is Harmony Cot (just out of the village) which was the birthplace of John Opie, the famouir Cornish society portrait painter.  A self-taught prodigy, by the age of twelve he had not only learned to draw but had apparently mastered Euclid and was teaching writing and arithmetic - and all this while apprenticed to a wheelwright. Harmony Cot is a private home and not open to the public.  There is no Anglican church in the village and the former parish church of St. Peter is over two miles away at Chiverton Cross. Built in 1861, by architect William White, in 2006 it closed, faced with a repair bill of almost £1 million.  I  had expected to see it crumbling but, in December 2016, after a visit to St. Agnes, it appeared to be undergoing restoration.  Oddly, the primary school is also out of the village, at Barkla Shop.  The Miners Arms pub in Mithian (pictured left) is strongly recommended:  young enthusiastic staff who happily prepared me a not-on-menu bacon sandwich.
The excellent Miners Arms at Mithian
Signed from B3277 Chiverton Cross to St. Agnes
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Morwenstow

Comparatively inaccessible but definitely well worth going out of your way for, Morwenstow is Cornwall's most northerly parish;  it is the 'holy place of St. Morwenna'.  There are two tiny hamlets, Crosstown and Morwenstow.  Crosstown is a collection of farms around a large village green, one incorporating a small pub, the Bush.  Two tiny bars have half-a-dozen tables and a short, simple and inexpensive menu.  A little further on towards the coast is Morwenstow Churchtown.  Here are just a church, the former rectory, Rectory Farm, offering teas in summer, a couple of holy wells and Parson  Hawker's famous Hut on the cliffs.  In the churchyard are a Cornish cross, the figurehead of the 'Caledonia', wrecked off Higher Sharpnose Point, masses of daffodils in spring and, at the top, St. John's Well, accessed separately.  A Norman doorway leads into a church with Norman arcading, a medieval fresco and some handsome carved bench ends.  Most famous incumbent was Robert Stephen Hawker, vicar for 40 years from 1834.
Since writing the above, things have changed at the Bush Inn.  It is really now a nice small hotel doing B&B and self-catering accommodation and boasting a new restaurant with a fairly classy looking menu.
A round walk includes Stanbury Mouth and Three Manors
The churchyard is a blaze of colour with daffodils
Signed by narrow lanes from A39 north of Bude
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Mousehole

With a name like that (it is pronounced Mowzle) it would probably be famous anyway but is notable for its tiny enclosed harbour, granite cottages, little courtyards and flower-filled gardens - and a few tales.  In 1595 the village was devastated, as were both Penzance and Newlyn, by a Spanish raid;  the only building unscathed was a pub.  In some unknown year, dreadful gales prevented the village’s fishing boats putting to sea.  With the villagers almost starving, Tom Bawcock braved the storm to return with a massive haul of seven types of fish.  His feat is celebrated every 23rd December when all Mousehole eats ‘Starry Gazy Pie’ (or stargazie), assorted fish heads looking heavenward through the crust.  At this time, Christmas, Mousehole's lights are something to see.
In February 2008 Jane and I used trail guides,  purchased inexpensively from Penlee House, to enjoy detailed explorations of Mousehole and Newlyn.  If you don't already know these two small towns well, we can strongly recommend the exercise.  The guides are strong on both history and information and in each village you follow a series of 10 bronze waymarks made by Newlyn sculptor Tom Leaper.
Waves lash the harbour wall at Mousehole
 Follow coast road south from Newlyn harbour
Mousehole and Newlyn Christmas Lights
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Mullion
I looked around Mullion in February 2017 after re-vositing Gunwalloe Church Cove.  I must admit that my look-around was not very thorough;  esentially I just looked in the church then had a coffee in the friendly Old Inn opposite (there is a donation car park handy for both).  Mullion has a population of around 2000, village proportions, but with Anglican, Methodist and Catholic churches, a secondary school, a fair range of shops including baker, grocer, newsagent, pharmacy, delicatessen, post office, off licence and clothes, plus pub, cafés, rsstaurants and tea rooms, it has most of what you expect of a town.  The largely 15th century church is noteworthy for its 40 early carved bench ends and for its screen which stretches across nave and two aisles.  As you enter the porch, note the St. Christopher statue over the door and the dog gate in the door.  But what is best known, and mosty visited, about Mullion is not the village but the harbour, a mile away at Mullion Cove.  The National Trust owns the little harbour at Mullion Cove.  For a National Trust location some of the buildings are a little tatty and you need to catch it on a sunny day, preferably without too many visitors, really to enjoy it.  The future of the harbour is a little uncertain.  It tends to suffer storm damage and the Trust's policy is one of "managed retreat".
From Helston follow A3083 Lizard.  At Cross Lanes follow R to Mullion.
The Old Inn, Mullion
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Mylor Churchtown and Yacht Harbour
To many this is just Mylor Yacht Harbour, a major yachting and watersports centre where Mylor Creek joins Carrick Roads.  With yacht club, large marina, extensive moorings, renowned boatyard and bars and restaurants, that’s understandable.  As a result of the Harbour’s success property prices are among Cornwall’s highest and large houses spread along Mylor Creek.  However, for others, this is Mylor Churchtown – to distinguish it from Mylor Bridge – and the main interest is the church of St. Mylor, quite unnoticed by much of the boating fraternity.  One of Cornwall’s oldest holy sites, the first church is said to have been founded before AD411 when St. Mylor was martyred here.  A charming church, set in a steeply sloping churchyard, there are two Norman doorways but the body of the church is essentially of 13th and 15th centuries.  There are remains of a 15th century painted rood screen, an Elizabethan pulpit and a puzzling priest’s chair, reputed to have come from nearby Glasney College, closed when Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries, of 1000 year old Irish bog oak with Norse carving and Tudor panelling.  The churchyard, lych gate at the top, small iron gate on the quay, is most enjoyable,  Steeply sloping, it contains a free standing bell tower, St. Mylor’s holy well, a Cornish Cross that, if the whole shaft were visible, would stand 17’ 6” high, fine wild flowers, and ancient tombstones, one commemorating the 200 who died when Queenwas wrecked on Trefusis Point.  Walk from Mylor Churchtown
Mylor church and its detatched bell tower
From A39, just SW of Perranarworthal, 2nd L and follow signs
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Newlyn

Adjacent Penzance is the biggest resort on the south coast of Cornwall, but Newlyn is said to have the third largest fishing fleet in Britain.  First impressions are of a gritty working town but there are some quite attractive cottages in streets running up the hill.  Focus, of course, is the harbour from which about a hundred boats operate.  The fish auction starts at 8 a.m. each day and sells around 10,000 tons of fish a year.  Pilchards were once the mainstay but the old Pilchard Works is now apartments.  There is a modern art gallery at the east end of town.  Oddly, if you want to see Newlyn School artists, you will have to go to Penlee House gallery in Penzance.  Just south along the coast is Mousehole.
 
In February 2008 Jane and I used trail guides,  purchased inexpensively from Penlee House, to enjoy detailed explorations of Mousehole and Newlyn.  If you don't already know these two small towns well, we can strongly recommend the exercise.  The guides are strong on both history and information and in each you follow a series of 10 bronze waymarks made by Newlyn sculptor Tom Leaper.
Follow coast road south from Penzance
New pontoons in Newlyn's old harbour, seen from Old Quay
Mousehole and Newlyn Christmas Lights
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Newquay
An odd mixture of tawdry down-market resort and delightful cliffs, headlands and beaches, this is a place best seen on foot along the waterfront.  Two hundred years ago just a mining and fishing village, the railroad then brought wealthy visitors and grand hotels.  Lapsing to down-market in the 20th century, Newquay's discovery as a surfers paradise (Fistral is the major surfing beach) has seen much improvement.  A Huer's Hut was once the look-out tower for pilchard shoals.  The eight-man pilot gig is now raced;  once the gigs competed to get their pilot to incoming boats first.  One aspect of Newquay of which I have no experience is its nightlife.  I am happy for it to stay that way.  I am told that the many clubs and nightclubs seethe with action at night, much of it drunken and troublesome.
 
The biggest oddity I discovered when revisiting a walk from Watergate Bay to Newquay was a tunnel in the cliff at Great Western Beach.  It is approached by a flight of steps and an unlocked iron grill gate.  The tunnel is about 30 yards long.  At the end is an electrically operated lift door.  You can see where a call button was inset into the wall but it is now missing.  It seems that it connects with the Victoria Hotel above.
Some of Newquay's beaches seen across the harbour
 For the town take A3059 from the A39;  for Fistral beach take A392
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Old Kea
Late in September 2016 I made an expedition to the other side of Truro to look at Loe Beach,  Feock village and church, Old Kea and Kea, tha latter two no more than hamlets.  Loe Beach may sound promising but is a great disappointment.  In season, a car park, café and slipway;  out of season, a boat park, no car park or café, and a poor quality beach.  It is saved only by views down Carrick Roads. Old Kea, however, is well worth a visit.  It consists only a Churchtown Farm, the ivy-clad tower of the former medieval church, and a charming small Victorian church in the photo to the left.  Outside the porch is the shaft of an old Cornish Cross.  The free-standing tower is all that remains of a monastery, founded in the 13th century on the site of St. Kea's original monastery, and then important enough that its 7000 acre estate extended to Baldhu, Chacewater and Scorrier.  Inside is a simply carved early font and a newly (October 2016) dedicated stained glass window in the tiny chancel.  This is a charming spot, well off the beaten track.  I first encountered it in the course of a Fal Creeks walk from the National Trust's Trelissick estate. Kea:  Kea church was a disappointment.  I was unable to gain access to the Victorian building (a notice in the porch said "Welcome", so why was the door firmly locked).  The exterior has little to commend it, except for an attractive lead-covered spire, unusual for Cornwall.
Charming little Old Kea Church
From A39 S of Truro, take difficult turning E to Porth Kea and Old Kea
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Padstow
To first-time visitors this may perhaps seem like unchanging Cornwall.  But to Jane, remembering Padstow from the 1940s, things have changed greatly.  The railway has gone - it's now a hiking and cycling trail;  restaurants and shops concentrate on tourists;  foodies have arrived, enticed by Rick Stein's seafood empire.  Fishing boats do still land their catches (though much of it is exported) and the restaurants specialise in seafood.  The views across the Camel estuary are to the village of Rock and a little landing craft type ferry carries hikers and holiday makers.  Cream teas are all you expect;  try the lounge of the Metropole.  Some of the Cornish pasties are good, too, especially at the Chough bakery by the harbour and at Rick Stein's delicatessen.  Wander around narrow, steep streets;  walk up the hill behind the town to visit the 'great house', Prideaux Place.  For all this, we no longer much like Padstow.  In the season it heaves with people and cars;  out of season it seems deserted, cafés and restaurants closed, many shops deserted.  Thanks to second homers, housing is very expensive so less and less native Padstonians actually live there.  It should be a lovely small harbour town but now it disappoints us.  The Camel Trail starts here, offering cyclists an 18 mile trail to Wenford Bridge on level hard surfaces.  The Saints Way also starts here - 30 miles to Fowey.
By A389 from A39 just south of Wadebridge
A view of Padstow's main harbour
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Pelynt
Pelynt - the name is said to mean "the parish of St. Non" - straddles the fairly busy B3359 to Looe.  Witrh a couple of exceptions, there is little of interest to be found within the village.  The first exception is the church, perched high on what may be an ancient site.  Outside the churchyard, a tiny patch of green, proclaiming itself to be the "village green", bears a modern Cornish Cross, celebrating the millennium, as does a clock on the southern face of the tower.  Due to its dour exterior, I had little expectation of the interior of the church.  I was pleasantly surprised, thanks to the Trelawney Chapel, filled with memorials to the famous local family from Trelawne.  Trelawneys had strong royal and church connections, counting a Bishop and a Governor of Jamaica among their number - as well as a Caribbean pirate.  My favourite Trelawney epitaph is that to Edward Trelawney:  "Here lyes an honest lawyer, wot you wat, a thing for all the world to wonder at."  Also noteworthy are a Buller memorial and several more Trelawney memorials.  As you enter, a striking and unusual stained glass window faces you.  Nearby is a damaged Cornish Cross.  At the other end of the village is the excellent Jubilee Inn, where I enjoyed an excellent doorstep bacon sandwich.  A mile or so to the south-east is Trelawne, once home to the Trelawneys.  Dour looking, it is in a sad state, its grounds now occupied by a large holiday park.
Pelynt Church and Millenium Cross
Pelynt is on the B3359 to Looe
SONG OF THE WESTERN MEN: Parson Stephen Hawker wrote his famoue "Song of the Western Men" about the trials and tribulations of Bishop Jonathan Trelawney. 
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Penberth Fishing Cove

The National Trust, which owns so much of Cornwall's coastline, also owns the little hamlet of Penberth and its fishing cove.  A cluster of cottages, owned by the Trust but leased to fishermen, surrounds the cove and small fishing boats are drawn up on the slipway by electric winch.  In the old days they were pulled up by hand operated capstan.  The Trust has restored the capstan but it is no longer in use.  The old fish cellars are still there but superseded by a modern store built by the Trust.  Above the cove small fields, protected by hedges of willow, hawthorn and escallonia, remind you of the daffodil fields of Scilly;  at one time the fishermen supplemented their summer living by growing daffodils, violets and early potatoes - sadly no longer.  These things may have changed but the fishing hasn't except that the boats are now motorised.  The main catch is crab and lobster but bass and mackerel are still caught by hand-line.  It is a delightful spot and one of the most photographed in Cornwall.  Although a lane runs down from Treen village, there is little or no parking.  Park in the privately owned car park in Treen and take a footpath for the half-mile to the cove.  There is great walking west along the cliffs to Porthcurno.  Along the way are Treen Cliffs, Treryn Dinas, an iron age cliff castle, and the famous Logan Rock.
A short round walk from Porthcurno includes Penberth Cove.
Park at Treen and walk down. From Penzance follow A30, B3283, B3315
Restored capstan winch:  former fish cellars behind
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Pentewan, its Trailer Park and its Unexpected Industrial History

Imagine my surprise, walking through Pentewan for the first time, to discover a historic port and more.  From early times the stone quarries supplied such homes as Antony with superb silvery grey stone.  A small fishing port, at the mouth of the St. Austell River, it came to handle cargoes of tin, stone, sand and grain. A proper harbour was constructed in 1744 and it was the first port to handle the local china clay.  However, when the Rashleighs built their new port at nearby Charlestown in 1801, Pentewan's Hawkins family owners struggled to keep it open, eventually closing.  The harbour remains intact and still has its sea-lock but access to the sea is blocked.  Remains of industrial buildings moulder to the south of the harbour.  Substantial houses and cottages line the main street.  Walk up Pentewan Hill and follow the coast path sign to find the colonial looking Terrace and a Georgian church.  Behind the beach is a large and orderly looking holiday trailer park.  The beach, owned by the holiday park, is private but public access is granted.  The Ship Inn is a pleasant place, with simple good value food, but gets busy from the holiday park in summer.  Two cafes in the village, one in the holiday park.  The Pentewan Valley Trail follows the White River
A round walk from Pentewan includes woodland, Mevagissey and coast
Pentewan Sands
Off B3273 Mevagissey road from A390 at St. Austell
PENTEWAN UPDATE AUGUST 2011:  There are plans to dredge the blocked channel to the harbour and re-open it as a fishing cove.  ROWS (Revival of Working Sail) is the brainchild of local wooden boat enthusiasts Allan Proctor, Lee Moody and Paul Welch.  They visualise a small fleet of boats, sailing and oared, handlining for fish such as sea bass.  They hope also to establish shore based businesses such as chandler, smokehouse, boatbuilder, sailmaker and blacksmith.  They have the support of Cornwall Council and the owners of the harbour, Pentewan Sands Holiday Park.  I really hope it works, it would be wonderful to see Pentewan come back to real working life again.  JAN 2016 - Nothing happened
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Penzance

First developed as a resort in Victorian times, first impressions suggest that Penzance is not generally very attractive.  However, stray into the streets between the main shopping street and the seafront and you will discover that there are parts well worth seeking out.  Chapel Street is known for its art galleries and antique shops and for its attractive Georgian homes and shops - do not miss the Egyptian House and the Admiral Benbow Inn.  At the top of Chapel Street the old Market Hall is now a bank; outside stands a statue of Humphrey Davy, inventor of the miners' safety lamp.  He looks down Market Jew Street, corruption of the Cornish Marghas Yow or Thursday Market.  Morrab Road and the small streets at its north end are charming as is Regent Terrace and Western Promenade, part of the seafront.  If you like the Newlyn School artists, you should visit Penlee House Gallery near the top of Morrab Road, a first class art gallery and small museum with regularly changing exhibitions and a fine core permanent collection;  also take a look at sub-tropical Morrab Gardens nearby.  If your taste in art is more modern, try the Exchange Gallery in the former telephone exchage building.  A passenger ferry operates from Penzance to the Isles of Scilly and Skybus flies from Newquay and Land's End.   Sadly the helicopter service to Tresco finished at the end of October 2012. 
Just off A30 10 miles before Land's End
The art deco swimming pool on the sea-front
Update 2014: Jubilee pool, pictured here, was severely damaged in winter storms.  Happily, almost £2 million of central governmeent funding has been made available, plus a further £1 million of local funding.  It re-opened in Summer 2016..
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Reviews Contents


Polkerris

What a contrast to Par, just a mile away across St. Austell Bay.  Par is heavily industrial, its waterfront dominated by the vast former china clay works and its associated harbour, and by a holiday park set immediately above the beach.  Polkerris might be another world entirely.  Both are in the old parish of Tywardreath - it means 'House on the Strand' and was the inspiration for Daphne du Maurier's novel.  Polkerris is reached down a narrow steep lane off the road from Par to Fowey.  Parking in the village is non-existent, unless you are a resident or are lunching in the Rashleigh Arms and are lucky enough to get a space in their small car park.  Happily there is a large car park a few hundred yards back up the hill, a clear sign that Polkerris gets very busy in season.  I visited in March 2005, and even then the car park was fairly well used.  The village has a long fishing history, though it no longer has a fleet.  As far back as Elizabethan times, however, it could boast the largest pilchard cellars in Cornwall, still there.  Also there is the harbour wall and quay built by the Rashleigh family, on whose estate, Menabilly, it stood, in the 18th century.  Prosperity didn't last and now Polkerris relies on its pub, cafés and summer visitors.  The Rashleigh Inn is open all year, Sams on the Beach and Polkadot cafés are seasonal. 
Round walk from Polkerris includes Gribbin Head and Reddymoney Cove.
Polkerris village from the quay
Signed from A3082 St. Austell to Fowey
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Polperro

We are not very keen on the commercial aspects of Polperro.  Streets bustling with day visitors almost elbowing one another for room to move;  shops, restaurants and cafés all designed to part them from their money.  We prefer to approach by the coast path from Looe, avoiding the crowds and enjoying the views from above.  We love Polperro's harbour with its small fleet of fourteen working boats, coming and going through a sea-lock which keeps the harbour in permanent water.  Around the harbour are a museum of smuggling and fishing, a fish market, net stores, a stall selling fresh fish and shellfish and two of the better pubs, we have enjoyed the Blue Peter though we also like the look of the Lugger.  At the landward end of the harbour a bridge crosses the little River Pol that feeds the harbour.  Shops and homes back onto it, one of them jettied out over the stream and known as the 'House on Props'.  As there are only fourteen working fishing boats, most fishermen's cottages are now artists studios or holiday homes.  Not a place for busy times but great in the quiet season.  There is no parking in the village itself.  Instead you have to park in a large car park at the head of the valley and walk down or take the bus or horse bus.
Polperro Revisited 2016 below
By B3359 from A390 at Middle Taphouse
Shellfish stall by Polperro Harbour
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Polperro Revisited - 2016
In March 2016 I decided it was high time I revisited Polperro.  I was last there in 2009 and that was only a matter of passing through when nearing completion of my Cornish Coast Path project.  So I was back there on a sunny day in March 2016.  I would have liked to be there at high tide - It always seems to be low tide when I am there - to see the harbour in water but no luck.  I shall have to go back again.  One major problem with that, the extortionate cost of parking:  a minimum charge of £4, a bit strong if you only want to be there for an hour or so.  And for that price you have a half mile walk to the harbour.  Disgracefully Polperro's web site mentions parking but fails to mention the cost.  But then Polperro is generally an expensive place, probably because it has such a captive audience and takes full advantage of its luck. Many of the eating places charge more than their equivalents elsewhere and I found it a little odd that the Polperro Bakery, which had very reasonable take away prices, should charge twice as much to eat in their courtyard.  I made a good choice of eating place, the Old Millhouse Inn, where a masive bacon butty and a good coffee cost me just £5.  Despite my criticism, I think Polperro a lovely, if rather deliberately quaint, village.  It's not a place to visit when the holiday crowds are out in force but a sunny day around high tide in spring or autumn should be ideal. Back to original Polperro entry
The Old Watch House overlooks the harbour
From A38 at Middle Taphouse follow signs for Looe then Polperro
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Porthleven

Porthleven is an attractive small town on Cornwall's south coast, three miles to the south-west of Helston.  The long narrow harbour is a haven to both fishermen and yachtsmen.  It is overlooked on its west side by an attractive pub, the Ship, and on its east side by Bay View, a long curving and very handsome row of Victorian homes, and the clock tower of the Institute, familiar from storm pictures.  Since we first encountered Porthleven things have changed a great deal.  We remember it as being a bit dreary and with almost no activity out of the summer holiday season.  Now it seems to be full of second homes, many of them new but reasonably in character, and many of the former fisherman's cottages are now holiday rentals.  Indeed, along the east side of the harbour, and up Cliff Road towards Loe Bar, restorations and new builds are almost all second homes or holiday rentals.  Eating places in town have improved in response to this change and there are now many more of them.  Latest addition is a fish and chip shop, opened in 2007 by a chatty incomer from Newcastle.  In 2008 we enjoyed a meal from Roland's Happy Plaice, eaten sitting on the harbour wall. A pleasant short walk to the south-east takes you to remarkable Loe Bar.  An attractive and enjoyable place but, like many harbour villages, this gets very busy in summer.  Round Walk from Helston.
Porthleven harbour
Signed by B3304 from A394 west of Helston
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


East and WestPortholland
Between Caerhays and Portloe, tiny twin villages are separated by a small headland.  Part of the Caerhays Estate, most of the cottages are second homes or holiday rentals.  If, when you visit, Portholland looks slightly familiar, you may have seen it in the original Poldark TV series.

The two small pretty coves that make up Portholland
East Portholland from the coast path
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Porthoustock and Porthallow

Jane and I were fascinated by Porthoustock when we visited a few years ago.  Now I have been back I am even more taken with the place.  I was there in November 2005 in the course of a walk that took in St. Keverne, Porthoustock, Porthkerris and Porthallow.  While on Porthoustock beach I had a long chat with retired fisherman Roy Curnow and learned a lot about the locality.  Four miles of coast here is riddled with stone quarries and it is they which have very much determined the character of Porthoustock, Porthkerris and Porthallow.  Beaches have been formed by longshore drift of dark quarry spoil;  that at Porthoustock rose gradually by eight feet when a massive groyne was built with a stone hopper on it to load ships.  Former winch huts are now used for storage, a tractor draws boats up the beach.  An earth mover maintains the height of the beach. Most cottages were once quarrymens homes;  some are still lived in by descendants who make a small living from the sea but many are now second homes.  There is a lovely thatched terrace just up the valley.  West of England quarry still operates but St. Keverne quarry closed in 1958.  Until the 1970s two cotils, small steep south facing fields were used to grow early potatoes, harvested in March or April.  Porthallow, too, is now largely second home territory.  Its claim to fame is as the halfway point on the South West Coath Path.
Boats with Porthoustock's Stone Hopper behind
From Helston, take A3083 and B3293 to St. Keverne and follow signs
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Port Isaac
Jane remembers Port Isaac, from her early childhood, as a quiet remote small harbour village with little activity other than the busy fishing fleet.  It is very different these days, having been discovered not only by the holiday trade but also by the second homers from the big city.  It may now be far busier than she remembers but it is also, thanks to the influx of incomer money, more colourfully attractive.  The old part of Port Isaac is crammed into a tight steep valley leading down to a tiny fishing harbour where crab and lobster are landed.  Do not try to drive down to the harbour;  you will be unable to park there.  You should park in the official car park at the top of the hill and walk down, enjoying the delightful views;  the narrow streets can be very difficult to negotiate in a car, even away from school vacation times.  Small cottages, closely packed together, have white washed or tile hung walls.  There are still fish cellars on the west side of the harbour where you can buy fresh fish and shellfish but the crab and lobster, the main catch, mostly leave the harbour and head uphill for immediate distribution.  Even so, we can strongly recommend the crab.  Since 2004 Port Isaac has become best known as the location for  'Doc Martin', a TV series shot in and around the village;  an odd show, at first comedy, later melodrama and packed with great location shots.
Signed from B3314 from Wadebridge.   Round Walk from Port Quin.
Port Isaac harbour and village from the coast path
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Portloe

Portloe, on the south coast between Gorran Haven and Portscatho, is expensive territory - inhabited largely by wealthy second home owners - and no wonder.  It is a total delight.  To get the best out of just driving through, approach from the east so the steep narrow hill down gives you an overview of the tiny fishing cove.  Leave westwards towards Veryan.  But you will never do Portloe justice by merely driving through.  Instead, approaching from the east, park in the only car park, way up the hill.  Walk its narrow street and enjoy the charming cottages, with a couple of exceptions no longer fishermen's cottages.  Wander down to the cove where you will see evidence of the crab and lobster still caught by the fishermen.  The buildings on the cove are mostly part of the Lugger Hotel, one of Cornwall's best.  Get an expensive but good lunch here (they do have a car park) or walk up the Veryan road for a pub lunch in the ancient Ship Inn.  If you are slightly adventurous, and properly shod, you can enjoy a delightful view from the coast path in either direction.  To the east, walk between the Lugger and its car park, follow the cove, take some steps down, cross a tiny stream and the slipway of the former Lifeboat Station ( now a home with a view) and you will come up onto the coast path.  Continue a little way and you will come to an amazing shack that was once the Coastguard lookout.  There are great views from here.
A round walk from Carne Beach includes Portloe and Veryan
Fishing boats on the hard in Portloe's tiny harbour
Signed from A3078 St. Mawes road, 2 miles south of Tregony
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Port Quin

Port Quin is one of those places that you would be lucky to find if you didn't know it was there, although coast path walkers would encounter it.  Tucked away down a narrow steep lane, not far from the better known Polzeath and Port Isaac, it is a former fishing hamlet on a quiet cove and, except for one cottage, is all owned by the National Trust and mostly let as holiday cottages.  It must have been a bustling little place at one time because one row of cottages was formerly fish cellars for processing the pilchards, once Cornwall's great marine harvest.  Eat at the nearby Port Gaverne Hotel (near Port Isaac) for the excellent local crab sandwiches. If you are walking the coast path in these parts, beware, this section offers some of the toughest walking you will find anywhere along the north coast, with a lot of steep climbs - but it's well worth it for the glorious scenery.  Just south along the coast is tiny Doyden Castle, built around 1830 by Samuel Symons as a high-life retreat and now an unusual National Trust rental;  it was used a Dwight Enys home in the original BBC television series of Winston Graham's Poldark books.  There is a small car park down by the harbour but don't expect to find any other facilities, thanks to the National Trust's policies.
A round walk from Port Quin to Port Isaac and back
Signed from B3314 from Wadebridge
Port Quin, looking up the natural harbour from Doyden
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Portreath

Jane remembers Portreath from wartime when her father used to explain why the village was closed.  When we visited in 2003, I was taken by the long narrow harbour, almost unused, and by postwar housing occupying a level V-shaped section between harbour and cliffs.  Portreath is now a very ordinary down-market little resort, blessed by a safe sandy family beach but I wanted to find out something of its history.  It turns out that it was an 18th and 19th century port, a major player in the tin and copper trade, serving mines around Redruth and Camborne.  An important tramway ran from Redruth and is now part of the Coast-to-Coast Mining Trail.  A steep inclined plane also ran down from the western side.  The port declined in the 20th century and the harbour is now used by a small fishing fleet and by pleasure boats.  In World War II Portreath changed beyond recognition.  The military took over, clearing away warehouses, and the port served a top secret airfield and weapons storage facility high on the east side at Nancekuke.  The warehousing area now has late 20th century housing on it, most of it frankly quite unattractive, while chalets line the cliffs.  The airfield remains closed and teams still search for unspecified but apparently deadly hidden weaponry.  Below, Portreath's Industrial History
A round walk from Portreath includes Tehidy Park and coast.
Portreath from above;  harbour in middle ground
Portreath's Industrial History
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Portreath's Industrial History
At a glance you would be hard put to guess at Portreath's great industrial history.  Nowadays it is a combination of dormitory town for industrial Redruth and Camborne and a scruffy looking small beach and surf resort.  Yet in the past it has been one of Cornwal's most important ports.  The clues are there:  a long well constructed double harbour, a mineral tramway trail that runs to the mine sites and on to Devoran, and the remains of an inclined plane heading steeply south from near the harbour.  Construction of the harbour began in 1760 and by 1800 it was bustling with copper ore heading for South Wales and coal returning.  By 1819 a tramway had been built to bring copper ore from the mines around Poldice and St. Day. In 1836 the Portreath Branchline was built, linking to the important Hayle Railway.  By now ships were being built here, too, and fishing was also important.  The 20th century saw gradual decline.  Tin streaming ceased when the Red River was diverted in 1933.  After WWII the harbour lost its industrial trade and the railway closed.  The harbour became home to just a small fleet of crabbers and to pleasure boats.  The busy industrial area by the harbour was developed for housing.  Few clear signs remain of Portreath's former importance except on the north side of the harbour and in the remains of the Branchline's inclined plane.
Portreath's inner harbour in full water for once
Portreath Branchline Trail and the inclined plane
Return to Portreath
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Portscatho and Gerrans
I have a special affection for Portscatho because that's where Jane lived for many years.  She still has good friends there are likes to visit from time to time, often for charity coffee mornings.  When she went in late July 2007 I went with her and wandered around taking photographs - what else?  I was particularly pleased with the somewhat atmospheric one on the left, of the harbour with a distant view of Nare Head and the Dodman.  Portscatho is really two villages that have become joined as thay have expanded.  Down by the water and along the cliff is Portscatho.  Above, originally straggling along the road to St. Anthony Head, is Gerrans, where the church and the Victory pub are.  There is still a garage there but the shop and tearooms are gone.  Activity has largely migrated down the hill to Portscatho where, partly supported by second and holiday homes, are the Plume pub, a general stores, a couple of art galleries (representing the small colony) and a tea shop.  Portscatho harbour remains intact but I doubt if there is any commercial fishing;  instead small leisure boats fill the little harbour.  Despite visitors there is a strong sense of community and gardens are opened for charity on a day in summer.  There is some good walking.  A path leads down to Polingey creek and the Percuil river.  The coast path to Portloe is of moderate grade;  to  St. Anthony Head is easy.
A round walk from Porth Farm includes Percuil, Gerrans and Portscatho
 Portscatho's small harbour and the view to Nare Head
 Signed from A3078 St. Mawes road
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Poughill
Poughill -pronounced Puffle, is tucked away on a quite lane, leading to Northcott Mouth, on the north side of Bude.  It is a steep village and the lane is narrow but, fortunately, there is a good sized car park below the church.  There are some attractive cottages, particularly Church Cottage and St. Olaf's Cottage.  St. Olaf's Church, dedicated to the Nowwegian King and Martyr, stands on a knoll, perhaps suggestive of an ancient site.  The (unused) oak tower door has an impressive surround.  The porch, in it a slate memorial in Latin, has an ancient studded oak door.  Inside, wagon roofs have carved bosses.   The frescoes of St. Christopher are a remarkable survival;  whitewahed at the Reformation, they were rediscovered in 1894.  The elaborately carved pulpit is unusual for its open fretwork.  A wall plaque commemorates Sir Goldsworthy Gurney, Wadebridge doctor, builder of Bude Castle, inventor of a fast steam road carriage, whose limelight lighted the houses of Parliament for 60 years.  As at Kilkhampton, there is a fine collection of early bench ends.  The attractive looking Preston Gate Inn, which also calls itself a café, is open 11 to 11 every day and does interesting sounding food lunchtime and evening.  Produce is mostly local and there are fish and chips on Friday, roasts on Sunday and the occasional curry evening.
From A39, N of Stratton, follow signs for Stibb abd Poughill
Poughill Church
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Poundstock
Less than half-a-mile from the busy A39, the so-called Atlantic Highway, Poundstock is a remarkable little hamlet.  A lane loops through it from the A39 but otherwise goes nowhere.  Yet this was once an important place, mentioned in Domesday Book but in existence as a manor for long before that.  Even if you include nearby Trekinnard and Bangors the population is tiny yet the impressive church, set in a lovely sloping churchyard, might seem to belong to a much larger village than this.  The church as it is today dates largely from the fifteenth century, though there are scant Norman remains.  It is dedicated to St. Winwaloe;  can this really be the same Winwaloe as on the Lizard, at Towednack and at St. Germans?  Confusingly, a nearby well is dedicated to St. Neot, as in Bodmin Moor.  There are some treasures inside:  a late Norman font, an octagonal Jacobean pulpit, a panel from the original rood screen, a 16th century chest, parts of a wall painting, saved and exhibited against the north wall, and some early inscribed slate tomb slabs.  Sadly there are almost no bench ends but there is an interesting bench in the chancel.  Perhaps the greatest treasure of all is at the south end of the graveyard, a restored late medieval gildhouse (church hall), the only example in Cornwall.  In the churchyard are more early inscribed slate tomb slabs.  St Neot’s Well is off a track that heads NNW to Great Wanson.  Up the lane to Bangors is a large free car park.
Round walk Poundstock to Penfound.  Round walk Penhalt Cliff via Poundstock.
Gildhouse and Church at Poundstock
From A39 at Bangors go L, sign Poundstock, car park ¼ mile on L
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Praa Sands - Surf and Sand Resort between Helston and Penzance

To us, who live on Cornwall's north coast, surfing automatically means Bude, Newquay's Watergate Bay and Fistral Beach, Porthtowan, Portreath and Whitesand Bay near Land's End.  So, when I walked between Prussia Cove and Porthleven, it was something of a surprise to discover a good surfing beach on the south coast.  The original settlement here was half-a-mile inland at Pengersick where the remnant of a great Tudor fortified manor still stands.  It was the late 19th century advent of the railway in Cornwall that brought Victorian sun seekers in search of good beaches.  In the 20th century a small settlement of holiday chalets grew up above the beach and a holiday park opened.  The village of Praa Sands is not very prepossessing but the beach is glorious.  A curving mile of soft sand stretches from Sydney Cove to Lesceave Rocks.  In the summer this is part family beach holiday territory and part young surfers paradise.  The beach is well served by lifeguards and divided between surfers, bodyboarders and swimmers.  There is a surf shop in the village and a small surf school trains youngsters.  There is ample parking and just above the beach is Beachcombers beach café, a decent pub and a restaurant.
Signed down lane off A394 halfway between Helston and Penzance
Young learner surfers on Praa Sands
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Probus
What sticks most strongly in my mind, and upsets me most, about Probus, is the destruction of the wonderful Demonstration Garden that stood at the east end of the village.  Trelawney Garden Centre of Wadebridge bought the site, complete with garden, with promises to open a garden centre, keeping and improving the Demonstration Garden.  In 2014 they repeated their promise and said the work was just about to start.  Now, in June 2016, there is some action on the site.  What is due to happen is unclear.  I just hope that, in addition to a new garden centre, they will keep their promise about the garden.  At present, the site is a wreck. 
Now to Probus village.  An odd place:  a population of around 2000 but little sign of life when I have been there.  There is a pub, the Hawkins Arms, a restaurant, the Village Bar and Grill, a Fish and Chip shop, an antique centre in a disused Chapel, and a Farm Shop.  The village manages to be relatively unattractive but do note the delightful pictorial bus stop and a nice 1897 Golden Jubilee lamp on Fore Street.  The church, nave, two aisles and impressive 'Somerset' tower, has a fine screen, good pulpit and font and a nice carved pew, but sadly has no carved bench ends.  Best feature of the church is the colourful chancel ceiling .  Outside the east end of the church is an impressive Hawkins tomb, in need of repair.
Colourful chancel ceiling, Probus church
Just off A390 St. Austell to Truro, at roundabout by Trewithen garden
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Redruth
What a change since I first knew Redruth.  I remember it from the 1950s when heavy holiday traffic clogged the main streets and the whole place had an air of poverty and deprivation.  Unsurprising since the town's one-time wealth was based on copper and tin mining.  The collapse of the mining industry might have spelled the death knell for Redruth but, when I took time to walk around in June 2008, after a walk on the Redruth and Chacewater Trail, I was amazed at how attractive a town it now is.  Thankfully, the main east-west street, Fore Street, is now pedestrianised;  along it are a famous clock tower and sculptures of a miner and of dogs made of boots.  Alma Place has the Victorian buildings - the old Miners Exchange and Coffee Tavern and the Cornwall Centre, home to the Tregellas Tapestries, beneath it Market Way and the Buttermarket.  Cross Street nearby is the location of  Murdoch House, once home to Richard Murdoch, who lighted his home with the world's first gas light and built a steam locomotive before Richard Trevithick.  There are handsome homes on West End and in Coach Lane off it.  The mother church, oddly, is almost a mile away at Churchtown, in the shadow of Carn Brea.  A new weekly Farmer's Market operates on Fridays under the clock tower on Fore Street.  Also on Fore Street look out for the striking art deco Regal cinema.
Former King's Arms (left) in Tatey Square
Signed from A30.  Car Parking is mostly to the north of Fore Street
The TIC in Kresenn Kernow, the Cornwall Centre on Alma Place, has a good town guide and two informative trail leaflets.
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Roche
Oddly for Cornwall, the name Roche, pronounced Roach, is neither Cornish nor English but is from the Norman French La Roche, meaning The Rock:  the reason why, to anyone looking at the central photograph below of Roche Rock, will be obvious.  The Cornish name was Tregarrek, meaning "Farm or hamlet by the rock".   It is a large village with a population of around 4000 and it has many of the facilities which go with that:  a couple of pubs, a post office, a primary school, a fish and chip shop, kebabs.  The church is of little interest, except for a fine carved 12th century Pentewan stone font and a tall Cornish Cross in the graveyard.  Just a mile or so away, just off the main A30, is Cornwall Services, a major highway service areas with petrol stations.  In a vast modern building are several food outlets, including Rowe's Bakery, pizza, Macdonalds, Costa Coffee, burgers and hot dogs.  There are also a Saltrock clothing shop, a climbing wall, and a children's 'soft play' area.
 Roche Church
Roche Rock with its hermit's chapel
Roche Cornish Cross 
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Rock, on the Camel Estuary

If Newquay is Cornwall's down-market playground, the Camel Estuary is its distinctly up-market counterpart.  This is where the seriously rich gather - the permanent rich all year, the vacationing rich in the season.  Come here in the summer and you might be in 'Kensington-on-Sea', an impression especially strong a few years ago when the royal princes regularly holidayed with their friends in Rock.  The main activity is sailing and the estuary is often crowded with small boats.  Highlight is when the Cornish Crabbers or the small brown-sailed Drascombe Luggers (working-boat look-alikes) are out.  Windsurfers congregate downstream at Daymer Bay - though not in summer as it's a family beach then - surfers downstream again at Polzeath.  Social life centres around the sailing club, St. Enodoc Hotel and - for the drinkers - the Mariners and the Rock Inn down by the water.  Golfers enjoy St. Enodoc Golf Club, one of Cornwall's best - and most expensive!  During the day coast path walkers cross the water here, by ferry to and from Padstow.  In the evening the foodies cross to Padstow for Rick Stein's famed Seafood Restaurant and several other top spots. One of our favourite short walks takes us from Polzeath via Daymer and across the springy turf to Rock;  a short, and legal, golf course detour takes in St. Enodoc church and the nearby Jesus Well.  See also Porthilly on my Churches page.
 
Rock Beach in July - sorry I missed the Drascombe Luggers
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Ruan Minor
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


St. Agnes

It is amazing what tourism, second homers, coast path walkers and surfers have done for some Cornish towns and villages - St. Agnes more than most.  When Jane first knew it in the 1960s, St. Agnes was a dull, run-down former mining village.  Now it is considerably revitalised, bright and colourful.  Shops seem to flourish - local stores as well as art and craft galleries.  The beach at Trevaunance Cove attracts families and surfers.  Chapel Porth has one of the great beach cafés, with a simple but unusual menu - and their renowned hedgehog ice cream.  Walking is good here, too.  The coast path from St. Agnes to Chapel Porth is one of the most gloriously scenic sections with high cliffs and ruined mine engine houses;  highlight is Towanroath engine house, part of Wheal Coates mine.  Views from the path and from 629 foot St. Agnes Beacon stretch from Trevose Head by Padstow to St. Ives.  And, if you want to walk up a steep hill, try Stippy Stappy, picured on the left.  Tin workings at Blue Hills Sett, above Trevellas Porth, have been restored.  Once tin was streamed in this valley;  the mine closed in 1897 but the Wills family have continued tin streaming.  A short tour of the works demonstrates processes - panning, vanning and jigging!  At the top of town a village museum covers 'Tin Mining, Turtles, Fishing, Folklore'.
Stippy Stappy in St. Agnes
By B34277 from A30 at Chiverton Cross roundabout.    More St. Agnes
More St. Agnes
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


More St. Agnes
I revisited St. Agnes at the end of December 2016, primarily to photograph the Cornish Cross in the churchyard.  First, however, I parked down at Trtevaunance Cove where I chatted to the stonemason, he with high-vis jacket nand tricolour collie in the photo below right.  I then drove back up to St. Agnes village and parked in the donation car park near the museum.  I walked through the village and down Stppy Stappy, the steep street of Georgian cottages.  That made it quite a steep climb back up into the village.  When I reached the church, I got my photo of the Cornish Cross but was, as so often, disapppointed to0 find the church bolted and barred.  In principl;e, I can understand remote rural cgurches being closed by why on earth should the Diocese of Truro allow a church in the middle of a busy village to be closed in the middle of gthe day.  Very unfriendly and, to my mind, most un-Christian!
 St. Agnes church and Bank House
Trevaunance Cove, below St. Agnes
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


St.Cleer
I visited St. Cleer in early October 2016, primarily to look inside the church which I had not done previously.  My only previous visits to St. Cleer had been when doing one of Mark Camp's Bodmin Moor round walks, this walk from Minions including Trethevy Quoit, King Doniert's Stone and the Minons Longstone.  St. Cleer is a couple miles due north of Liskeard and about the same distance south-south west of Minions.  One of Cornwall's finest portal dolmens, Trethevy Quoit, is about 1 mile to the north-east.  While the church is the most noticeable feature of the village, the well house, north-east of the church, down Well Lane, is notable.  The pretty building is 15th century;  alongside it stands a much earlier Cornish Cross.  St. Clarus church, at the top of the hill, is mostly 15th century, restored in the 19th.  By the porch is a small Cornish Cross;  inside the porch is a carved roof boss and, of all things an old plough.  Inside the church are barrel vaulted ceilings, a screen complete with rood, colourful altars, some good stained glass, including one modern window, and a "millennium map" of the parish.  The font is 13th century.  A 1614 slate monument is to Robert Langeford.  Verses from the bible adorn the walls.  There are two pubs in the village, the Stag and the Market Inn.  Behind the church is a fair sized free car park and toilets.
At junction of several minor roads, halfway between Liskeard and Minions
St. Cleer's Holy Well and Cornish Cross
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


St. Columb Major
You may wonder why so short a write-up for St. Columb.  Well, there's not much to say.  It's a long thin town with residential sprawl at one end, industrial at the other.  The main street is so narrow that stage coaches must have had great difficulty getting through - and today's buses avoid the challenge.  Shops are drab and uninteresting and, except in a couple of side streets, there are few attractive buildings.  The old toll house, at the southern end, cries out for restoration.  All I could find to enjoy, apart from the church which I found locked, were the two things pictured here.
The above was written in late 2006.  I revisited in August 2016 during an outing that also included St.Columb Minor and Colan.  In St. Columb Major, as in the others, I was primarily interested in visiting the church which dominates the northern end of the town.  Unusually its two lych gate entrances are both on the church's eastern side.  For a full report on St. Columba's church, go to my Churches page.  For a walk to St.Mawgan and Mawgan Porth set off on Victoria Road, just south of the church.  This becomes Halveor Lane, at the end of which a footpath continues in woods to St. Mawgan., from where you can continue on paths to Mawgan Porth.
Glebe House - dated 1638
Signed from A39 8 miles SW of Wadebridge
The town pump
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


St. Columb Minor and Colan
My early August expedition to the St. Columb area took me first to the hamlet of Colan then, after stops at Porth Reservoir and Melangoose Mill, on my way to St. Columb Major, I decided to go next to St. Columb Minor.  Disappointingly, despite a notice in the porch saying that Colan church was open, it was firmly locked.  There was no-one in the nearby houses who I could ask for a key.  I shall return on another occasion and hope that then Colan church will be open.  St. Columb Minor is very close by so I carried on to it.  The church stands on a prominent mound, probably a pre-Christian site and overlooks the Farmers Arms - perhaps an opportunity for thirsting after righteousness.  I didn't have the time to try the pub but have a look at its web site;  there are several good bargains to be had.  The church is approached by either of two flights of steps, one of them quite steep.  It has nave and two aisles and a tall four stage pinnacled tower.  The interior of the porch is striking with its Gothic door and door arch.  Inside is not very impressive, sadly there are no ancient bench ends, but a nice pulpit has linenfold panelling and there is an attractive tall carved lectern.  There is also a nice modern stained glass window, commemorating Bill and Betty Rodgers.
Signed off A3059, Trekenning Roundabout (on A39) to Neewquay
Farmers Arms. St. Columb Minor
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


St. Day
St. Day is in the Mining Villages Regeneration Project, part of the Mining World Heritage Project;  others are Carharrack, Stithians, Lanner and Gwennap.  There are trail leaflets for each village and its surrounds.  Best is for St. Day, by far the most interesting of the villages.  The name St. Day was acquired when the Breton saint of that name, later Bishop of Nevers, founded a monastic cell here in the late 7th century.  In medieval times it was a stopping point on the pilgrimage to St. Michael's Mount.  In the 19th century it, along with the surrounding Gwennap area, was a major producer of copper.  The mines are gone but the evidence of them is everywhere around.  There are two published trails for St. Day.  The Village Trail includes the ruined church, the narrow-mullioned Manor Workshop, the handsome Clock Tower and the attractive Old Post Office.  Don't miss the old market square, and its attractive new Mills Terrace, or Mills Street, charity housing founded by local success William John Mills.  The Outer Trail includes two shutes (springs), the Parish Pound, a boundary stone, Gwennap Pit and, if the owners of Menheer Farm are in, a Roman milestone.  I like St. Day which is on the Land's End Trail.  My one disappointment about the village is that, when passing through at lunchtime, the pleasant St. Day Inn only seems to be open at weekends.
St. Day's abandoned Old Church
Signed just off A30 at Scorrier
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


St. Dennis
I was last at the church in St. Dennis in July 2008, having walked up on a path due south from Goss Moor.  This time, in December 2016, I drove up to the church, high up a hill north of the village.  My interest was the site itself, the church standing within an iron-age hill-fort, and in the Cornish Cross standing in what may be its original base close to the porch.  On the other side of the porch, oddly, there is an old font, simply removed from the church when replaced and just dumped outside.  Sadly, as so often, I was unable to gain access to the church though, since it was rebuilt in 1847, it is unlikely that mch original survives inside.  A population of around 3,000 has St. Dennis hovering between village and town status.  There is doubt as to whether the village, taking its name from the earlier church, is named for the early Italian Bishop Dionysius or whether it is a corruption of Dinas, the Cornish word for a hill-fort, the church standing within one, high above the village.  In the 1940s, when the china clay industry was booming, St. Dennis boasted a War Memorial Club, Band Club, Football Club and the Plaza Cinema.  In the 1960's it had a Co-op store, three mens hairdressers, a ladies hairdresser, four petrol filling stations and car repair workshops, two schools, two doctors surgeries, a chemist shop, fire station, blacksmith shop, coalyard, two pubs, cobblers shop, two fish and chip shops, two bakeries, two chapels, post office, undertaker, launderette and a furniture showroom.. With the contraction and mechanisation of the china clay industry, some of these businesses suffered and closed but St. Dennis remains an active community with a noteworthy town band.and a fairly informative web site.
Church weathervane
St. Denys church. Note the external tower stair turret 
Churchyard Cornish Cross
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


St. Ewe
I visited St. Ewe, not far from the famed Heligan Garden, at the end of December 2016.  My first purpose was to photograph a Cornish Cross on the road to Gorran Churchtown.  This I found easily, complete with a handy layby and an easily opened field gate.  The cross itself, known as Beacon Cross, was somewhat obscured by hedge growth but I was able to get an acceptable photo.  I then parked in St. Ewe village, again no problem as there is ample church parking.  It is an attractive small village, notable for three things:  a church with a most unusual, for Cornwall, octagonal broach spire;  the remains of what must surely be an old market cross, complete with mounting block on one side;  and a first rate pub, the Crown Inn, which does a superb value fish-and-chip lunch on Fridays.  The church, apart from its spire, disappoints somewhat, the ancient bench ends having been destroyed by the Victorians.  However, there is a good Norman font and fine woodwork in the carved pulpit and elaborate screen.  There are good memorials to William Williams and William Mohun. 
St. Ewe Market Cross
Octagonal Broach Spire
Crown Inn, St. Ewe
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


St. Germans
Tucked away, just off the main Liskeard to Plymouth road, on the tidal River Lynher - but with relatively little obvious access to the water - is the straggling village of St. Germans, once the estate village to Port Eliot house, stately home of the Earls of St. Germans.  As you enter the village, you pass charming Tudor Moyles Almshouses with ambulatories on both floors but the real surprise is the church at the far end of the village.  A cathedral in Saxon times, then an Augustinian priory under the Normans, its domestic buildings are now the heart of Port Eliot house.  The church has two west towers, one square, one octagonal, and a superb Norman west door.  Inside is glass by William Morris and Burne Jones and a grossly 'over-the-top' Eliot memorial by sculptor Rysbrack. Port Eliot house holds a literary festival in summer, proving to be more successful each passing summer.  Until 2008 the house was not open to the public but, as a result of an inheritance tax gift in lieu, it is now open from March to mid-June.  In addition to the house, with its John Soane rooms, its fine furniture and collection of Joshua Reynolds portraits, you can wander freely in 600 acres of gardens and grounds.  The Eliot Arms pub looks attractive and claims fine food but, when we visited the house in March 2008, we had already eaten at the disappointing Crooked Spaniards at Cargreen.
St. Germans Church from the grounds of Port Eliot
By B3249 off A38 near Tideford.     St. Germans revisited 2016.
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


St. Germans Revisited
 
When we visited St. Germans in 2008 it was only to look around Port Eliot House and Garden, a visit we enjoyed, especially for the superb Soane's Room, decorated by the remarkable late Robert Lenkiewicz.  Next time I was there was June 2016 when I wen to look around the rest of the village.  I explored four separate parts of the village, which straggles roughly parallel to the main railway line from London Paddington to Penzance, mostly on its north side but with a western extremity on its south side.  There are two routes down to the river.  First I took Quay Road that leads down to the River Tiddy.  Here are the Sailing Club, some attractive cottages, lime kilns and an impressive view of the railway viaduct.  I then took Old Quay Lane, leading down to the other side of the viaduct.  On the way down I passed an almost hidden well and a stile to nowhere.  At the bottom was Battery Cottage, an impressive collection of cannon in its garden.  Back up in the village, I spent some time in the church, vast but disappointing, then headed for the west end of town.  Here are the unusual but quite striking Moyle's Almshouses, pictured right, Memorial Cottage, commemorating the 6th Earl of St. Germans, clearly a man of many parts, and the Eliot Arms, a pleasant pub with bar snacks at lunchtime and a full restaurant menu in the evening.
Back to St. Germans
Unusual Moyle's Almshouses in St. Germans
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


St. Issey
I visited St.Issey church on a warm and sunny July Saturday, a day when I also managed to visit the churches at St. Merryn and St. Ervan and the remarkable garden of self-proclaimed bard, Ed Prynn, who has erected Prynnhenge in the small garden of his bungalow not far from St. Issey.  St. Issey is a fairly large village by Cornish standards with a population of around 1000.  Its name, a reference to St. Isa or Idi, one of the many evangelising daughters of Welsh King Brychan, was originally Egloscrug, the church on the barrow.  Behind the church, the attractive school building has a camel weathervane. Opposite the church is the Ring o'Bells Inn.  When I was in St. Issey in July 2016 I was delighted to spot a short parade of steam powered vehicles on their way to the Padstow Festival.  St, Issey church was largely rebult in 1891;  happily, many good internal features were retained.  The aisle arches are unusual, coourfully inscribed with biblical sayings.  The font carries lightly carved decoration.  The fine reredos is 14th century and of the local blue Cataclews stone;  Pevsner surrests that it was originally part of a tomb chest.  The Ring O'Bells dates from the 17th century and retains original features.  The  owner has a smallholding nearby, where he rears livestock and grows produce to serve in his restaurant.
The school and church in St. Issey
On the busy A389 Wadebridge - Padstow.  There is a church car park.
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


St. Ives
Cornwall's best known harbour town is on the north coast of West Penwith, just a dozen miles from Land's End.  On its north side is Porthmeor, the surfers beach, above it a good beach café and the Tate Gallery.  Porthminster is on its south side with a bathing beach of golden sand and a rather classy beach café.  Between is The Island, topped by St. Nicholas Chapel and with Porthgwidden beach below, and the tidal fishing and boating harbour.  The pier that encloses the harbour was built by John Smeaton in 1767–70;  at its end stands a small lighthouse.  Behind the beaches and harbour are steep narrow streets crammed with tiny picturesque cottages and loads of art and craft studios, galleries and shops.  Above P:orthmeor beach stands the Tate Modern art gallery.  The artistic connection continues with a Barbara Hepworth Sculpture Garden and galleries with changing exhibitions in the former Mariners Church.  Near the latter is the Sloop Craft Market.  Towards the edge of town, the former Bernard Leach Pottery is now a Pottery Musem.  The harbour front is full of cafes and restaurants - and carry-out Cornish pasty shops and cream teas.  St. Ives may be very touristy but we enjoy its artistic connections - and just wandering.  Parking can be difficult and expensive but, if you arrive early, the car park by the station is quite convenient.

Porthmeor Beach, very much a family beach
St. Ives harbour at high tide
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


St. Just in Penwith

When tin mining prospered here in the 19th century, its population was over 5000.  Then St. Just in Penwith would have been very workaday, its character dictated by the toughness of its workers' occupation. It is more attractive now but, despite recent regeneration, population is only around 4000.  Now that visitors come to see the relics of industry, to enjoy Cape Cornwall and find respite from the rigours of the Cornish Coast Path, St. Just has acquired a couple of teashops and several art galleries and craft shops yet still retains its local shops, butchers, baker etc, and several pubs;  homes look well cared for.  St. Justus church is handsome from outside, thanks to its tower and elaborate porch, and full of interest inside.  Behind Bank Square, in the centre of the town, a circular embanked enclosure is described as a 'plen a gwary' or 'playing place' where the Cornish Ordinalia was performed in medieval times;  however, it is just as likely that its origin was as an iron age settlement enclosure, a typical bank with encircling ditch.  There are several pubs and a pasty shop in the square.  There is a moderate amount of car parking, including some spaces in the square.

Not to be confused with St. Just in Roseland

St. Justus Church
Best by B3306 coast road from St. Ives
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


St. Keverne on the Lizard Peninsula

One of the most attractive villages on the Lizard peninsula, St. Keverne is worth lingering in for its history, its church and its pubs.  I had passed through the village on several occasions on the way to walks but in November 2005 I parked there for a walk to Porthoustock and Porthallow and had time to explore after.  Unlike some Cornish villages, St. Keverne still has the feeling of a real place with a life of its own - to the extent that it can boast a Silver Band and Male Voice Choir and Ox Roast, Carnival and Rodeo festivals.  Eleven miles from the supermarkets of Helston, it has happily managed to retain some shops.  St. Keverne's main historic claim to fame goes back to 1497.  The Cornish had expected that Welsh Henry VII, who claimed the English throne in 1485, would treat his fellow Celts well and at first he did.  Then heavy taxes were imposed to support Henry's Scottish wars, a matter the Cornish felt no concern of theirs.  A Cornish force, led by Lord Audley, Michael Joseph the St. Keverne blacksmith and Thomas Flamank, a Bodmin lawyer, marched on London to be routed by Henry's army at Blackheath.  Joseph and Flamank were cruelly executed.  Their memorial is by the lych gate, their statue up the Helston road.  Of the two pubs I particularly like the Three Tuns, where I have been made very welcome by landlord and locals. 
Round walks from Coverack and from Porthoustock include St. Keverne.
Three Tuns pub, lych gate and Temperance House 
By A3083 and B3293 from A394 at Helston
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


St. Kew
St. Kew is the 'churchtown' of an extensive but little populated parish in North Cornwall.  Now of little importance, except for its excellent eponymous hostelry, in medieval times it was a centre of some importance.  The names of its relatively few buildings bear witness to this former importance.  The church of St. James the Great - an unusual dedication - is believed once to have been the site of a Celtic monastery and indeed is apparently mentioned as early as the 6th century.  Consisting of nave, two aisles and a tall three stage tower, it is noteworthy for its three wagon roofs, its stained glass (much admired by Pevsner), its original rood stairs, its much later elaborate rood screen, its elaborately carved font.  There is a handsome pulpit, remains of a lantern cross and an unusual stone carved in Latin and Ogham scripts.  Outside is a tall but damaged Celtic Cross and elaborate triple bank of steps up from the road.  Adjacent is the admired St. Kew Inn, itself probably originally of the 15th century;  a fairly elaborate evening menu is counter-balanced by simpler lunchime snacks.  Southeast of the inn is the large former vicarage.  Other interesting buildings include The Barton, Barton Farm and The Grange.  John Alden includes a walk from St. Kew in his iwalkcornwall but when I tried it stiles were almost impassable for mud and barbed wire.
The hansdome St. Kew Inn
Signed from St. Kew Highway on the A39 Wadebrisge to Camelford road.
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


St. Mabyn
Jane and I had been in St. Mabyn on several occasions but only to lunch at the excellent St. Mabyn Inn, where we have entertained friends and relatives more than once.  On this occasion in September 2016 I was having quite a saints day. Before St. Mabyn, I visited St. Teath for the first time and later stopped in St. Tudy to have a thorough look inside the church.  Oddly, the most attractive buildiing in the village is the combined Post Office, Stores and Tea Room, situated behind the church.  The pub, despite its reputation, is not very much to look at but it is attractive inside with a good comfortable bar and a handsome dining room.  The food when we were last there was first class.  I spent some time in the church but first I spotted a Cornish Cross at the eastern end of the churchyard.  The church exterior is typically Cornish with nave, two aisles and a three stage pinnacled tower.  As you enter, you are greeted (or, at least, I was) by a colourful St. Mabena banner where you might expect St. Christopher.  Inside are three fine wagon roofs with carved bosses.  Rood stairs remain intact though, of course, the rood loft is long gone.  The font, which Pevsner suggests is of Purbeck stone, dates from Norman times.  Sadly, chairs have replaced the pews so, in this intance no chance of any carved bench ends, though the choir stalls are attractive.
St. Mabyn Post Office, stores & tea room
Sep 2016: At the time of writing, St. Mabyn Inn is up for sale at just under £1 million.  Wow!
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


St. Mawes

Rock, on the Camel Estuary on Cornwall's north coast, is the sailing village that gets all the attention from the media, perhaps partly thanks the well-connected youngsters who holiday and party there in summer.  St. Mawes has always been a great deal more discreet but has always been a home for serious wealth.  It is a bright and colourful sailing village with white-washed cottages under slate roofs - and a little thatch - with flowers everywhere enhancing its charms.  Above the village one of Henry VIII's coastal castles looks across Carrick Roads to its twin atop Pendennis Point high above Falmouth.  On Upper Castle Road, above St. Mawes Castle a sign points to Lamorran House Garden, a delight open two days in week in summer.  Hotels abound;  of these, Tresanton is undoubtedly the best, the Idle Rocks next best, while the Rising Sun is an attractive inn.  Pub afficianados will enjoy the Victory Inn.  Walkers who enjoy a garden should park by the castle and follow the water north to find the tiny village of St. Just with its delightful churchyard garden.  Ferries run from St. Mawes, one crosses Carrick Roads to Falmouth, the other crosses the Percuil River to Place on the St. Anthony peninsula.
A shortish round walk from St. Mawes includes St. Just-in-Roseland.
By A3078 from A390, 6 miles east of Truro
Thatched cottages on Marine Parade
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


St. Mawgan
On a sunny day in February 2006 Jane and I parked down at Mawgan Porth and walked the couple of miles up the valley to St. Mawgan village - officially Mawgan in Pydar - primarily to visit the Japanese Garden there and have lunch in the Falcon Inn.  We enjoyed much more than just the garden.  The walk up from the coast is an easy and pleasant one, first along the open valley, than gently up through light woodland.  The village is charming, the garden pleasant and the Falcon Inn and the nearby tearooms good.  Cottages in the village are immaculate and expensive looking.  The church, mostly of the 13th to 15th centuries, has an impressively pinnacled tower, a 20th century lych gate and a much admired lantern cross near the porch.  Inside are 15th century bench ends, some brasses and, surprisingly, a rood screen and loft.  Behind the church, the big house is Lanherne, once seat of the Arundell family of Trerice.  The male line died out in 1701 and in 1794 the house was given to Carmelite nuns;  apparently it is still a convent but of a different order.   Opposite Lanherne's entrance a farm has a charming range of small buildings, best seen from up the hill.  We had a light lunch in the attractive Falcon Inn, excellent soup and rich garlic bread, with a large fire blazing nearby and a wedding party lunching in the dining room.
A round walk from St. Mawgan includes Mawgan Porth and Lanherne Vale
St. Mawgan's handsome church
St. Mawgan revisited.    St. Mawgan's Japanese Garden
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


St. Mawgan Revisited
After visiting St. Newlyn East at the end of June 2016, I spent an hour or so in St. Mawgan. I had not previously been round the church and, as June seems to have been my month for churches, thought I should concentrate on the church.  My timing was good as, soon after I left, a weddding was to begin.  These days, thanks partly to the enthusiasm of one of Jane's friends, Sue Holman, I have started looking out for Cornish Crosses.  In the churchyard here, I found three quite different - a conventional cross, a wheel cross and a lantern cross - and what looked to me like a separate cross base.  Inside the church, the screen is bare of infilling but still has some fine carved detail.  There is a good collection of carved bench ends, many of them 15th century, and the 16th century pulpit has carved panels showing the Suffering of Jesus.  The Lady Chapel, where a panel of the stained glass window depicts St. Mawgan, has an unexpected and very fine collection of brasses, including a wall panel of copies.  The screen has a central arch with two gilded angels supporting a shield representing the Arundell and Carminow families. On the Chancel side is a fragment of a much older carving of men and animals.  The font is unuual, late Norman with zig-zag moulding round the rim, four heads as capitals and coloured stone support columns.  A slate coat of arms remembers members of the Vyell family, also commemorated at St. Breock
Back to main St. Mawgan entry       Even more St. Mawgan
St. Mawgan church from the south-east
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


And Even More St. Mawgan
I was back in St. Mawgan again in early January 2017.  This time I was there to explore parts that I had previously missed.   I parked in the large public car park, behind the shop and the Falcon Inn, and walked round the church and up the steep hill towards Newquay Airport.  Some way up the hill I turned left along a track with handsome Lanherne Barton and its old barn on my left.  I followed the track up right.  At the end I came to the Convent Tree House, an interesting timber cottage, one story below track level.  Back then to Lanherne Convent and attached Church to find, directly to the SSW of the tower of St. Mawgan Church, a fine example of a Cornish Cross, crucified figure within a wheel-head, Celtic type carving on the shaft and a Saxon inscription at the bottom rear.  High up, along the wall leading to the Convent are representations of the Stations of The Cross.  Just before you bear left to the Convent Church and the Cornish Cross, there is a Marian Shrine on the edge of woodland.  Should you be using Cornwall Council's Intractive Mapping Website, the cross appears to be shown in slightly the wrong place.  In fact, it is in the loop of path just NE of the letters PW.  After I had finished there, I enjoyed a good fresh coffee in front of the fire in the Falcon Inn.
Cornish Cross by Convent Church
The Convent and its Church, Cross right foreground
Number 11 of Stations of the Cross
Back to main St. Mawgan entry
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


St. Neot on the southern edge of Bodmin Moor
What surprises me about St. Neot is that it gets so few visitors.  It seems to have everything a village could want:  lovely rural location on the southern edge of Bodmin Moor, a church with the finest stained glass in Cornwall, good food and atmosphere in the London Inn, a village shop and post office, a village hall and institute, even a primary school.  And clearly there is a very strong sense of community, if the vast number of village clubs, organisations and activities is anything to go by.  It also boasts a good web site, well worth having a look at.  It received an award in 2004 as Village of the Year, and another in 2006 as Village of the Decade.  It must be a good place to live.  And it even has a small free car park!  The village's most notable feature is the outstanding church in the Gothic Perpendicular, outside several good Cornish crosses, inside some superb stained glass.  There are some handsome homes, notably Carlyon House and Coskenyn.  Tucked away is Doorstep Green, a charming public garden, complete with statue of St. Neot himself.  A holy well, restored in 1862 is in a field on the north bank of the River Loveny.  A charming place altogether and, if walking the Copper Trail, you can stay overnight in the London Inn (was closed, should [2016] have re-opened) or any of several B&Bs;  do allow time to investigate St. Neot thoroughly.
St. Neot in the early winter mist
Signed from A38 between Bodmin and Liskeard
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


St. Newlyn East
On a dull Saturday in late June 2016 I made a couple visits in the general area of Newquay - but inland.  One was to re-visit St. Mawgan - or Mawgan in Pydar - while this one was effectively a first visit to St. Newlyn East.  I say effectively first because, although I had been there once before, that was only to collect Jane from a 'Ladies What Lunch' date.  The village centres around several cross-roads with its heart at Churchtown where the church of St. Newlina, the Pheasant Inn and the well known butcher L. George, are.  The church consists of nave, south aisle, north and south transepts, porch and three-stage battlemented and pinnacled tower.  A south lych gate leads to he porch and is flanked by old gravestones, a massive holly trunk growing through two.  To the right of the porch a fig tree grows out of a wall.  As you enter the porch, a gilded statue of St. Newlina stands above the door.  Inside there are carved screens to chancel and adjacent chapel and a fine colourful ceiling to the chancel.  There is an excellent collection of bench ends, some topped by heraldic figures.  The carved font has coloured stone columns.  The usual royal arms are of painted plaster. There is stained glass by Kempe and a 1691 monument to Lady Margaret Arundell.  South of the church is L. George, renowned local butcher, whose products are served at the Pheasant Inn, where I enjoyed coffee.
Simplest approached from A3075 Newquay - Chiverton X, just N of Rejerrah.
The Pheasant Inn, St. Newlyn East
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


St. Teath
I had driven through St. Teath on a number of occasions, most particularly when heading for the general area of Trebarwith and Trewarmet, on one occasion when preparing an item on Prince of Wales Engine House, on others when doing round walks from Jeffreys Pit, one taking in Delabole Quarry, another including well known Trebarwith Strand.  On this occasion my expedition was first to revisit St. Tudy to have a detailed look around its church, then to explore St. Teath.  This is a slightly difficult village;  a narrow road winds through it with little in the way of pavement and there is little in the way of parking unless you can justify using the vast car park of the White Hart Inn.  The obvious focus of the village is the church but there are also some attractive cottages up lanes to the south of the church.  Opposite the pub a small square is dominated by a clock tower;  behind it is the church on a raised circular site, probably of prehistoric significance.  The church is dedicated to St. Tetha, thought to be one of the twenty four daughters of Welsh King Brychan.  The church consists of nave, two aisles and a three stage tower.  Inside are handsome roofs with carved bosses, a carved pulpit bearing a coat of arms, carved choir stall fronts, some good bench ends and a font that appears to be of blue elvan stone.  A church hall, on the edge of the churchyard, now operates as a snooker hall. 
Old AA sign on the wall of the White Hart
At Knightsmill on A39 N of Wadebridge, follow St. Teath sign roughly west
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


St. Tudy
We drove through St. Tudy many years ago, found it charming, and promised ourselves we would return to take a closer look.   It took a long time but eventually we were back there for a Village Gardens day in July 2006.  We should have been there a long time ago, it must be the most attractive inland village in Cornwall and, to judge by its former web site, one with a great sense of community, despite the large number of incomers.  In fact, much as some Cornish may dislike the idea - because of the unfortunate effect on property prices in a low wage area - it is the incomers who have made St. Tudy so attractive.  The shape of the village is unusual, dictated by the seven or eight lanes that converge at its centre.  The church is inevitably at the heart of the village, attractive from the outside but sadly over-restored inside.  At its east end is the 17th century 'clink', first an ale-house, then the village lock-up, later a school.  Close to the church is a small school, a post office and village stores, and the St. Tudy Inn (we have yet to try it but it is unattractive from the outside).  What more could a village want in these days of ghost villages.  Around the fringes of the large parish are several manor houses, the most famous of these being Tinten, birthplace of Admiral Bligh 'of the Bounty'.     St. Tudy Church
Round Walk from St. Tudy includes fields, woodland and Weatherham.
Signed from A39 between Wadebridge and Camelford
St. Tudy's 17th century village 'clink'
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


St. Winnow

Best approached, as on the walk below, by following the Rivers Lerryn and Fowey, through broadleaf Ethy Wood and more coniferous Middle Wood.  And best of all, approached in late spring when the bluebells and wild garlic proliferate, shown off at their best by the delicate new greenery of Ethy wood.  St. Winnow is a tiny hamlet:  just a church, a small boatyard, a couple of farms (one selling organic meats and cream teas) and a former boathouse converted to a holiday home.  The setting on the River Fowey is idyllic.  The church stands where St. Winnoc (some think him the same as Winwaloe) is said to have founded an oratory in around 670AD.  Inside are the usual Cornish wagon roofs and some charming and unusual medieval bench ends, including a ship in full sail and a Cornishman in a kilt!  There is some stained glass and the 16th century rood screen has been restored.  Outside, elaborate Cornish crosses remember several Barons Vivian, local landowners.  We have enjoyed cream tea from a seasonal snack shack by the farm before the return leg through the National Trust's Ethy estate.  On the way you pass interesting St. Winnow Mill, which worked right up until 1940.  The miller's house, listed Grade II is nearby but not very visible.  Another mill, Notts Mill, halfway down the valley, on an alternative route, is now a private house.  St. Winnow is included in a round walk from Lerryn.
St. Winnow church overlooks the River Fowey
East bank of Fowey River, best approached from Lostwithiel
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Seaton
Previously, I had only been in Seaton when passing through walking the Cornish Coast Path and had paid it little attention except to be surprised by the greyness of the beach.  This time I made a proper visit in February 2016 in order to see what it really looked like and to find out what I thought of it.  Seaton is a strange place, unlike anywhere else I know on the Cornish coast.  You automatically think of Cornwall's beaches as being sandy and golden;  not Seaton's which is of rounded slate stones, blue-grey in colour.  The little River Seaton, which rises only 10 miles or so away, on the fringes of Bodmin Moor, not far from Minions, bisects the beach.  Not surprisingly, rising in mining territory, the little river has suffered from bad copper and aluminium pollution.  Presumably it is this mineral pollution that has led to to blue-grey colour of the beach and its shingle.  The last two miles of the river's course is through Seaton Country Park;  you can walk through it for 2 miles to Hessenford.  Views from the beach are to Looe to the east, Rame Head to the west.  Surprisingly, there are three places for refreshment in the little village:  a good beach café with an extended outside undercover seating area, the excellent value Smugglers Inn (note pensioners and fish and chips prices) and Waves, a fairly new glass fronted café-bar, overlooking the beach.
From A38, E of Liskeard, take B3252 by Widegates, Hessenford to Seaton
Looking to Rame Head from Seaton Beach
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Sennen Cove
When I was in Sennen Cove in poor weather in 2004 and 2005 I was distinctly unimpressed.  I was back again in sunny weather in April 2008 and my view is now a little more favourable, though it's still not really my kind of place.  What Sennen Cove is is very much a family holiday destination for its superb beaches in Whitesand Bay, the main beach running all along the village and continuing north to become Gwynver Beach (not very easily acccessible).  It is also a top surfing destination with the inevitable surf shops and beach café, this one called The Beach.  When passing through on a walk from Land's End in April 2008, I enjoyed some excellent sweet potato soup, sitting on the terrace in the sun, watching families on the beach and surfers trying to ride disappointing waves.  There is also an acceptable pub, the Old Success, and some other cafés and restaurants, including fish and fish and chips.  The well known First and Last pub is not down at the cove but on the main road to Land's End.  For more information about facilities try Sennen's website - informative but slightly confusing.  And, if they are still up, you should take a look at the remarkable images taken during the storm of 10th March 2008;  some are quite amazing and one appeared in national newspapers. 
Fishing boats drawn up on the hard in the small harbour
Sennen Cove is signed off A30 a couple of miles before Land's End
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Stratton
As Stratton is close to the English border, you might expect the name to mean "the settlement on the (Roman) road".  However, it derives from the little River Stret and means "the valley of the river Neet or Stret".  Knowing Stratton previously only as somewhere to pass through on the way to North Devon or to Holsworthy, I was pleasantly surprised when I parked in the free car park on the Holsworthy road and walked up the hill to the church.  First, I took photos of attractive Thistledown and Tudor Cottages and of Bridge Cottages across the road.  Then I climbed steep Old Post Office Hill through simple Rattenbury Gardens and past the ancient Tree Inn, continuing on up Fore Street to Church Street, a War Memorial, more attractive cottages (see right) and St. Andrews Church.  As you approach the church from the lych gate you see a striking (unused) tower entrance, a small statue of St. Andrew above it.  Inside is a "clink" door from a former prison.  The roofs have carved bosses.  There is an elaborate screen, a carved pulpit and an unusual modern brass font cover.  Unlike nearby Kilkhampton and Poughill, there are almost no carved bench ends,  The Civil War Battle of Stamford Hill took place on 16 May 1643, just off the lane to Poughill;  a Royalist army under Hopton defeated Chudleigh's Parliamentarian troops.
At Stratton on A39, N of Bude, go R on Holsworthy Road.  Car Park on L.
Upper Ring of Bells Cottage
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Talland and Porthallow
The nearest I had previously been to Talland and Porthallow was when walking the Cornish Coast Path between Polperro and Looe in April 2010.  The path passes through the two coves of Talland Bay;  the tiny villages of Talland and Porthallow [not to be confused with Porthallow on the Lizard] are up a steep hill inland from Talland Bay.  There are some attractive cottages in the villages and the child and dog friendly Talland Bay Hotel in Porthallow village is strongly recommended for its location and lunchtime light food.  The church of St. Tallanus is in Talland village.  It's a most unusual church, set into a steeply sloping graveyard.  As you enter the porch, the body of the 13th to 15th century church, uniquely dedicated to St. Tallanus, is to your right, the detached tower is up steps to your left.  Inside are some good memorials and a very fine collection of carved bench ends, mostly of the 16th century.  Down in the bay, one cove has a car park and beach café, the other a large car park, at its top, behind Smugglers Cottage, the Smugglers Rest café.  We visited in 2015, between Christmas and New Year.  Car parks and toilets in the coves were closed for the winter.  There is a path between hotel and beach but we opted to drive the steep hill between the two.  The hotel was dressed inside and outside to entertain children in the festive season. It entertained us, too.
Talland Bay Hotel with Christmas Budgies
Turn S from A38 at East Taphouse, through Pelynt then S on minor lane
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Tintagel

At first we hated Tintagel as an awful tourist trap.  Now we know it better we find we can ignore the tat and concentrate on the interest.  Most people come to seek King Arthur and his Tintagel Castle.  For that, park in the designated car park, walk to the Island, climb it, enjoy the views and drink your fill of history, real or mythical.  Dedicated Arthurians will also look almost opposite the National Trust's Old Post Office for King Arthur's Halls, an odd mix of Pre-Raphaelite mythology and modern audio-visual.  The Old Post Office is really a small 14th century manor house, used in Victorian times as the local mail receiving office.  Away from the village, high on cliffs to the west, St. Materiana's church is worth seeing in its own right close by are ravishing coastal views.  On the way there, look out for the Vicarage;  enter its ancient gatehouse to find a simple chapel, once a 13th century cottage;  look over its garden wall for a medieval dovecote.  We enjoy Tintagel for all these things and now think it a shame that most people are unable to see beyond the tourist traps.  The village has improved greatly (it cost £2.4 million) but shops, cafés and restaurants are still mostly aimed at the worst end of the tourist trade and almost all rely on the Arthurian connection. Our preferred eating place is the Olde Malthouse Inn.
The Old Post Office, really a 14th century manor
From A39 at Camelford, take B3266 and B3263.      More Tintagel
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Tintagel Revisited
I was back in Tintagel at the end of January 2017, this time for a walk with Bob, my neighbour when we lived on the other side of the river.  We did a walk that I have done many times before, though I have to admit that, in my 80th year, I no longer find the coast path as easy as I once did.  I had remembered this particular section as fairly level and grassy.  How memory plays tricks;  it is quite up-and-down with some relatively rocky bits in one or two places.  Nonetheless, I coped OK with the coastal bit and found the inland return no problem, though one or two stiles are by nor means entirely easy.  The return route, past Trevillick Farm, brought us out on Church Road.  Just a few yards down the hill I was able to show Bob, who used to live locally, a couple of things he didn't know existed - Fontevreux Chapel and the massive dovecot in the Vicarage garden.  We then visited the Church of St. Materiana which, although I had been in it before, I had paid little attention to previously.  Although they may have been there before, new to me were the St. Christopher, St. Materiana and Virgin and Child statues on the north wall.  I was pleased to get a photo of the "Roman Stone" commemorating the Emperor Gaius Flavius Valerius Licinianus Licinius - quite a mouthfulBob, away on his narrow boat much of the year, wants to visit Altarnun and East Moor next.
Roman Stone
As you approach Tintagel on B3263, take a rough track leading to the church
St. Materiana Statue
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Tregony
Tregony is a less than 10 miles from Truro but a world apart.  Rather like Grampound it is virtually a one-street village and is on a hill.  However, its hill is a great deal steeper than Grampound's, climbing altogether about 200 feet in its half-mile length from the River Fal at the bottom to St. Cuby's Church and the Primary School at the top.  At one time the River Fal was navigable all the way up to Tregony, 15 miles from the sea.  In those times it was an important port.  In the early 17th century King James I gave Tregony free borough status and it was entitled to return two elected representatives to Westminster; no longer of course.  Tregony lost its importance thanks essentially to the silting up of the River Fal, due primarily to run off from the chia clay pits and tin mines  It is however a delightful village; or is it a small town?  It certainly has some of the attributes:  Anglican church, Methodist chapel, post office, shop, primary school, and pub, the excellent Kings Arms.  Fore Street is lined with attractive cottages, looking 18th century, and there are a few Victorian villas.  Notable features include the clock tower, the small square with its parish water pump, and its galleried almshouses, pictured left.  These were built in 1896 by M.P. Hugh Boscawen and greatly restored in 1895.  Their purpose was "to house poor housekeepers, who must be over sixty and have lived in a 2 mile radius of Tregony for 2 years". 
Tregony's late 17th century almshouses
Signed from A390 St. Austell to Truro, between Probus and Tresillian
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Treslothan
When I walked from Beacon to Clowance on the Land's End Trail, I was really surprised by Treslothan hamlet.  All very grey and Victorian gothic but all most beautifully maintained.  This was the estate village of nearby Pendarves House and survived intact when the Georgian home of the Pendarves family was demolished in 1955.  All built in the 1840s by architect George Whitwick, the church, houses and former school are all of the same silvery grey granite and surround a war memorial.  Contrast the number of names on the memorial with the smallness of the village;  these must all have been workers on the large but dispersed Pendarves estate.  Next to the church is the Pendarves Mausoleum.   Buried in the churchyard is self-taught Camborne born poet John Harris.  On a corner by woods is the former village well. From here a footpath heads roughly south, first passing the former village school, now a private home, then continuing through fields and woods to the road from Troon to Carwynnen.  If you are visitingCarwynnen Quoit, re-erected in 2014 by the Sustainable Trust, this is as good a route to take as any, turning right on the road towards Carwynnen for a short distance, then right through a gate into a field.  Immediately inside the gate is a good storyboard;  the quoit is across the field.
1 mile west of Troon by country lanes
The war memorial in Treslothan
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Trethevey and Trevalga
A walk from Boscastle in January 2008 took in Trevalga hamlet, Trethevy village, St. Nectan's Glen and Forrabury church.  Trethevey I remember from my early days of touring when I looked unavailingly for Trethevy Quoit there.  So imagine my surprise when I found at the roadside 'King Arthur's Quoit', a massive flat rock said to have been hurled there by Arthur from Tintagel Castle but possibly once the capstone of a real qouit.  In the village on the other side of the road I was pleased to find St. Piran's Chapel and Well but the garden with the Roman milestone was closed.  Trevalga I researched after hearing from a German who holidays in Cornwall.  A charming hamlet, its last Lord of the Manor, Gerald Curgenven, left it in 1959 to a trust managed by his old school, Marlborough College.  It's six farms are now just two and its important buildings are away from the hamlet - the Manor House on the cliffs, the Rectory half-a-mile inland.  My walk included the following:  Forrabury church is of little interest, except for its font and Cornish cross, but leave the north-west corner of the churchyard and you are on Forrabury Stitches, a medieval field system maintained by the National Trust.  Forget about St. Nectan's Glen, it is gloomy and the owners of The Hermitage want £3.50 (2008) to see the famous waterfall!   Round walk - Boscastle, Trevalga, Forrabury
'King Arthur's Quoit' on the roadside at Trethevey
The church on its mound in Trevelga hamlet
UPDATE AUGUST 2010: Possible disastrous news!  Due to a legal anomaly in the formation of Marlborough College's charitable trust, Trevalga estate has to be sold.  Apparently it will be marketed for somewhere around £10 million.  Not surprisingly, the tenants are unhappy.
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Troon
Although I had been near Troon - south of Camborne - on several occasions when seeking mining relics in the area, it was not until August 2007 that I actually drove through the village.  On my way from Carwynnen Quoit to King Edward Mine, I found myself in what I think is Treslothan Road, part of the Pendarves Estate mining settlement.  Although I know nothing else about the village - except that it boasts (or certainly has in the past) a great cricket team, I was so struck by the lovely terraced cottages and their long front gardens that I had to include an image of the street.
Troon - former miners' cottages in Treslothan Road
2 miles south of Camborne, by the road past the railway station
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Truro

One of England's smallest cities stands where three streams meet to become the Truro River.  From early times Truro was important, its port serving Cornwall's tin and copper trades - the Coinage Hall in the middle of the city is a reminder of those days.  By 1130 it had a royal charter, was a stannary town, regulating the tin trade, and had prosperous merchant guilds.  The port has gone but Truro is now county town of Cornwall with a cathedral.  It is an attractive small city with a confusing street pattern, some fine Georgian terraces, attractive back-streets and alleyways, some pleasant parks and gardens and handsome old granite buildings.  There is a daily 'Pannier Market' on Lemon Quay, and two farmer's markets.  Shopping is good and there are many good restaurants, cafés and pubs.  Hall for Cornwall hosts theatre and music.  We have attended a number of concerts there;  seating is good but sound balance can vary.  Best hotel is The Alverton, a comfortable country house only a few hundred yards from the centre of town. If you feel like exploring further on foot, you can follow the river for a couple of miles to Malpas, where the Heron Inn (there is a heronry in the woodland along the river) serves good food.  Alternatively, you could take the water-bus which runs to Malpas, Trelissick and Falmouth.  A mile from from Malpas, on foot along the creek (sometimes a little muddy in places), is the charming little settlement of St. Clement.
The Triple Spires of Truro Cathedral
 At the junction of A39 to Falmouth and A390 from St. Austell
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Tywardreath
On a sunny day in late April 2016 I had an outing to the south coast to visit Carlyon Bay - to look at progress on "The Beach" (none) - Par Beach and Polkerris.  On the way I stopped off in Tywardreath which, when passing throughI had always liked the look of, but had never spent time in.  The name, borrowed by Daphne du Maurier, translates as "The House on the Beach (or Strand)".  As with most Cornich villages, the main feature is the church. St. Andrew's is set in a large sloping churchyard, full of wild flowers when I saw it.  Consecrated in 1347, the tower and south aisle were added in 1480.  Outside, to the left of the porch, loose stones include remains of a column that guided travellers across the estuary.  Inside are Rashleigh memorials, a wagon roof withcarved bosses, a decorated 14th century font, a carved pulpit which seems to have been made from either bench ends or part of the former screen, small remains of that screen and some fine bench ends (see the church's Visitors Guide for interesting explanations of these.  The village has wide streets with some handsome houses and a pub, the New Inn.  Halfway down Well Lane, the well has been sealed off.  A little way down the lane on the right is the handsome, and quite unusual, Methodist chapel, still in use.  Further down, another former chapel is now a day nursery.
Tywardreath's active Wesleyan Chapel
Just north of A3082 St. Austell to Fowey road
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Veryan

A charming little village on the Roseland peninsula, not far from tiny Portloe harbour, Veryan comes in two parts.  Veryan itself has a pub, a church, a post office and stores and a lovely garden.  Half-a-mile north-east is Veryan Green.  Both are notable for their pairs of thatched round houses.  They were built around 1815 by Veryan vicar Jeremiah Trist, as homes for his daughters.  They are round to ensure there are no corners for the devil to hide in.  Jeremiah's son Samuel built Trist House as his vicarage;  its lovely garden opens on just two days a week during the summer - when good cream teas are served.  We wish it opened more.  Veryan's church is dedicated to St. Symphorian and consists of nave and aisle with the tower standing alongside the nave.  There seems to be some Norman work, otherwise the church is mainly of the 13t and 14th centuries witrh later Perpendicular window insertions.  Inside, unusually, the floor slopes upwards towards the altar. 

A round walk from Carne Beach includes Veryan and Portloe

Signed from A3078 to St. Mawes, just south of Tregony
A pair of Round Houses in Veryan
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Wadebridge
This is my own hometown.  Nothing very much special about it but a very pleasant, convenient place to live.  We chose Wadebridge because we wanted a good small town close to where Jane was raised in Trebetherick.  It has everything we want good local shops, a cinema, plenty of activities and, most importantly for me, it's fairly centrally situated giving easy access to the rest of Cornwall for my explorations.  The town grew up on both sides of the lowest *fordable crossing of the River Camel (the original name was Wade from the Saxon gwaed meaning ford) and had a market by 1312.  One of Britain's finest medieval bridges was built in 1468.  Known as the Bridge on Wool, the popular story is that woolsacks were used as foundations, the truth is almost certainly that it was financed by wool merchants.  Across the river, where we used to live, is Egloshayle (the name means The Church on the Estuary), once a separate village and probably older than Wadebridge.  Until the 18th century Wadebridge was an important port, exporting corn and granite;  apartments now line that part of the waterside.  The railway once ran through here, linking the town with Bodmin in 1834 and later extended to Padstow.  The railway is long gone but the trackbed is now the Camel Trail, a popular cycle route.

*The Camel is still easily fordable in Wadebridge at low tides.

The medieval bridge, only 13 of 17 arches now show
Signed from A39, or by A389 from Bodmin
Wadebridge Museum:  The museum opened in 2007, closed in 2010 and was homeless for 3 years until it re-opened in a brand new building in September 2013.  Put together and manned by enthusiastic volunteers, primary feature is a superb and surprisingly comprehensive collection of old photographs with a few old drawings and paintings.  Major emphasis is on the famous bridge and on the railway which closed with the infamous Beeching cuts but once ran right through the centre of town.  Museum web site.
Bridges:  The 'bridge on wool' was built in 1468.  It was more than 500 years before the town got another.  Then it got two in quick succession.  In 1991 a new road bridge crossed the River Camel downstream of the wool bridge as part of a welcome bypass  Then Challenge Bridge was built in 1993 as a part of a 'Challenge Anneka' TV series.  The Culverhouse, also known as the Culverhay or Culvery, is a dovecote, originally serving Trevanion Manor and now conserved by the Cornwall Heritage Trust.
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Warbstow
This expedition, in late February 2016, started as a revisit to Warbstowbury, a vast iron-age hill-fort not far from Camelford in North Cornwall, and Cornwall's second largest after Castle-an-Dinas near St. Columb.  I enjoyed walking the circuit of the banks and ditches of the hill-fort and got some good photos of the views from there, taking advantage of the 800 foot height of the location to include such landmarks as the dishes and radomes of GCHQ Steeple Point north of Bude.  I then moved on to Warbstow, passing through Warbstow Cross, a village of no interest.  Warbstow itself is tiny, consisting just of farmhouse, ancillary buildings, church and a formerly occupied house, for sale when I was there in 2016.  The farm's old barns, mostly no longer in use, are attractively ramshackle.  One low building, which might have been a small piggery, has a small double-headed round window opening.  The farmer describes it as Norman but it looks Saxon to me.  Oddly, the village's name means "the holy place of St. Werburg", a saint normally associated with Chester.  I was unable to gain access to the church but underatand it originally to have been 12th century cruciform, an aisle and tower added in the 15th Century and the south transept removed in 1861.  Note the coffen stile through the hedge to the churchyard from a lane on the south side.
From A39 N of Camelford, go R on A395 and L at Hallworthy
Coffen stile leading to Warbstow church
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Warleggan
I first encountered the moorland village of Warleggan in June 2006 when Jane and I attended a flower festival there.  It was a warm, sunny day and gardens were looking lovely and lush.  I was next there in August 2011 in the course of a challenging 6½ walk from a car park at the southern end of Colliford Lake, a walk that took me over Penkestle and Letter Moors, and by way of Lantewey, Warleggan and Carburrow Tor.  Challenging for the stream crossing below Lantewey - the clapper bridge had collapsed in a flood - and the very steep, massively rocky track up between Lantewey and Warleggan.  On this occasion, in late November 2016, I approached the village from the A38 at the Halfway House Inn and, on the way, discovered disused Tredinnick Chapel and an adjacent Cornish Cross.  Warleggan is a fairly steep, one street village.  There are some inaccessible big houses, accessible small cottages, the former village pump in front of Pixie Nook (ugh!) and the tiny church up a track off the lane.  There is little to commend the church, which was (as so often) ruined by Victorian "restoration".  The 15th century font of elvan stone bears no decoration.  The poor box is old, standing on a modern column.  There are no carved bench ends, done away with by the Victorians.  To my mind about the only redeeming features are the Cornish Cross, once used as a gatepost, by the porch and the fact that you can park a car by the church.
Church and Cornish Cross at Flower Festival
Most easily approached from A30, down W side of Colliford Lake
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Week St. Mary
I visited Week St. Mary (originally Wyke St. Mary, the Old English Wyke meaning a dairy farm, St. Mary added for the dedication of the church) in late January 2016.  My purpose was essentially to seek out the bare remains of what is claimed to be a Noman castle ringwork just to the west of the church.  Certainly you can see some kind of earthwork in the field adjacent to the church but just what it was is unclear from visual evidence, whether castle or manor house.  The village will have been in existence since before the Norman Conquest, after which the land belonged to William the Conqueror's half brother, Robert of Mortain.  The market square is attractive with a couple of thatched cottages, a colourful cottage next to the village shop, and a view of the church tower.  St. Mary's church, largely of the 14th and 15th centuries, is typically Cornish in that it has nave and north and south aisles, the aisles with wagon roofs.  In the porch the floor is of vertically set slate tiles, reminiscent of a Lutyens garden path;  underneath a bench is the original village stocks.  Inside, the Three Martyrs window is by Kempe;  the octagonal font has unusual crude carving;  the pulpit has linenfold panelling and a nearby stall looks as if it was made from the former rood screen.  The 1814 memorial plaque to Joseph Burnett records the death of the the oldest known official peace office killed on duty.  Note how the word duty has been at first omitted but later added.
Week St. Mary village square
Signed from A39 at Treskinnick Cross, south of Bude
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


Zennor
Just off the scenic north coast road from St. Ives to St. Just-in-Penwith is a tiny charming village, too easily passed by on your way west.  Zennor consists of just an essentially Norman church, a cattle farm, the excellent Tinners Arms Pub, a backpackers hostel with tea rooms, a group of holiday cottages known as Post Office Row, and the excellent and surprisingly comprehensive Wayside Folk Museum.  Legends attach to the church.  One concerns its founder St. Senara, cast afloat in Brittany in a barrel and washed ashore in Ireland, returning with her son, Budoc, who was born at sea, via Cornwall where she founded the church.  The short walk to the towering cliffs is rewarding, with views over Pendour and Porthzennor coves.  By the coast path, it's a tough 6 miles to St. Ives and 11 to Cape Cornwall.  However, you may like to consider the Zennor Churchway, an inland route between the two, with its return over the hills on the Tinners Way.
In the churchyard are several Cornish Crosses and one lantern cross.
If you like the idea of a serious challenge, try struggling up Zennor Hill, through rampant furze, to find a logan stone at The Carne and to see impressive Zennor Quoit a little further on.
Just off B3306 coast road from St. Ives
Zennor's Wayside Folk Museum
Return to Towns and Villages
Return to Home Page for Cornwall Reviews Contents


CORNWALL REVIEWS INDEX and SITE CONTENTS
Introductory Guide
What's New?
Oliver's Cornwall Walking Pages
Homes
Gardens
Museums & Galleries
Countryside
Holy Sites & Churches
Antiquities
Castles
Towns & Villages
Miscellanea
Home Page
Contact Me
© Copyright Oliver Howes 2017
Page updated 23 February 2017

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Free Web Counter