The National Trust in Cornwall
Tel: (0344) 8001895
Antony House Botallack Mine Cornish Engines Cotehele House
Cotehele Mill Cotehele Quay Glendurgan Garden Godolphin House
Lanhydrock House Lawrence House Levant Beam Engine Penrose Estate
St. Michael's Mount Tintagel Old Post Office Trelissick Garden Trengwainton Garden Trerice
The Trust's countryside holdings in Cornwall are mainly of truly spectacular coastline - more than 110 miles, including many famous and beautiful holiday stretches.
On the north coast between the Devon border and Bude, the Trust owns three blocks of coastline. The most northerly, centered on Morwenstow [190: SS2015], has associations with the celebrated 19th century cleric and poet, Robert Hawker of Morwenstow. The Trust property from north of Duckpool to south of Sandy Mouth [190: SS2011] extends inland up the Coombe Valley. There is a cafe, WC's and a car park at Sandy Mouth where, at low tide, the beach lives up to its name. A narrow strip at Maer Cliff [190: SS2008] runs between Northcott Mouth and Crooklets Beach.
Crackington Haven [190: SX1497] is flanked by Dizzard Point where there is a stunted oak wood; Penkenna Point; and High Cliff, the loftiest height on the Cornish coast at 720 feet. Trevigue Farm has a shop, cafe and information point (open in high season only).
At Boscastle [190: SX1091] the Trust owns both sides of the picturesque harbour, a natural haven still used by fishermen. The NT shop and information centre, with wheelchair access, is open in summer in the Old Smithy. The Trust owns land up the wooded Valency Valley towards St. Juliot, rich with Thomas Hardy connections.
Visitors to Tintagel Old Post Office can walk out to the cliffs to see Willapark [200: SX0689], where there is a cliff castle; Barras Nose, the Trust's earliest coastal acquisition in England; or the lengthy stretch of coast extending from Tintagel south to Trebarwith Strand. The old cliff-side slate quarries are worth seeing, and at Glebe Cliff a viewpoint has wheelchair access. The wild cliffs at Tregardock and adjoining Dannonchapel are best viewed from the coastpath. The Trust owns a cluster of old fish 'cellars' and the foreshore at Port Gaverne.
The next highlight is the wonderful six mile stretch from Port Quin to Polzeath [200: SW9380]. The main features are Pentire Point; the Rumps with its cliff castle - probably the finest on the Cornish coast; Lundy Bay; Doyden Castle, a 19th century folly; and Port Quin itself where there is a car park and a clutch of NT holiday cottages.
The remote, convoluted coastline at Park Head [200: SW8471], with its seabird breeding colonies, is the perfect foil for the more gregarious pleasures to be found at Carnewas [200: SW8569]. The justly famous beauty spot of Bedruthan Steps (not NT) can be viewed from the Trust's cliff-top land or reached by the newly restored Staircase. There is a NT shop and information centre, cafe and WCs in the car park.
Immediately west of Newquay the trio of sandy beaches, Crantock Beach, Porth Joke and Holywell Bay, are backed and separated by an extensive Trust hinterland [200: SW7760]. This is wonderful walking country.
The high ground of St. Agnes Beacon at 629 feet is Trust-owned, and the whole area is rich in industrial relics from mining days. Chapel Porth [203: SW7050] is another fine beach, at low tide; the ruin of Towanroath engine house stands prominently above it.
Between Gwithian and Portreath the Trust owns over six miles of almost continuous coastline [203: SW6545 to 5842]. The awesome drop at Hell's Mouth and the headlands of Godrevy and Navax Point are the most dramatic features.
Not on the coast, but only two miles inland from Carbis Bay, is Trencrom Hill [203: SW5236], a 64 acre granite eminence which sits in its strategic position at the gateway to the Land's End peninsula. Two main rock piles are surrounded by lesser outcrops which are linked by an Iron Age wall, and the remains of stone dwellings can be seen.
Once west of St. Ives the character of the landscape changes. This is West Penwith, a coastline of rocky headlands and coves backed by a flattish plateau of small fields where traditionally managed farms are overlooked by a serrated ridge of granite outcrops called carns; Carn Galver is the most prominent although adjoining Watchcroft is higher. The Trust owns a number of the headlands, as well as larger areas at Treveal, Rosemergy and Bosigran [203: SW4237]. A walk out to Zennor and Gurnard's Head will give the visitor a flavour of this very Celtic, unspoilt coast.
The Levant Beam Engine and Botallack Mine dominate the scenery along the next stretch of coast.
From Cape Cornwall [203: SW3532], England's only cape, there are good views up the coast and south to Land's End. The adjoining Bollowall Common (with its rocky pinnacle of Carn Gloose) includes a Bronze Age entrance grave managed by the Trust. Adjoining Cape Cornwall to the north is one mile of spectacular coastline at Kenidjack, which includes extensive and fragile mining remains.
The three properties nearest to Land's End are the mile of Boscregan and Nanjulian [203: SW3630], to the north of Whitesand Bay; the 0.75 mile of Mayon Cliff [203: SW3526] between Sennen Cove and Land's End; and Chapel Carn Brea [203: SW3828], a 54 acre hilltop reaching 650 feet, two miles inland from Whitesand Bay, which claims the widest sea view from the British mainland.
Once round Land's End the south coast of Cornwall begins, and the first Trust property encountered is the point called Pedn-men-an-mere [203: SW3821] which protects the open-air Minack Theatre (not NT) from south-westerly gales. The delightful cove beach of Porthcurno (given to the Trust in 1994 by Cable & Wireless plc) is the start of more than two miles of Trust-owned cliffs culminating at Penberth, perhaps Cornwall's most perfect fishing cove [203: SW4023]. Between the two is the thrusting cock's-comb peninsula of Treryn Dinas, the famous 67 tonne Logan Rock perched on its rocky crest.
St. Michael's Mount is the first Trust property east of Penzance, followed by three detached sites at Cudden Point, Lesceave Cliff and Rinsey Cliff, the last-named having a restored 19th-century mine engine house on the cliff slope.
East of Porthleven the Penrose Estate [203: SW6425] spreads to the outskirts of Helston and south to Gunwalloe Church Cove. It contains the remarkable Loe Pool, Cornwall's largest natural freshwater lake, separated from the sea by the shingle barrier of Loe Bar. A five mile footpath follows the lake edge, and a bird hide looks onto the reed bed. Gunwalloe Towans is a fine sweep of sand dunes used by Mullion Golf Club.
Trust ownership along the west-facing Lizard coast is fragmented into a number of properties. South of Poldhu the Marconi Memorial site marks Guglielmo Marconi's first trans-Atlantic wireless message. Mullion Cove and Island [203: SW6617] are owned by the Trust. About a mile to the south, at Predannack Head, the 675 acre Predannack holding spreads inland almost to the A3083. Biologically, this is one of the Trust's most interesting sites. Kynance Cove [203: SW6913] which is accessible to wheelchair users, offers good bathing at low tide, and the Trust has just landscaped and improved the cliff-top car park. The half mile of rugged coast to the east of Lizard Head includes Pistil Meadow where the bodies of 200 people are buried - drowned in one of the worst wrecks off this most treacherous point. Britain's most southerly outpost, Lizard Point, together with nearly a mile of coastline to the head of Housel Bay, was acquired by the Trust in 1991. Parking is available in Lizard Village, when a footpath leads down to the Point, or in the NT car park adjacent to the lighthouse. On the east side of Housel Bay are Pen Olver and Bass Point and the white castellated structure which was a Lloyds signal station.
On the east-facing Lizard coast, on either side of the stone and thatch village of Cadgwith [203: SW7214], where fishermen still winch their brightly-coloured craft up the beach, the Trust owns several miles of cliff land. Of particular interest are the remains of the 19th-century serpentine works - serpentine is the local stone - at Poltesco. Three detached properties at Beagles Point, Black Head and Lowland Point flank the next village along the coast, Coverack [204: SW7818].
The shores of the Helford River [204: SW7626], probably Cornwall's most beautiful estuary, together with its subsidiary Gillan Creek, are protected by the Trust along several miles of its length, and at the northern approach, Rosemullion Head [204: SW8028]. One of these safeguarded areas is the enchanting Frenchman's Creek, the location of Daphne du Maurier's novel. Glendurgan Garden fronts the mouth of the estuary. Between the Helford River and Falmouth is a mile of open cliff flanking either side of the popular beach of Maenporth.
Trelissick Garden and estate, including Pill Farm, straddles the western approach to the King Harry Ferry on the B3289, and Turnaware Point [204: SW8338] on the east side marks the end of Carrick Roads and the beginning of the Fal Estuary. The Trust owns two miles of farmland between St. Just [204: SW8434] and St. Mawes, the footpath through which provides wide views over Carrick Roads and the town of Falmouth.
St. Anthony Head and Zone Point [204: SW8631] on The Roseland Peninsula form the once-fortified eastern approach to Falmouth harbour. The old defences are largely cleared away, but some of the accommodation is available as holiday lets, with wheelchair access and facilities in the cottages. A viewfinder on the highest point, approached by a path suitable for wheelchair users, identifies the features in the wide-ranging panorama.
East of here, Trust ownership extends from the sea on both sides of Porthmellin Head [204: SW8732] across the waist of the St. Anthony peninsula to the creek and estuary waterfronts facing St. Mawes. This is largely farmland, but paths give good access to the main places of interest. Another property fronts the Percuil River further up.
Nare Head [204: SW9137], with its off-lying Gull Rock, is the focus for a concentration of Trust properties, with a four and a half mile coastline, and extending to about 900 acres. A Trust car park at Penare was part of a major tidying-up scheme. A wheelchair ramp and picnic area overlook Kiberick Cove.
The Dodman [204: SX0039] is the grandest headland on the south Cornish coast. The remains of an Iron Age promontory fort can be seen across its broad back and there are Bronze Age barrows. To the west and east are the detached properties of Lambsowden Cove and Maenease Point and, further on, Turbot Point and Bodrugan's Leap, where Sir Henry Trenowth of nearby Bodrugan is said to have jumped into the sea to make his escape by boat to France. Within St. Austell Bay is Black Head, where yet another Iron Age earthwork can be seen, together with a rifle range from more recent times.
Much of the coastline to the east and west of Fowey is owned by the Trust. Gribbin Head [200: SX1050] with its boldly striped navigational daymark begins the sequence of properties. There is a gap at Polridmouth Cove (always called Pridm'th) where the Trust owns only the east side of the cove, then a wide strip of mostly Trust land to the outskirts of Fowey. Upstream, overlooking the china clay loading quays, the Trust safeguards the 32 acres of woods and meadow at Station Wood [200: SW1252]. Across Fowey harbour is the tree-fringed creek of Pont Pill [200: SX1451] where the lovely Hall Walk passes through the woods. Much of the farmland encircling Polruan was acquired, with the help of a local appeal, in 1991. Thereafter, Trust ownership follows the coast for several miles to beyond the village of Lansallos [201: SX1751], and extends some distance inland. There are attractive beaches at Lantic Bay and Lansallos Cove.
On each side of Polperro [201: SX2151] the Trust has one mile of coastline. The eastern strip was willed to the Trust by Miss Angela Brazil, the author of school stories for girls, and another mile of Trust land projects into the Channel at Hore Point [201: SX2451].
Trust ownership east of Looe consists of smallish properties at Bodigga, Trethill Cliff, Higher Tregantle Cliffs and Sharrow Point, where there is a cliff-side folly called Sharrow Grot [201: SX3952].
A series of detailed leaflets, with maps, has been produced about the Trust's coastal properties. They are available from NT shops in Cornwall.
The Coastal Footpath Cornwall's Beaches Cornwall's Tourist Information Centres Cornwall Heritage Trust
Ancient Sites in Cornwall Cornwall's Ferrys English Heritage in Cornwall Walks and Walking in Cornwall