The National Trust owns big swathes of the Lizard Peninsula which means that any kind of development has been kept to a minimum. Time seems to move slower in this corner of Cornwall and the ice cream kiosks, chip shops and cafes we all associate with the seaside are fewer and farther apart.
The coast here is as rugged as it gets. Many of the coves have a deep ravine quality, with steep paths leading you through moorland down to beaches of very pale, fine sand. Kynance actually means ravine cove in Cornish; the beach here is a narrow tongue of sand littered with high rocks and boulders that form a jagged spit out into the sea. It’s every bit as gorgeous as it sounds.
Amongst the cluster of whitewashed buildings above the beach is a café with tables set out on the lawns in front; if you see an empty one, grab it – the view from this spot over Kynance and around the coastline is staggering.
The Lizard Peninsula is one of Cornwall’s least populated areas. Fewer roads and built up areas make this a magnet for walkers and there are footpaths to take you in every direction. Walking Britain recommends a bracing eight mile circular hike starting and ending in Lizard Village; taking you along the coastline and inland you’ll see all the best beaches and the ancient farmland of the Lizard (details on the Walking Britain website below). Sturdy shoes and lively legs are a must as the walk incorporates 409 metres of ascent on uneven paths!
The Lizard village is tiny but it has a very clear sense of being a destination in its own right. This is Britain’s most southerly point and it seems to evoke a romantic ‘at the ends of the earth’ feel. Unlike Land’s End, Lizard Village has not expanded into a frantic tourist hotspot; this is a real community centred on a village green with a good pub and perhaps the most celebrated pasty shop in the county. Ready to put the modern world on pause for a moment? Head towards the Lizard Peninsula.
Circular walk from Lizard Village:
Kynance Cove Café
3 Beacon Terrace, Lizard Village, Helston, Cornwall, TR12 7PB, Tel. 01326 290889