Just Back From… West Penwith

P1200996 - CopyWe transferred to Bojewyan, slightly north of Pendeen on Friday 5 June from Penzance. Initially we’d only booked for a one week holiday/house-hunting trip, but at the last minute I managed to find an extension. I was looking forward to exploring the coastline in this wild region of West Penwith. It has a very different character to the rest of Cornwall; it feels almost like an island. Remote villages and hamlets are strung along one of the most beautiful roads in the land  between St Just and St Ives. Travelling by road is slow, tractors, trucks, German campervans, French motorhomes, sharp bends, drystone granite walls, abandoned tin mines, carns, views across the patchwork arable fields, bleak moorland, gravel lay-bys barely big enough to fit two cars in to, a maze of hidden lanes and paths and tiny trout streams trickling down to the aquamarine coloured coast.

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P1210077I came here for the sunsets. Stennack cottage faces the sea, though it doesn’t actually have a sea view, for that you had to walk around the corner. It has the most comfortable bed though, an exceptionally well-equipped kitchen and a lounge complete with log-burner. It even comes with a car parking space and a cute, gravelled and paved courtyard garden, ideal for that evening glass of wine after a day out sight-seeing. For a couple seeking solitude and sunsets, walks from the door and close to a pub or two then it could be the place for you.

A rabbbit’s eye view – from the kitchen window

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The road goes ever on
down from the door where it began
~ from the Lord of the Rings, Tolkien

Gurnards Head In
Gurnards Head Inn – difficult to miss

P1200917We spent the week exploring the peninsula, travelling no further east than Marazion where I wanted to return for a bowl of the best St. Austell Bay rope grown mussels, coriander, peppers and miso at the Godolphin Arms and to re-visit the gardens of St Michael’s Mount. Many days were spent along the rugged coast – creeping slowly into Cots Valley, steeply down to Cape Cornwall; exploring Levant Mines being careful not to fall down any holes; walking down to Pendeen Watch, only to find it closed to the public and not having enough energy to continue to Portheras Cove; driving into St Ives to visit the Tate Modern and buy the hottest chilli olives ever from the Allotment Deli on Fore Street and greedily drinking in all the artwork in the many studios and galleries;  popping in to St Just on what must have been the windiest day and eating sausage sandwiches at the Cook Book and not being able to resist buying several books; gasping over views of the Towans and Hayle estuary from Lelant Downs and walking the lanes around Bojewyan (bos Uyan = ‘Uyan’s dwelling’) to look for historic sites, engine houses, a sunset, a lighthouse, wild flowers, a pub which serves great curries.

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The scenery takes your breath away, or rather it allows you to breathe, to be as one with the land. No fast cars, no noise pollution, just incredible views, and glimpses of the sea. All around you. A buzzard. A hawk. A gull gliding on the thermals above your head. Hedgerows full of colour, bright blue sheeps-bit, egg-yellow birds trefoil, pale pink thrift in huge drifts across the granite walls and cliff-tops. Clouds of frothy cow parsley and wild carrot. And foxgloves everywhere, great, huge banks of them backlit by the evening sun. I am enchanted by the landscape where the sea and the sky become one, a land littered with history, where the past is always present. Watching out for milestones and signposts and interesting mailboxes. Scampering up a hill just to see the view. Forever reversing into too tight spots and hearing the hedgerow whip the wing mirror as I squeeze past. A fox that appears at dusk and slinks away into the undergrowth. A setting sun to the west and a full moon rising in the east. Rows of sturdy granite-built terraced cottages in the treeless, bleak, bare, beautiful empty landscape. I yearn to spend the rest of my life here.

I hope you enjoy my portrait of West Penwith – please click on a photo in the galleries to enlarge the images.

And if you have a place that calls to you, then perhaps you would like to share it with Cathy on her new site.

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Heyjude

I live in the UK, but when I was younger I spent several years travelling the world followed by a period living in South Africa. I look forward to a long and leisurely retirement doing what I like most - gardening, photography, walking and travelling.

76 thoughts on “Just Back From… West Penwith”

  1. Love, love, love this, Jude! This is truly wonderful. I’m so glad you added this to my challenge about the call to place. You have captured wonderfully exactly why you are drawn to this place. Beautifully written and photographed. I want to live here too! 🙂

  2. Awesome, captivating writing with beautiful photos, Jude. I had to smile as I read Adrian’s comments about the weather. He left Cornwall because of all the grey, wet and windy days. I’d get lots of waterproof clothing, also for my camera. The Atlantic ocean is fabulous, that’s a real sea. 🙂
    And you said it; that’s what a log-burner is for, to curl up in front of, write blog posts, read books, watch films. Do some knitting and think about some new recipes …

  3. This is just magical Jude I see I was captivated last time I read this post and your love of the area shines through. All the searching was certainly worth it to find such a beautiful place. It makes me want to hop on a plane and visit.

    1. There are some downs PP, as always. As Adrian points out it can be grey and wet for days on end, and that can be wearying. I’m not so bothered as I can always find things to do on the blogs and with photographs.

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