Cornwall W-X

Post 19/2022 Saturday 7 May . . . The South West Coast Path into St Ives takes you through a narrow street named the Warren. Holiday lets, second homes, and some permanent homes line each side of this narrow, one-way passageway, teaming with people, dogs and the very occasional car, construction or delivery vehicle.

Houses on the left of the Warren also have a view of the sea from their upper stories. Some have bedrooms on the ground floor and living quarters above.

The dwellings along the Warren offer unparalleled views of St Ives harbour, the Island, Downalong (home to fisherfolk families in the day of pilchard fishing), Smeaton’s Pier, Godrevy lighthouse, and the Atlantic beyond. Lovely, lovely, lovely, life along the Warren, as elsewhere along the north Atlantic Cornish coast.

St Ives Harbour, Smeaton’s Pier far right. St Ives Island is topped by St Nicholas Chapel. St Nicholas is the patron saint of children and also sailors. Some form of chapel is believed to have been on this strategic promontory since the 5th century. The land crossing from St Ives to St Michaels Mount in the Iron Age and early Christian period was the easiest way to cross from Ireland and Wales to Brittany.

W-X

We’re cracking right along through the alphabet as we count down our stay in the UK. I’ve relied heavily on definitions from The Penguin Dictionary of Natural British History.

Warren. The burrows of a rabbit colony.” (A handy definition for other maze-like formations, including streets).

We’ve seen the rabbit colony that’s part of the Marazion Marsh, not up close, but from across the dry-stone hedge. It’s good to see rabbits cavorting in their own private preserve–not at the mercy of gardeners such as Mr. McGregor, the gardener in Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Peter Rabbit.

I’m all in favor of communities that are working at rewilding parts of the environs they manage. Some homeowners are even leaving generous strips of their lawns unmown to benefit insects, birds, butterflies and other living creatures. Saving endangered wildlife stands the world in essential good stead.

A corner plot along St Ives Road the border mown and the rest left for wildlife.

Xerophyte. A plant adapted to growing in dry conditions, e.g. by reduction of transpiration, water storage, deep root systems, etc.”

Etc.? Why not? The definition flows right into the next word: “Xerosere. The natural succession of vegetation on dry soils.” Bravo nature! xx

Braving the elements

One day this past week we braved the colder temperature to take an open top bus tour of West Penwith (the farthest south west district of Cornwall) and on another day to do a group walk in the rain.

West Penwith offers glorious views of land and sea. Our bus was full from Penzance to Porthcurno, home to the open-air Minack Theatre. The route includes the narrow B-roads as well as the wider A-roads.

We hopped off for lunch in St Just and then hopped on a later bus to finish the trip back to Carbis Bay.

On Sunday we joined the All Saints Walking Group (“called to be saints…” Romans 1:7) for a rainy, drizzly Fellowship Walk in a circular from the village of Ludgvan to Marazion, along Mounts Bay and back through fields to Ludgvan.

Leaving Ludgvan in light rain, along a lovely stretch of the St. Michael’s Way that leads to St Michael’s Mount. A 4.7-mile-walk.

Both bus and foot experiences proved exhilarating, memorable, satisfying. Let photos tell their own story.

These B-roads carry two-way traffic.
Market Square, St Just In Penwith. St Just was a main hub of 19th century copper and tin mining in Cornwall. Four, possibly more, churches were located on the site of the St Just -In-Penwith Parish Church, dating from the 5th to early 6th century.
The remains of an engine house from the days of tin and copper mining, now the starting point of walks and rock climbing.
Give me a B-road any day for riding an open top bus. I said, riding, not driving. I once asked a bus driver if you need to be born in Cornwall to be able to navigate these narrow, warren-like, dry stone hedge-lined roads. “No, but it helps,” I think he said. The female driver we had for the first part of our ride excelled in caution, courtesy, command of the road, safety first (she told a passenger he needed to stay seated lest he lose his head), and punctuality. Thank you, Transport for Cornwall, and especially the various open top Coaster, bus drivers.
The vista out to sea merged with the sky, though the fields with their 3,000-year-old dry stone hedges never cease to intrigue me.

Feast Day service at Towednack Church

The annual Towednack Feast is held the nearest Sunday to April 28 (May 1, this year). The church shares its patron saint, Winwaloe, with the Abbey at Landevennec, Brittany. Towednack is a joint benefice with the parish of Zennor. The Bishop of Truro, the Rt. Revd. Philip Mounstephen was the guest preacher.

Rev Elizabeth Foot leads the procession at the end of the worship service to the car park, for the blessing of the newly surfaced lot.
A light shower was falling as Bishop Philip blesses the newly-surfaced parking lot. He noted that even a parking lot serves as a witness to the welcome and care offered inside the church building. He ended the blessing by quoting from the last verse of Psalm 121: “The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and for evermore.”

Sunday Fellowship Walk (1 May)

We pause for a snack as walk leader Mike Laramay readies a meditation, St Michael’s Mount in view.
These walks provide for camaraderie, catching up, reflection, living more out of doors. (For more on being out of doors, check out my blog for March 30, 2019: Live (more) outdoors).

Glimpses from other walks

Start of our walk from Helston to Porthleven. Only problem was that at about the halfway point, the National Trust café (and toilets) at Penrose had not yet been opened for the season, which meant a hurried walk along the road in pursuit of a loo at Porthleven, and a relaxed lunch. Bus home.

Enys Gardens, near Penryn

Steve and Marilyn Bowden took us on a day outing to Enys Gardens (and to Glendurgan Garden). Finding Enys is not the easiest task in the world; Steve stopped at a building site to ask directions. The builder sent us confidently on our way, remarking, “These roads are like warrens around here.”

The bluebells at Enys are believed to be undisturbed since ancient times. Enys is considered to be the oldest garden in Cornwall. The estate includes formal gardens, an apple orchard, ponds, New Zealand Garden, meadow walk, pine reforestation, and the wonderfully evocative Stumpery.

Restoration of the Enys House is a work in progress. For the prime week of flowering the house was open for artists to display and sell their works.
Bluebells in Parc Lye.
A section of The Broadwalk.

Glendurgan Garden

Glendurgan is owned and managed by the National Trust. Its lushly-covered ridges and valleys run from north to south into Durgan, a hamlet on the Helford River. We have memories of first passing through Durgan in the fog as we walked the South West Coast Path from nearby Mawnan Smith to Falmouth. Ah, memories and the making of new ones.

The Maze at Glendurgan. Alfred and Sarah Fox began the garden in the 1820s. They had a total of 12 children, no doubt the impetus behind the National Trust today catering to adventure and play as well as offering a spot for relaxation and reflection.
Marilyn and Marty lead the way over flower petals and a rhododendron waiting to shower more?
The schoolhouse for the Fox children, wonderfully situated overlooking the Glendurgan estate.

From field and road

On our way to lunch at Una Restaurant–through a bridle path and Laity Lane–we came within talking range of several horses and saw a fox make off with its prey.

As I was going to St Ives

I saw flowering bushes, the sea, the town from afar, the Warren, but met no man with seven wives, as the ancient riddle goes, “Each wife had seven sacks, each sack had seven cats, each cat had seven kits. Kits, cats, sacks and wives, how many were going to St Ives?” On Friday, two.

Boots on for another adventure–maybe even warren-like.

-John

4 thoughts on “Cornwall W-X

  1. The incredible beauty of nature is astounding. Thanks be to God. To be so close to the water and surrounding areas with the quaint charming villages is a true gift.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.