Cornwall isn’t just about pasties and surfing! Here are some other things you may not have known about Cornwall.
Cornwall is of course famous for Cornish pasties, but also for saffron buns, Cornish fairings (a type of biscuit), Cornish fudge, and Cornish ice cream. And of course for cream teas. The Cornish way is to serve them jam first, cream on top! With top quality local produce, these days Cornwall is a real foodie destination and attracts top level chefs.
Cornwall has 433 miles of coastline – the most of any English county. It has 300 miles of continuous coast path, making up nearly half of the total of the South West Coast Path’s 630 mile total. There are some spectacular walks very close to us. Two of our local favourites are the Rame Peninsula, and the circular walk from Polruan to Lantic Bay. You can plan your walks using the SWCP widget on their website https://www.southwestcoastpath.org.uk/
With coastline come beaches… Cornwall has over 300 of them accessible by foot. There is a huge variety, from broad sweeps of golden sand backed by majestic cliffs, to fantastic rock formations ideal for rock-pooling. It is probably the most dog-friendly coastline in the country, with only 7 beaches operating a total dog ban. About 100 operate a seasonal restriction on dogs, but over 150 are dog-friendly all year round. https://www.cornwall-beaches.co.uk/dog-friendly . Local favourites are Seaton and Downderry for fantastic rockpooling (and a dog-friendly pub at each end!) and the magnificent Whitsand Bay. It’s a bit of a schlepp down the path, and there are no loos or cafes, but your reward is nearly 4 miles of glorious sand, often pretty much all to yourself. All three beaches are dog-friendly all year round.
A full 30% of Cornish landscape is recognised as an “Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty”. The UK’s most recently designated AONB (in 1995) is our very own Tamar Valley, which straddles Cornwall and Devon. http://www.tamarvalley.org.uk/ . Favourite local spots include Cotehele, Calstock, Kit Hill, Halton Quay, and Tamar Trails.
The stunning 400-acre Kit Hill Country Park, just down the road from us, was gifted to the people of Cornwall by Prince Charles to celebrate the birth of Prince William in 1985. It is famous for its 360-degree views, fascinating history, and a variety of flora and fauna https://www.cornwall.gov.uk/environment-and-planning/parks-and-open-spaces/kit-hill-country-park/ . Look for the quarry, which is a magical spot, and has a fascinating history. Pop into the friendly Louis’ Tea Rooms for an all-day breakfast or a cuppa with amazing views over the AONB http://louistearooms.weebly.com/.
Falmouth Harbour, on the south coast, is the deepest natural harbour in Western Europe (and the third deepest in the world). Falmouth is also home to the award-winning National Maritime Museum Cornwall, which is a great day out https://nmmc.co.uk/
At its peak, Cornwall was the world’s largest producer of tin and copper. Its mining heritage has shaped the landscape, and now makes up the UK’s largest World Heritage Site, across 10 locations http://www.cornish-mining.org.uk/ . The two sites local to us are the Tamar Valley Mining District, and the Caradon Mining District. Tamar Trails in the Tamar Valley site has 25km of walking and cycling trails, which take you on a journey along old transport systems such as canals, tramways and railways, and explore the mining history as well as our stunning natural landscapes. http://www.tamartrails.co.uk/tamar-valley-mining-heritage-project/ . Up on Bodmin Moor, the rugged windswept granite outcrop of Caradon Hill provides a dramatic backdrop to discover the abandoned engine houses and chimney stacks which remind you of the brief period when Cornwall was a global powerhouse for mineral extraction (not to mention Poldark!).
In 2014 the Cornish were recognised as a National Minority Group, like Britain’s other Celtic people… the Scots, Welsh and Irish.
St Piran is the Patron Saint of tin miners, and is also regarded as Patron Saint of Cornwall (although Saint Michael and Saint Petroc also have some claim to that halo!). Legend has it he floated over the sea from Ireland on a millstone. He is also credited with discovering tin, allegedly lived for 200 years, and he definitely liked a drink or three. Which may be why he ended up falling down a well! http://www.bbc.co.uk/cornwall/uncovered/stories/st_piran_background.shtml
The Cornish language (Kernewek) is, like Welsh, a Brittonic language. The last native speaker, Dolly Pentreath, died in 1777, but it is currently enjoying a resurgence.
While Stonehenge may be a better known landmark, Bodmin Moor has one of the densest concentrations of Bronze Age and Neolithic sites in Europe, including landmarks such as the the Hurlers (three stone circles dating back to around 1500BC) and Trevethy Quoit (a Neolithic portal tomb). The famous Cheesewring, a massive pile of flat boulders up to 30-feet in circumference, is actually a geological formation, the result of erosion. https://www.cornwalls.co.uk/history/ancient/ancient_bodmin_moor.htm
Bathing in the Gulfstream, Cornwall enjoys a mild climate, and boasts the highest concentration of grand and impressive gardens open to the public of any county in England. It also has four Country Parks (including Kit Hill). http://www.gardensincornwall.co.uk/
The Cornish “national anthem” is Trelawney – a stirring tale of Johnathan Trelawney, of Pelynt, who was one of the seven bishops imprisoned in the Tower of London by James II in 1688 for seditious libel. The story has a happy ending – they were acquitted, and Trelawney went on to become Bishop of Exeter. It’s a great song. Have a listen https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uc_yIZPl-pY
Cornwall has a population of 530,000 people, 75,000 cows, and over 5 million tourists annually!