For the latest in our new series of ‘My outdoors’ Q&A’s, we’re heading South West to gorgeous Cornwall. Although it’s best known for it’s beaches and stunning coastline, there’s more on offer in this part of the South West than surf boards and ice cream…
So tell us a bit about yourself…
I’m Julia Hughes and handle all media enquiries for VisitCornwall, which can involve anything from helping to source weird and wonderful info to scouring the county for film locations!
Everyone thinks of sun, sea and surf when they think of Cornwall, but what other outdoor gems does the area have to offer that we wouldn’t expect?
With a mild climate we have a fantastic mix of over 70 gardens, with everything from wild woodland to neatly manicured lawns, the small and unusual to the large and famous. Check out www.gardensofcornwall.com.
Our cycle network is also quickly expanding and you can now peddle the length and breadth of the county on dedicated trails. The beauty of Cornwall is that it is so diverse and each part of the county offers something a little different so there’s always something new to discover!
With one of the most scenic, and longest stretches of the South West Coast Path (www.southwestcoastpath.com), and an inland path network of over 2,400 miles, walking is the best way to discover the county. On two feet you get to see parts of the county that just wouldn’t be possible by car and you can go at your own pace, stopping to take in the views or for a bite to eat wherever you fancy.
I’d like to spend a night under canvas, any favourite campsites?
Camping in Cornwall doesn’t mean going back to basics. We’ve got award-winning sites such as Trethem Mill Touring Park (www.trethem.com) on the Roseland Peninsula which was named best in the country in 2010 as well some great quirky options. You can stay in lovely restored classic caravans kitted out with charm and character at Love Lane Caravans on The Lizard (www.lovelanecaravans.com), in funky airstream trailers at The Park in Mawgan Porth (www.airstreamholidays.co.uk) or take your pick from our growing range of tipis and yurts.
Cornish beaches can get pretty packed in summer, where could I go to cool off away from the crowds?
With over 300 beaches even in the height of summer you can still find your own secluded spot. I love the beaches in the far west of the county or on The Lizard for their remoteness and tranquillity. You can’t beat their turquoise waters which rival beaches from far flung exotic destinations. The south coast is also dotted with hidden coves which are fantastic for getting some alone time; the creeks around the Helford estuary never seem to get over-crowded and are perfect for a spot of wild swimming.
Perched on the cliff tops at Bedruthan Steps with amazing views across the north coast is Carnewas cafe. It’s top of my list for Cornish cream teas. Tucking into the indulgent treat whilst soaking in the stunning scenery is a pure Cornwall experience. For picnic spots we’re spoilt for choice, from the rugged and rural Bodmin Moors to the countless points along the coast path, but a highlight has got to be sitting on the cliff tops near St Ives looking out to Godrevy Lighthouse.
What if I want to crank things up a notch and get my adrenaline fix?
Cornwall is really making it’s mark in the extreme sports scene with schools offering lessons in kitesurfing, rock climbing and wakeboarding springing up along the coastline. Lusty Glaze beach (nr Newquay) and Watergate Bay aren’t for the faint hearted and are real adrenaline hotspots. Step onto the sand here and chances are you will be attached to a harness and about to embark in a spot of coasteering or hurtling at speed in a land buggy. Check out www.adventure-centre.org and www.watergatebay.co.uk/extremeacademy. Cornwall’s next big extreme activity is power coasteering. Combining coasteering with a power boat, it offers a mix of speed, nature and hands-on physical adventure, all in the most stunning and remote locations www.cornishrocktors.com/coasteering
Where can I find out more about planning an outdoorsy weekend in Cornwall?