Sunday, 31 August 2014

Cornwall's Forgotten Corner

I love Cornwall.  I don't know many people who don't (make that anyone actually!). Since we moved to Cornwall over 14 years ago, we have been inundated with guests every summer, some come with an invite, some seem to invite themselves......

Whenever I tell people that Cornwall is my home, they always tell me how jealous they are. But when they ask where in Cornwall I live, hardly anyone has ever heard of it.  They all know Newquay, St Ives, Lands End, the Lizard, Looe, but mention the Rame Peninsula and they look at you blankly.

I really don't know why this is as it is a beautiful part of Cornwall. Just look at the beach at Whitsand Bay on the south coast of the peninsula.  It's supervised by RNLI lifeguards from Easter to the end of September so you can bathe or surf in safety.  This beach is miles long and often completely deserted (as you can see in the photos.  Even on the busiest sunny Sunday August afternoon, you can walk down there and just go 50 yards either side of the path and you will have acres of beach all to yourself. Perfect for playing beach games like cricket or frisbee, if you have a dog who likes to run after a ball, or just want to get away from the "crowds". Not many other places with a wide sandy beach in Cornwall that you can say that about!

There are pretty little twin villages of Kingsand and Cawsand overlooking Plymouth Sound where the narrow streets are lined with pastel coloured cottages jostling for space.  There's plenty of places to eat, with several fantastic pubs offering fresh local food (this is one of our favourites, directly overlooking Kingsand beach, the Devonport Inn), and of course, you can get the "Best of the West's" Cornish pasty too in many of the local shops.  We have taste-tested many pasties over the years and can thoroughly recommend Dashers Pasties as being the best, based in Torpoint just 8 miles away and available all over the Rame Peninsula

This is where you can have a proper old fashioned family seaside holiday.  Leave the car parked up all week and spend the holiday messing about on the beach with buckets and spades and dipping with a net in rock pools.  I swim with my dogs every day from Kingsand beach in the summer whilst toddlers are digging holes in the sand and teenagers are messing about on body boards or in kayaks.  Mums & Dads relax under the shade of sunbrellas, and everyone enjoys a locally made ice cream from the cafe at the top of the slipway. It's a lovely friendly atmosphere where strangers talk to eachother and everyone smiles.  :)  Even in Cornwall that's a rarity in summer!

When you've had enough of the beach (unusual if you have kids here!), there are over 800 acres of the Mount Edgcumbe CountryPark to explore and miles of coastal and countryside footpaths.  Mount Edgcumbe is the ancestral home of the Earl of Edgcumbe, now owned by the council and open to the public. The Earl does still live on the peninsula and is a well known local character from New Zealand (long ancestral story!) who you may well encounter in the local pubs.  There are lots of circular walks you can enjoy directly from the villages, often with somewhere to refresh yourself en route.  You might even see the wild deer herds that live here if you are lucky.  In the spring, the woods are carpeted with bluebells, and summer flowers are abundant on the cliffs overlooking the sea.  Stop for a cup of tea and a cake at one of the clifftop cafes, or enjoy a chinwag with the Coastguard Watch at Rame Head who welcome visitors in to see what they do.

OK, so just sometimes it rains in Cornwall (actually, surprisingly infrequently on the Rame Peninsula which has it's own little micro climate) so for rainy day activities, you can catch the little Cawsand foot ferry over to the Mayflower Steps in the Barbican area of historic Plymouth.  Here there are many attractions to be found, including the National Aquarium, cinemas, and of course, plenty of shopping opportunities.  The ferry journey itself is an "attraction" in it's own right as it takes you right across the wide mouth of Plymouth Sound, past the historic Hoe where Sir Francis Drake played bowls whilst waiting for the Spanish Armada (now topped by Smeatons Tower, the original lighthouse for Eddystone lighthouse).  On a sunny day, it is sheer bliss.
Cawand ferry

So come and discover Cornwall's Forgotten Corner, you won't be disappointed.  It's like taking an old fashioned Cornish seaside holiday used to be before commercialisation got in the way!  Make the most of it before it gets discovered!

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