Dear customers, as from 6th April 2019 we shall no longer offering our home search service, however we will be still offering antiques for sale – please see our Etsy stores for our full stock: http://www.ShowpieceAntiques.etsy.com and http://www.MinervaByTheSea.etsy.com
Now that the heatwave looks like it’s over, and you’ve only just arrived in the West Country for your summer holiday you will need to find some indoor attractions to keep the kids happy. Buckland Abbey in the heart of the Devon countryside, a 700 year old historic house owned by the National Trust may just fit the bill.
The Trust puts on family activities suitable for all age groups, plus inside the house there is an interesting exhibition about Sir Francis Drake and life in Elizabethan times, with costumes to try on for the kiddies. Activities include Bushcraft For Kids, Pirate Ship making, crafts, nature spotting etc. In the Great Barn you can see The Cosmic Egg!
And if that isn’t enough, there are acres of estate to explore, Elizabethan gardens, craft shops, gift and plant shop and of course a cafe.
There are lots of quirky and interesting statues and sculpture to spot – why not get your kids searching for as many interesting things they can find and make a list to see who has the most!
Below: The Cosmic Egg
Below: see the Great Barn in a different light….
For more information go to: Buckland Abbey – things to see and do Summer 2018
Summer in the West Country – it doesn’t get any better. If you’ve dreamed of escaping the rat race and moving to Cornwall or Devon, now is the time – let us help you find your dream home by the sea and you too could be enjoying daily walks like this one I had at Looe the other morning.
Above: Around the towns of East Looe and West Looe
Above: Relax on East Looe’s family friendly beach
Above: Take a stroll around to Hannafore, West Looe for stunning views of St George’s Island from Marine Drive
Want to grab yourself some of this? Want a slower, less hectic pace of life? Then get in touch and benefit from our experience searching for properties for discerning buyers in the South West.
We’re having some amazing crisp sunny days here in Cornwall, perfect for walks on the massive sandy beaches of North Cornwall. Mawgan Porth is one of the biggest. Dogs are allowed on it all year around, it is one of Woody’s favourites!
Who would not want this beach to walk, play and swim at all year round?
Salcombe, on the south coast of Devon is regarded as one of the most desirable coastal locations in which to live, and recently the rise in property prices means it is also the most expensive. It’s not difficult to see why. We headed off to Salcombe at half term to catch some much needed winter sunshine.
During winter half term, Salcombe was buzzing with holiday makers, out walking their dogs, enjoying the sunshine, eating ice creams, browsing the many shops and boutiques or simply enjoying the stunning views from Salcombe. Salcombe isn’t just for summer!
We parked on the road into Salcombe and the walk into the town offered breathtaking views across the inlet to secluded beaches across turquoise waters. You could be forgiven for thinking you might be in the Med!
Despite Salcombe’s popularity with the rich and famous, you can find plenty of properties to suit every pocket. Just contact us for help finding your dream home on Britain’s very own riviera.
Even in the mid winter, the West Country has lots to offer those who make the effort to get off the sofa, put on some wellies and explore. It’s also less busy and you can usually still find at least one cafe open offering hot drinks and comfort food.
Even in the depths of winter, signs of spring are everywhere if you look, daffodils in December, snowdrops, lambs and crocuses….and on a sunny day it can almost feel like summer!
Wrap up warm and head to the coast for a wild day out – it’ll be worth the extra effort.
Banish those winter blues – now is the time to start house hunting if you are thinking about making that move to Devon or Cornwall you keep promising yourself. Can’t get time off work to view properties at the moment? Contact us to see how we can help you. We can do all the hard work for you!
Who knows, you could be in your dream home by the summer…..
We all like to make some New Year resolutions; and admittedly most seem to drift away unfulfilled!
There is one aspiration which is worth achieving however, and that is a move to Cornwall, or at least buying a property here!
Although property values in the county have been steadily rising for the last few years, Cornwall is still comparatively affordable, and property in coastal locations can still be found at reasonable prices.
This beautiful region offers so much, there is something for everybody, such as gorgeous sandy beaches, dramatic coastlines, rugged landscapes, seaside, town or rural living, unique shops, gastro pubs, and lifestyle opportunities.
Buying a house is Cornwall does have some challenges however, as there is a lack of quality stock on the market. Average property is easily found, but buying a good sound investment takes time and dedication. We have the tenacity to help you get ahead of those other buyers looking for similar homes.
We can save you time, energy and money.
We have devised a thorough questionnaire which will help to focus your thoughts and search requirements. After discussing your needs in more detail we’ll have a good understanding of your life-style and be in a good position to find that dream home.
We take over the searching process for you. We are in touch with agents, websites, auction houses, local press, developers and individuals. We are more likely to discover properties being sold in a discreet manner and often have contacts who have access to properties which are fresh on the market or simply not even promoted on the open market.
We are fast to present our findings. Genuine quality property moves quickly in the West Country and we can help to make sure that you don’t miss the right house for you.
Our in-depth search findings will help to highlight the aspects which an estate agent may prefer that you didn’t know, after all they work in the vendor’s interest. If there is something unexpected in a house or its location, we’ll advise you, if we haven’t already ruled out the property in advance corresponding to your questionnaire.
We welcome enquiries from serious cash buyers, who would appreciate having an agent to do the hard work!
Best wishes for the New Year, from Guy & Amanda at West Country Home Finders.
A couple of weeks ago the pretty village of St Neot, on the edge of Bodmin Moor in Cornwall, held its Village Festival. As this event is only held every four years we decided to go along and enjoy some of the sights.
Villagers and flower arrangers decorated the church, cottages, gardens and village with amazing floral and artistic displays. There were also exhibitions of art & history, music, and cream teas supplied in various locations.
Above: displays around the village
The flowers in the church complimented the stunning stained glass windows St. Neots is famous for.
St Neot also has a yearly flower festival as well as Oak Apple Day which was featured on the Channel 4 programme ‘Hidden Villages’ with Penelope Keith.
Check out St. Neot’s comprehensive website for information of events and walks around the area:
The delightful village of Calstock on the river Tamar in south east Cornwall is well worth a visit if you like quirky riverside villages away from the tourist traps. The village has an arty Bohemian feel, with an interesting art gallery, popular pub and a speciality ice cream parlour. There is also free parking!
There is also an interesting walk along the Tamar valley to the Cotehele House and Gardens (National Trust), it takes you under the dramatic railway viaduct, past quaint cottages along the river (don’t miss the pottery shop), uphill through some woods and onto Cotehele Quay and House.
Once through the woods, there are lovely views into the Cotehele gardens from the path, and back towards Calstock.
Below: Cotehele House from the footpath
The whole return walk takes about an hour, but why not stop and enjoy a drink or cream tea at the Edgcumbe Arms tea room at Cotehele Quay or look around the house and garden (entrance fee for non members of the National Trust). The Quay is free to look around.
Spring in Cornwall – what’s not to like? And when are you moving down? Here are some photos to inspire you to make that move.
Above: Boscastle Harbour
Above: Lanhydrock House and Estate (National Trust)
Above: Cornwall is calling, contact us to see how we can help you find your dream home in Cornwall
Above: Views from Helford Passage
On a beautiful summer’s day we decided to head down to the Helford river and explore firstly Helford Passage, followed by the pretty village of Helford on the opposite bank. Situated on the south coast of Cornwall near Helston and Falmouth, the Helford River is an estuary, and there are many interesting tidal creeks, including Frenchman’s Creek, which is accessible on foot from Helford village. (Daphne Du Maurier used it as a setting for her famous book of the same name.)
Above left: One of the beaches at Helford Passage Right: the main launching beach at Helford Passage
At Helford Passage you can take a small ferry boat across to the village of Helford, but it is expensive. If there is more than one of you it would be cheaper to drive round to Helford and pay for parking, which is reasonable and free in the evening. Although not far from the large bustling port of Falmouth, you really feel you are away from the stresses and strains of the world here, in a magical place where time has stood still. You will see families pottering about in small boats and kayaks, we even saw a boy with a rowing boat and his dog, what a nice change from spending all day phone fiddling and facebooking. That could be you! No wonder The Famous Five books have never lost their charm…..
Above left: Cottages at Helford Passage Right: Looking across to Helford Village
There is a pub at Helford Passage, (the tables get reserved quickly for lunch and evenings), and there is a cheap car park, which soon becomes filled in the summer holidays, but there is parking on the road at the top of the hill before the village, if you don’t mind the shady walk down. Dogs are not allowed on the main beach, where you can launch small boats etc for a fee, but further around there are more beaches to access where you can walk your dog (don’t get cut off by the tide – remember it is a tidal estuary!) Nearby is the National Trust garden of Glendurgan which wends its way down to Durgan village, a delightful walk along the cliff path from Helford Passage. Further up the river is Trebah Garden (accessible from the main road). Both gardens are filled with subtropical trees and plants.
Above left: Woody the giant sausage enjoying the beach at Helford Passage. Right: The River Helford
The peaceful small village of Helford itself is nestled in a sheltered back water of the Helford River and has pretty thatched cottages and wonderful views from footpaths around the coast path. There is a pub, which can become very busy, and a delicatessen serving snacks and ice creams, a complete Godsend!
Below: In and around Helford Village
Above: At Helford Passage, you can park on the road at the top of the hill before the village, if the car park is full. There is no on road parking on the river front.
Most people fall in love with Helford and the surrounding area at first sight. How expensive are homes here? Well, Helford Passage has celebrity status, Queen drummer Roger Taylor has a home here. At Helford Village, prices range from £350,000 for a 2 bed apartment, up to £1,750,000 for a 4 bed detached house, both have amazing river views. The remote ‘other worldy’ feel of the area and the ability to ‘mess about in your boat’ will ensure properties will keep their value.
Above: grand houses, many with Arts and Crafts styling, overlooking the estuary at Helford Passage, including Roger Taylor’s.
If you would like help finding your perfect property in the Helford area or anywhere else in the West Country simply contact us for more information.
There’s no getting around it, the Cornish Coast has some of the best beaches in the world and Hayle is no exception, with three miles of pristine sand on the east side of St. Ives Bay.
The beach is backed by sand dunes and cliffs and is a walker’s paradise. The beach is so large when the tide is out, you can easily escape summer crowds to find a peaceful spot for the day.
From Hayle town centre follow the signs to The Towans. (Towan means sand dune in Cornish). At the end of the road opposite the holiday park is car park and you can access the beach from there via a ramp or at various points along the sand dune footpaths.
Above right: Godrevy lighthouse
The dunes and cliffs support many wild flowers, birds and insects.
Above left: Stonechat Above right: Pyramidal orchid
Above left: Herring gull Above right: Thrift
Dartmouth, situated in the South Hams district of South Devon is one of Britain’s most desirable property and holiday locations. On a sunny summer’s day spent strolling the lanes and promenade you will definitely get the strange feeling you might not be in the UK at all, it’s not surprising the area is also known as the English Riviera.
Above left: View across the rooftops of Dartmouth Above right: View across the Dart to Kingswear
Above left: Dartmouth is a mecca for sailors Above right: Ferries for cars and foot passengers cross the river
Dartmouth is a mecca for sailors and water sport enthusiasts and is home to the Britannia Royal Naval College, not to mention many art galleries, museums, boutiques and cafes (our favourite is the Dart to Mouth Deli situated in the old market square). The view across to Kingswear is breathtaking, with vistas up and down the river Dart and out to sea.
Above: there are plenty of benches along the flat promenade to enjoy the views
Nothing is more magical than sitting on the promenade and watching the paddle steamer on trips up and down the river, and the trains of the Dartmouth Steam railway at Kingswear.
Above left to right: view from Bayard’s Cove Castle, Dartmouth’s lanes of fascinating buildings
The well kept park close to the promenade also includes a bandstand and plays host to markets and live music. If you love history there are many Tudor and Elizabethan buildings, including the Butterwalk built between 1635 and 1640. The Dartmouth Museum is located within the Butterwalk and houses many interesting exhibits.
The Cherub Inn is the oldest building in Dartmouth, dating from 1380 and includes beams from Tudor ships.
Above: The historic Butterwalk
Above: Some of the interesting exhibits in the museum
The higher up the town you walk the views become even more beautiful. The town is built on the side of a hill and steep windy roads and flights of steps join up the terrace-like lanes.
Above left: The Cherub Inn
Above left, the view out to sea Above right: the view up the river Dart
Above left: Woody the giant sausage dog inspects a steep flight of steps linking two lanes
Due to its stunning location and well-to-do feel, property in Dartmouth isn’t cheap, but has not quite caught up with its popular and well heeled neighbour, Salcombe, Britain’s most expensive seaside property location. Being larger, there is a wider selection of properties on the market ranging in price from £109,000 for a compact mezzanine studio apartment with a parking space and communal garden (perfect first time buy or holiday pad) to £1,895,000 for a stunning 4 bed residence with lift access, on a creek side location overlooking Kingswear with parking for 4 cars.
Above: just two of the many historic buildings on the river front.
Above: If you prefer the contemporary look, you won’t be disappointed
Above: the mild climate of the English Riviera means bright and colourful Mediterranean style plants can thrive here
The National Trust’s Cotehele House in South East Cornwall has wonderful gardens that are a joy to behold in the summer.
The terraced garden has a subtle colour palette of blues, pinks, whites and purples.
The cutting garden has delightful heavenly scented sweet peas, dahlias and the everlasting flowers that are used in Cotehele’s famous winter garland that hangs in the grand hall at Christmas.
A bare piece of land in the valley jungle has been planted with pretty meadow flowers.
Cotehele House, Gardenes, Quay and Mill can be found on Cornish side of the upper reaches of the river Tamar, and is a delight to visit at any time of year, although the house is mainly closed in the winter apart from the garland viewing.
Woody and I had a peaceful morning walk on a disused miners’ railway track on Caradon Hill near Minions on Bodmin Moor. We had a cuckoo, sky larks, gentle cattle and sheep for company.
The area is a World Heritage Site due to the historical mining remains and archaeological sites.
It’s the perfect place to walk your dog, but dogs must be kept on leads, especially during lambing season.
More information on the area – Caradon Hill walk
The day before the spring bank holiday was a perfect day for dawdling around Looe soaking up the sun, lazing in cafes and enjoying the breathtaking views. It all started at 8.30am on the coast path at East Looe, where even at that hour I met several chatty dog walkers and felt it was almost too hot to sit in the sun, even in the early morning mist.
Above: The coast path at East Looe affords delightful views toward Looe Island and the beach
At that time of day and being a Sunday the beach was deserted, almost. The sea was dead calm, and several couples were swimming away from the beach and a few families were already staking their day’s pitches in the sand. I had to have a paddle in the crystal clear water, so icy cold it hurt my feet, but so spine tingling refreshing. I sat on the sea wall for as long as I could handle the ever increasing sun strength and gave in to the desire for a coffee.
The first place that I came across (and there are many cafes in Looe) was the quirky Kitchenside Bakery, with china teacups and teapots dangling in the window and rustic nostalgic interior. Forties music added to the atmosphere. The cakes looked scrumptious and affordable so I vowed to come back for afternoon tea. As it was not a decent time for cake I settled for a coffee with cream – again not expensive, and watched the steady trickle of sun worshipers making their inevitable migration towards the beach, and reflected on how lucky I was to have experienced the peace and quiet by getting here early. By the time I left the cafe the trickle had to turned into a torrent, so I had to fight against the flow as I made my way up through town. The shops were open by then, so I browsed a few and decided to make my purchases on my way back so I need not carry them around all day in my rucksack.
Above: I explored the harbour area before crossing the bridge over to West Looe.
If you want a quieter, less hectic piece of Looe to relax in, it’s worth walking around to Hannafore (or driving, as the parking is free on the road). Most tourists don’t make it around here, so it’s a good little local secret. (Or was!) Dogs are allowed on the beach too. It is mostly rocky and seaweedy, perfect for rockpooling, bird watching and enjoying the views of Looe Island (aka St. Georges island). At very low tides twice a year it is possible to walk over to it. The flat promenade makes a perfect place to stroll even in the winter. The rest of the coast path can be accessed at the end of the road if you want to carry on walking.
From the road to Hannafore I could see how busy the beach had become
There are plenty of opportunities for watersports and fishing around Looe Bay
Above: Peace and quiet at Hannafore
Above: As promised, back at the Kitchenside Bakery tearoom to wind down the day, a delicious chocolate brownie and Cornish tea in a bone china tea cup – bliss!
A May walk around Buckland Abbey, near Yelverton, Devon.
Buckland Abbey was once a Cistercian Abbey founded in 1278 until the Dissolution of the Monasteries by Henry VIII. It was a home to Sir Francis Drake for 15 years and his descendants lived there until the 1940’s. Now it is in the safe hands of the National Trust. The house itself is home to a museum with interesting artifacts, including Drake’s Drum and more recently a self portrait of Rembrandt. The gardens and larger estate are a delight at any time of year but especially in spring. There are way marked routes around the estate and different gardens to explore at a leisurely pace.
Above: The Elizabethan Garden
Above right: the Great Barn
Above: May is the perfect month to enjoy the Wisteria and Azaleas around the gardens
The Cider House Garden
The Secret Garden and Wild Garden
Views Around The Surrounding Estate
The Kitchen Garden (at its best in mid-summer)
And after your gentle stroll around the gardens have tea and cake in the cafe and browse the gift shop. There is also good selection of well established plants for sale.
Above: St. Cleer village & dressing the Holy Well
St. Cleer is an attractive old mining village on the southern edge of Bodmin Moor, nestled on the side of a valley. There are two pubs, The Market Inn and The Stag, a community center called Open Doors (Tuesday and Thursday mornings for drinks and cakes) and a village shop with local produce, everyday supplies, deli, ice-creams and takeaway drinks and snacks.
The medieval parish church is set within a beautiful churchyard carpeted with flowers, starting in early spring with crocuses and celandines, followed by primroses, daffodils and then bluebells – the scent is heavenly. There has been a place of worship on the site since the early Christian French monk St. Clarus built a wooden church around 800AD and healed the sick in the nearby Holy Well, although there are other versions with different Saints of a similar name – St Clare stories…
There are several circular walks in the area, this one is about 3 miles long and follows lanes with high Cornish hedges, wild flowers and lovely views. The lanes are quiet and narrow, you may only see one car pass you, but please keep dogs on leads as this is primarily sheep farming country. In spring there are lots of lambs to enjoy. The walk also takes you through a farm, so be prepared for cow dung in the road!
The walk starts at the junction on Fore Street where the Chimney Sweep and Forge is situated, (follow Fore Street in the direction of Common Moor). Turn left at the Forge, and take the right hand fork (Treworrick Lane).
Follow the lane enjoying the many hedgerow flowers and serene views across the rolling hills. The lane goes through the middle of friendly Treworrick Farm and you may see cows in the cowshed. The old granite barns and farmhouse are particularly attractive, situated in a delightful rural setting.
Continue following the lane downhill and turn left at the junction. The lane carries on downhill towards a wooded valley with a gurgling stream and a cottage on the left.
At this point turn left at the junction (Lampretton House is on the right).
The lane winds uphill for sometime, you will spot a standing stone marking the start of the drovers track on the left (you may have seen the spot where the track joins the road earlier – don’t be tempted to walk up or down it, as at the time of writing it is very rough walking with deep channels gouged out by rainwater and a lot of rubble.)
Carry on up the hill until you finally come out at the place you started your walk.
There are many interesting sites around St. Cleer to explore including the Caradon World Heritage Mining Area, the Hurlers stone circles and the granite tor known as the Cheesewring at Minions, and Trethevy Quoit, a Neolithic dolmen burial chamber near St. Cleer. The most interesting way to reach this is to walk up the ancient track from Higher Tremar known to date at least from Roman times. The path starts next to Roman House across the road from the foot of Well Lane that leads out of St. Cleer. Link for more info – Trethevy Quoit.
Above: The Cheesewring & The Hurlers stone circles at Minions
Above: Trethevy Quoit
Above: Derelict Phoenix United Mine engine house & Minions Mining Heritage Centre
Trelissick House and Garden is a wonderful National Trust property situated near Feock on the Fal Estuary. It’s the perfect place to have a relaxing day out, with 30 acres of of gardens to explore with winding paths among woodland plants, hydrangeas and rhododendrons.
The wider estate includes dog friendly walks with five miles of paths to enjoy. There was an Iron Age settlement here, but the actual house was built in 1750 by John Lawrence, and has recently been left to the National Trust having been the country home of of various industrialists including the Copelands of the Spode Copeland China Works. The house has an important collection of Spode Copeland China.
The house is still being renovated by the National Trust and is very much a work in progress, and at present only the ground floor is open to the public. There is also a tea room and terrace with marvelous views out across the Fal estuary.
The estate also includes the Crofters cafe, interesting art gallery, gift shop and plants sales. There are also six holiday cottages to rent, including the water tower which resembles a fairy tale castle.
As you stroll around the garden you will spot the King Harry Ferry through the trees. The chain ferry was established in 1888 and connects the Roseland Peninsular with Truro and Falmouth avoiding a 27 mile road trip. There has been a ferry here for at least 500 years.
Trelissick Garden is easy to find, just outside of Truro on the Falmouth Road. Follow the signs for Feock and the gardens are on the right. Enjoy your visit!
For more info see – Trelissick Gardens
Glendurgan Gardens, owned by the National Trust, is set in a wooded valley sweeping steeply down to the Helford River estuary, culminating at the tiny village of Durgan, and is famous for its Victorian maze and subtropical plants. It is close to the village of Mawnan Smith.
Glendurgan is stunning anytime of the year, but in spring and summer the azaleas and rhododendrons are at their most spectacular along with swathes of bluebells and primroses.
There are two main paths running down through the garden, and a map is provided showing paths best for pushchairs, or where there are steps etc. The laurel maze designed in 1833 and Giant’s Stride are two features of the garden that are particularly popular with children.
The dream like vista awaiting you as you reach the village of Durgan on the Helford River is unforgettable, the perfect place to relax before the walk back up the garden, have a picnic and paddle your toes.
The village is also owned by the National Trust, and is therefore is totally unspoiled by tourism or development.
After a sojourn in Durgan, you can then complete your walk back up through the garden, enjoying views of the ‘cattle rush’ and maze.
After you’ve enjoyed exploring the garden relax in the tea room for light snacks, cakes and drinks. The shop has some lovely gifts and plants for sale too. We can guarantee you’ll love Glendurgan Gardens!
More info:- Glendurgan Gardens
Gorran Haven truly is a haven of peace and tranquility on the south coast of Cornwall, and only two miles from the bustling fishing village of Mevagissey. It’s slightly tucked out of the way (so has not been spoiled by over development), but close enough to the Lost Gardens of Heligan and not too far from the Eden Project and the historic harbour of Charlestown.
The beach is a dream, with soft sand, turquoise waters and plenty of rock pools to explore (dogs allowed on leads). The coast path has some stunning views and wildflowers and birds to spot. There is a hotel (The Llawnroc), two or three cafes including one right next to the beach, public conveniences (free!) a large car park and a village shop with a post office, hairdresser, fish and chip takeaway, a beach shop, an ancient tiny church and quaint narrow lanes to explore. A pub (The Barley Sheaf) can be found a mile away at the inland village of Gorran Churchtown.
For more information about the village of Gorran Haven including its history click here :- Gorran Haven – more information
Gorran Haven is an up and coming location and a desirable place to retire to or buy your ideal peaceful holiday pad by the sea. Many properties, especially bungalows, are being developed or rebuilt, improving the quality of the houses on offer. This means prices will rise, so the best time to buy is right now. Prices range from £210,000 for a 3 bed fisherman’s cottage yards from the beach to £445,000 for a 5 bed bungalow with a 2 bed annex.
See you in Gorran!
If you are in the South Hams area of Devon, why not visit Brixham, a quaint and historic fishing town on Devon’s south coast. Situated opposite Torquay across Tor Bay and just around the corner from Dartmouth, Brixham makes a perfect day out for all the family.
There is plenty going on in the harbour area with a replica of the Golden Hind, museums, art galleries and seafood cafes and restaurants galore.
Above: The Golden Hind replica and Woody sniffing out out the best property locations
Above: Beach and Marina
The beach is ideal for children to explore and swim from. As well as a famous fishing fleet, there is a large marina for yachts and motor boats, overlooked by some glamorous new properties (below).
If you like wandering around lanes of character fishermen’s cottages then this is the place for you.
Above: Temperance Place, an interesting tiled lane of cottages to explore.
Here is a link to the Visit Brixham website for more information:- Visit Brixham
Above: Woody enjoying his walk and an old mine engine house
It’s Good Friday and the sun is shining, so Woody the sausage dog and I decided to have walk at Minions, on Bodmin Moor. It was a bit wet and muddy as we had rain the day before but that didn’t stop the giant sausage having a grand time.
Minions has recently been put on the media map by the cartoon Minions, but locals have always known the pretty moorland village for the highest pub in Cornwall (The Cheesewring Hotel), the Hurlers (three late Neolithic stone circles), the Cheesewring (a pile of natural granite stones on top of Stowe’s Hill) and the old tin and copper mining engine houses and workings that make up this World Heritage Site. There are many legends surrounding the Cheesewring and Hurlers. According to legend, the the standing stones are the remains of men petrified for playing hurling on a Sunday.
Above: The ground can be very wet and boggy after rain. The two stones in the centre are known as The Pipers, again turned to stone for playing on a Sunday instead of going to church. The photo on the right shows old mine workings and the Hurlers on the horizon.
Above: cattle, sheep and ponies roam free on the moor and dogs must be kept on a lead at all times between 1st March and the end of July (lambing season).
There is plenty of car parking, and as well as the pub, the village has a tearoom and Heritage Centre in Houseman’s Shaft engine house at South Phoenix Mine. Here is link to more information: Heritage Centre
Here is a link to a circular walk you can undertake in the area: Minions circular walk
Enjoy your visit! Who knows, you might spot Aidan Turner filming for the next TV series of Poldark…
The first spring sunshine meant a walk in Boscastle, North Cornwall with Woody the Sausage dog, who can sniff out all the best properties in the West Country. Walking boots are recommended as the coastal path is rough, muddy and steep in some places.
Above: Forrabury Church and the Stitches looking towards Willapark
Above: The Coastguard lookout at Willapark
Our circular walk took us up Forrabury Hill via the delightful church, and on to Willapark with its white coastguard lookout, across the medieval fields called the Forrabury Stitches, and down the dramatic coast path back down to the harbour.
Forrabury Church and the Coastguard lookout at Willapark featured at the start of the British comedy film ‘Saving Grace’, which sparked the Doc Martin ITV series.
Above: View from the Coast Path and Woody enjoying his walk
Above: The views are breathtaking – these are looking west towards Tintagel.
Above: Time for a rest at Willapark – do you like heights?!
Above: The dramatic views from the coast path on the way back down to Boscastle Harbour
Above: The entrance to the Harbour with the Devil’s Bellows, a ‘blow hole’ cave that sprays out water with a canon-like blast when the tide is at a certain height
Above: Back at the Harbour and time for a cream tea at the National Trust cafe!
Above: Woody back home flat out after his day exploring Boscastle
The weather has been pretty wet and grey this winter, so lets cheer ourselves up with some stunning photos of Cornwall in summer – something to look forward to!
Above: two gems of the North Coast – Trebarwith Strand & Port Isaac
Above: Fowey, taken from Polruan
Above: Port Isaac
Above: beaches near Padstow
Above: Harlyn Bay, nr Padstow and Polzeath, on the North Coast
Above Bedruthan Steps, North Coast
And finally the stunning Kynance Cove, dreams are made of this….
Thinking about moving down to Cornwall? We can help you find your perfect home or holiday cottage, in time for the glorious summer!
A couple of weekends ago we had a refreshing walk around Mousehole, way down in the far South West of Cornwall.
We like to experience our lovely villages in all types of weather at different times of the year and we weren’t disappointed! The famous Christmas lights were being dismantled by a team of hard working volunteers, and most of the shops and cafes were closed and only a few die-hard holiday makers were around to enjoy the weather!
The sea was pretty choppy, not a good idea to stand on the sea wall, as the tide was high as well.
We noted on a walk around the quiet village that houses were selling even in the winter, which just goes to show the market is very buoyant in this area, as is much of Cornwall.
It’s nice to explore the tiny windy lanes without hoards of tourists!
We had a delicious snack lunch of Homity pie in a busy Hole Foods Deli overlooking the harbour which in winter is closed off by wooden baulks to help keep the waves out.
After warming up we had another wander around, exploring every nook and cranny. There is a lot of history in this quaint village. The Mousehole shop appeared in the Nationwide adverts. It was closed for the winter, but is a delight to browse through when it’s open.
We had a much welcome cup of tea and coffee in the Old Pilchard Press Tea Room, which we were delighted to find open.
We are looking forward to our next visit very soon. It’s one of our favourite Cornish villages, and we hope it will be yours too. If you need help find a property in Cornwall or Devon – we can help you – just give us a shout!
Living in the West Country isn’t just about summer fun! Winter is wonderful too as you can see from the photos below, all taken in winter.
Below: Noss Mayo, Devon
Below: Trebarwith Strand
Below: Cotehele House & Quay, National Trust
Below: Fowey & Seaton
Below: Charlestown & Boscastle
Below: Port Isaac
Below: Lewis’s Deli at Rock
Below: A winter walk at the Cheesewring, Minions, Bodmin Moor
As you can see, great fun to be had in winter too, so make that move now – what are you waiting for? The sun to come out?
If you are looking to fill up a day out near Newquay, why not combine a morning at the Elizabethan Trerice Manor (National Trust), followed by an afternoon walk around the headland at nearby Pentire Head, finishing up with a delicious Cornish ice cream from the kiosk.
Trerice Manor is a small Elizabethan country house owned by the National Trust with delightful gardens, barn restaurant and local plants, art & gifts for sale. Try out some Tudor outdoor games – Kayling and Slapcock – on the bowling green!
Trerice Manor is in Kestle Mill near Newquay. For more information here is link to the National Trust website: Trerice House
After lunch in the Barn, head off for a walk to Pentire head, just a short drive around the edge of Newquay. There is a car park with toilets and a kiosk selling drinks and ice creams. The views around the headland are breathtaking – Crantock Beach with its huge caves and sand dunes to the west and to the east the magnificent surfing beach at Fistral, not to mention the towering cliffs and bird and plant life to spot. You may be lucky enough to spot seals, dolphins and sharks too!
St. Mawgan, near Newquay is one of the prettiest villages in Cornwall. Despite being near Newquay Airport, it is quietly nestled in a peaceful river valley that flows down to the enormous sandy beach at Mawgan Porth. A footpath follows the valley and is one of our favourite walks. There is free parking at St. Mawgan behind the village shop, so we suggest starting your walk in the village. Another good reason to start here is a coffee and snack at the village tearoom! The tearoom is run by the owners of the shop and post office and is utterly delightful with vines growing in the conservatory and a pretty garden to sit in.
Above: St Mawgan village, including the 6th century Celtic monastery now home to the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate (bottom right).
Opposite the church the road turns right, follow this road past the Japanese Gardens until you come to a dead end road on the left signposted footpath to Mawgan Porth. The single lane road carries on past some delightfully located houses and takes you onto the footpath along the peaceful Menalhyl Valley.
The path carries on past a farm tea garden, open on certain days in the summer, then crosses a country lane. The path eventually leads onto the edge of a quiet holiday park where it joins the road for a short stroll into the seaside village of Mawgan Porth. By this time you’ll probably want a rest before exploring the beach – when the tide is at its lowest the beach is huge and will add about two more miles to your walk!
Time for a rest at the pub!
We walk back the same way, but a circular walk is described in the link below, but is a bit longer.
Here is a link to other walks in the area: St Mawgan area walks
The village of St. Mawgan (full name St. Mawgan in Pydar) is perfectly situated between the popular towns of Newquay and Padstow, and not far from the A30 and A39 main roads. If you are a regular user of Newquay Airport, you could not ask for a more ideal location to buy a home. With its post office, shop, pub, tearoom, church, village hall, playing field, Japanese Garden, Convent, pre-school and a school for the 4-11 age group (Outstanding Ofsted report) you have all the facilities for the perfect village lifestyle, not to mention the added bonus of the beach just two miles away!
OK, homes are not cheap here and don’t often come on the open market. Which is what we are here for – to find your perfect home. Very often top properties are discreetly marketed – we have access to these exclusive properties just for you. £350k to £875k would be starting guide to prices in the St. Mawgan area. Come and see for yourself how peaceful and quiet beautiful St. Mawgan is.
Situated on the North Cornwall coast road between Newquay and Padstow, Bedruthan Steps are dramatic sea stacks stretching across the clean sands of Bedruthan beach. The views from the clifftop are stunning!
Park in the National Trust car park at Carnewas, were you can find a cafe, toilets, shop, picnic area and maps. There are very steep steps down to the awe inspiring beach, although swimming is not recommended due to strong rip tides – be careful not to get cut off by the tide as the sea completely covers the beach when high!
Wherever you walk along this stretch of coast path you will be rewarded by different stunning views at every step, or you can simply sit in the heather and relax, listening to the Atlantic rollers as they crash onto the beach and watch seagulls reeling in the blue sky…
Link to National Trust page for Bedruthan: Bedruthan Steps
If you want to get away from it all at a magical & romantic destination there is no need to go abroad – you can find it at Kynance Cove on the Lizard Peninsular, Britain’s most southerly point.
Your first view of dream-like Kynance Cove will take your breath away. It has a feeling of the Caribbean here, the light is bright and gives everything a polarized feel, you get the feeling you are on the edge of the world. The sand is clean and the sky endlessly blue. The sea is the colour of lapis lazuli in the shade of the serpentine rocks and brilliant turquoise in the sunlight.
There are caves to explore where you can study the green and red serpentine rock and fantasize about pirate treasure and smugglers. (Check tide times before visiting as the beach is covered at high tide and beware of getting cut off! Swimming is not advised due to strong currents. Dogs are allowed on the beach – please clean up after them!)
The area is under the ownership of the National Trust, and is an AONB site, so there are plenty of facilities for a family day out. The car park is large with toilets & maps etc and a choice of routes down to the beach according to your level of ability, including one suitable for pushchairs. Just above the beach is a cafe (open in good weather during the summer) and a holiday cottage. Link to cafe here: Kynance Cafe
While you are down that way, why not visit The Lizard, Britain’s most southerly point (photo below). There are cafes, car parks and walks along the coast path. If you are lucky you might spot a seal or two!
Link to the National Trust page for more information: Kynance Cove, National Trust
Salcombe in South Devon is now the most expensive seaside location in Britain, having taken over Sandbanks in Dorset. The average house price in Salcombe is now £670k, and it’s not hard to see why.
Salcombe is idyllically situated in the South Hams district at the mouth of the Kingsbridge Estuary, within the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Not a true estuary, as there is no river flowing into the sea, but a beautiful tidal inlet with many creeks, superb for sailing and boating activities of all descriptions. There are some small sandy beaches in the area, including North and South Sands a short drive away. The town made it’s fortune from boat and shipbuilding, shipping fruit and other goods, fishing and smuggling. There are still boat yards, but now the main industry is sailing and tourism, but shell fish is still an important business, supplying local shops, restaurants and hotels.
There are many Victorian houses once occupied by wealthy ship builders, smaller cottages for related trades like carpenters and fishermen and converted warehouses and wharf buildings.
Between the world wars the town became well established as a tourist and sailing resort. The Salcombe Sailing Club was founded in 1922. Two popular Regattas are held every year.
The main street has many interesting boutiques and interiors shops, cafes, delis and locally made ice-cream. It is worth walking further and exploring the higher streets for breath taking views of the scenery.
There is a wide variety of house styles and ages to choose from if you wish to make Salcombe your home or purchase a holiday retreat here, with prices ranging from a reasonable £255,000 to £2,95,000 for a 5 bed period former customs house on the waterfront.
Salcombe is an ideal place to retire, mixing with the sailing fraternity and a perfect holiday retreat. House prices are sure to keep rising here, so a good place for a property investment!
Buckland Abbey in West Devon, owned by the National Trust, is the perfect day out for all ages. This 700 year old property is set in the most wonderful rolling Devon countryside near Dartmoor. It was the home of Sir Francis Drake for 15 years and his descendants up until 1946. An enormous Great Barn, art gallery, shop and tearoom also form part of the property.
An interesting exhibition of Drake’s life and the Elizabethan era is also housed here. Recently a painting was officially confirmed by an expert as a self-portrait by Rembrandt and this has pride of place at Buckland.
The National Trust holds lots of events for all the family especially in the summer holidays such as archery and Medieval life displays.
Below: The Great Barn and Cider Press
There are several peaceful gardens to delight in as well.
Below: The Kitchen Garden
Below: The Cider House Garden
Below: The Cider House B&B
Below: The Elizabethan Garden
Well worth a visit in all weathers!
Link to National Trust site: Buckland Abbey
If you are on holiday or just on a day trip, don’t stop at Newquay, a bit further down Cornwall is the picturesque fishing village of Mousehole, situated a couple of miles the other side of Penzance and Newlyn. Old fishermen’s cottages line narrow lanes forming an amphitheatre around the small harbour.
Above: Mousehole from the harbour walls
Most of the village of was destroyed during an attack from sea by the Spanish Armada in 1595, the only building left standing was the Keigwin Arms pub, now a private house.
Below: How the Keigwin Arms looked in the early 20th century.
Below: how the building looks today
Mousehole is famous for its Christmas lights and Tom Bawcock’s Eve, a celebration held on 23rd December to mark the ending of a famine in the 16th century and is the origin of Star Gazey Pie – a fish, egg and potato pie with fish heads protruding through the pastry. The festival inspired the children’s book ‘The Mousehole Cat’ by Antonia Barber.
Below: Views of Mounts Bay and harbour from the village
Below: Every spare inch is useful as a garden – including doorsteps!
Below: Cottages around the village
There are several lovely cafes to choose from offering morning coffee, lunches, snacks and afternoon tea and cake plus ice-creams of course! Our favourite is Jessie’s Dairy in Fore Street, most of the produce and ingredients are locally sourced and we thoroughly recommend the Homity Pie (below).
There are three car parks in the village but they can get very busy at peak times. Driving around the narrow lanes can be tricky, so if you don’t mind a walk, the best place to park is along the road between Newlyn and Mousehole and it’s free! You’ll enjoy the views over Mounts Bay towards St. Michael’s Mount and Penzance too.
Enjoy your trip!
If you like peace and tranquility you must visit the National Trust’s 15th century Godolphin House. The house was home to the Godolphin family until the mid 18th century, and they made their fortune in tin mining.
By the year 1689 the house boasted 100 rooms, now only a part of the house remains after large parts of the house were demolished in 1805 to make a smaller farm house.
The recently discovered gardens are peaceful and atmospheric as too are the original Elizabethan barns.
The house is only open at certain times because it is used as a National Trust run holiday letting. Please see the website for more details before visiting. The estate also includes the remains of the family tin mine – Leeds engine house and stack. If you walk up Godolphin Hill you will be rewarded with views of St. Michael’s Mount to the south and St. Ives Bay to the north. There are also woodland and river walks to enjoy and a tearoom for refreshments.
Below: Around the gardens
Godolphin House was used as a film location for the 1970’s series of Poldark.
More information and visiting times: Godolphin House – National Trust Page
There is so much to see at the National Trust’s Lanhydrock House, like us you’ll need all day or several trips to take it all in. As well as the house there are also acres of gardens to enjoy and the huge estate to explore and cycle around.
The house itself was built in 1620, but a huge fire destroyed much of it in 1881. The only parts that were not damaged were the 29 metre Long Gallery with its amazing books and Jacobean ceiling in the north wing, the front porch and the gatehouse. The rest was rebuilt and refurbished in the style of the original building but with all the latest Victorian luxuries including a grand kitchen block. If you enjoy Downton Abbey you’ll love discovering the Victorian kitchen and servants quarters!
Lanhydrock has some excellent facilities – cafe in the stables, a restaurant, plant centre, gift and book shop, cycle hire plus a secure place to tie up your dog while visiting the house.
Above: Church and gardens
Above: Private cottage on the Estate
Above: Holy Well of St. Hydroc and formal garden
Above: Joseph’s Cottage (you can visit this in the gardens)
More information and opening times please visit the National Trust website: Lanhydrock House
Whether it’s a rainy day or brilliant sunshine a visit to a National Trust Property never fails to disappoint. The National Trust owns and manages many beautiful stretches of coastline in Cornwall – we will talk about these in another blog. Here we’ll give you some ideas for a great day out for all the family at Cornwall’s National Trust Gardens and Houses. Wherever you are living or staying in Cornwall there is one near you.
Cotehele is one of our favourites, and virtually on our own doorstep being in South East Cornwall. The estate comprises a Tudor House, extensive gardens, Mill and Quay.
Above: Terraced gardens and the famous Cotehele Daffodils
The House was the ancestral home to the Edgcumbe family for centuries and holds important collections of artifacts, tapestries and furniture. The House looks over the Tamar Valley and the views across the beautifully planted formal terraced garden are stunning. The lush jungle-like Valley Garden stretches steeply down to the Tamar – there are many interesting plants and trees and a medieval stewpond and dovecote.
Above: View across the Tamar Valley & the Medieval Dovecote
Above: The Valley Garden
Behind the house are flatter gardens to explore – with an orchard, planted beds and borders and a formal pond. There are many interesting features in the house, one being the Great Hall with it’s collection of arms and armour and in December a huge dried flower garland that traditionally hangs from the Hall ceiling each year. Within the house is a chapel where you can see the oldest working turret clock, having been installed in about 1493.
Above: The Great Hall, Dried Flower Christmas Garland and the Medieval Clock
There is also a gift shop, local art and craft gallery and a restaurant in the tithe barn. There is also a working Corn Mill and Forge a short 20 minute walk away and down at the Quay you can see the restored sailing barge ‘Shamrock’, original buildings with exhibits and enjoy a Cornish cream tea or light lunch in The Edgcumbe tea room.
Above: The Water Mill and old cart
Above: Romantic gardens to stroll around
Above: Spy hole looking down into the Great Hall
Above: Looking towards the gift shop and Barn Restaurant
Above: Window in the House
Link to the Cotehele National Trust page for more info and how to get there: Cotehele
If you long for drama, mystery and things out of this world your first visit to Boscastle will be a memorable one. The windy road down to the car park will set the goosebumps going and give you a taste of things to come. Most of this historic fishing village is situated above the car park, so if you are feeling energetic the steep lanes and characterful cottages are well worth exploring.
Since the flood of 2004, the car park has been enlarged and rebuilt with improved flood defenses along the Valency River and many buildings rebuilt or restored. You can learn all about the great flood in the National Trust visitor centre, where you will also find a dog-friendly cafe which also has some pleasant courtyard seating plus a gift shop. Boscastle is famous for its Witchcraft Museum, much of which was destroyed in the flood, but has now been restored. The 300 year old quirky Pixie Shop that was situated directly opposite the museum was sadly completely washed away in the flood and has been rebuilt as it was prior to the disaster complete with the low sagging roof. It is now the delightful Harbour Lights Tea Room.
Above: the Pixie Shop before the flood
Boscastle’s small fishing harbour is reached by a dramatic fjord-like inlet between towering cliffs with an island at the entrance. It doesn’t take too much imagination to visualise a pirate sailing ship out at sea! The sea is often rough, waves beating themselves on the rocks jutting into the inlet and dashing against the harbour wall. Be careful if you do stand on the harbour wall – waves frequently wash over them in heavy seas. If you are lucky enough you can hear a bang, like cannon fire, every so often when a wave smashes into a blow hole, known as the Devil’s Bellows, in the cliff below Penally Point. The cliff path either side of the harbour will reward you will amazing views at every angle – you won’t put your camera away. There is plenty of bird life to spot and wild flowers too, sometimes seals and dolphins if your are lucky.
Try and make it up to the white Coastguards look-out to the east, the views are outstanding. Take the westerly path close to the edge of the cliff and you can clamber over the sloping slates and sit and enjoy the views back towards the harbour at Penally Point. Here is a rock known as Profile Rock which resembles Queen Victoria.
If you want a gentler stroll away from the drama of the harbour, the Valency river valley path is peaceful and calming, but still with a little frission when you remember that this river delivered the flood in 2004. A circular walk around the valley will take in Minster Church which is situated on a Celtic site dating back 1500 years. The Church itself has origins from 1150 and was built by William de Bottreaux whose Norman family built Bottreaux’s Castle – the site of which can still be seen in Boscastle, and indeed gave its name to the town. Minster Church was restored in Tudor and Victorian times. Just outside the graveyard you will find the grave of a witch – Joan Wytte, known as the “Fighting Fairy Woman of Bodmin Town”.
While you are in the area, a visit to Tintagel is a must for yet more legends, castles and dramatic cliffs, just 4 miles along the coast road.
Below are photos of the historic buildings in the steep lanes around the upper part of Boscastle
Below: Forrabury Church, near the cliff top, well worth walking up to then out along the cliff path for spectacular views. You may spot seals or dolphins!
Below: The coastguard look out
Links to more information:
Boscastle & Tintagel: Boscastle & Tintagel Information
Boscastle to Minster Church Walk: Minster Church Walk
Harbour Lights Tea Room History: Harbour Lights Tea Room / Pixie Shop
If you love old sailing ships and maritime history Charlestown is the place to visit. The village is an historic port on the south coast of Cornwall just 2 miles south of St. Austell. Originally a tiny fishing village it was named West Polmear, but in the late 1700’s local entrepreneur Charles Rashleigh redesigned and renamed the village and built a harbour to provide a safe dock for the export of copper and china clay that was (and still is) mined locally. Now you can admire the old sailing ships that are moored in the dock and the cottages that line the wide road down to the harbour. Largely untouched by modern construction the village is a popular filming location for TV and movies and if you are a fan of the new BBC TV series Poldark you may recognise Charlestown in many episodes.
As well as cafes, pubs, art galleries, crafts, gifts and an antique shop you will also find the fascinating Shipwreck and Heritage Centre, the largest private collection of historical shipwreck related artifacts in Europe. The museum also includes an interesting Titanic exhibition – well worth a visit, especially if the weather is inclement. There is also a small beach at Charlestown (no dogs allowed).
If you can’t decide whether to buy a house in Devon or Cornwall, have you considered Tavistock? The vibrant market town of Tavistock is ideally situated on the western edge of Dartmoor, but only 4.5 miles from the Cornish border. The property market is buoyant in the area with an average price of £400k for a quality 4 bed detached house. The location of Tavistock with its excellent schools, market, shops, river, parks, services and proximity to Dartmoor National Park make this a very popular place to live.
The fantastic pannier market, open Tuesday to Saturday between 9am and 4:30pm, has been running without a break for 900 years. Here you can find plants, collectables, art, jewellery, books, tools, delis, clothing, craft stalls and cafes. At Christmas the magical Dickensian Evening is held on the last Friday in November to coincide with the switching on of the town’s Christmas lights and shops are open until 9pm.
Although there is a large food supermarket on the edge of the town, Tavistock is remarkable because the high street is packed with many independent shops and boutiques. The larger department stores being found in Plymouth, only a half hour drive away.
A short walk from the town centre you can find peace and tranquility along the River Tavy and canal where you can walk and relax in The Meadows park with its play areas, tennis, swimming pool and The Wharf Arts Centre.
Above: The River Tavy
Above: The Wharf Arts Centre & Meadowlands Leisure Pool
A short drive away and you’ll be in the stunning Dartmoor National Park – a huge natural wild playground for exploring, walking, riding and cycling the paths and lanes that criss-cross the moor.
Tavistock is steeped in history. It is famous for being the birthplace of Elizabethan naval hero Sir Francis Drake. Its fortune was made from the wool trade and in 1105 received its Market Charter from Henry I. It was also important as a Stannary Town where ores from the mining industry where weighed and valued for duty.
Above: Remains of an arch from the Benedictine Abbey built in 1318 and the West Gate of the Abbey built in the 1400’s known as Betsy Grimbal’s Tower. Blessed Grimbald was a 9th century saint revered by the Benedictines and the name Betsy Grimbal is probably a corruption.
Above: St. John’s Holy Well on the bank of the River Tavy was probably used by the monks of the Abbey.
We can thoroughly recommend Tavistock for a holiday, day out or as a place to live. For more information see the websites listed below.
Fowey is fast becoming the most desirable holiday and residential destination in Cornwall. Fowey has vistas comparable with the prettiest parts of the Mediterranean, and is popular with sailors, with its famous yearly regatta and river moorings. The river has a working quay a bit further up from Fowey and a relaxing time can be spent watching large ships and even cruise liners gliding up and down the glittering waters.
Above left: Looking towards Fowey and up river from Polruan. Right: Looking towards Polruan on the opposite bank.
Fowey is situated on the south east coast of Cornwall, known as the Cornish Riviera, at the estuary of the beautiful Fowey River which was born in the centre of Bodmin Moor. Opposite Fowey is the charming fishing village of Polruan with working boat yards. Cottages tumble down to the quay where you will find the historic Lugger Inn – definitely worth the enjoyable boat trip over from Fowey.
Fowey is a delight to potter around for all ages and abilities, the main area of interest being relatively flat with a small pay and display car park and a few disabled spaces. The larger main car park at the top of the town has a small bus to ferry people up and down. You will find quirky gift shops and boutiques and plenty of places to eat and drink.
Take it easy enjoying the view from the harbour seating area or wander along the Esplanade to Readymoney Cove, a small sandy beach.
Above left: The Esplanade. Right: Readymoney Cove
Above and bottom left: Views from The Esplanade. Above: View from St. Catherine’s Castle
From The Esplanade you can just about spot the remains of Fowey Blockhouse with its opposite number on the Polruan side – built in the 1300’s, chains were pulled across the estuary in order to prevent the entry of undesirable ships entering the harbour. Further along on the left you will pass comedienne Dawn French’s magnificent Point Neptune House. A little further around the coast, past the Cove, is Catherine’s Point where in medieval times the chapel of St. Catherine stood on the cliff top and a light was kept burning as a lighthouse. St. Catherine’s Castle below was built by Henry VIII to defend the harbour entrance.
If you prefer a longer walk take the ferry across to Bodinnick and enjoy the Hall Walk that meanders along the creeks to Polruan – about three miles in length. Fowey and the surrounding area has been made well known by the author Daphne du Maurier who lived in Ferryhouse at Bodinnick. Many of her books were set in the area and here she wrote her first novel ‘The Loving Spirit’.
Fowey has many extremely popular yearly events and festivals including the week long Royal Regatta in August, with its yacht races, fireworks, carnival, live music and brilliant Red Arrows display; The Festival of Words & Music, which this year opens with a Poldark themed day (9-15th May 2015) and The Christmas Market in December – a weekend of gift and food stalls, live music and lots of fun!
OK, so you’ve fallen in love with Fowey, and who wouldn’t? If you want to find your perfect home there are properties to suit all pockets, but this is an up and coming area, so now is the time to buy. House prices range from £130,000 to £1,975,000.
Above left: Place House, the tower is visible behind St Fimbarrus Church. Place has been home of the Treffry family since the 13th Century and remains their private home to this day. It is not open to the public.
Above right: Polruan
Above: In and around Fowey.
Fowey Tourist Information: Fowey Info
Polruan: Polruan Info
Festival of Words and Music: Fowey Restival
Padstow has always been a popular destination for holiday makers and in recent years has become a foodie paradise thanks to celebrity chefs Rick Stein and Paul Ainsworth. There are many delightful cafes, pubs and restaurants to chose from in Padstow but Stein and Ainsworth have definitely cornered the foodie market. Ever since the BBC TV series ‘Rick Stein’s Taste of The Sea’ Padstow has been placed firmly on the map, gaining the dubious nickname ‘Padstein’. Stein statrted his Seafood Restaurant way back in 1975 and also runs a tea room and fish & chip restaurant in the village. Ainsworth, who trained with Gary Rhodes owns Ainsworth at Number 6 and Rojano’s In The Square.
Padstow is a thriving community based around a fishing and yachting harbour. The lanes are a delight to wander around where you can browse the quality shops or enjoy the old cottages and views towards the Camel Estuary. You can hire a bike and cycle all the way to Bodmin and back along the Camel Trail – a disused railway that runs along the scenic river Camel. Take the ferry to Rock or enjoy an exciting ride on a speedboat.
Above: The Camel Estuary
Above: Interesting buildings and alleys
For a quick light snack and drink you can’t beat the Java coffee shop, situated in the old cinema at 10 Lanadwell Street. A selection of hot and cold drinks, cakes, biscuits and sandwiches are available. We can thoroughly recommend the bacon sarnies! They welcome dogs and offer a take-away service too. There are some greeting cards for sale as well. Tel: 01841 534950
Above: the lanes around Padstow (bottom right – The Dower House, being renovated)
Above: St Petroc’s Church
Above Prideaux Place
Above: The deer park at Prideaux Place
Above: Harlyn Bay & Polzeath
Walkers can also use the Camel Trail, or a stroll in the other direction takes you up over the cliffs with stunning views towards Polzeath and Daymer Bay. Benches line the path so you can take it easy! If you enjoy historic houses, Prideaux Place is an Elizabethan manor house lived in by the same family since 1592. The house and grounds are a delight to explore – there is also a tea room and deer park. Check their website for opening times. Slightly further afield Harlyn Bay offers life-guarded bathing for all the family with car parking, cafe, pub & toilets close to the beach. There is also a surf school.
Above: Looking towards Rock, and the Camel Estuary with hire bikes chained to railings
Padstow has always been one of our favourite destinations for days out and holiday and is fast becoming a magnet for the rich and famous. With house prices ranging from £190,000 to £2,160,00 there is something to suit everyone’s pocket. Your day to day requirements are also well catered for – Tesco supermarket, Post Office, banking, council offices, clubs, public transport, library, primary school, huge car park, doctors and dentists and much more!
Prideaux Place website: Prideaux Place
Padstow Tourist Info: Padstow Info
Above: One of Rick Stein’s restaurants – St Petroc’s Hotel and Bistro
Cornwall is yet again being firmly placed in peoples’ hearts and minds as another TV series of Doc Martin begins filming in Port Isaac. Port Isaac doubles as Port Wenn, the village where London Doctor Martin Ellingham (Martin Clunes) tries to fit in with the local community with hilarious consequences. The seventh series is due to be aired this autumn.
Port Isaac is one of the prettiest and quintessential fishing villages on the North Cornwall coast. Old cottages tumble down tiny winding lanes to the harbour and seagulls cry from the chimney tops. The views are second to none, especially from the cliff walks and if you are fan of Doc Martin you will recognise many of the buildings and views, especially the Doc’s house.
Above: Doc Martin’s house & the school where Louisa works (was a school originally, now a restaurant!)
Port Isaac is THE dream location for a holiday or permanent home by the sea. With prices starting from just £209k this is the time to buy.
Above: views around Port Isaac harbour
Port Isaac is a great base from which to explore the surrounding area – Port Quin and Port Gaverne are picturesque coves within walking distance, and a short drive away are Tintagel with its romantic castle ruins and Arthurian legends, and Padstow, where you will find a bustling fishing harbour, the Camel Trail and Rick Stein’s fish restaurant.
Above: wandering around Port Isaac
Above: peaceful Port Quin at the close of day and the Camel Estuary, Padstow
St. Neot is a delightful village on the southern edge of Bodmin Moor in Cornwall. The village is named after its famous saint who performed miracles and healing at his Holy Well.
Above: St. Neot Church
St. Neot Church has some of the best medieval stained glass windows in Cornwall and there are some fine Celtic crosses in the churchyard. Every year Oak Apple Day (29th May) is celebrated in the village – a custom which started in 1660 when Charles II returned to the throne after 11 years of Puritan rule. A blessed oak branch is placed at the top of the church tower each year.
Above: St. Neot Holy Well and Cemetery
St. Neot was a centre for mining – Wheal Mary produced silver, tin and copper. There is an alcove in a wall with an ancient granite mortar stone for grinding ore before smelting was used. A chimney and miners’ cottages can be seen along Lampen Lane.
Above: Ancient granite mortar stone for grinding ore and Wheal Mary engine house chimney and miners’ cottages (now one house).
St. Neot has a thriving community spirit and has a village shop, post office, pub (The London Inn), award winning Social Club, free car park, public conveniences, primary school with an Outstanding Ofsted report, village hall with a produce market once a month, public garden (Doorstep Green), walks, and many community projects and festivals including the carnival and flower festival and Cott Barn – a Community Resource Centre with historical archives.
Above: In and around St. Neot village
St. Neot is an ideal base for exploring wild and atmospheric Bodmin Moor, a relatively undiscovered part of Cornwall, where, unlike Dartmoor which is a National Park, you can still find a stunning home for a good price. Yet Bodmin Moor has areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Special Scientific Interest, nature reserves and most of it is a World Heritage Site site due to its ancient prehistoric sites and mining history. Come and discover Bodmin Moor and enjoy its peace, history and magnificent beauty – you will not be disappointed.
Above: Bodmin Moor scenes – left to right Golitha Falls (near St. Cleer) , The Hurlers Stone Circle (Minions),
Minions mine buildings, The Hurlers, Minions Exhibition Centre and Trethevy Quoit
For more information about St. Neot here is the village website: St. Neot Info
You would have to be living on the moon if you haven’t heard all about the new BBC TV series ‘Poldark’, based on Winston Graham’s novels set in Cornwall. In the Poldark stories the fictitious village of St. Ann’s is based on St. Agnes but Winston Graham did use the real name of Stippy Stappy – the name for the picturesque path with cottages on one side which winds down to Trevaunance Cove.
Above: Stippy Stappy Lane
Above: Remains of old harbour and beach
Trevaunance Cove beach is sandy with dramatic cliffs topped with old mine workings. Nearby between St. Agnes and Porthtowan the atmospheric ruins of Wheal Coates, a nineteenth century tin mine, can be seen on the cliff top.
Above: Wheal Coates Tin and Copper Mine
St. Agnes is a lively and picturesque place to visit with interesting shops, art galleries, pubs and cafes, full of history and drama. There is plenty of parking, a sandy beach for the children and amazing views from the cliff top walks on National Trust and World Heritage Site land. Well worth a visit and a most desirable location for your holiday cottage or dream seaside home.
Above: Local shops and historic pub
Read more about St. Agnes here: Poldark Country
Straddling the fast flowing river Tavy, below the western edge of Dartmoor, Tavistock stands in the heart of an area of tremendous natural beauty. It is a classic West Country Market Town.
The old streets radiate from Bedford Square and contain shops for every taste and need. Within easy walking distance of the car parks and bus station you can find an eclectic mix of small independent shops, including delicatessens famous throughout the South West. Venture behind the Town Hall to discover the award winning and historic Pannier Market. The towns Market used to be held in Bank Square, now a car park but was replaced in 1860 by a stone-built covered Pannier Market. The Market bustles with activity on most days of the week.
Award winning hotels, restaurants and cafés cater for all tastes.
Situated just five minutes from the town centre, between the River Tavy and the canal, you will find The Meadows. This beautiful and peaceful park is a tranquil haven with attractive walks, children’s play area and Trim Trails.
There are many leisure and sporting activities available in and around the town including live entertainment and cinema at the Wharf Arts Centre, swimming at Meadowlands Leisure Pool, golf, cricket, football, tennis and, being the birthplace of Sir Francis Drake, bowling.
Tavistock is a lively and attractive Market Town, which wears its historic links with pride.
Tavistock, which had received its Market Charter from Henry I in 1105, developed from its wool trade, enjoying the monopoly to manufacture woollen cloths known as Tavistock Kersies. The wool trade flourished for many years, and the town prospered from its weekly markets, being the centre of a large farming district.
It also had the distinction of being one of the Stannary Towns where all the mined metal was weighed, stamped and assessed for duty. From the 12th Century considerable quantities of tin were mined, but latterly tin-mining was in decline. By 1850 the mining industry was booming again in this area with extraction of copper from the famous Devon Great Consols Mine. This was once the richest source of copper in Europe, and the relics of old workings are common, some standing stark and awesome against the sky, some softened by a cloak of ivy, others lost to the sight of all but the most determined searcher.
In 1542 Tavistock’s most famous son was born at a farm at Crowndale just down-stream on the Tavy – he was to become Sir Francis Drake. He left home to become apprenticed on a ship trading in the Channel and in 1567 Drake and Hawkins sailed out of Plymouth on a slave-trading voyage to the West Indies, and first tangled with the Spaniards. By 1588 when he helped the Lord High Admiral of England to defeat the Spanish Armada, as immortalised by that famous game of bowls on Plymouth Hoe, he had been knighted by Elizabeth I for his services to the Country (and her Treasury). He made his home at Buckland Abbey close to Tavistock. On Plymouth Road is Edgar Boehm’s Statue of Drake, erected by the 9th Duke of Bedford in 1883. Around its granite pedestal are bas reliefs depicting scenes from the life of Drake – the first Englishman to circumnavigate the world. Although more famous than its Tavistock counterpart, the Statue of Drake on Plymouth Hoe is a copy of the original Tavistock model, and does not possess these bas reliefs. Drake died during his West Indies Expedition in 1594, being buried at sea.
Tavistock itself is unique for its green stone buildings (Hurdwick Stone from a local quarry), which have a subtle charm. Many of them were built with stone taken from the Abbey when it was demolished after the Dissolution.
The towns focal point is Bedford Square, flanked by the Parish Church (St Eustachius) and the Town Hall, built in 1859 as part of the re-development carried out by Francis, the Seventh Duke of Bedford, whose statue stands outside the Guildhall, erected in 1848. The re-development was paid for largely from the huge royalties the Duke was receiving from mining operations on his Estates.
Nearby are most of the existing remains of the Abbey. All are scheduled as Ancient Monuments. The most picturesque is the Court Gate, an archway leading from Bedford Square to Guildhall Square. The archway houses the Museum and the Subscription Library – one of the oldest private libraries in Devon. The Arch stands on the site of the main entrance to the great courtyard of the Abbey.
One of the most attractive features of Bedford Square is the Town Hall, the embattled and pinnacled building, completed in 1860, has a beautifully vaulted, beamed ceiling and will seat approximately 500 people. The main function room houses a number of portraits of Tavistock’s noted dignitaries, including the Bedford family, Drake and Lord John Russell.
Copyright: Tavistock Town Council.
Marazion is a beautiful destination waiting to be discovered. Situated in Mount’s Bay, it is a fascinating and historic place. It is also home to the amazing St. Michael’s Mount, which is connected to Marazion by a winding causeway. A splendid castle, in the care of The National Trust, is dramatically perched at the top and is well worth a visit.
Marazion’s lovely beach enjoys a panoramic view from The Lizard round to Mousehole. The town is popular with tourists and has a selection of shops and businesses including gift shops, galleries, pubs, cafes and restaurants.
Chagford, on the edge of Dartmoor National Park, is an ancient and charismatic former Stannary (tin mining administrative) town. Many 16th and 17th Century buildings can be found in the town, historically important with lots of character. The town centre has a wealth of fascinating independent shops, restaurants, pubs, galleries and traditional stores.
Chagford is well known as a great place to stay, not only to soak up the vibrant community and interesting heritage, but also as a base from which to explore the glorious wilderness of Dartmoor with its spectacular scenery of dramatic granite tors.
One of many notable buildings in the town is the 16th Century, Grade II* listed Three Crowns Hotel. It is a beautifully renovated 5 star Devon Inn, with 21 gorgeous boutique-style hotel bedrooms. The character features include exposed stone walls, inglenook fireplaces and beamed ceilings. There is also a contemporary courtyard dining area with glazed roof.