Chesil Beach & the Fleet, Dorset

Chesil Beach & the Fleet, Dorset
Chesil Beach & the Fleet, Dorset

CORNWALL

Who doesn't love Cornwall? With its balmy climate and spectacular scenery, it's most people's idea of the West Country.

BOSCASTLE
Boscastle (Cornish: Kastel Boterel) is a village and fishing port on the north coast of Cornwall, England, UK, in the civil parish of Forrabury and Minster. It is 14 miles (23 km) south of Bude and 5 miles (8 km) northeast of Tintagel.
It's another of those pretty little fishing villages with which Cornwall abounds. The harbour is deep set into the cliffs, and you need to climb up to the viewing point to see it in its entirety.
A flash flood on 16 August 2004 caused extensive damage to the village. Residents were trapped in houses as the roads turned into rivers: people were trapped on roofs, in cars, in buildings and on the river's banks. and the village's visitor centre was washed away
Boscastle was flooded again on 21 June 2007 although the scale of destruction was not nearly as serious as in 2004.



CHARLESTOWN
The harbour village of Charlestown was a Georgian 'new town', a port development planned by local landowner Charles Rashleigh (after whom it was named) and built between 1790 and 1810 for the export of copper and china clay.

Throughout the nineteenth century the little dock was packed with ships and the harbourside sheds and warehouses thronged with complementary businesses: boatbuilding, ropemaking, brickworks, lime burning, net houses, bark houses and pilchard curing.
Today there are two remarkable things about Charlestown.

One is that, against all the odds, it has survived as a working port and a small amount of china clay is still exported in an average of 30-40 ships a year, and this saves the place from becoming a cosy caricature of itself with plenty of 'heritage appeal' but no real life.
The second is that - again, against all the odds - it has largely escaped 'development' and remains one of the finest and most fascinating places on the Cornish coast.
Perhaps the words "so far" should be added to these two observations, for who knows what will happen to Charlestown in the future?
The harbour is the home port for a famous collection of old ships which are employed in film projects all over the world - they have brought work and life to the quays and harbour buildings and are a particular draw for visitors.
We do wonder though, how they get such large sailing ships through the tiny harbour entrance!












JAMAICA INN
Jamaica Inn hotel, Cornwall's legendary coaching house, immortalised in Daphne du Maurier's novel of the same name, has stood high on Bodmin Moor, at Bolventor,  for over four centuries. If you haven't read it, do so, and then visit the place. It's remarkable!



LANDS END
the most westerly point in mainland England. The most visited outdoor tourist attraction in the County. . Lands End has rugged wave lashed cliffs, stunning views, the Longships Lighthouse and Wolf Rock off shore, the Isles of Scilly in the distance. 2500 miles away across the Atlantic Ocean is America.



LOOE

The historic twin towns of East and West Looe provide all you could ask of a holiday in Cornwall. Safe beaches, quality accommodation, a wide choice of restaurants, excellent walking routes, fishing trips, diving, etc, etc.

During the day East Looe beach offers safe swimming, sun bathing or perfect sand for budding castle builders.   Just beyond the main beach, and also at West Looe, the golden sand gives way to rocks and rock pools. Here a whole new world is awaiting those who like exploring, the individual pools changing with every tide. Bright red and green sea anemones wave their many arms in the current whilst tiny shrimps dart for cover under rocks at the slightest movement.

Looe really is a pretty, old-fashioned seaside town, with plenty of places to eat and many individual shops to browse. It is centred around a picturesque harbour, and everywhere is within an easy stroll.








MARAZION & ST. MICHAEL'S MOUNT
Marazion is widely famed as being the gateway to the enchanting Saint Michael's Mount, the jewel in Cornwall's crown. Saint Michael's Mount is accessed by a causeway, once walked by pilgrims in honour of the alleged appearance of Saint Michael, which is revealed at low tide. At other times visitors are ferried from Marazion to the Mount in small boats.



POLPERRO
What a magical place! You can walk down to the harbour, but take a horse-drawn bus back up the hill - and that seems perfectly in keeping with the old, pretty fishing village.
Polperro is a 13th century fishing village, originally belonging to the ancient Raphael manor mentioned in the Domesday Book. Fishing has been the principal occupation of its inhabitants for centuries, and pilchards were often caught in abundance to be sold far and wide.

When Britain was at war with its neighbours in the 18th century, duty on many goods was increased considerably, encouraging the Polperro fishermen to smuggle goods such as tea, gin, brandy and tobacco across from Guernsey.










PORT ISAAC
This is the village where the TV series 'Doc Martin' is filmed. It's small, and quite breathtakingly beautiful.
Port Isaac, was a busy coastal port from the Middle Ages to the mid 19th. century when it was an active harbour where cargoes like stone, coal, timber and pottery were loaded and unloaded.

Fishing and fish-processing were also important and today there are still fishermen working from here although tourism plays an increasingly important role.
Most of the old centre of the village consists of 18th. and 19th. century cottages, many officially listed as of architectural or historic importance, along narrow alleys and 'opes' winding down steep hillsides.









ST. AGNES
St. Agnes is a little village sloping down to a cove that is much beloved by surfers.

ST. IVES
St. Ives is a busy tourist destination, with a magnificent harbour. It's a good place to watch seals, as we found out.


TINTAGEL
One of the most mystical places in England. According to one legend the infant Arthur was thrown by the waves on the beach by Merlin's cave. King Arthur's time in history was in the fifth century. He is identified with the known history of a Celtic chieftain of the period who led his countrymen in the West in their resistance against Saxon invaders. Many believe that Arthur was of a mixed Roman and British parentage.

It is always difficult to prove if Arthur did exist but certainly there was a great warrior in the West of England who had some kind of fortress where Tintagel Castle, (King Arthur's Castle) is today. The original fortress has gone but archaeologists have found proof in their diggings on the Tintagel Castle, that fifth century citizens lived on the site. The replacement Castle was built between 1230-1236 & is now nearly 800 years old. Within two hundred years the Castle was in ruins & remains so to this day.
The ruins are on top of two separate cliffs, which are reached by two very steep staircases. The access to them is down below the village of Tintagel, and they thoughtfully run a landrover shuttle up and down the hill. Which is just as well, because, believe me, after climbing up to the ruins, the last thing you want to do is walk back up the hill to the village.

For many years, one of my favourite pieces of classical music has been 'Tintagel' by Arthur Bax. I climbed up to the main ruin, sat on the grass looking out over Merlin's Cave, and listened to it on my iPod. It really brought home to me just how much Bax must have loved the place, and the mysteries surrounding it.

The Old Post Office (above) is a rare survival of a small manor house, built in the 14th. century.











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