Category: Nature

Cornwall in Autumn

Things to see and do in Cornwall this Autumn…

The ocean’s still warm, the surf’s pumping, the beaches are crowd-free and the gardens are aglow with golden hues. We love autumn in Cornwall. From coast path rambles and blackberry picking, to action sports and ales by crackling log fires, here are some of our favourite activities for autumn breaks by the beach.

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Go blackberry picking on the coast

Breathe in the fresh sea air, soak up the stunning coastal scenery and forage for the juicy fruits of autumn. Whether you take punnets full back to your Beach Retreat and conjure up a crumble, or snack on them as you stroll, you’ll find hedgerows everywhere packed with wild blackberries throughout September and October. Some of our favourite places to fill our buckets with nature’s bounty include the dramatic, calf-busting terrain between Bude and Morwenstow, the coastal trail stretching from Cawsand to Rame Head, and the lush flanks of the Roseland Peninsula.

Find out more about foraging in Cornwall.

Suit up and take the plunge

It’s taken the whole summer for the ocean to warm up – and it’ll take a good few months for it to cool down again. So autumn is a great time to hit the waves – whether you go surfing, swimming or make a splash on a coasteering adventure. Tap up one of the experts in Cornwall, we love the Extreme Academy at Watergate Bay and Kingsurf in Mawgan Porth. There you’ll get kitted out with super-warm wetsuits, snuggly surfing booties and high-tech boards, so there’ll be no stopping you riding the waves whatever the weather.

If you fancy a close-up, adrenalin-fuelled view of the coastline, book a session with King Coasteer and swim, climb and cliff-jump your way around the coast in the safe hands of a coasteering guide.

Discover coastal bliss in Cawsand, South Cornwall, where tranquility meets adventure

Sip on local ales beside a crackling log fire

When you’ve had a blast outdoors in the autumn breeze, there’s nothing better than hunkering down by a log fire in a cosy local pub. One of our favourite autumn walks is from St Ives to Zennor – an eye-popping six-mile stomp ending at the cosy Tinners Arms, where you can sip a well-deserved ale under low beams beside the roaring fire. Not many pubs in Cornwall can match the 700-year history of this traditional inn, which was built in 1271 and much loved by author DH Lawrence. However, a couple of other places we love to warm our cockles by the fire include the Driftwood Spars brew pub tucked beside Trevaunance Cove in St Agnes, and the 13th century Pandora Inn, with its port holes looking out to Restronguet Creek.

Visiting Cornwall in the Autumn? It’s the perfect time to visit our favourite Sunday Roast locations.

Get lost in Autumn gardens

Crunch through the golden leaves, swing through the trees and follow tunnels of autumn hues that tumble to the water’s edge. Just in the National Trust stable you can explore the magical woodland of Lanhydrock, the sub-tropical landscape of Glendurgan and Trelissick’s stunning 500-acre estate on the banks of the River Fal – and that’s just for starters. Another favourite with families – and dogs, too – is Trebah Garden, where you can follow colourful foliage to a sandy cove. Or tunnel through bamboo, banana palms and gigantic rhubarb plants, to ancient woodlands and water meadows at the historic Lost Gardens of Heligan. Out of all the county’s garden wonderlands, the Eden Project is still the mega-star, where you can wander through a rainforest, bask in the Med and visit a Western Australian garden in the iconic, sky-scraping biomes.

Explore the English Heritage

From the twin castles of Pendennis and St Mawes, to mysterious stone circles such as Chysauster, there are plenty of English Heritage sites to discover across Cornwall. One of the attractions topping our radar this year is Tintagel Castle, where you can step across the new bridge from the mainland, to reach the castle ruins perched on a rugged island. Indulge your imagination in tales of King Arthur’s magical conception here, listen to your echo in the eerie Merlin’s Cave, and discover the history of a place that has posed as a major trading port, a prosperous Dark Age settlement and a magnificent fortress. Regardless of its enthralling past steeped in myths and legends, it’s also a gob-smacking location to roll out a picnic rug on the headland, spot seals and seabirds, and explore sea caves and rock pools.

Find out more about English Heritage sites in Cornwall.

Find your perfect Beach Retreat this Autumn.

Cornwall’s Wild Larder

At a time when the seasonality and provenance of our food are becoming evermore important, people are opening their eyes to our edible landscape. Cornwall is a foodie haven renowned for its abundance of fresh ingredients plucked from the coast and countryside, so it’s little wonder that the shoreline and hedgerows are bursting with them. Cliff-tops are thriving with samphire, gorse flowers and wild garlic, boulders are strewn with edible seaweeds and hedgerows are bursting with all sorts of berries and herbs.

It’s not often that people compare Cornwall’s landscape with the shelves of a supermarket, but whether you want to make chutney or serve up a three-course feast, expert forager Caroline Davey can show you where to find an array of ingredients in nature’s larder. “It’s about using foraged foods like any other ingredients you would buy from the supermarket, and making interesting, delicious dishes with them,” says Caroline.

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A keen cook with a background in ecology and botany, Caroline started supplying local restaurants with foraged ingredients back in 2007, and by 2008 she had launched Fat Hen – her own foraging and wild cookery school. Caroline’s renovated barns tucked in the wilds of West Cornwall are the perfect base to bring people together to enjoy the Great Outdoors, go foraging and create fabulous feasts from nature’s bounty. This isn’t foraging for survival’s sake. Greens, herbs, salad, veg, seaweeds, flowers, seeds and roots are cooked up into restaurant-worthy dishes, sometimes topped up with seafood from the local fishermen. “People start identifying edible plants in a bunch of greenery or seaweed and realise not only that they can eat them, but that they actually taste really good,” says Caroline. “The profile of wild food is changing. It’s not just eating wild food that’s important; it’s the process of foraging for our own ingredients that is emphasising our connection with food and the landscape. When you get down to the beach and you’re out foraging you’re living so much in the moment and everything feels so good.”


Anyone can go out and forage for ingredients along the shoreline – seashore plants are very distinctive and quite easy to identify with the help of a guidebook to wild ingredients. Caroline recommends River Cottage’s Edible Seashore.
The coastline is a great place to find seaweed, samphire and sea beet, all delicious served up with line-caught mackerel or foraged mussels. Then you can scour the woodlands and hedgerows for berries, edible flowers, three-cornered leeks and nettles.

Six wild ingredients to forage for in Cornwall

ELDERFLOWER – the taste and scent of English summer. The sweet flavour of elderflower makes delicious cordial and non-alcoholic elderflower champagne’, and can also be used in salads and dressings.

Part of the watercress family, nasturtiums grows so vigorously in Cornwall that some people consider them to be a weed. The leaves and petals have a peppery, tangy flavour and add wonderful colour and punch to a summer salad.

A versatile ingredient for cocktails and summer barbecues. Apple mint adds a zingy flavour to salad dishes, cocktails and meat. Or you can simply pour boiling water over a sprig for fresh mint tea.

The strong and peppery leaves can be used for frittatas, salads or as a cooked green. Use the flowers in a salad or a Bloody Mary.

Named after St Pierre (the patron saint of fishermen), samphire is delicious pickled, in a salsa verde, in fritters or alongside fresh fish.

Our favourite food to forage for has to be mussels. Pick them off the rocks at the lowest tide and steam them in white wine with garlic and cream. Don’t pick them after rain or near a river-mouth and only from September to April.

FAT HEN –, 01736 810156

Check out our holiday properties in Mousehole to experience everything Penzance and the area has to offer.

Unearth fascinating finds and foraging adventures with Beach Retreats’ insightful guide.

10 Must Visit Natural Attractions in Cornwall

Want to explore more of Cornwall? Check out our favourite autumnal walks in Cornwall.

Hell’s Mouth, nr Godrevy

Stand atop craggy cliffs, gazing a dizzy 300 feet down to waves crashing against the rocks below. Just north of Godrevy lighthouse, Hell’s Mouth is a place of untamed beauty; where ships have foundered, cliffs have crumbled into the ocean, and fulmars dance on currents of air rising between rugged ledges. Close to the haunted Deadman’s Cove, this is a staggering location to clap eyes on Cornwall’s coastal panorama at its wildest.

St Nectan’s Glen, nr Boscastle

Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife and Cornish piskies as you explore the magical Rocky Valley and St Nectan’s Glen. Park at Trevethy (between Tintagel and Boscastle) and walk via St Piran’s Church, following the River Trevillet through the leafy glen to a thundering 60ft waterfall. It’s believed that, as part of a ritual to turn them into knights, King Arthur’s squires passed through the rock arch and dropped into the plunge pool of St Nectan’s to be cleansed.

Bedruthan Steps, nr Mawgan Porth

Dubbed Britain’s equivalent of Australia’s Twelve Apostles, here a series of mussel-clad towers rise from golden sands. Many visitors simply stare at these rock giants from the cliff tops, but it’s worth waiting for low tide to descend the 140-something steps and experience the immensity of the scenery with your toes in the sand. After the calf-busting walk back up, you can reward yourself with a Cornish cream tea at Carnewas Tearooms.

Porth Island, Newquay

Protected from the Atlantic swell by the rugged promontory of Porth Island, Porth Beach is popular with families for swimming, SUP-ing, rock-pooling and picnics. But step over the footbridge onto Porth Island and you can explore a far more rugged domain that was once an Iron Age settlement. Peer down into the wishing well pool, soak up stunning views of Newquay’s coastline and follow the spit of land to the blowhole, where clouds of sea spray explode from the rocks at mid-tide.

Brown Willy, Bodmin Moor

A huge contrast to Cornwall’s coastal wonders, head to the wild territory of Bodmin Moor to climb the 420m to the top of Cornwall’s highest peak – Brown Willy. The rolling moorland is littered with prehistoric remains, and once you reach the summit you’ll be rewarded with far-reaching views of the countryside and coast.

Pedn-Vounder, Treen

If you can brave a knee-wobbling descent and don’t mind mingling with the naturists, at Pedn-Vounder you can take a dip in an iridescent-blue lagoon surrounded by white sands. A low-tide beach backed by towering cliffs, this breath-taking beauty is overlooked by the huge granite boulder of Logan Rock, and the sparkling water is some the cleanest, and clearest, in the UK.

The Rumps, nr Polzeath

If you want to escape the crowds and blow away the cobwebs, strike out along the coast path out of New Polzeath, and head for the twin-headed promontory of The Rumps. Far from the beach brigades, here you can discover the remains of an Iron Age fortress, capture far-reaching views of the coastline and lookout for puffins on The Mouls (the island that lies off the eastern headland). Just make sure you hold onto your hat on a windy day.

Nanjizal, nr Land’s End

About a mile from Land’s End and only accessible on foot, Nanjizal is a wild and secluded cove where the sea laps beneath the Song of the Sea rock arch. When winter swells rage it’s an awesome sight to behold and you’ll probably be in the company of more seals and sea birds than humans; while on calm summer days coast path walkers trickle by and are lured into the sea caves and the turquoise plunge pool beneath the arch.

Treyarnon Tidal Pool, Treyarnon

This natural pool carved into rocks hemming Treyarnon beach, is a picturesque place to take a dip without having to battle the surf. Paddle, rock jump, do a few laps, or simply explore the surrounding rock pools, before basking on the boulders like seals, to warm up before a picnic on the turf-topped cliffs.

Cape Cornwall, nr Pendeen

Avoid the camera-wielding crowds at Land’s End and head for nearby Cape Cornwall, where the Atlantic currents divide. Here you can climb to the landmark chimney atop a rocky peak, and enjoy views of Land’s End, Brison Rocks and the World Heritage mining coastline, with little more than sea birds for company.

Find a beach location to discover more wonders, and keep an eye on our special offers page for the latest deals and discounts.

Discover our bespoke holiday cottages in Hayle, a short drive from St Ives and Pendeen.

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Cornwall’s most Instagrammable locations

We predict that these Cornish spots will be popping up on our feeds…

Last year it was Pedn Vounder and Kynance Cove that captured the Insta crowds and went viral on social media. So what are the most Instagrammable locations of Cornwall in 2019?

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Port Isaac

The home of Doc Martin is a picture-postcard Cornish village flaunting cobbled streets, cream tea cafés and sublime sea views. We’re so used to seeing it on our TV screens that we half expect the Doc to come dashing down the winding streets to the harbour, where fishing boats putter in to deliver fresh catch to Nathan Outlaw’s restaurants. With wild Cornish cliffs that yawn in each direction, it’s little wonder that the Doc chose to live here, and less wonder that we’re so fixated by his appearance on our TV screens – who knows if it’s Doc Martin or Port Isaac that’s the real star of the show.

Find a self-catering holiday in Port Isaac.

Bedruthan Steps

Dubbed Britain’s equivalent of Australia’s Twelve Apostles, us mere mortals are dwarfed by the towering rock stacks rising from the sands of this craggy cove north of Newquay. Stand atop the cliffs and you can watch the waves carving the granite turrets, said to be the stepping-stones of a legendary giant. Or wait for low tide and descend the cliff steps to pad along the white sands, peering down into the rock pools and up to the peaks of these barnacle-clad skyscrapers. Don’t be content with taking in the view from the coast path with the rest of the camera-wielding visitors, plug on along the coast path to Park Head, passing ancient burial mounds and the ruins of a cliff fort, while keeping an eye out for seals and seabirds.

Find a self-catering holiday near Bedruthan.

Wheal Coates

Climb the rusty-red backs of the cliffs from Chapel Porth beach, to reach this iconic engine house that casts a shadow over the wild Atlantic waves. As you explore the coast path you’re setting foot in some of Cornwall’s richest mining history, while below the pumping surf breaks are known as the legendary ‘Badlands’. While the waves aren’t the territory of beginners, when you descend the pristine cove of Chapel Porth, you’ll discover the perfect spot for rock-pooling as the tide ebbs, and make sure you stop for a famous hedgehog ice cream in the National Trust car park.

Explore further from Chapel Porth & take a look and book our self-catering properties at Porthtowan, or talk to a member of our team on 01637 861 005.

Find a self-catering holiday in St Agnes.


Perched atop a sea-lashed promontory and swathed in Arthurian legend, Tintagel Castle has been a crowd-puller ever since tourism came to Cornwall. With its magnificent ruins and immense bronze statue of King Arthur looking out to sea, we expect the fortress to be high on our social media scrolls when it re-opens this summer, following the construction of a new footbridge. Touted as the birthplace of King Arthur, it’s impossible not to get swept away by local myths as you listen to your echo in the eerie Merlin’s Cave and step foot in the remains of a majestic fortress and a prosperous Dark Age settlement.

Find a self-catering holiday near Tintagel.

Jubilee Pool, Penzance

Cornwall’s art-deco lido has graced the screens of our social media feeds ever since it was renovated after storm damage in 2014. One of the world’s most scenic lidos, its eye-catching design and turquoise waters are hemmed by Mounts Bay. Re-opening again this summer after the development of a geo-thermal project, an area of the pool will be heated to a steaming 35C later in the year – so it’ll no longer be the territory of just hardy cold-water swimmers. In fact, you don’t even have to take a dip to enjoy the lido, simply bask on the terrace or take a seat in the year-round café and soak up the views.

Find a self-catering holiday near Jubilee Pool.

Find out about Sennen, near to Penzance, in our blog all about the area.

Holywell Bay

Having scored a starring role in the BBC’s recent Poldark hit, the breath-taking beauty of Holywell Bay needs little introduction. As soon as you clap eyes on the giant sand dunes and the twin peaks of Gull rock, you can imagine Ross Poldark galloping along the shoreline, searching for Demelza wistfully picking sea pinks on the cliff tops. Despite is fame, Holywell still keeps the crowds at bay, and makes the perfect beach for hitting the surf, collecting shells and exploring the sea caves in search of the ‘holy well’. You can also follow the coast path to Kelsey Head to spot seals and seabirds.

Find a self-catering holiday in Holywell Bay.

Huer’s Hut, Newquay

In the 19th century the town ‘huer’ would stand in this little stone hut on Towan Headland, crying, “Heva, Heva”, to alert the fishermen when shoals of pilchards were spotted in Newquay Bay. Having been restored in recent years to ensure Newquay’s history and heritage is not forgotten, this little whitewashed hut is a great spot to step back in time, gawp at the panoramic coastal views and see if you can spot shoals of dolphins of mackerel coming into the bay.

Find a self-catering holiday near the Huer’s Hut.


Search all Beach Retreats self-catering holidays in Cornwall.

Discover South East Cornwall

Once referred to as Cornwall’s forgotten corner, South East Cornwall is a place steeped in beguiling beauty and legends of smugglers…

Far removed from the wild, Atlantic-lashed beaches of the surfy North Coast, here beach life beats to the pace of calmer seas. And whether you go rock pooling on Downderry, fly a kite on Rame Head or hop aboard a boat cruise to Plymouth, you’ll discover that any trip here is truly unforgettable.

Visiting with a large group? Discover our large holiday homes perfect for big families or friend groups.

Here are six things we love doing in South East Cornwall:

Walk from Cawsand to Whitsand Bay

Step straight out of our waterfront Beach Retreat onto Cawsand Beach, dip your toes in the sea, and then strike out along the South West Coast Path. It’s an easy three miles through magical woodland to Penlee Point and onto the ancient chapel on Rame Head, where you’ll often encounter wild ponies. From here soak up coastal views as far as the Lizard Peninsula, some 50 miles away, and then push on another couple of miles around the headland to the golden stretch of Whitsand Bay.

Walk the South West Coast Path.

Hop aboard the Looe Valley Rail Ale Trail

Take a seat aboard one of Devon and Cornwall’s Great Scenic Railways, which hugs the river as it wends through a wooded valley from the market town of Liskeard to the seaside town of Looe. Make the most of the journey – and the scenery – by stopping off to sample some of the region’s finest ales in a series of country inns. If you collect stamps from all nine watering holes on the route, you can claim a free Rail Ale Trail t-shirt.

Explore Cornwall by train.

Catch the Ferry from Cawsand to Plymouth

Stay in our stylish Beach Retreat on Cawsand Bay and it’s easy to mix barefoot beach life with the buzz of city living. Step out of your stylish abode onto a quaint smuggler’s cove, from where you can hop on the foot-passenger ferry to Plymouth’s lively waterfont Barbican. Once you’ve had your fill of shopping, sightseeing and dining in this maritime hub, hop back aboard The Western Maid and castaway to the sandy shores of Cawsand.

Enjoy a cruise from Cawsand.

Take a boat cruise from Looe

Walk the banjo pier, go crabbing off the harbour wall or hop on a boat trip from the harbour – you’re spoilt for choice for what to do in the seaside town of Looe. Veritable nature enthusiasts shouldn’t miss out on a trip to Looe Island Nature Reserve with Cornwall Wildlife Trust (Easter–October), during which you’ll learn about the unique wildlife habitats and have time to take a self-guided walk around the island. However, the best way to witness the wonders of the marine world and the wildlife around the island is on a 45-minute ride aboard the Boatzer glass-bottomed boat.

Go rock pooling on Downderry Beach

A long stretch of sand and shingle backed by staggering sea cliffs, Downderry is an excellent spot for rock pooling and also home to the stunning beach house Far Horizon. Stare out to sea from an old sea captain’s house, Far Horizon, while you wait for the tide to ebb, then pad along the shoreline to Downderry, scouring the rock pools for the ocean’s bounty on the way. Keep an eye on the tides if you want to walk back along the sand, and be aware that you might feel a little over-dressed when you reach the secluded eastern end of the beach where naturists like to hang out.

Take a look around Far Horizon.

Go surfing on Whitsand Bay

Although the south coast isn’t as well known as the north coast for its surf, when conditions prevail there are a few decent waves to be found along this more sheltered coastline. Just a stone’s throw from Looe’s flat-water beaches, the surf wraps around the rugged tip of the Rame Peninsula and hits Whitsand Bay’s four miles of golden sands. So when you stay in one of our Beach Retreats overlooking Whitsand Bay, when the surf’s up you can hit the waves under the wing of expert instructors. If the waves aren’t working, you can always take plunge on a thrilling coasteering trip instead.

Find out about surf lessons.

Check out our other locations and other retreats across South Cornwall.

Take a look at our favourite ‘must sea’ retreats and explore our other holiday lets.

Foraging in Cornwall With Local Expert Rachel Lambert

Get back to nature during your visit to Cornwall as you forage for food with local expert Rachel Lambert.

Rachel Lambert is the author and photographer of two popular regional foraging identification and cookbooks: Wild Food Foraging in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly and Seaweed Foraging in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

Based in Penzance, Rachel is an expert at foraging the Cornish coastline and new for 2018 will be offering bespoke individual, group and family foraging sessions for guest of Beach Retreats.

We caught up with Rachel to hear more about what inspired her to get involved with foraging and making the most of the rather special Cornish coast.

Visiting Cornwall with an electric car? Check out our holiday lets with electric car (EV) charging points.

How did you discover foraging?

I stumbled into foraging in my early twenties; someone showed me a small, edible plant growing in a stonewall, and I was hooked. Till then, my childhood had been punctuated with great home cooking, camping, wild flowers, walks, and lots of imaginative play. In a way, not much has changed, I could do with more playing, on the other hand that is what foraging and messing about with a few plants in the kitchen is for me – creative fun.

It wasn’t all about idyllic nature though, oh no – I was born an urbanite, brought up in the city and catching a taste of the country when I could – in waste ground, the garden, and family ventures into the countryside. I just always seemed to have loved plants, nature and being outdoors. I initially learnt to cook through watching my mum and ‘helping’ and once I left home I learnt to follow recipes and experiment a lot –not always successfully, though eventually my experiments improved enough to write and illustrate cookbooks.

Where are your favourite spots for foraging in Cornwall?

I love returning to my favourite spots, as well as discovering new places (this also helps the plants regenerate). I love the Lizard (Poltesco was particularly beautiful), love walking the Mousehole to Lamorna circular walk (especially in Winter) and Dartmoor remains a magical place for me and is a favourite in Autumn when the leaves start to change colour and the berries appear. In early spring, I enjoy Prussia Cove and Perranuthnoe, and in late Summer the estuary at Rock is fantastic.

Check out our holiday properties in Mousehole to experience everything the area has to offer.

What are your favourite foraging finds?

What I like to pick and eat varies from week to week and season to season – that’s what keeps it exciting for me. Right now, my best memories are of sea buckthorn berries, tasty dulse seaweed, amazing sea noodles and of course the humble and excellent nettle – such a versatile plant.

Can anyone give it a try?

I’m always saying that foraging isn’t rocket science, it’s an easy skill to pick up, though there are some essential basics to keep you safe, happy and healthy. I welcome families – it is such a brilliant experience to share, and private forays can be tailored to your interests and walking abilities, so really, anyone can come. Foraging can be a big energetic adventure, or a lazy amble on the beach or path.

A private foray (up to 3 hours) includes: Plant identification, nutritional and medicinal benefits, recipe suggestions, foraging safety, sustainability and legalities and an e-list of plants covered.

Private sessions session are available from £160 for up to 4 persons, additional persons £40pp
(Additional charges for forays outside a 10 mile radius of Penzance.)

Public foraging course with tasters are £35pp (under 16s £15, under 5s free), and forage and cook courses £50pp

Book your foraging course.

Find a new foraging spot in our various locations around Cornwall, and keep your eyes on our special offers page to get a discounted stay by the sea.

Delve into the world of fascinating finds and foraging in Cornwall, discovering nature’s hidden treasures along the coast.

Coastal running – #behere with Beach Retreats

The first in a series on blog posts on coastal running in Cornwall. Challenging trails. Spectacular coastline. And no iPod. Why you’ll turn your back on road running forever.

“You only have to look at the scenery here to see the appeal of running along the coast path,” says keen trail runner Helen Clare as we lace up our running shoes.

We’re on the North Cornish coast about to tackle a 30-minute circular route for my first foray into coastal running, and I’m a little nervous.
The 3.6 mile round trip is rated easy to moderate on the South West Coast Path’s website, but I’m not convinced. My 20-minute jogs around the flat local park seem like little preparation.

Starting from our holiday home at Watergate Bay, the plan is to follow the two-mile stretch of golden sand southwards to Porth Beach, before climbing up onto Trevelgue head and back along the coastal path to where we started off.

From a physical point of view, coastal running can be more challenging on your legs, core and cardiovascular system, but the softer surfaces are a lot easier on your feet. And as we step as step out the door, my fears are immediately diminished by a cool sea breeze. I’m confronted with a vista of endless blue skies, a beautiful expanse of beach, and barely another soul around.
“It’s about making most the most of the landscape on your doorstep,” says Helen as we start off. I notice there’s no iPod strapped to her body. “Why, when you can absorb the natural surroundings – listening to the birds, the wind and waves?”

I can see Helen’s yoga background coming into play. There are other reasons too which remove coastal running far away from its tarmacked counterpart. “Coastal running is more about freedom, being relaxed and not running against a clock.”
My mind starts clears as we reach the half way point – an almost meditative state. Wondering where that split in the path leads? There’s nothing stopping you to change your route and go exploring. Feeling tired? Then walk for a stretch, or turn around and head back home. No one’s judging.

The terrain along the coastal paths in Cornwall is so varied that you can choose how challenging you want your run to be. And god. Those views. I’m so engaged the whole way that I barely notice how long we’ve been running for when I find myself back where we started.

Later, after we’ve showered the sand and salt out of our hair, we make our way to dinner overlooking the beach and fall into our seats. Exhausted, happy, and exhilarated.

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And the best thing? It didn’t really feel like exercise at all.
We stayed at The Village with Beach Retreats, a development of eco-houses built into the hill above the beach at Watergate Bay.

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Hit the coastal trails with Beach Retreats’ guide to invigorating seaside running experiences.

We joined professional yoga instructor and trail runner Helen Clare at

Ancient History in the Wilds of Cornwall

If you like your history a little more raw and unstructured, Cornwall has lots to offer. The less well-populated nature of the county means there are still many wild, remote corners where you’ll find evidence of ancient societies, and taking a look at some early Cornish history often combines well with a great walk through wonderful scenery.

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Chysauster Village is probably the best known example, and this site does have some facilities and a guide book to help you make sense of what you’re seeing. Chysauster is the remains of a 2,000 year old Iron Age village with clearly marked homes set in circular arrangements. This style of architecture is only found here and on the Isles of Scilly, so it’s a unique piece of history. Near the site is a kiosk selling drinks and snack foods, plus toilets. The Iron Age inhabitants of Chysauster chose the spot well – the views are glorious, particularly in late spring when the legendary bluebells cover the site.

Much further north, the wilderness of Bodmin Moor has the remnants of an even more ancient culture in the Bronze Age Hurlers stone circles. Three separate circles compete for your attention with the old mining engine houses that litter the landscape here, creating an eerie atmosphere should the mist descend over the moorland. A short walk from the Hurlers is the Cheesewring, an iconic pile of enormous rocks balanced over a long-abandoned quarry. Local legend insists that the Cheesewring is the result of a rock-throwing contest between a man and a giant; however they got there, the facts surely cannot be any less bizarre than the fiction. It’s worth the scramble up over the rough ground to the base of the Cheesewring for the views; endless miles of open countryside to the coast. This part of Bodmin Moor is perfect for an invigorating hike with some quirky historical interest thrown in. Two cafes and a pub in the adjacent village of Minions mean cream teas and pasties will make a tasty reward for your efforts.

Check out holiday properties in Mousehole to experience everything the area has to offer.

Explore further

Chysauster Ancient Village
Newmill, Penzance, Cornwall, TR20 8XA, Tel. 07831 757934

Minions Village (for the Hurlers and the Cheesewring)

Visiting Cornwall at Christmas? Experience the magic of Christmas with the National Trust‘s festive wonders.