I’ve been very busy this week, so I’ve had no chances to go exploring – which has been very frustrating! But I have had the chance to do some exploration planning while I was business journeying, so I thought I’d share it with you…
A meeting in Exeter on Friday saw me motoring up the A39 and A30. It was one of those drizzly, foggy, grey Cornish days. In the safety of my car I could have been anywhere: the mist drowned all view of what lay beyond the road verges, except for the occasional shifting shape of a tree, or a hill, or a horse close to the field edge. And the road signs, pointing to places away off beyond where I was heading …I swept by so many, and being the only material things apart from the road itself that I could see with any clarity, I paid far more attention to them than normal.
Growing up in London, I used to love finding the hidden gems – places that weren’t mobbed by tourists or people, but were enjoyed by locals and had a different charm. Oxleas Wood rather than Hyde Park, the Horniman rather than the British Museum, Dulwich Gallery not the Tate, and the independent Sydenham Books rather than the high-street chain.
So far, I haven’t really done that in Cornwall. I’ve been busy visiting the better-known places: St. Ives and Porthcurno, the Lizard, Falmouth and Cape Cornwall. There’s nothing wrong with that – they’re all beautiful – but maybe it’s time I started hunting out the hidden gems down here, too.
Because of the misty drive, and because therefore the rolling hills of Cornwall were out of sight, it was the names on those roadsigns that I noticed, places I’d only vaguely heard of, and certainly never been. Later, I got out my map to look for them, and found many, many more intriguing and beckoning names…
…Polyphant and Old Kea, Two Waters Foot, Treworgan Grove and Lawhitton, Enniscaven and Carclew. Egloshayle, Restronguet, Washaway. Should I walk Old Carnon Hill to Perranwell, or take the Old Coach Road to Bodwannick Wood? So many woods – Callywith, Lamphill and Captain’s, Roskrow, Devichoys, Follycoombe, Queenie and Horneywink. Up on Bodmin, I could choose to turn left to the village of Helland or right towards Blisland. I could look down from Hawk’s Tor, or gaze up from below, standing next to the watery depths of Siblyback and Dozmary.
So, I think it’s time I visited some of these places. I may not be able to get to all of them – some may be privately owned, and maybe some are now just names on a map. But I’m going to try…this week, I will be picking one to visit, and will write a post on how I got on and what I found – place, wildlife, people and history.
And if anyone has ideas for hidden Cornwall gems I should get to, please do let me know!