Lounging on the Lizard as you cosy-up in coastal hotel or cottage in Cornwall.
This remote and wild place in the UK offers visitors a really diverse and at times a dreamy destination.
Located in West Cornwall with Lizard Point being the most southerly place in England.
Indeed also, not that far from the most westerly point at Land’s End too!
The peninsula is around 10 miles long and its coast line is punctuated by numerous craggy and sandy coves.
Taking the East West running Helford River as its northerly point this is a land of lizards and amphibians who enjoy the rough scrub terrain along with many mammals. Plus numerous visiting and native birds attracted by its remoteness and sheltering Cornish hedges that criss-cross the land.
It offers visitors some of the most spectacular coastal walks in the whole of the UK.
A 10,000+ Step Walk To Get You Started
Yet, it has also been a place of technological and communication advancement of the 20th century too.
The wildlife of ‘The Lizard’ is varied. Be that it is on its land, its sea or flying over it.
The Lizard Is A Base For Tourists And Home To Many Birds
Sea birds of many types find the wild, steep and lonely cliffs perfect places for breeding. Fulmars, Gannets, Shearwaters and Kittiwakes appear in the different seasons.
As do the seals that live around the serpentine rocky coast all year.
Spotting seals on coast walks is quite a common occurrence. Be they the smaller Common Seal or larger Atlantic Grey Seals laying up and resting in quiet coves or bobbing their heads above the surface out at sea or even in harbours.
However, if you want a much closer encounter then you need to head to the Cornish Seal Sanctuary at Gweek. Here, the work of treating seals injured in the wild or abandoned young pups goes on all year round.
The team will educate and inform as you tour the facility nestling on the upper Helford River. You will be able to watch the seals swim underwater and also how the staff prepare pups to be released back into the wild.
Beaver Project For The Lizard
There is also a Beaver project based there. It’s hoped that Beavers can once again be rewilded in the area that has numerous streams and rivers that flow from the higher parts of The Lizard.
Certainly the peninsula is a bird watchers paradise. Even if you are not bird song expert it their tweets are so noticeable as you walk the cliffs or lanes lined with dense hedges.
Even, one rarer bird that I could easily tell was a Chough. The counties bird. Sporting red/orange beak and legs with its distinctive call. It is easy to hear even if you cannot see them!
In flight they appear to tumble almost if they have been shot. On the Lizard if you are lucky then you will come across them. A cheerful close-up encounter that I had with a pair certainly made the day for me recently near to Mullion.
Hotels On The Lizard Have Some Of The Best Views
With the wildlife having plenty of places to stay, what about the humans?
There are a number of very nice hotels on The Lizard. Mullion Cove Hotel has long been established. Nearby to it, the Polurrrian Hotel, and at Lizard Point, Housel Bay Hotel.
All three offer great views over the beaches, coast and cliffs of The Lizard.
One of my favourite places to stay in Mullion Cove and when I say in the cove, I mean it! In one of it’s cottages on the harbour.
Often pounded by storms in Spring, Autumn and Winter which is my first choice for a stay.
Huge waves crashing over the harbour wall is certainly a sight to enjoy, but from a safe distance.
Many of the former fishing villages around ‘The Lizard’ offer holiday cottages for rent. In some cases to the detriment of some communities. As at peak tourist times there are often more tourists than locals in these villages.
However, there is a very welcoming attitude in this distinctive region of Cornwall.
Friendly Banter And Open Most Of The Year
Places like the cafe at Poldhu Cove run by Ross Hocking and open 363 days a year, and at the most Southerly Cafe In Britain, Polpeor Cafe.
On a wet and windy Lizard Monday morning they opened on time cheerfully chatting. With the friendly banter along with hearty and healthy excellent food to sustain us visitors on cold windy or hot sultry days. Both of which are possible at any time of year. And, sometimes all on the same day!
The King of Kernow food or should it be Queen? As in this case the growth of the pasty empire belonging to Ann’s Pasties based at The Lizard. It all started nearby in a kitchen built within a garage as the business grew for Ann.
A Cornish And Lizard Favourite Carries On
Taking over the reins of the family business her son Fergus now has shops in Helston and Porthleven as well as the Lizard of course.
Her brand of ‘over the top’ crimped pasties (not side crimped as many other makes use) are sold in all of them. As well as the new shop in the heart of Lizard village.
Two Communication Records For The Lizard
The Lizard area boasts two communication world firsts. The Goonhilly Earth Station itself was where the first live transatlantic satellite TV pictures were sent from the USA and Poldhu had its very own older one too.
The first antenna called ‘Arthur’ at Goonhilly picked up the TV transmission from ‘Telstar’ on 11th July 1962. It was beamed itto homes in the UK from there.
Today Goonhilly is a privately run company and is involved in deep-space communications and will be part of further Moon and Mars missions. Under one half of the dishes are providing satellite connectivity for the UK. There are also links to undersea cables too.
Currently during these Covid times the Earth Station is not open to visitors. However, in due course it should reopen once again.
However, some 60 years earlier and just a few miles away a long range landmark communication tool was born.
In December 1901 a signal was sent the other way from Poldhu to St Johns in Newfoundland.
Communication Firsts On The Lizard in Cornwall
Detected by Marconi and his team in Canada and was the very first of its type transmitted over 2,000 miles across the Atlantic. This scientific experimental breakthrough went on to pave the way for radio and wireless communication around the world.
On the site of Poldhu cliffs is the Marconi Centre. A newer building owned and maintained by the National Trust now acts as a visitors centre.
Run by members of Poldhu Radio Amateur Club (callsign GB2GM) there are displays and the chance to send a signal or two with help from the volunteers. https://www.marconi-centre-poldhu.org.uk/
Also there is a second radio station located near to the Lloyds Radio station at Landewednack near to Lizard point where shortwave radio tests were made to the Isle of Wight some 200 miles away.
Much of the peninsula and coastal areas are under the management of the National Trust so places like Mullion Harbour, Lizard Point, Kynance Cove, Gunwalloe and Loe Bar beach and lake part of the Penrose estate.
Other places worth visiting are Coverack, the tiny fishing village Cadgwith and Kennack Sands which does allow dogs when many are banned during the summer in Cornwall.
Some beaches also have surf schools where you can learn to ride the waves. Poldhu and Kennack are two good choices for that.
The Lizard In Cornwall Has Many Dramatic Walks
Dramatic coastal walks are certainly a big draw whether you take on the challenge of rounding much of the peninsula in one go or take it in easy stages my favourites are Mullion to Gunwalloe Church Cove /Dollar Cove (2.5 miles) via Poldhu or Lizard Point to Cadgwith (3 miles).
Bear in mind there are some steep ascents and descents on both routes but nevertheless suitable for most with a reasonable level of fitness.
In stormy winter or warm balmy summer days I can’t find a better place to laze. Than on ‘The Lizard’!
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