Cornwall Things to Do Tips by iandsmith Top 5 Page for this destination
Cornwall Things to Do: 304 reviews and 602 photos
Delightful pond at the rear of the house
The gardens are on many levels as they descend the steep valley to the River Tamar. The climate is mild and there are many exotic and tender plants. There are ponds, old yew hedges (where would England be without them), a medieval dovecote, a daffodil meadow, terraced flower borders, fine trees and shrubs that provide colour throughout the year. The large estate has many footpaths. A short walk down through the gardens and along the river to the right leads to a quay which was busy in during in the 19th century.
Heading in the opposite direction leads you through the pond and out to the meadow where the Prospect Tower sits, isolated at the top of the hill.
The old net shed
In Polperro, as with almost all the villages, much of your time will be spent walking. The main carpark sits near the top of the hill leading down to the village and, any travel on four wheels thereafter is seriously discouraged and, with good reason. The narrow streets would be a recipe for disaster if cars, bikes and buses were allowed down there.
I couldn't help but hear the murder of crows squawking over the ridgeline. It caused me to glance in their direction and ascertain that there must have been over a 100 of them, more than I had ever seen in one place before.
Since you're on foot, you might as well keep going one side or the other when you reach the harbour and take a walk along the headlands. There you will see the delightfully postioned old fishermen's shed, now owned by the National Trust (see pic 1), where nets used to be stored.
Farther around on the eastern side you'll come across this memorial, that looks remarkably like a lighthouse, in memory of those who have lost their lives in the waters beyond. From there you can continue pretty much as far as your heart desires depending on how much time you have.
Directions: Near Loee
The main road, what is that dog thinking?
With the development of the railway in Victorian and Edwardian times, people sought the mild climate and sea bathing as a respite from city life. Artists and walkers, two very fashionable pursuits at the time, came for the clear light and beautiful scenery. They certainly wouldn't have bothered if the sort of weather I encountered was the norm.
Fishing, always a Cornish industry in bygone times that provided an income for locals, and although Marazion did not have a harbour the one on St. Michael's Mount was used to land the catches.
George Blewitt, a wealthy merchant, improved the island harbour during the 18th century and so enhanced an already booming industry, making the town an even greater centre of commerce. For centuries, mined ores were exported from both Marazion and St. Michael's Mount by traders and shippers. The town was surrounded with many mines, some having such enigmatic names as Wheal Prosper, Wheal Crab, Wheal Rodney, Tolvadden and South Neptune. These and other mines in the area remained active until the depression in the tin and copper industries in the late 1800s. However, many of the mine names are still preserved in some form or other today.
Because of the mild climate, an important industry in the area is agriculture. Crops such as potato and broccoli can be harvested early in the season. Bulbs are another major part of the local economy and flowers add to the beauty of the area, especially when they're surrounded by those stone hedged fields so envied by people from other parts of the world.
I can visualize the dog in picture saying, "Not another art gallery, why couldn't he take me to the butchers or somewhere interesting."
The beach where Du Maurier once wrote
Thus it was that after Sir Geoff had found a carpark, somewhere on the horizon, he was able to bring Mary down for the cursory indroduction before we commenced our walk. In true VTer style we amicably reached an agreement to point ourselves in the direction of the ocean and see what transpired.
As we climbed away from Fore Street up the Esplanade there were some signs, however slight, that perhaps I had a slight fitness edge. Since the day was about enjoyment, and not a contest (don't mention the cricket please), we proceeded along the sunny side of the street, with the cool wind off the sea making its presence felt it seemed like the sensible thing to do.
Around the area where Daphne du Maurier spent some of her time living and writing there's a little beach, a delightful sanctuary from just about everything. It was on the opposite side where I contacted Love Lane and, probably inspired by a bit of bush, I bounded on up the track to St. Catherine's Castle. Alas, poor Mary was not to be seen and it was some time before she became visible, shaking her head at the pace I had set, Geoff in attendance.
My next trick, ever mindful of trying to get that special shot, was to bash my way through the scrub to obtain a better angle on the castle. Poor Geoff did something even sillier - he followed me!.
The rest of the track wound through some wind blown trees before opening out onto Allday's Fields from whence you could scan about 250 degrees with the westerly lighthouse coming into view at the top of the hill. Apart from the wind it was a lovely day. Nothing like good companionship and a brisk (for some) walk to blow away the cobwebs. We later repaired to The Esplanade once more and, after we found several restaurants closed, we returned to the first one we had passed and sat to sip awhile in a lovely relaxed atmosphere. This was how we came to eat at The Red Herring, a cafe with excellent service and plastic chairs.
All I can say is, thank you Mary and Geoff for a lovely afternoon in Fowey.
Follow the chimneys
They're all over Cornwall. Tin mainly. That's what they used to mine but it copper and zinc was what started it all. At times you can see one chimney lining up with others. Then there'll be a chimney in someone's backyard with nature slowly but surely reclaiming its own.
There's something about these sentinels I found attractive. Perhaps it was that they would suddenly appear in the most unexpected places. Set atop a cliff that sloped rapidly to the sea or a dramatic change in the rolling fields that prolifically supply vegetables and such, albeit in a decreasing manner, as the modern English person shuns the farm and cheaper imports cruel the pricing structure.
Historical records prove tin mining to have been highly organised in the eleventh and twelfth centuries.
By the 15th Century underground lode mining had developed, one of the earliest mines in Cornwall for which Articles of Association are known is of that of Wheal Whidden 1684 only 500 metres from Wheal Jane. (The all but last recent deep hard rock mine in Cornwall)
This period of mining prosperity is reflected in the renovation and building of Cornwall's beautiful granite churches.
On the east west trading lode structures in the area were soon established at a dozen or so mines: Fortune, Virgin, Girl, Poldory, Squire, Cupboard, Ale & Cakes, Clifford, Andrew, Jane, Falmouth and so on. Gradually these mines grew and , as their workings came into conflict, or the need for additional capital arose, they merged.
Towards the end of the 17th Century gunpowder was introduced down mines. In order to use this a series of holes had to be drilled into which the explosive was packed. Drilling the holes was desperately hard work and the technique was for a team of two or three men to work together, one turning the drillsteel and clearing the chippings from the hole whilst the others struck the drill steel with heavy hammers. Holes 2 1/4 inches in diameter and up to 40 inches in depth were bored and a good team could only drill about 2 inches in an hour.
The crumbling coastal ruin, where copper stains
By the 18th Century machine driven pumps were invented. The pumps were installed (1710) to remove the accumulating water constantly seeping into the mine workings.
They were huge machines driven by powerful steam engines (Levant for instance) and were capable of lifting several hundred gallons of water per minute from very great depths. So successful were these pumps and engines that the output of tin and copper rose prodigiously.
In the first half of the 19th century copper mining began in earnest , when more than 40% of the worlds output was obtained from Cornwall & Devon.
By 1801 there were seventy five mines in Cornwall employing about 16,000 people.
Just 38 years later the number of mines had grown to more than two hundred and they employed 30,000 people- 18,000 men, 5,000 women and the rest children and rose to 50,000 by 1862 at 340 mines.
In 1840 some mines declined but up to then Consols was Cornwall's largest mine and, for many years, the world's largest copper mine.
The young boys and women, or Bal maidens as they were called, were employed mainly above ground usually breaking up rock as its was brought to the surface. Using small hammers they would break the ore down to manageable sizes before pushing it to the ore crushing machines.
In 1866 financial crises ensued and caused the collapse of copper mining and emigration of miners due to competition from cheaper foreign ores, which caused the price of copper and zinc to drop below production costs.
In 1870 tin plate production had reached 10,000 tons, which represented half the world's yield but in 1881 the Cornish rock drill was patented whose immediate benefits helped to give temporary reprieve to the failing Cornish tin mining industry, which in the 1880's was beginning to suffer competition from the new mines overseas, as these were cheaper to work.
George attending the dragon
Levant is an old disused tin mine, although, just over the rise, there is a current mine. All you have to do is follow the chimney stacks and you're there!
Levant though is really about the steam engine. Sorry, that should read THE steam engine. And the man who runs the steam engine is named George. George Blenkworth. Have to love a man with a name like that.
George is your stereotypical old man who loves nothing more than to have a pair of overalls on, oil can in hand, and working with his beast (dare I call it a dragon George?). The impressive piece of equipment runs so smoothly with all the attendant hissing it seems tragic to think that these days it's not actually doing anything. Let this not detract from your enjoyment within the confines of its home.
George even stopped himself from going home just so that a late arrival (read - Ian late-as-usual Smith) could participate in George's obvious joy of sharing his engine with someone.
Directions: Towards the western extremity of Cornwall on the northern side.
Blissful landscape to the sea
As views go it was good, but not outstandingly panoramic; yet in the context of the day it was the most sublime thing we did. There's an aura about the terrace at Trengwainton that leads you to cast aside your malignant thoughts and drift into a conscious state of simmering ecstacy. A totally relaxed state of mind that sees your cares roll down the hill, following the autistic child that had run away from his carer while we were there and the carer had bolted in the same direction but, despite cries trying to gain his attention and turn him around, he raced onwards down the lawn towards Mounts Bay, ever becoming smaller as he distanced himself from those of us on the terrace.
The sight of his carer mounting a rescue bid, hurdling the ha ha as she went, failed to disturb our tranquility as we took in the world from our park bench seat. I mean, at my age what would have been the point? A dodgy knee, already swollen 40% larger than normal and aging limbs that are clearly not designed for the chasing of youth.
We were, at the time, engaged in conversation with a couple of local origin who were enlightening us on many topics, least of all their lack of travel. I said we'd been 100 miles up the road yesterday on a day trip and they remarked, "Ooh, ay, we don' go that far on our olidays".
Publicity blurb describes the scene thus:
"The garden is mostly inward-looking but from the lawns in front of the house there is a spectacular view of St Michael's Mount in the bay far below, framed by an arch of beech."
Directions: Near Penzance
Ooops, mind the XXXX
Just cruising through the countryside is something I do a lot of back in Oz and it is not uncommon for me to be held up by a scene such as you see here.
What is uncommon (in Australia) is the weather; driven misty rain. No wonder there is little evidence of their passing a day or so after.
The town museum
There's something about a town that has a label "gateway". It sort of indicates that maybe there's not enough here to cause the casual tourist to tarry longer. Often that indication is correct. I couldn't help but feel that perhaps Marazion deserved more credibility. This quaint little village can, after all, claim to be the oldest town in Britain. It was once called Ictis by the Romans that first settled here.
It is one of the oldest chartered towns in Cornwall. The first charter of incorporation was granted by Henry III in 1257 and was reaffirmed on 13th June 1595 by Queen Elizabeth.
It was the major town in this part of Cornwall until the late medieval period when it was challenged for commercial supremacy by an upstart Penzance.
Its modern name derives from the important fairs and markets that were held here, the earliest recorded being in 1070. Marazion had two significant markets - Marghas Byghan (Small Market) and Marghas Yow or Jew (Thursday Market). Time has blurred the pronunciations to Marazion.
Marazion has always attracted visitors, many of whom came as pilgrims to the Benedictine Monastery on St. Michael's Mount and who stayed in the town until the causeway was revealed by the ebbing tide. Men of commerce conducted their business here because, until more recent times, the main trunk road from London terminated here with minor roads leading on to Penzance and Helston. In 1660 the packet post delivered to the town twice a week after leaving Truro via Penryn. The town even had its own sorting office until 1986.
The standout building though is undoubtedly the Gothic spire of the museum, formerly the Town Hall.
Directions: South western Cornwall
More Reviews (26)
iandsmith's Related Pages
Cornwall Travel Guide
Member Travel Pages
- "Putting the "corn" back in Cornwall"
- "Pixies, cream teas and a beautiful blue sea"
- "The End of England"
- "Cornwall - picturesque and friendly"
- "Just Beautiful!"
- "Kernow Istorek (Historic Cornwall)"
- See All...
- Things to Do in Cornwall
- Hotels in Cornwall
- Transportation in Cornwall
- Nightlife in Cornwall
- Restaurants in Cornwall
- Shopping in Cornwall
- Warnings and Dangers in Cornwall
- See All...
Explore the World
- Le Faou
- Balearic Islands
- Limay Hotels
- Cape Girardeau Hotels
- Colva Hotels
- State of Queensland
- Stomion Hotels
Badges & Stats in Cornwall
- 67 Reviews
- 167 Photos
- 1 Forum posts
- 0 Cities
- See All Stats
- See All Badges (92)
Have you been to Cornwall?Share Your Travels
Latest Activity in Cornwall
- Posted in Travel Australia Forum "Re: 3 weeks in Australia"
- Commented on one of TheWanderingCamel's Cornwall travel pages
- Wrote a Review Cambourne - a moving experience in Cornwall Favorites
- Uploaded a Photo to "Cambourne - a moving experience"
- created a Cornwall Travel Page "Putting the "corn" back in Cornwall"
Top 10 Pages
- Top 5 Page for this destination Australia Intro, 218 reviews, 513 photos, 5 travelogues
- Top 5 Page for this destination State of Tasmania Intro, 128 reviews, 448 photos, 4 travelogues
- Top 5 Page for this destination Sydney Intro, 138 reviews, 323 photos
- Top 5 Page for this destination Newcastle Intro, 151 reviews, 296 photos, 5 travelogues
- Top 5 Page for this destination Italy Intro, 165 reviews, 253 photos, 5 travelogues
- Top 5 Page for this destination Blue Mountains National Park Intro, 87 reviews, 254 photos, 4 travelogues
- Top 5 Page for this destination State of Western Australia Intro, 75 reviews, 230 photos, 5 travelogues
- Top 5 Page for this destination Brugge Intro, 72 reviews, 209 photos
- New England Range Intro, 97 reviews, 167 photos, 2 travelogues
- London Intro, 94 reviews, 153 photos, 3 travelogues
FriendsSee All Friends (112)
Travel InterestsSee All Travel Interests (5)
Top Cornwall hotels
- Newquay Hotels
- 139 Reviews - 269 Photos
- Saint Ives Hotels
- 143 Reviews - 300 Photos
- West Looe Hotels
- 2 Reviews - 4 Photos
- Penzance Hotels
- 78 Reviews - 211 Photos
- Falmouth Hotels
- 16 Reviews - 49 Photos
- Bodmin Hotels
- 52 Reviews - 132 Photos
- Truro Hotels
- 43 Reviews - 90 Photos
- Tintagel Hotels
- 60 Reviews - 163 Photos
- Perranporth Hotels
- 11 Reviews - 51 Photos
- Bude Hotels
- 14 Reviews - 64 Photos
- Saint Austell Hotels
- 106 Reviews - 218 Photos
- Fowey Hotels
- 43 Reviews - 111 Photos
- Mevagissey Hotels
- 56 Reviews - 98 Photos
- Marazion Hotels
- 14 Reviews - 53 Photos
- Saint Just-in-Penwith Hotels
- 22 Reviews - 69 Photos