Have you been to THESE PLACES? Driving & Hiking Around CORNWALL (Part 1)
I'm about to take you on a road trip around Cornwall so sit back, relax and enjoy. The date is December the 2nd 2020. I'd just finished work for four weeks and decided the night before that I was going to head to Cornwall and drive along the coast for a few days. That few days turned into two weeks. I had no plan, no destination, no time scale and no accommodation organized until the morning of the adventure. The trip randomly started in Glastonbury. Glastonbury was a kind of halfway house, it was en route to Cornwall and I'd wanted to visit there for a while so it made sense to stop there for the night. I was in no rush. In the daytime I visited Glastonbury Tor with a friend. This was the main reason for me wanting to visit.
The following morning I woke up to find out the AirBnb I had booked the night before had cancelled my booking so I rushed back onto Airbnb and hit 'instant book'. I wanted to start this trip on the most eastern part of the south coast of Cornwall and work my way around until I hit the most eastern part of the north coast. This would complete the coastline of Cornwall. My options on accommodation were pretty limited as I wanted something that day but things couldn't have worked out any better if I tried.
This is what I love about solo trips with no plan, there's always a surprise and it's usually a good one. I'd randomly chosen to stay in a tiny little village called Freathy. It's on the cliffy coastline that is right on the Devon/Cornwall border, but before heading there I took a visit to two small twin villages just outside of Freathy that I'd read about called Cawsand and Kingsand. These villages are so close together you could mistake them for one village with just a short walk separating the two. They're the cutest little fishing villages with lots of character. After walking around for a while I sat down in the cold Cawsand Bay as the sun dropped and the darkness began to fall. I noticed a load of women gathering together with birthday hats on, some of them covered with a towel. Long story short they were all going for a swim and I'm not kidding when I say it was freezing! I was there with my winter jacket on, my hat on, my gloves on... and these
women got in the water with no hesitation and formed a circle in the chilly waters while talking about their day. I sat there for 20 minutes or so and they all treaded water happily. Crazy people! From here I headed to my accommodation for the next two nights. I met my lovely hosts, I threw my bags down, I took a shower and then I went out for some dinner to the only nearby restaurant and walked back in darkness while admiring the stars and the sound of the ocean waves down below. The following morning iI woke up and felt really content. I loved the room I had, it had a lovely feel to it. It was a great place to relax in the evenings and do some work on my laptop with no
distractions. From what I'd seen of Freathy already I'd loved and was looking forward to exploring more of it. It's such a cute and beautiful village on the cliffy Cornish coastline. So with all of this being said I booked an extra night here, so three nights in total. I was in no rush to go anywhere, I had no destination, no time scale, Cornwall was my oyster.
Walking in between all of the wooden chalets along the coastline is an amazing experience and very unique. While I was here in Freathy I did plenty of coastal walks. I mean, it's impossible not to! I got myself plenty of that fresh sea air and took in the stunning views that were on offer. I also got to witness some great sunsets while walking along the beach at the bottom of the cliffs. You have to be careful here though, it was quite easy to get caught out by the tide as you can get trapped in by one of the small bays. This part of Cornwall is fairly unknown and untouched. The locals call it 'The forgotten
corner of Cornwall'. Generally tourists and visitors drive right past here and head further west to the more known locations such as St Ives, Falmouth, Penzance and the like. So here it's very much left to the locals a lot of the year and this is what I love, finding random little places with its own unique touch. To me it felt like time had stopped, like things had slowed down to a snail's pace. This is the beauty of unplanned travel, there's always a surprise,
and usually it's a good one. I was also traveling in December which is always a quiet time in Cornwall and the UK in general. If you're not too bothered about having hot weather and don't mind a bit of cold wind, clear days and a good chance of some rain then it's a great time to visit.
It's not much fun down here in the summer if you don't like crowds. While I was here I got to meet two lovely little dogs, Willow and Kiki. They were wild little ones and great company. One thing I love about traveling and using Airbnb, or just staying with locals in general, is meeting their pets. But it's also one of the hardest things too because leaving them is always
hard no matter how short the stay is. I got the privilege of walking them around the local area to help my Airbnb hosts out while they were shopping. Or should I say the dogs took me for a walk! On my last evening here once again I got my map out and chose at random my next place to stay. I came across a little small village called Lerryn, which was slightly inland. It sat next to the river Lerryn and had various walks on offer. Sold. That was me for the next two nights. But on the way there I took a quick visit to Looe and Polperro.
Looe is slightly bigger than Polperro but they are both fishing villages with lots of character. And Polperro is very unique, it has a real pirate feel to it. So much history here and that's very evident as you walk around the quaint narrow streets.
It was darkness by the time I reached Lerryn after driving down the narrow roads of Cornwall. I got some dinner in the local pub in the evening. When I got back to my accommodation I'd found a book on local walks and picked one out for the next day. It was walk number one, a
two-hour walk along the south bank of the river Lerryn that takes you through some woodland. Then it was bedtime. After a spot of breakfast and a coffee I set off on the walk. It was a fresh crisp morning and the frost was still on the ground. This was my first glimpse of the village in the daytime and my my my, what a lovely surprise it was. The river was beautiful and the cute little bridge, well, it speaks for itself I think.
The walk was lovely, leaving the village and following the south bank of the river until you cut into the woodland, but always remaining next to the river. At one point the silence was so quiet it was piercing, until a few swans swam past and disturbed me. Once you leave the river the walk takes you back up to Lerryn through some narrow country lanes. A great loop walk if you ever visit this area. After the walk I headed to the nearby Polruan for lunch, a quaint little fishing village with very narrow streets. This guy got caught out and got himself wedged between two walls in his work van.
This is life in the county of Cornwall. After some lunch and a pint I took a walk along the coastline to a bay called Lantic Bay. I got recommended it by the lady behind the bar so I thought it'd be rude not to take a look and generally most advice you get from locals is worth taking. It took about 40 minutes to get there but it was totally worth it. And the walk back to the village was lovely too, perfect timing for sunset. That evening I went back to the only pub in Lerryn. For dinner I tried the famous veg curry and washed it down with a pint of Madri.
I was done after that, the full day of walking had got the better of me so I went back to my accommodation and again, randomly chose the next place I'd call home for the next two days, and that place was to be Praa Sands. I booked my Airbnb and hit the hay. Before heading to Praa Sands I stopped off at a place that I'd visited before on a previous trip here with family. This place was called Helford. This trip was mainly to visit places that I hadn't been to before but there were a few little places that I wanted to revisit and this was one of them. I just remember the ford, here the river that flows over the road. I found this very interesting as a child. While eating I got my map out and spotted a small nearby beachy cove called Bosahan. That was the
random destination I was headed after lunch. That's one thing I like to do when I'm eating lunch on an unplanned trip, I like to get the map out and see if there's anything worth exploring in the local area and you usually find something or somewhere that turns out to be a little gem. And this place was just that... I spent time here just sitting around gathering thoughts and enjoying the total isolation. Not one soul to be seen or heard, tranquility at its best.
On these kind of trips I generally arrive in the evenings to my accommodation, making the most of the days by visiting random places such as the bay you've just seen. And this time was no exception, I picked up a frozen pizza from the shop along the way, shoved that in the oven for dinner and got an early night, ready for more walking in the morning. It was a windy old morning but in all honesty that was no exception either, I'm on the coast of Cornwall, what should I expect. I took a 15 minute walk from my accommodation to Praa Sands beach. I then continue to walk east along the coast towards Rinsey Head. Nearby here is the famous Wheal Prosper tin mine. If you're a film buff you'll recognize this place.
It was used in the old movie Poldark. I had no idea this was here until I stumbled upon it and read on the plaque that it was used in the film. Again, the surprises that come along with a non-planned trip! A little bit further along the coast came Trewavas mines, more tin and copper mines here on the coast. Clearly this was a huge area for mining back in the day. When I sat here and thought about what used to go on it's crazy to think how bustling it must have been with workers and miners. How things change. I ended up walking all the way to Porthleven, passing by a lovely little waterfall along the way. Another little surprise. Porthleven is a lovely little village, it has a little marina which the village surrounds.
I got a bite to eat at the Harbour Inn. I went for the sliced Cornish Yarg with chutney sandwich Yarg is a semi-hard cow's milk cheese made here in Cornwall. Before being left to mature the cheese is wrapped in nettle leaves to form an edible moldy rind and to be fair it was pretty tasty, especially washed down with the pint of the local Korev. With a happy stomach and a happy heart I head back to my accommodation, dried the walking boots off and did a bit of work online throughout the evening. Well, these trips aren't all fun and games you know. Today I had four places I wanted to visit. The first place was only a 15 minute drive west and goes by the name of Marazion.
The town itself isn't that famous but what's out at sea just off the coast is. And that goes by the name of ST Michael's Mount. St Michael's Mount is a tidal island, it's a civil parish where many people reside and it's linked to the town of Marazion by a man-made causeway and is only possible by foot at low tide. Failing this there are boats that go over to the island but not so many in the winter months. It has a chapel
and a big old castle at the top. Unfortunately the tide was in and the boats weren't running at the time I was passing by so the drone was as close as i could get to the island on this day. I continued west for 20 minutes and visited another old haunt that I'd visited as a child. Mousehole, spelt Mousehole.
It's in the same bay as Marazion but on the opposite side. This quaint and very cute village was my favorite place when I came here as a child and I can see why. The streets very narrow, the harbour very small, the place... very unique. Another fishing settlement that would have many stories to tell if it could speak. I grabbed a cup of tea and again continued slowly west until I reached Porthcurno. Somewhere I
hadn't yet visited. Porthcurno is home to many things I'm sure but one of the most popular things to visit here is Minack Theatre. It's an open air theatre perched on the cliffs high above the ocean. I was really hoping to get the drone out and get some footage of the theatre as it's pretty hidden and you can't really see it from the coastal path. This is the best view I could get from the path.
But unfortunately I couldn't get my drone out for two reasons, firstly it was windy as hell and secondly there was a school play taking place in the theatre while I was there so no drones allowed without special permission unfortunately. Here's a photo I've taken off google so you can get a better perspective of the theatre. The second thing I'd say Porthcurno is famous for is the beach. A cracking little bay with soft white sand and turquoise water and a backdrop of cliffs. I trundled back to the car and headed back to the last stop of the day. And a stop that can't get any further west if it tried...
Lands End. The most western part of England. This is somewhere I'd visited previously and I remember on that day it was very wet, windy and miserable. I thought today might be different but it wasn't, it was exactly the same as how I remembered it all those years back, wet, windy, miserable. Oh well you can't have it all and you just have to make the most of the moment. It was still great for filling up my lungs with that fresh celtic sea air.
Once again it was going dark as I got back to my accommodation for the next two nights the accommodation I booked was an old car garage that had been converted into this cute little self-contained unit. It was awesome. Very cozy. The little touches were so well thought out. I headed straight out for dinner to the local pub which was a 10 minute walk away. On the way back I admired some of the Christmas lights that brightened up the street. I'd randomly chosen a place called Connor Downs which is just outside the more well-known St Ives. This is the first place I would have stayed on the north coast and it's the first place we will begin the next episode of this amazing unplanned and totally off-the-cuff road trip!