By Sean Sawyer, Executive Director
This post is a “Throwback”, from our newsletter archives, in this case from our Spring 2012 Newsletter. Look out for articles from our archives every other Thursday here at AngloFiles.
Celebrate the 50th anniversary of The National Trust’s Neptune Coastline Campaign, which was founded in 1965 and conserves and provides access to the UK’s coasts for future generations. Take a trip similar to Sean’s with our “Coasts and Country Houses of the South West and Wales” tour this May. Learn more.
When I think about all the trips I’ve been fortunate enough to make to the UK over the past 20 years, one stands out as the most scenic, romantic and active–yet relaxing. This is the magical week that my partner and I spent in a National Trust holiday cottage in May of 2006 on Roseland Peninsula, located in southeast Cornwall.
We started with the premise that we would rent a holiday cottage as a base for day trips, rather than our move from hotel to hotel. We also wanted to combine historic house visiting with an active walking holiday, so I used the Trust’s searchable holiday cottage website to find the perfect rental that was adjacent to a coastal path and tagged as “Romantic.” (Word to the wise: prime cottages do book up, so plan ahead.)
Our cottage, “Penhaligon’s,” was located at the end of a very narrow country lane a couple miles past the villages of Gerrans and Porthscatho on the Roseland Peninsula. Picture a two-story thatched roof stone cottage nestled beneath a rising meadow complete with grazing cows, topped off with a wide strip of sandy beach only 100 yards or less away. Cows tottering along cliffs came to be a key image of Cornwall for me.
Also near the cottage was an access point to the South West Coast Path, where we did a fairly rigorous 10-mile hike through gorse-covered cliffs to the fishing village of Portloe. The plunge at the cottage’s beach that evening felt particularly refreshing! Behind the cottage a trail led down to the little church of St. Anthony in Roseland and the landing for the tiny passenger ferry over to St. Mawes. Here we spent an afternoon exploring the well-preserved bulk of Henry VIII’s castle, when not waiting for piping hot pasties from the bakery on the dock.
Truro, just 15 miles away from the cottage, was a convenient place to shop or eat out. (Of course 15 miles in Cornwall is 30 anywhere else, and hopefully Hertz found enough paint to refinish our rental car). The late 19th-century cathedral by John Loughborough Pearson dominates the town with its spectacular massing culminating in the great crossing tower.
We made a day trip by car south to Land’s End and St. Ives taking in the Trust’s St. Michael’s Mount along the way. The medieval castle-cum-village of the St. Aubyn family is reached by a causeway across Mount’s Bay at low tide and has beautiful terraced gardens. Another sunny Cornish day brought us north to Lanhydrock near Bodmin, which the Agar-Robartes family rebuilt with all the latest bells and whistles after a fire in 1881. The list of amazing houses and gorgeous gardens goes on and on, but what sticks in my mind is how spiritually enriching I found this slower-paced holiday that blended the intellectual with the active, the historical with the natural.
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