Images of Cornwall
It has a coastline of over 400 miles with 158 miles designated as Heritage Coast. The inherent quality and beauty of Cornwall's seas, coastal landscape and environment has consistently attracted visitors. Cornwall's coastline is composed of an extensive range of natural features, including granite cliffs, small rocky coves and headlands, sand dunes, sandy beaches and tranquil estuaries. The North and South coasts of Cornwall have differing landscape and biodiversity characteristics. The North coast is flanked by the Atlantic Ocean, and is exposed to the prevailing south-westerly to northwesterly winds associated with low pressure weather conditions which move in from the Atlantic. As a result it has a wilder nature, with rugged sheer cliffs, steep valleys and a greater number of dunes. The South coast, on the English Channel, contains more sheltered beaches and tree lined estuaries.
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The white 26-metre octagonal tower of Godrevy lighthouse was made famous by Virginia Woolfe in her novel 'To the Lighthouse', . It stands on the diminutive and rocky but pretty Godrevy Island, at the centre of a circular grassy area enclosed by a low stone wall. Just over 3 miles out to sea in West Cornwall’s St Ives Bay.
It was these perilous rocks which occasioned the construction of the lighthouse in 1858, but not before many a ship and crew had been wrecked, including one in 1649 which was apparently carrying many personal effects of King Charles I, including his entire wardrobe.
In 1854, the dramatic loss of a hefty steamer, the Nile, with all crew lost, triggered much petitioning and eventually the long-overdue building. The 3-feet thick walls are made of rubble and mortar and it took just over a year to complete. Storms over the winter of 1858 kept the builders marooned on the island for weeks at a time, and hordes of curious visitors sometimes impeded progress, but in March 1859 the Godrevy light was lit. Its dual beam warned vessels when they were nearing the reef, and a big bell served as a warning in fog.
Botallack is a historic mining village near St Just, with the remains of a stunningly scenic mine perched on the clifftops. Two engine houses remain, plus the Count House and Count House Workshop, both restored, with displays on the local and natural history of the area.
The Botallack mines are part of the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage site, based locally around the historic mines in the St Just area.
The popular TV series Poldark was filmed partly in Botallack, using Manor Farm to play the part of Ross Poldark's fictional home of Nampara.
The crown mines are located low on the cliffs outside the village stand the abandoned remains of Crown Mine. Two engine houses remain, housing the entrance to shafts running as much as 400 metres out under the sea. The deepest shaft is 500 metres beneath sea level. On the clifftop is one of the arsenic refining buildings linked to the mines.
The St Just area is the home of cliff-mining, with similar mine working clinging to cliff-side sites along the rugged coast. The Crown Mines at Botallack began around 1721. In 1858 the Boscawen Diagonal Shaft was dug to access lodes over 1/3 mile under the sea bed. Famous dignitaries came to see this innovative shaft and take away souvenir pieces of minerals, among them the Prince and Princess of Wales, Prince Arthur, and author RN Ballantyne.
St Michael's Mount
St Michael's Mount is a small tidal island in Mount's Bay. The island is linked to the town of Marazion by a man-made causeway of granite setts, passable between mid-tide and low water. It is managed by the National Trust, and the castle and chapel have been the home of the St Aubyn family since approximately 1650. The earliest buildings, on the summit, date to the 12th century.
Historically, St Michael's Mount was a Cornish counterpart of Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy, France (with which it shares the same tidal island characteristics and the same conical shape, in spite of being much smaller, at 57 acres, than Mont St Michel which covers 247 acres), when it was given to the Benedictine religious order of Mont Saint-Michel by Edward the Confessor in the 11th century.
Land's End is located eight miles west of Penzance and is the is the most westerly point in mainland Britain. The headland is one of many that characterise the coastal landscape of West Penwith. The dramatic cliff top walks are world famous and a number of iconic vistas can be seen. Knights rock and Dr Johnsons head are just two of the famous rock formations at the site.
A mile offshore and clearly visible from the headland is a group of treacherous islets known as The Longships. Numerous ships have come to grief here, most recently the German cargo ship, the RMS Mulheim, which ran aground in 2003. Parts of the Mulheim can still be seen from the cliffs. The Longships Lighthouse was built in 1795 to the design of Trinity House architect, Samuel Wyatt. Even though it stood on the highest islet, Carn Bras, which rises twelve meters above high water level, and the lantern itself was twenty-four meters high, very high seas obscured its light. A more recent lighthouse is still in use today although since 1988 it has been unmanned. The light is ten seconds bright and ten seconds dark, while a fog signal sounds every ten seconds.