Gurnard’s Head – Ancient Stronghold & Medieval Hermitage

gurnard's head

The jutting, rugged finger of rock known as Gurnard’s Head has to be one of my favourite places in Penwith. From its dramatic heights I have watched gannets diving for fish and seen sleepy seals bottling; sometimes I have picnicked on warm grass in golden, evening sunshine and sometimes hidden behind rocks slick with rain […]

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The Legend of the Crake & the Haunting of the River Gannel

There are those that believe that the River Gannel is haunted. Strange and fearful noises have been heard rising from the waters with the incoming tide. Superstitious locals once thought that the sound was the cry of a troubled spirit and they named it the Crake. But what is the legend of the terrible Crake […]

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The Tale of The Last Man in Crantock’s Stocks

In around 1817 a surprising scene unfolded before a crowd of parishioners gathered in the churchyard of the peaceful village of Crantock. What happened that afternoon became the stuff of local legend and visitors to this quiet coastal church can still buy postcards relating the story to this day. This unusual episode is the hilarious […]

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Port Quin – the Mystery of ‘the Hopeless Dawn’

port quin

Port Quin is a beautiful place, a picturesque little Cornish inlet. It is considered a safe habour, though somewhat shallow, with the rocks at its narrow entrance between Doyden Point and Kellan Head appearing to almost touch. Yet despite its sheltered position, and having Newquay and Padstow on one side and Port Isaac on the […]

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The Marvellous Millook Haven

The precipitous descends and ascents of the north coast near Millook Haven can be a challenge to even the most experienced walker! John Lloyd Warden Page wrote in the 19th century that these coves are “desperately hard to get out of!” and I think it is fair to say that he was right. But it […]

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Penfound Manor – the oldest inhabited manor house in Britain

penfound manor

Some houses are so much more than bricks and mortar. In fact, you could argue that they have been around so long that they have developed a life and a personality all of their own. Penfound Manor is one such house. Described as the oldest continually inhabited manor house in Britain, unusually it is a […]

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Captain John Piers – Cornish pirate

In early October 1581 the Cornish pirate John Piers and fifteen of his crew were arrested on a beach in Dorset. According to legend although Piers was very much a wanted man his capture was pure fluke. There had been no betrayal, no gem of intelligence that had led the arresting officer, Thomas Walshe, to […]

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‘For the Fallen’ – the famous war poem written at Pentire Head

One day in early September 1914 the poet Laurence Binyon sat on the Cornish cliffs gazing out at the sea. It was the first few weeks of the First World War and the terrible news of the casualties in France must have weighed heavily on his mind. It was in that moment, so far from […]

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Ralph’s Cupboard – Giants & Smugglers near Portreath

It is fair to say that if you look hard enough every nook and cranny of the Cornish coast has some tale or other to tell. Whether it is shipwrecks, mermaids, ancient cliff castles, strange geology or wily smugglers, it’s really hard to find a cove or cliff without some story attached to it. While […]

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Warbstow Bury – Cornwall’s Finest Iron Age Fort

warbstow bury

Just when I think I am becoming familiar with our prehistory I discover somewhere new! Warbstow Bury is Cornwall’s second largest and best preserved Iron Age fort. Built around 2500 years ago the impressive concentric rings crown a spur of high ground in North Cornwall close to the River Ottery. On a clear day standing […]

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