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Thursday, 12 November 2015

Walk 147 St Keverne to Lizard (Cornwall)

Walk 147 St Keverne to Lizard (Cornwall)

(Second leg of English coastal walk – Broadstairs to Lands End

Map: L/R 204 and L/R 203
Distance: about 14 miles or 22km
Difficulty: Moderate with challenging sections
Terrain: coastal paths and small amount of road walking
Access: Parking at both ends.
Public transport: The best place to stay for this walk is Helston as there are bus links with both places.

This walk can be very hazardous if there has been a spell of wet weather (as I found out). I was advised not to complete a section by a National Trust warden. The week after a young lad slipped down this path, fell off the cliff and was killed.

Follow the road out of St Keverne to Rosenithon and join the coastal path to Godrevy Cove. The path here was well under water when I went and it was more a case of wading rather than walking. Looking back from here are the rocks at Manacle Point which have wrecked hundreds of ships. For example, in 1809 two ships foundered simultaneously and 200 lives were lost. The churchyard at St Keverne has more than 400 shipwreck victims.

Continue the walk over Dean Point and on to Lowland Point and through Dean Quarry. The path here was not clearly marked although it might have improved by now, if not, take the lower path not the gate. Gabbro, a hard durable rock, has been quarried here since the 1890s and used mainly for roads and coastal defences. Until 2005 conveyor belts took the rocks to the nearby jetty where they were loaded on to ships. People have lived or worked here for over 2500 years with evidence of old field systems and a salt works. The area is now managed by the National Trust.

The walk from here to Coverack was very wet and very muddy (a euphemism for cow poo/sand mixture). Coverack is an attractive old village with a RNLI station for reasons made clear above. It has been a tradition here to have a Christmas Day swim in aid of cancer research. The walk out of Coverack was very overgrown and slippery. About a mile further on I came across a team of National Trust volunteers working on a path. It was here that I was advised not to continue along the coastal path for the next couple of miles because of flooding and dangerous terrain. The warden kindly gave me a lift in his van squashed in with six volunteers and hemmed in by a dog! They took me to Kuggar where I rejoined the path to Cadgwith.

Cadgwith is an attractive fishing village. Lobsters and crabs are the main catch now, in the past it was pilchards but over-fishing resulted in this trade diminishing. The main street in Cadgwith originated in medieval times as a collection of fish cellars.

Just outside Cadgwith is the Devil's Frying Pan which is an attractive tunnel like formation caused by the collapse of a cave.

Take the walk at Church Cove near the lifeboat station into Lizard Village. This is a straggling settlement noted for its small workshops where Serpentine Stone (named because of its snakeskin like markings) is polished and made into ornaments. It became fashionable after it was chosen by Queen Victoria for the interior of Osborne House, her retreat on the Isle of Wight. Ice cream, Cornish pasties and real Cornish ale all available here and all recommended. The Top House Inn is the most southerly pub on mainland UK and worth a visit for this reason alone. The name Lizard comes from 'Lis' for high and 'ard' for place.

Photos show: The Devil's Frying Pan; Dean Quarry.

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