Exploring the nooks and coves of South Cornwall, England

4 May

14-21 April, 2017 

Testing the adage, ‘You can never have too much of a good thing’.
After our family week on the north coast of Cornwall, and with a forecast of more sun in the south west of England to come, we relocated to the south coast of Cornwall for week. 
To mix it up we sampled three locations and three types of accommodation. First a B&B, The Hen House (a double bedroom with its own tiny kitchen in rural Tregarne), followed by a four star hotel, The Lugger, right on the sea at the tiny fishing harbour of Portloe, then a micro river cottage, Little Gem, at Lerryn village, upstream from Fowey.The Hen House above and the closest pub, The Five Pilchards, at Porthallow.

The Lugger, PortloeView from The Lugger’s breakfast deck.Portloe

Lerryn.


All were pleasant and allowed for plenty of interesting walking, but it was the places we found on our explorations that were the most satisfying.

 

Top of the list is Helford, both Helford Village on the west side of the river and Helford Passage, the small community on the eastern side of the river. A tiny ferry takes foot passengers across to avoid the 45 minute drive around. We combined a walk to Durgan Beach (where we watched the Easter Bunny come ashore to distribute Easter Eggs to the local children) and the nearby lush National Trust Glendurgan Gardens with coffee at the newly refurbished Ferryman Hotel, followed by a magnificent nut roast lunch on the terrace of The Shipwright’s Arms. Helford is on the ‘Return’ list, but definitely out of season.


Durgan Beach and Glendurgan Gardens

Inland Truro demonstrates the continuing need for the humble phone box. So much of Cornwall is a phone signal black spot that phone boxes are well used.The walk from Housel Bay Hotel (magnificent views of the Lizard Lighthouse and cliffs and a good lunch menu) to Church Cove is one of the prettiest parts of the South West Coastal Path.I was saddened to read the plaque commemorating the 2004 sinking of the  Bugaled Breizh on a winter’s night with the loss of all five Breton fisherman aboard. Although there were no witnesses it appears from evidence to the inquiry that the boat sank within 80 seconds. One plausible theory is that its net became ensnared by a spy submarine. A naval exercise was under way at the time however all submarines involved in the exercise deny involvement. It was noted that they were being shadowed by an unidentified foreign submarine. No one has come forward to claim responsibility. It’s shocking how often similar events have occurred.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bugaled_BreizhStuart is still off hiking so I did my coastal hikes solo. First was an easterly six miles return from Portloe to Caerhay Castle. I passed only grazing sheep, two rabbits, one robin and four walkers.The six mile walk from Portloe west to Portscathow is pleasant but the best feature was the Plume of Feathers Pub in Portscathow where I met Stuart for lunch and made the acquaintance of a majestic British bulldog called, of course, Winston.

Our next to favourite seaside spot was St Mawes, especially the terrace of the Idle Rocks Hotel, where Stuart had his much anticipated Victoria Sponge tea.

It’s not often you see so many thatched houses on the sea front.

St Mawes Castle.Third favourite are the twin towns of Fowey and Polruan which face each other across the Fowey River mouth. I walked the coastal path from Polruan to Polperro (avoid the latter, a crass tourist trap) and we double kayaked up the Fowey River to Penquite Quay and the boathouse and swimming pool where the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) used to visit to ‘besport himself’ with his lady friends.


For some reason WordPress has decided to load photos in reverse so below is me on arrival in Polperro.

Will we go back? Possibly. I’ve had my fill of the SW Coastal Path for now but we can see ourselves enjoying an idle long weekend in Helford, St Mawes or Fowey. We’ll just be sure to rent a smaller car to make negotiating two-way traffic in narrow lanes less stressful!

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