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Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Walk 152 Newlyn to Porthcurno (Cornwall)

Walk 152 Newlyn to Porthcurno (Cornwall)

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

Map: L/R 203
Distance: 10 miles or 18km approx
Difficulty: Challenging and demanding in parts
Terrain: road and cliff paths
Access: Parking at both ends.
Public transport: Bus 1A runs without changes a few times a day to and from Penzance. Check with Traveline for times.

Follow the path along the road and on to Mousehole. There is a belief that the village got its name from a cave that resembled a mouse hole.

Mousehole, pronounced 'Mouzl', is one of Cornwall's best known and ancient fishing villages. For many years it was the centre of the pilchard fishing industry. The town was sacked (plundered and destroyed) by the Spanish in 1595. In 1981 the town was hit by disaster when the Penlee lifeboat and its 8 man crew was lost. The town's Christmas lights are turned off each December 19th in remembrance of those who died. Today the village has quaint streets with a number of small art galleries/shops.

Continue walking to Penzer and Keymel Points. Some of the walking on this stretch involves clambering over rocks and other difficult terrain. Much of this area is owned by the Cornwall Wildlife Trust. The granite slopes were once home to conifer trees but these were destroyed in a storm. The conditions now favour plants such as fern and it is has become an important haven for various types of wildlife.

The next landmark is Lamorna Cove, a small sandy beach settlement with an old granite pier which was built for exporting stone quarried from the local cliffs and then used in building lighthouses.

The challenging rocky walk continues along to Tater Du with its low lying white lighthouse. This was the UK's first remote control lighthouse when it was built in 1968 and is operated from Penzance.

Further along, look out for a gate with the notice: “The Derek and Jeannie Tangye Minack Chronicles Nature Reserve. A place for solitude.” This couple gave up their jobs to run a flower farm near here and wrote 19 autobiographical books about their life on the farm. In their will they stated that their land must remain as a nature reserve and it is now run by volunteers.

Follow the path around to Penberth Cove and prepare for a walk across large boulder type rocks – ripe for a twisted ankle if you are not careful. Penberth Cove is a picturesque spot with old fishermen's cottages, an old winch and various nets and pots. Phoencian merchants (from middle east area) landed here to buy tin but local miners would not allow them to leave the beach so they could keep their mining methods secret. In past years the fishing industry has declined but there are still a few fishermen who mainly catch mackerel, crab and sea bass.

The walk ends at Porthcurno, look out for the monument to Marconi before arriving at the cove. The beach here is the terminus of ocean cables that connected Britain to international telephone networks. The first link was to Bombay in 1870. To find out more it is well worth visiting The Telegraph Museum inland at Porthcurno – it includes secret World War 2 tunnels and a cable trail to the beach.

Pictures show: the boulders that form a challenging part of the coastal path; Penberth Cove.

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