Chalet land…..

20181022_134133.jpegThe start of my walk today Tregantle fort is one of several forts surrounding Plymouth that were built as a result of a decision in Lord Palmerston’s premiership to deter the French from attacking naval bases on the Channel coast. It is still used by all 3 services today especially as a rifle range and when red flags fly a lot of the area is inaccessible. Luckily no flags today….tregantle_fort5.jpg20181022_121533.jpgWe parked on the road by the side of the fort….it’s great that we are outside the tourist season as parking is eased all over Cornwall. We then walked down by the side of some of the ranges (later on we were to hear plenty of small-arms fire). An interesting notice for my collection…20181022_121646.jpegYou can just see some of the targets in the pic below….here we are looking back towards Looe in the far distance.20181022_121917.jpgAnd it wasn’t long before we started to see the wonderful extent of Whitsand Bay which we have never visited, one of the longest stretches of sand in Cornwall, but difficult of access.20181022_122058.jpegF. walked with me for a short while and we could just see ahead my objective – Rame Head. Throughout the walk it was extremely difficult to take pics of the way ahead as the sun was so dazzling (October in Cornwall!).20181022_122319.jpegIt was in between tides so at absolute low tide one can imagine how magnificent the beach looks.20181022_122438.jpeg20181022_122601.jpegF. turned around after a while and was due to meet me with the car somewhere on Rame Head…final destination open although I was hoping it would be the chapel on the end of the Head. Separate little coves soon started to appear, all accessible down very steep paths and indeed I met several groups of families in swimwear who were heading down to the beaches.20181022_122831.jpgAt one isolated spot a lookout appeared, and I assume this is one of the National Coastwatch Institution’s as there is one somewhere around here. Having visited two in the last couple of weeks I gave this one a miss.20181022_124225.jpegAll at once chalets appeared which seemed to cover the whole cliffside. What a lovely unspoilt walk this would be without them. Looks like a shanty town.20181022_124256.jpegI assumed this walk would be quite flat. Wrong again, and I was glad F. had insisted I take my walking stick which is a tremendous help.20181022_124429.jpegThe path appears and disappears as you have to make your way through all the chalets (or huts)…..20181022_124615.jpg20181022_124936.jpegQuite a few I noticed had Indian names, so I am assuming they were from the thirties or thereabouts…20181022_125200.jpeg20181022_125308.jpg

The thirties was a period before planning regulations, so the huts sprang up in a fashion that was at once anarchic and strictly governed by the landscape. As there were no natural ledges, families would dig out a bit of cliff and put the rubble at the front as a patch of garden. There was talk apparently, fairly recently, by the Council of knocking them all down. however what has happened is that they have just absolved themselves of all responsibilities and state that the whole cliffside is unprotected and they have no plans to manage erosion here. My own personal hope would be that in a thousand years erosion has tumbled them all into the sea. This bus stop has a fine view!20181022_125427.jpegThere are things blooming in Cornwall at all times of the year. Gorse is well-known to flower here all year round. This hedgerow was brightened up considerably. And I did see some wildlife!20181022_130258.jpg20181022_132918.jpegWhilst the temptation is always to look seawards on a walk like this I did cross over the road (which you have to use occasionally) to get a great view in the distance of Plymouth.20181022_130419.jpegOf course there is danger wherever you go on the Cornish coast but this little monument was very poignant….20181022_130829.jpg20181022_131242.jpegI did see one restaurant with excellent views called rather unimaginatively ‘The View’. It had an exceptionally good-sounding menu. As an example I remember dabs for the first course and skate wing for the main with pancetta and gremolata. 2 courses for £14.50. Sounds great.20181022_132312.jpeg20181022_132517.jpgI do like benches with a view and this was one of those walks where there were many.20181022_132532.jpegNearing Rame Head the cliffs were still dangerous. 20181022_135542.jpgI could just see Polhawn Fort another one of the three along here. Polhawn Fort faces out over the beach and was built in the early 1860s to defend the eastern approach to Whitsand Bay. If was armed with a battery of seven 68-pounder guns. A design flaw was that its exposed left side could be attacked from the sea and this was not as heavily fortified as the front which faces onto the beach. Rather than improving it, its role was taken over by the batteries at Tregantle and Raleigh and Polhawn was abandoned by the MOD in 1928. The building survives in good condition as a hotel.20181022_141127.jpegIt was round about here with the Rame Head chapel just in reach that I received a message from F. saying she couldn’t get to Rame Head because the road was closed. I therefore decided to cut across the peninsula and meet her at Kingsand. My path led to the charming little hamlet of Trehill. It reminded me very much of a Lakeland village.20181022_143030.jpgAs I dropped down into Kingsand I saw the third of the forts. Cawsand Fort was originally a Palmerston fort, and was remodelled as part of the late nineteenth-century defences that included the batteries at Pier Cellars and Penlee Point. Today it is a complex of luxury apartments. Good to see the variety of uses to which Palmerston’s forts have been put.20181022_143903.jpegPerhaps you can just see a couple of bathers near the little beach at Cawsand – it was warm!20181022_144220.jpegAs I have said before Kingsand and Cawsand together are one of the most delightful spots in Cornwall, and we always discover some new angle….20181022_144312.jpg20181022_144446.jpg20181022_151150.jpegPity the houses are so expensive……..

 

 

 

 

 

This was the land of my content…….A walk towards Mevagissy

20181019_121451.jpegA beautiful October day again saw us drive to Trenarren the end-point of my last walk. My destination from here this time was Pentewan which we had never visited. F. drove there after a short stroll with me on the first bit of my walk. I optimistically thought I would see her in an hour. It was more like three. Such are the vagaries of the Coast Path.20181019_115131.jpeg20181019_115407.jpgVery wooded to start off, it was interesting to note some private accesses to the Coast Path (must be nice).20181019_115826.jpgThe view back was towards St Austell (mining country still) but the whole bay could be seen at times.20181019_120200.jpegIn places the sea was the beautiful turquoise colour which you find in photos of more exotic places….20181019_120642.jpgI soon saw ahead my first objective – the little promontory of Black Head. I found the engraved stone at the neck….This granite memorial  engraved with “This was the land of my content”, was erected in the memory of Arthur Leslie Rowse, a Cornish writer and historian. Rowse was born in 1903, the son of an uneducated china clay worker, and was the first Cornishman to win a university scholarship, reading English at Christchurch College, Oxford. Rowse published about 100 books. By the mid-20th century, he was a celebrated author and much-travelled lecturer, especially in the United States. He also published many popular articles in newspapers and magazines in Great Britain and the United States. His brilliance was widely recognised. His knack for the sensational, as well as his academic boldness (which some considered to be irresponsible carelessness), sustained his reputation. His opinions on rival popular historians, such as Hugh Trevor-Roper and A. J. P. Taylor, were expressed sometimes in very strident terms. All three were well-known to me when I studied History at Oxford in the late Sixties……..And in fact Rowse retired to Trenarren House. I enjoyed learning all this.20181019_120943.jpegGreat views of the bay and unsurprisingly there is a stone-age fort at the head. I thought I could discern some of the outline of ditches……20181019_121818.jpeg20181019_121822.jpg20181019_121905.jpg20181019_122200.jpeg20181019_122207.jpg20181019_122329.jpgWalking back along the promontory I discovered what I assume is a First or Second World War gun emplacement….20181019_122826.jpgMoving on steeply down, after leaving Black Head,  I could see the isolated little hamlet of Hallane with two or three houses or cottages strung down the combe ending up at a rocky cove. Ideal for smugglers. 20181019_123604.jpeg20181019_123711.jpegThe problem was that each building had carefully marked off grounds with the sort of  ‘Strictly Private’ notices some folk love to put up. Failing to discern the correct route for the Coast Path I nearly ended up back at Trenarren, before consulting the OS map on my mobile. You would think that on a coastal path you may not need a map at all. Just keep the sea to your left! But it certainly doesn’t always work out like that.20181019_124125.jpegPresumably horses can get tired with the gradients round here too!20181019_124337.jpgThe correct route took me off into a wood along a pretty little brook on a stretch of land called The Vans (derivation?).20181019_125807.jpgNext one of the brutal  sections with very steep ascents and descents via steps, of which this shows just a small part. One can only laud the people who keep these footpaths in repair, but when you are using them you despair that they seem designed to be as difficult as possible, being half a step too long or too short between each riser…just the wrong amount especially for someone with bad knees like me.20181019_130023.jpg20181019_130655.jpgAnother individually designed bridge,,,20181019_131210.jpgGood views of isolated little coves with no apparent access. Let’s hope the bamboo doesn’t become as much as a problem as in our garden. I do think Cornwall is in real danger of being suffocated by bamboo.20181019_131302.jpeg20181019_131403.jpegWhat I had estimated and told F. in the beginning was starting to look silly now. What looks a short distance on the map, if full of these ups and downs can take 2 or 3 times as long as you think…..very dispiriting too to see them ahead of you, and to know from  experience that what goes up must come down!20181019_131918.jpg20181019_132246.jpeg20181019_132355.jpegLooking back at this point I could just about discern the red and white stripes of the distant Gribbin Head marker as well as Black Head itself.20181019_132407.jpeg20181019_132707.jpeg20181019_133659.jpgAnd since I have no head at all for heights I must mention that parts of this section of the Coast Path do seem very exposed with steep drops inches away from the path….20181019_133805.jpegAt last my destination of Pentewan Sands can be glimpsed..20181019_134203.jpeg20181019_134555.jpegBut as it gets nearer the whole view and all sense of rural idyll is spoilt by the horrendous mobile home park typical of much else that totally spoils Cornwall. How could any sensible Planning Department give permission for all of this – plus deem the beach private to the Park. It’s an absolute disgrace. Cornwall really could be the place of your dreams or The Land Of My Content. But it isn’t. It’s despoiled and ravaged by caravan parks, mobile homes, wind farms, scruffy towns, no seeming overall plan, and the fact that it is is the end outcome of profit and cost control versus the environment.20181019_134947.jpgAs I move down the last hill (thank God) into Pentewan itself it is revealed as a quite charming village hunkered over its own bit of inland water and with some well-preserved remains of its previous industrial past. The always excellent Iwalkcornwall site has this to say…..”Pentewan dates back to mediaeval times when it was mainly a fishing village with a harbour. The harbour was rebuilt in the 1820s both for the pilchard fishery and to create a china clay port. At its peak, a third of Cornwall’s china clay was shipped from Pentewan. However the harbour had continual silting problems which meant that it was eventually overtaken by Charlestown and Par. As well as longshore drift carrying sand east across Mevagissey Bay, there was also silt being washed down the river from china clay works and tin streaming. Consequently, the harbour gradually silted up with the last trading ship leaving in 1940 and World War II literally sealing its fate. By the 1960s, the harbour was only accessible to small boats and today the harbour basin is entirely cut off from the sea…………                                                                                  names of many coastal features are derived from words in the Cornish language:

  • Pen – Headland (Cornish for “top” or “head”)
  • Pol – often used to mean Harbour (literally “Pool”)
  • Porth – Port but often used to mean Cove
  • Zawn – sea inlet (from the Cornish “sawan” meaning chasm)

Note that Haven has Saxon origins (hæfen in Old English) which is why it tends to occur more in North East Cornwall (Millook, Crackington, Bude etc)……..

20181019_135248.jpegIn fact the more I see of Pentewan the more charming it becomes. And, meeting Frances, we wander off to the local pub the Ship which is very presentable indeed…….20181019_135814.jpg…. and as well as bars and beer garden has a library. Who would have thought it? 20181019_140121.jpgAnd a sense of humour of sorts…20181019_140420.jpgWe sit on benches outside enjoying the afternoon warmth and in front of us is a ‘Gin and Sorbet’ bar which would make London Metropolitans jealous. As it says with humour a bit like my own….’Let The Good Times BeGin’. Well, well.20181019_141656.jpegWalking to the car we pass through the heart of the village….20181019_141808.jpeg….which even has a village green of the sort you might expect in Yorkshire or the Lake District……what a lovely place. How even more angry I am at the blot on earth that is the  dominating mobile home park….and the concept of a ‘private’ beach….ugh.20181019_141921.jpeg20181019_142508.jpg

Family Adventures…in Devon and Cornwall…….the next day, and the next

20180916_122019.jpgDartmouth was our destination for lunch on Sunday at the first floor of the Dartmouth Yacht Club…good food, very reasonable and great service, much enjoyed all round. The first floor restaurant is actually run by Bushell’s Restaurant next door which we learned was due to re-open after flooding. It has a very good reputation – 4.5 stars on Trip Advisor. We’d give it 5 stars (well we will – I must write a review….).20180916_124146.jpg20180916_124152.jpg20180916_124956.jpgNext stop was Woodlands Family Theme Park a second visit for Katherine and Aiisha and a first for us. Excellent fun for children and adults……Another great day.Woodlands-Park-Map-Guide-July-2017.jpg

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DIUNnSRWAAA7PTT.jpgNon-stop good times as the very next day we had even more adventures…first stop today was The House of Marbles where not only did we enjoy the marble machines and the outside chess…..20180917_114117.jpg20180917_114123.jpg  20180917_120837.jpgbut we were fascinated by the experience of seeing two glass-blowers in action at the next door Teign Valley Glass a treat we hadn’t bargained for…20180917_114343.jpg20180917_114525.jpg20180917_114723.jpg20180917_114957.jpgEven Aiisha was entranced by the way in which molten glass was quickly transformed into a cat or an elephant under the expert hands of the blowers…20180917_115720.jpgand although I don’t usually like glass products, I did enjoy looking round the shop and found some things amazing…I particularly fell in love with the idea of 4 glass lampshades strung over a kitchen table…too dear for now, but….amberbowl_1024x1024.jpglargeclearvase_1024x1024.jpgBut this was also a mini Industrial site, and had a lovely feel all round…20180917_123719 2.jpg20180917_123743.jpgWe proceeded then through some beautiful countryside (I had forgotten how pretty Dartmoor is) to The Cleave Restaurant and Bar at the charming little village of Lustleigh an above-average pub lunch at a characterful location…20180917_125231.jpg20180917_125558.jpg20180917_142538.jpg 20180917_142640 2.jpgWe still had time for the nearby Miniature Pony Centre which we all enjoyed, particularly the pony ride…..suitably kitted out of course…..20180917_150056.jpg20180917_150241.jpg20180917_150247.jpgand the ability to get up good and close to some of the residents…. 20180917_150634.jpg20180917_151653.jpg20180917_151702.jpg20180917_151518.jpgnot all of whom were miniature!20180917_150539.jpg20180917_150744.jpg

Family Adventures…in Devon and Cornwall..

20180913_143750.jpgOur daughter and granddaughter were here for a long weekend, all the way from Scotland. We met them at our local station which, as I have said before, has trains running to almost everywhere in the country – amazing for such a remote spot. Aiisha was quick to show us the fruits of her labours on the last part of their journey.20180913_143827.jpgAfter a nice cup of tea (you very rarely say a nice cup of coffee), it was a quick game of football in the garden and hide and seek in the acer.20180913_155031.jpg20180913_154953.jpg….before a drive to Black Rock, which turned into a drive to somewhere else entirely -Seaton due to the satnav! Katherine had been left behind for a recovery sleep, so we had a lovely time building sandcastles, paddling and having ice cream….well what else are you supposed to do at the seaside?20180913_172136.jpg20180913_173328.jpg20180913_174112.jpg20180913_181210.jpgAfter a lazy lunch off we went on the bus to Looe where the sun came out and a good time was had by all, especially on the slot machines in the Amusement Arcade where we won a Unicorn.20180914_162117.jpg20180914_163156.jpgNext day we took the train to Hayle on the North Coast where we visited Paradise Park a wildlife sanctuary and Play Park and  very, very good in both aspects. The adults really enjoyed the amazing animal life, especially the hundreds of different birds all in excellent aviaries with plenty of space…20180915_114230.jpg20180915_115729.jpg20180915_125146.jpgand you can get very close to some of your favourites including flamingoes…20180915_125339.jpgand the very first Chough we had ever seen (we have looked out for them on the Lizard but to no avail)……20180915_132317_001.jpgWe really enjoyed the flying display with an extremely knowledgeable and personable guide….20180915_121206_002.jpg20180915_121229.jpgand the opportunity to get up really close was terrific…20180915_123651.jpg20180915_123711.jpg20180915_123712.jpg20180915_123817.jpgHaving said all that, it has to be said that the younger element did prefer the other side to Paradise Park! And why not?20180915_120037.jpg20180915_124233.jpg20180915_120235.jpg20180915_114716.jpgthere was time for a late lunch, but first we had to get to St Ives on the lovely little railway round the bay….where the views from the train window were as breathtaking as usual….what beaches, what skies.20180915_145537_001.jpg20180915_145540.jpg20180915_145619.jpg20180915_145624_001.jpg20180915_145728.jpgFor a change and to avoid walking all through town we decided to lunch at the Porthminster Kitchen 20180915_153408.jpgGood choice..20180915_153403.jpgand straight out onto the beach afterwards…20180915_161625.jpg