With the sea on three sides and the
Helford River to the north the Lizard Peninsula is
almost an island, a high plateau surrounded by the sea,
with numerous hidden little coves and beaches. The
south west coastal path winds its way around most of
the Lizard making it popular with walkers.
These villages once the haunt of smugglers and the occasional pirate, now attract windsurfers and divers who come to explore, the many shipwrecks around The Lizard's coastline.
On the west coast, Porthleven is the most southerly port in mainland Britain, a harbour full of yachts and fishing boats. At Gunwalloe - Church Cove you will find a beautiful church set amongst the sand dunes. Mullion is a bustling little inland village which has shops, inns, cafes and restaurants, craft shops and art galleries, not forgetting the quaint harbour at Mullion Cove.
HELSTON - Gateway to The Lizard Peninsula
The bustling market town of Helston
lies midway between Falmouth and Penzance at the
junction of the A394 and A3083, which serves the Lizard
Peninsula to the south. Ideally located for exploring
South West Cornwall, Helston has plenty for visitors of
all ages. As you explore the town you'll see a mixture
of Georgian and Victorian architecture, one outstanding
feature being The Monument at the end of Coinagehall
Street, built in 1834 to the memory of Humphry Millet
Grylls. A Helston banker and solicitor, his actions
kept open the local tin mine, Wheal Vor, and saved 1200
Head west on the A394 from Helston to
Penzance and a left turn will bring you to Porthleven
the most southerly port in mainland Britain and an
excellent base for exploring South West Cornwall. A
harbour full of yachts and fishing boats, narrow
streets climbing the steep hillsides and spectacular
views, Porthleven has long been that happy Cornish mix
of fishing port and holiday resort. A happy mix of
working village and holiday centre, Porthleven offers a
variety of accommodation and you'll find restaurants,
pubs, galleries and gift shops trading alongside
fishmongers and chandlers.
GUNWALLOE - Church Cove
At Gunwalloe - Church Cove you will find a beautiful church set amongst the sand dunes. This little 15th century church of St Winwaloe, with its tower built into the cliff, separate from the main building, and usually half-buried in blown sand is said to contain woodwork from the wreck of the 300-ton Portuguese carrack San Antonio (St. Anthony). Captained by Antonio Pacheco, she was wrecked on Saturday, 19 January, 1527, on the way from Lisbon to Antwerp with a cargo which included copper and silver ingots.
At nearby Halzephron which allows access to the
southern end of Porthleven Sands, whose many wrecks
throw up coins of all nations to the metal detectors,
is the Halzephron Inn.
The dramatic dishes of the famous
Satellite Earth Station dominate the Goonhilly Downs.
The largest operational satellite station on earth.
When viewed from afar, Arthur, Merlin and the other
dishes on Goonhilly Downs appear deceptively small.
Seen close up, they tower above you, silent monoliths
in almost reverent contemplation of the heavens. A
visit to BT's satellite earth station on Cornwall's
Lizard Peninsula is a truly awe-inspiring experience,
made even more so when you appreciate the story behind
Goonhilly. The dishes at Goonhill are busy sending and
receiving TV pictures all over the world, while
simultaneously handling thousands of international
phone, fax, data and video calls. When it opened in
1962, Goonhilly was one of the first 3 satellite earth
stations in the world. There are now over 200 satellite
earth stations scattered around the globe. Goonhilly,
with a total of 25 operational and development dishes,
is the worlds largest.
Mullion is the largest settlement on
the Lizard. In the height of summer this is a bustling
little inland village which has shops, inns, cafes and
restaurants, craft shops and art galleries.
Follow the coastal footpath south for five miles and
enjoy some of the most impressive coastal scenery in
Britain, including Kynance Cove where at low tide the
golden sands can be a suntrap and the rock pools and
caves an absolute paradise for children and adults
alike to explore. Growing here you may find the rare
wild asparagus, hairy greenweed and bloody
Travel north and you come to Poldhu where the first
radio signal was sent across the Atlantic. It was on
the cliffs above Poldhu Cove on December 12th. 1901, that the
first trans-Atlantic radio transmission was sent, (the morse
code for the letter "S") and was received by Marconi, on Signal
Hill in St. Johns, Newfoundland, Canada. A monument, and visitors
center where the successful centenary recreation of Guglielmo
Marconi's famous experiment, (Marconi's grandson sent the signal)
marks the spot.
St. Keverne village clusters around
the square; you'll find whitewashed cottages, a
beautiful church, two pubs and a handful of shops.
With its clear shallow waters, sandy
beach and little harbour wall this picture book village
is a popular destination for families with small
children, and windsurfers alike. Although it looks a
peaceful and sheltered place on a sunny summer's
afternoon - the photographs in the bar of the Paris
Hotel show just how devastating a storm here can be.
The hotel is named after an American passenger liner
which ran aground off Lowland Point in 1899. There was
no loss of life on that occasion.
Cadgwith. This must be one of Cornwall's loveliest villages. Is is crammed with cottages made from rough lumps of serpentine and roofed with thatch. Roofs covered in thatch are relatively rare in Cornwall as slate has been in use for many years. The naturally protected cove is still home to a small fleet of crabbing boats which are winched up the shingle beach. When the winter storms rage, it can be quite a sight to see the locals pushing the boats up the steep roads to the safety of the car park. Just to the south along the coastal path is the awesome Devil's Frying Pan. This is a 200' deep hole in the cliffs formed many years ago by the collapse of a sea cave. Part of the adventure of visiting Cadgwith is navigating the steep and narrow lanes into the village
The Lizard Peninsula is one of the few places where the rock Serpentine can be found, when it is polished or wet, it resembles the skin of a snake. At Lizard village and on the point, the serpentine turners can be seen polishing and making objects from this unusual stone. The Lizard lighthouse is mainland Britain's most southerley lighthouse, first built in 1751; in the summer months it offers guided tours where you can visit the engine room and the top of the lighthouse.