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Monday, 7 December 2015

Walk 150 Praa Sands to Marazion and St Michael's Mount

Walk 150 Praa Sands to Marazion and St Michael's Mount (Cornwall)

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

Map: L/R 203
Distance: 8 miles or 13 km approx
Difficulty: Moderate
Terrain: coastal paths (maybe the causeway to St Michael's Mount as well)
Access: Parking at both ends.
Public transport: Main line rail link at Praa sands. No 2 bus runs every two hours between Marazion and Praa Sands.

The first landmark after leaving Praa Sands is Kennegy Sands. This is a 'secret beach' only accessible via the coastal path and chain ladders which can be descended to go on to the beach.

The walk continues around the craggy, picturesque Prussia Cove which is infact made up of four separate coves. The area was home to the notorious 18th century ship-wrecker and smuggler John Carter who was also known as the King of Prussia (allegedly the name came from a game he used to play as a child). He worked under cover as the landlord of a local inn. There are bricked up caves in the coves that were reportedly used for storing contraband. In 1947 a large battleship was grounded here while being towed to a breaker's yard.

Near Perran Sands is the village of Perranuthnoe. This is a very old settlement mentioned in the Domesday Book and with evidence of bronze age settlements. Copper and tin mining was prevalent here in the 19th century.

A couple of miles further along is Marazion. The path passes alongside a cemetery before leading into the town. Its is the oldest chartered town in Britain having been granted this by Henry 111 in 1257. The streets were very busy with tourists and it has a thriving artistic community with galleries selling paintings and pottery.

Opposite Marazion beach there is a stunning view of the island of St Michael's Mount. At low tide it can be reached by a causeway, at other times by boat. Look out for Chapel Rock off the beach, this is said to be the site of a shrine dedicated to the Virgin Mary; pilgrims passed to worship here before ascending the Mount.

The 363 ft high St Michael's Mount is now owned by The National Trust and is open to visitors. The island's harbour was probably used as early as the Bronze Age by the Phoenicians (Lebanon/Syria) to trade in tin and cloth. The mount became famous after a visitation by St Michael in the 5th century. Edward the Confessor founded a Benedictine chapel and the castle was added 300 years later. From 1659 it was the home of the St Aubyn family. Well worth a visit.  

Photos show: Bessy's Cove part of Prussia Cove; St Michael's Mount and causeway.

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