Love Cornwall but don’t want to compete with the crowds? Here are five natural wonders that are a bit off the beaten track where you can discover the true beauty of Cornwall…
Lantic Bay, near Fowey
Beautiful Lantic Bay is between Lansallos and Polruan, close to the fascinating town of Fowey. Surrounded by high cliffs, this south-facing sand and shingle beach defeats many visitors because of the steep walk down to sea level. There is a smaller bay, Little Lantic Beach, which is only accessible from the main beach. The trip is worth it for clean sands, crystal clear waters and an uninterrupted view out to sea. Dog friendly, providing your pooch can manage the walk back up!
Lamorna Cove, near Penzance
At first glance Lamorna Cove on the Penwith Peninsula is a typical small Cornish harbour – granite harbour walls and a rocky beach strewn with large boulders. But there is an undeniable air of romance here, one which attracted many artists of the famous Newlyn School to live and work here. Post-impressionists inspired by the Lamorna atmosphere include Alfred Munnings, Dame Laura Knight and Samuel Birch who even changed his name to Lamorna Birch.
Rocky Valley, Tintagel
There is plenty of flora and fauna to be enjoyed in Rocky Valley, where the Trevillet River carves a pathway to the sea. You can walk through woodlands, admire the spectacular waterfalls at St Nectan’s Glen and the views across the bay on this beautiful part of the South West Coast Path. Discover the ruins of Trevethy Mill and the rockface carvings of Cornish labyrinths which some say may date back to the Bronze Age and could have Pagan connections. According to the season, you will find mosses, wildflowers, birds, butterflies and perhaps otters.
Ethy Woods, Lostwithiel
There are a few places in Cornwall that lay claim to having inspired Kenneth Grahame’s classic The Wind in the Willows. It is said that Ethy Woods is the inspiration for the Wild Woods, and it’s an area he certainly visited – he married in nearby Fowey in 1899. Whether it’s true or not, Ethy Woods certainly fits the bill with 51 hectares of ancient woodland consisting of oaks, ash and beech at the point where the rivers Fowey and Lerryn meet. This is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with lots of wildlife. Maybe it was home to Badger, Mole, Ratty and Mr Toad after all!
The three granite stones here are said to be on a burial site dating back to the Bronze Age or Neolithic period and legend has it they have special powers. A piskie spirit is said to cure all manner of ills from rickets and bad backs to improving fertility. One of the stones has a round hole in the middle and if a woman passes through backwards under a full moon she will soon become pregnant, according to local myth. Other stones are nearby and the three Mên-an-Tol stones may have been part of a stone circle.