Saturday, 23 April 2016


The Church of St Gennys provides a clue to the treacherous nature of the water off the coast of the small coastal village of Crackington Haven.  The graveyard includes memorials to seamen who have lost their lives over the years in a series of shipwrecks.  One such was the Swedish brigantine William which lost 7 men in a storm in 1894.  Just six years later a further 7 men were lost when the steamer City of Vienna and the barque Capricornia were lost to storms.  The harbour here used to be used for importing coal and limestone from Wales, and for exporting the slate that was quarried here, but it has reverted to a sleepy cove with a pebble and sand beach, a pub and a bistro.  Pencarrow Point towers over the beach at a height of over 400 feet, and there is spectacular coastal walking to be had over a stretch of coast towards Boscastle given to the National Trust in 1959 by Wing Commander A. G. Parnall to commemorate the airmen who died during the Battle of Britain, including his brother.   Crackington Haven suffered extensive damage from flooding in the great flood of 2004, of which Boscastle was the more famous victim – more about this in the next post.  The area around the village has been designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty as well as a Site of Special Scientific Interest.  The latter is partly due to the geology, with the carvoniferous rocks giving rise to the name 'The Crackington Formation'.

Map of the area.

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Photo by Rob Wilcox, via Wikimedia Commons

Tuesday, 5 April 2016


Cornish pirates once held sway with a reign of terror here in Widemouth Bay.  The 14th century was a particularly turbulent time, with groups of robbers and pirates at each others’ throats.  Even the local vicar in the nearby village of Poundstock was embroiled in one of the gangs, a fact which resulted in a grisly end when he was murdered by a band of intruders to his church just after Christmas 1357.  His ghost is rumoured to haunt the area still.  Smuggling was also rife, helped along by the numerous isolated inlets and coves in the area.

All these nefarious activities are forgotten today, as Widemouth Bay proves a magnet for beachgoers, surfers and walkers alike.  There is plenty of interest on the beach itself, with a mix of wide stretches of sand, interesting rock formations and rock pools.  On a sunny day it is worth lingering into the evening, as the sunsets here are legendary.  Bathers should take care as the tide comes in very quickly; in the summer there are lifeguards on duty.  For water sports enthusiasts, as well as the obligatory surfing, there is sailing, windsurfing and canoeing.  The beach is backed by a village of low-slung buildings with a small selection of shops, cafes and holiday accommodation.

Map of the area. 

File:Widemouth Sand - - 1737611.jpg
Photo by Rob Noble, via Wikimedia Commons