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Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Walk 148 Lizard to Mullion (Cornwall)

Walk 148 Lizard to Mullion (Cornwall)

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

Map: L/R 203
Distance: about 13 miles or 20km approx
Difficulty: Moderate
Terrain: coastal paths and a small amount of road walking
Access: Parking at both ends.
Public transport: 37 bus runs between Lizard and Mullion and also stops at Helston

Follow the road from Lizard eastwards along to Church Cove to join the coastal path.

On the walk around westwards to Housel Bay look out for the Lloyds signal station on top of the cliff. Here, in 1901, signals were received by Marconi from the Isle of Wight. In World War 2 it was used as offices and has now been restored with replicas of the original radio/signalling equipment used. You should also come across the Lizard Wireless Station which is formed of 2 joined black huts. These were also used by Marconi for some of his pioneering wireless experiments in the early 1900s. These buildings form the oldest surviving purpose built wireless station in the world.

The lighthouse at Housel Bay is well worth a visit. Its interesting visitors' centre includes a magneto electric machine designed by Michael Faraday and used in the lighthouse until 1885. The lighthouse was built in 1752 when its warning light consisted of two coal fires. Prior to this, the story goes that a lighthouse was built by a pirate who was also a landowner, he hoped that ships would be directed to rocks near to his land so that he could have rights to any wreckage. Look out for the signpost which shows the distance to other famous lighthouses including The Longstone off the coast of Northumberland. The interesting building next to the lighthouse was originally built for an artist. The Lizard lighthouse complex of buildings is the largest in the world. It is now pristine white but was camouflaged in World War 2.

Make your way down on to Lizard Point – the most southerly point of the UK. There is a cafe there if you fancy refreshment. From here the dangerous array of rocks are very clear. Many vessels have come to grief, including in 1720, the military transport carrier Royal Anne -200 people died and were buried in a mass grave nearby. In 1907 the RNLI carried out one of its greatest rescue operations. It took a day and a half for 4 boats to lift all 524 people from the White Star liner 'Suevic' which had become stranded on the rocks in foggy conditions. The Point and surrounding area are now owned by The National Trust.

It is only a short walk to Polpeor Cove the most southerly beach in the UK.

Follow the path, with its picturesque views, around to Kynance Cove. This is a secluded but very popular spot as evidenced by the large, busy car park. It is noted for its rocky outcrops and caves – all of which seem to have have evocative names e.g. Asparagus Island, The Devil's Bellow, Man of War Rock, The Parlour, The Drawing Room.

About half a mile further along is The Rill, a headland where the Spanish Armada was first sighted in 1588.

The path to Mullion Cove continues past points such as Pigeon Ogo, Gew-graze and The Chair. The harbour at Mullion was built in 1895 to support the pilchard fishing industry, now it has a small fleet landing mainly shellfish. The area is reputed to have a history of smuggling and nearby are the remains of a copper mine which operated until 1919. The village of Mullion is about a mile walk inland.

Photos show: Lizard signalling station; Kynance Cove; Mullion Cove/harbour 

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