Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Located on the stunning Rame peninsula within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty are two adjoining villages in the ‘forgotten’ South East corner of Cornwall, Kingsand and Cawsand. They’re archetypal Cornish fishing villages, nestling beside the sea with narrow streets and colourwashed houses. Welcoming and unspoilt, it’s easy to see why they are regular recipients of the ‘Best Kept Village’ award.

Once they were two distinct villages, each fronting onto their own beach, and at one point were even officially in different counties. If you enjoy treasure hunting, search for the sign on one of the white painted cottages which notes the old boundary, and the incongruous name of a cottage in Kingsand which hints at this change. The villages are connected by a street across the seashore and even locals can’t always quite agree where one village ends and the other begins.

The villages were once synonymous with smuggling, with over 50 vessels operating out of Cawsand Bay, making Kingsand and Cawsand the main centre of smuggling in the Westcountry during the 18th and 19th centuries. The narrow Cornish streets were undoubtedly perfect for the clandestine transferal of pilfered goods, though all known smuggling tunnels have now been sealed. For those with interest in this secret, shady past, Cousham Cottage (R106) even has a cleverly disguised smuggler’s tunnel of its own. It’s said that Admiral Nelson himself once stopped by for supper, and the villages remain a popular place for sailors today; if you’re lucky you may even spy a Tall Ship at anchor in Cawsand Bay.

The villages house a good range of shops, cafés and pub/restaurants, but they retain their very Cornish atmosphere and a surprise around each corner. Pubs include the popular Cross Keys Inn in Cawsand square, The Devonport Inn, The Halfway house and The Rising Sun, where May Day’s Black Prince procession begins. ‘Moran’s’ delicatessen and café is loved by visitors and locals alike, but there are many other little gems to discover, so do go a-wandering.

The beaches, though usually quiet, really are central to the character of Kingsand and Cawsand. Each village has its own beach, both of which are suitable for swimming with a mixture of sand and pebbles, plus plenty of interesting little rock pools. Kingsand beach welcomes dogs all year round. There’s a particularly lovely swimming beach known as Sandyways, which is a short walk across the rocks in the direction of Fort Picklecombe to the East.

A range of boat trips are available from here, including the Cawsand passenger ferry to the historical Barbican area of Plymouth. This route has now been running for over 100 years!

You can also take water tours and cruising or fishing trips from here, not to mention exciting ‘007’ speedboat trips.

If you’re ready to turn your spyglass further afield, you can pick up the South West Coastal path with outstanding views in either direction. Head East and you’ll reach Mount Edgecumbe Country Park, all 865 acres of it, including formal gardens, Mount Edgecumbe house and The Orangery Restaurant. Just outside the park is Cremyll, a little village with a good pub, from where you can take another passenger ferry into Plymouth, within a short distance of the renovated Royal William Yard.

If you head West from Cawsand, you’ll reach the dramatic headland at Rame topped with a 14th century Chapel, and Whitsand Bay, with 4 miles of stunning white sand beaches to explore.

It’s a popular area for both swimming and surfing, with lifeguard supervision provided in places, and out in the Bay the artificial Scylla reef is a treat for experienced divers. Access to the beaches is steep in places so care is advised. The chalets along the cliff top make the most of this spectacular location – we’re delighted to let several of them.

Looking further afield, more enjoyable days out include the lively seaside town of Looe, Adrenaline Quarry, the home of one of the longest zip wires in the UK, and Sterts outdoor theatre. Plymouth itself, just across the Torpoint Ferry, has many attractions, including The Hoe, the Theatre Royal, and the refurbished Tinside Lido. If you prefer, you can take the Rame bus route into Plymouth from Kingsand, which travels along the Whitsand bay coastal road and through Torpoint to Plymouth.

If you need to make a more substantial shop during your stay, the nearest supermarket can be found around 15 minutes away in Torpoint.

Our properties in Kingsand and Cawsand are always popular so if you can’t find one to suit your requirements, we can suggest other places and properties with a similar character. For example, we recommend considering Port Isaac, Fowey, Mevagissey, Mousehole and Polperro!


Photo Credit: Reading Tom