A few words of introduction
In those few articles I would like to describe our two fantastic journeys to Cornwall, which we made in 2015 and 2016. There were 2 separate journays managed from Cambridge to South west part of the United Kingdom. Both of them led through Devon – one region adjacent to smaller Cornwall situated in the extreme south west of the country. To be said on those journeys to Cornwall consisted a few spots in aforementioned Devon county.
Aside for a long description of our both journeys I will try to give you a five advices refers to visit Cornwall.
Our first journey had place during the weekend 14 – 16.08.2015. We left Cambridge right after work on friday afternon, exactly at 6pm from Addenbrooke’s Hospital. After nearly 6 hours drive we slept in the car on the Castle Drogo car parking. Saturday morning was nice. The sun was shining, however was quite cold. We headed towards west coast to reach the Tintagel Castle and next in the proxime vicinity the small town Port Isaac, where we spent lovely saturday afternoon. After watching the world go by in the Port Isaac we proceeded (via Bodmin Moor and Tamar Bridge) to Torquay, the English Riviera capital, where we stayed overnight. Sunday welcomed us a beautiful Sun. Our first port of call that day was a cosy village Cockington where we could enjoy a former rural landscape. Next place was also amazing. It was a mind-boggling Brixham with colorful construction and inspiring II World War fortress situated on the Berry Head penninsula (arleady covered by Berry Head National Natural Reserve). Afternoon we spent walking around very beautiful gardens and Agata Christie’s holiday home. We left from there around 4.30pm to visit last place consisting the “Cornwall 2015” trip – Exeter where we meet my old friend Wiktor Trybus there also. Basically we saw only 3 places in Cornwall that time: Tintagel, Port Isaac, Bodmin Moor and Tamar Bridge (pic.1).
We left Exeter around 7pm and returned to Cambrige around 6 hours later. It was amazing, although riduculous trip. I came to conclusion, that Cornwall lays too far from East Anglia and is not really possible to visit it without holidays. I was sleepy next day at work.
Our 2nd journey was far better prepared. Especially the trip was going to be much longer. We took 3 days off and were planning to spend in the lovely south west corner of this country. We set off on Friday’s evening 12th August and headed almost the same route than 1 year before. I was working in Aylesbury, so we met in Oxford, however the time when we left Oxford was almost 7.30pm. Basically we were nearly 1 hour ahead in order to “Cornwall 2015” journey, when we passed Oxford around 8.15 pm.
Our first port of call next day was Exmoor National Park. After overnight stay in the car (we came around 11.30pm on site) day welcomed with us gloomy weather with gusty wind. Fortunately was getting better later, so we could continue our amazing journey called “Cornwall 2016”. We saw the Dunster Castle and beautiful Porlock Bay with nice view of South Wales on the opposite side of the Bristol Canal. Later We proceeded on the highest point of the Exmoor Highlands – Dunkery Beacon which rises 513 m amsl and is covered by picturesque moor layer. I must recommend you also Lynmouth town with Watersmeet House, hide in forest valley and cliffs near Trentishoe, from where you can spot even Beacon Brecon National Park in Wales. The first day we rounded off in Exeter, where I could meet my old friend from my hometown, who comes to Devon every year during the summer to work. After brief party we located just outside the city near the “gate” to Dartmoor National Park, that was good to visit next day during the morning. Last spots, before entering to the Cornwall were Lyndford Gorge and Buckland Abbey.
Finally! We reached Cornwall on the Tamar Bridge, from where we left this region one year before. Our first destination in Cornwall was Lizard Point, the southernmost point of Great Britain, where we stayed at night. In my opinion it was the best place to sleep, which I haven’t had for a long time. I could watch the stars and beautiful moonset from there. Next day, Monday we started from beautiful beach situated near Kynance Cove. That day I managed th trip called “Big cornish loop”, which included: Lizard Point, Falmouth, Mevagissey, Eden Project, Cornish Alps and Newquay. This “loop” finished near Land’s End Airport. We slept there in a tent. It was one of the best location to make a “Small cornish loop” on Tuesday. This smaller “loop” included St. Michael’s Mound, Portcurno Beach, Land’s End, Cape Cornwall and Carn Galve Engineer House. After this we back to the same place of stay. Last night on Wednesday we scouted the St Ives town and headed outside the Cornwall towards Okehampton via misty and rainy Bodmin Moor. The Okehampton Castle was our last stop before the way down.
We had to be in Oxford at 7pm because my fiance had last bus to Cambridge from there. I returned to Aylesbury at 8.30pm (pic. 2).
Places to see in Cornwall
Here I would like to summarize all places, which are worth to see, when you decide to visit the extreme south west part of the United Kingdom. There are places, which I saw personally and a few more, which I passed by during my both journeys. I am not going to extend my description of those places. You will have a much more, when using “uncle” Google. It is going to be a basic information for you how to get around with and get the sence of this amazing location.
- Tintagel Castle
Tintagel Castle is fantastic medieval fortress located ashore, outside the Tintagel village. The best access to this place is through the Vale of Avalon (pic. 3). The castle is a legendary birthplace of King Arthur.
The castle was built in 1233 by Richard, 1st Earl of Cornwall in old-fashioned style for the time to make it appear more ancient. Since XIX century the castle is high visited by tourists, who has been fascinated of the King’s Arthur’s legends.
According to the legend Arthur’s father, Uther Pendragon fell in love with Igraine, the wife of Gorlois of Cornwall, who owned the Tintagel Castle that time. Once upon the time he entered to the castle and seduced the queen. It was by this way that Arthur is said to have been conceived. The King Arthur is a legendary british leader, who led the defence of Britain against Saxon.
The Tintagel Castle has been built as a cliff-top castle. Unfortunately quickly had fallen into ruins. The main reason of this was erosion the isthmus, that joined castle with the mainland. Much of it fallen to sea during a huge landslide in 1500s.
This neck of land was occupied since Roman times. The best proofe of this is a lot of pottery from V-VI century, which was founded here.
Read more about the Tintagel Castle:
1b. The Barras Nose
The best place to see the Tintagel Castle outside is the Barras Nose, a small land protrusion with a fantastic viewpoint. You can even see the Isle of Lundy from there.
1c. Merlin’s Cave
Merlin’s Cave is a product of coastal erosion, whichis located directly beneath the Tintagel Castle. It is 100 m long and passing completely through the Tintagel Island. This is the example of the tunnel, that may have been excavated by underground streams before they were invaded by the sea.
2. Port Isaac
Port Isaac is a small and picturesque fishing village located only 10 km south from the Tintagel Castle.
Port Isaac location has been used for many films and TV series, e.g. The Nightmare Man (1981), Oscar and Lucinda (1997) and Saving Grace (2000).
3. Bodmin Moor
This is the highest area in whole Cornwall. The granite moorland is situated in northeastern part of the county. Inside the area you can find a few inland waters (pic. 17).
In general the Bodmin Moors is a huge rural area with many plutonic tors, that rises up above the rolling moorland (pic. 18).
4. Tamar Bridge
Tamar Bridge is a major road bridge over the river Tamar between Cornwall and Devon. This 335 m long construction has been built in 1961 as an answer for demands of supplement the Saltash and Torpoint ferries, which could not cope the increasing motor traffic. The Tamar Bridge is part of the Devon Expressway a major cross-country road from Exeter to Bodmin.
Truro is the capital of Cornwall with at least 19k inhabitants. It’s good to visit the Cathedral when you stop there, however the object is good visible from the bypass also (pic .22).
Helston is the most southerly town in Great Britain, around 2,4 km farther south than Penzance. The population of this town is around 12k. Helston is known by one of the oldest british custom – Furry Dance (Flora Dance). This annual event takes place on 8th May (or the Saturday before when 8th May falls on Sunday or Monday). This event provides a big pageant where the dancers wear traditional Helston’s symbolic flower – The Lily of the valley. The Furry Dance is basically the celebration of the passing of winter and arrival of spring.
7. Lizard Point
Lizard Point is worth to see, beause this is the southernmost part of the british mainland. Moreover if you like to star gaze you choose one of the best place in the UK. Especially the southern sky is almost free of artifical lightning!
The Lizard Point is also the starting point for many ships for their ocean passage. Around this extreme south place in Britain you can find also white lighthouse, YHA Lizard Youth Hostel and beautiful cliffs.
To be continued…
- Bird E., 2008, Coastal Geomorphology an introduction, John Wiley & Sons, Chichester
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