Lizard & Helford – Cornwall
Tiny white coves with slopes covered in wild flowers nestle between rock pinnacles on the Lizard’s breathtaking, rugged coastline. Yet to the north-east, the landscape is gentler and there are wooded creeks and magical gardens to explore on the peaceful Helford estuary.
Perhaps the most spectacular destination is Kynance Cove, immortalised by the Romantic poets and painters, with clear, azure water for snorkelling and and extraordinary, serpentine-rock towers for dare-devil jumps.
To the west, dramatic Mullion Cove, and the giant open sea cave at Cadgwith offer more adventure swimming, but for family-friendly beaches, head further up the coastline. Relax at sandy Church Cove or look for the ruts worn by smuggler’s carts as they hauled up booty at Prussia Cove. At picturesque Rinsey, the engine houses of Wheal Trewavas cling to the cliffs, testament to the astonishing feats of engineering needed to extract copper from lodes stretching beneath the sea bed and reached by long tunnels.
On the east coast, around remote Porthoustock, more recent mining ventures are in various stages of abandonment with old quays, jetties and structures to explore. On the headland above, Roskilly’s ice-cream farm is worth a visit and you stay overnight in a stylish Lovelane’s retro caravan.
Just a little way south, a pleasant walk down a gentle, wooded valley brings you to the remote coves of Lankidden and Downas, sheltering beneath moorland along a stretch of virtually untouched Cornish coastline. These are perfect places to catch crabs and look out for basking sharks and dolphins.
Continuing up the coast to the beautiful Helford estuary, walk through ancient oak woods to find secluded Scott’s Quay, or go back even further in time and visit the Iron Age underground chamber, Halliggye Fogou, on the Trelowarren Estate. Everywhere on this estuary there are mysterious tidal inlets: for a truly magical experience, glide in an open canoe on waters overhung by trees and explore Frenchman’s Creek. There are several hidden coves with silver-shale beaches, and Bosahan is our favourite.
Delicious local food is always a highlight of this area. Gear Farm, at the head of the Helford, is a wonderful place to camp and eat kitchen-garden veg, home-cured meat and superb wood-fired pizzas. Potager café, Barefoot Kitchen and New Yard restaurant are also highly recommended.