Lizard Peninsula Coastal Walks

Posted on November 13, 2011

We awake to hammering Cornish November rain. I mean stair-rods. Horizontal. “Are we still going?” asks Georgia. “Well c’mon… what’s the worst that can happen?” say’s I, annoyingly optimistic as usual.

Well, we could get very very wet. You see, we plan to head for the Lizard for the day, to walk the most southerly section of the South West Coast Path, and this is not a good start. To be fair, rain is forecast all week.

But, an hour later we are bouncing down the A3083 from Helston and things are starting to look up.The Southerly horizon brightens, and hey-ho, the grey blanket cracks open to reveal a bluecrystal sky-scape. We shouldn’t be too surprised, for one thing we are at the point on mainland Britain closest to the equator, and for another… well, the Lizard peninsular does have a micro-climate after all.

Out intended walk is not a conventional one. Yes we aim to take in one of the most dramatic stretches of coastal scenery in Cornwall, in fact anywhere, and hope we might spot peregrine falcons, or better still, rare choughs — but we are also following up rumours that harriers have been spotted somewhere near. Of the jump-jet variety.

We start the way a Cornish walk should— by picking up pasties. In this case from Ann’s famous shop in The Lizard village (are they the best pasties you can buy? We think that they might possibly be, unless of course you know differently). We then roll down to the big car park adjacent to the lighthouse.

Heading West from Lizard point we pass bird watchers with impressive lenses on their very expensive-looking cameras. They’ve seen choughs an hour earlier, on the Easterly side of the peninsular. Choughs will have to wait for another day. And anyway, we are not disappointed for long, as we soon stumble upon a posse of Shetland Ponies who make up in friendliness and sheer damn cute-ness what they lack in scarcity value. Natural England does great work managing the habitat down here, and the ponies are all part of the strategy. They munch and trample tirelessly to create open conditions that encourages the pink thrift, blue squill and yellow vetches to grow, creating the perfect conditions for those choughs to thrive. (But don’t expect to see the ponies in the summer, they are seasonal helpers, and reward winter walkers only!).

Of course the real draw here is the landscape. It’s always beautiful. Today it is jaw-droppingly so. Passing Kynence Cove  Atlantic rollers pound the granite cliffs a hundred or more feet below. Black crows and white gulls soar while kestrels hang motionless on the stiff breeze.

En route Georgia modifies her footwear. Those Scarpa boots are really really good, luckily.

Soon we near our top secret destination. Sorry we can’t tell you where it is for, ummmm, reasons of national security…

Ann’s pasties survive three hours in a rucksack very well.  We retrace our steps.  Thanks to Georgia for the better photos!

Our walk takes five hours in all, at a very easy pace. This walk is about 10 minutes drive from Avallen Barn on the Helford River — 20 minutes drive from Chapel Cottage near Helston. You can stay self-catering at either at any time of year.