Family seaside resort
Praa Sands is an ideal base for exploring this area of South West Cornwall, convenient for Porthleven. Helston, St. Michael's Mount and Penzance. It is only a short distance off the A394. A half-hour drive brings you to Land's End in the west and the Lizard Peninsula in the east.
The mile-long sandy beach is the main attraction, and the resort has all the usual amenities cafes, beach shops and a pub. The proximity of the car-parks and other facilities make it an ideal family beach and is one of the few beaches on the south coast used by surfers. Most types of accommodation are available but the area is best known for its caravan and camping parks.
Beyond the beach, the landscape of rolling hills is dotted with interesting villages, churches and historic sites. At Germoe you can find the arched stone seat of St. Germoe in the churchyard, while at the church of St. Breaca at Breage you can admire the 15th century wall paintings and a 3rd century Roman milestone. Climb the summit of Tregonning Hill, near Ashton, and you'll be rewarded with magnificent views of Mount's Bay and the Lizard Peninsula. It's also worth exploring the remnants of the hill's Iron Age fort and settlement, but beware of un-fenced mine-shafts.
Praa Sands has a long association with smuggling. Up until the late 1700's it is reported that smugglers openly landed their cargoes on the beach.
West of Praa Sands lies Kenneggy Cove and beyond that Prussia Cove - a sheltered secretive inlet, an area notorious for lawless gangs of wreckers and once the haunt of John Carter, Cornwall's most notorious smuggler. To the east is the high cliff scenery of Rinsey Head and Trewavas Head, with its impressively sited engine houses. Below these cliffs, reached by a steep path which was probably cut by smugglers, you'll find the lovely tidal beach of Porthcew (Rinsey Cove).
After an air battle against 8 German planes in the Bay of Biscay, a British Sunderland plane had been heavily damaged. The crew made it back 800 miles to the Cornish coast, where pilot Colin Walker managed to land and beach it at Praa Sands on the 2nd June 1943. The local people of took the crew into their houses, and gave them medical assistance. Walker received the Distinguished Service Order and several of the other crew members also received medals.
Pengersick Castle is a fortified Tudor manor house hidden away in Praa Sands. The tower of the castle is reputedly the most haunted spot in all of Britain.
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