At the centre of the East Cornwall coast is the historic port of Looe.
Looe is one of East Cornwall’s important towns, still a bustling fishing port and a great town for a day out.
In total contrast is the Clay Country of the middle of Cornwall, dominated by the spoil tips from the extraction industry that still produces China clay for the world.
A museum at Wheal Martyn celebrates its history, and the iconic Eden Project itself is built in a former China Clay quarry.
Then there’s the coast, with the sweeping landscapes of Rame Head and the charming fishing villages of Polperro and Mevagissey to discover.
Mevagissey is an iconic Cornish fishing village with narrow winding streets centred on an old harbour, full of interesting shops – and even a model railway that will fascinate the children.
There are beaches nearby, and one of Cornwall’s most famous attractions, too – The Lost Gardens of Heligan.
Today, these gardens are a living museum of a historic self-sustaining country estate. They fell into decay after the First World War, in which many of its staff fought and fell, but have been restored to offer a fascinating picture of the past from ancient productive gardens to the extraordinary plants
brought back to Cornwall by the great Victorian plant-hunters.
At the other end of the East Cornwall coast is Torpoint, a bustling town connected to the city of Plymouth by its car ferry.
It’s been a Naval centre for centuries, and forts from the Napoleonic era dot the coast. Today, it’s home to HMS Raleigh, the Rroyal Navy’s training establishment.
The nearby stately homes and parklands of Antony and Mount Edgcumbe offer great views, and you can walk the paths of the Rame peninsula and visit the seaside twins of Kingsand and Cawsand.
There’s great coast walking as far as the beach community of Seaton.
Look out over historic Looe Island – bought by two sisters in the 1960s and their own private world of wonder for nearly 50 years, now in the care of Cornwall Wildlife Trust – from Hannafore, stroll on the beaches or the cliffs, enjoy a choice of food and drink from ice cream to fish and chips, from pub to seafood restaurant, from picnic to cream tea.
Fishing and boat trips are an essential Cornish treat, of course.
Looe is justly famous as a family holiday destination with all the facilities to support that claim. But in recent years it has also become famous for its New Year’s Eve fancy dress and fireworks celebrations, and for its summer music festival, attracting stars of the calibre of Bryan Ferry.
Nearby – the walk via picturesque Talland Bay is fantastic – is the ancient fishing (and smuggling!) village of Polperro, a must-visit.
There’s one other famous mode of transport to take – the railway.
The Looe to Liskeard branch line is one of Britain’s most famous, travelling through the beautiful
valley of the Looe River before climbing to the market town of Liskeard.
It was built to service the moorland mining industry above Liskeard, transporting ore to the sea at Looe.
Liskeard itself is a historic market town with a town centre that famously attracted the enthusiasm and ideas of Mary Portas.
You can browse antiquarian bookshops, antiques and crafts, enjoy great cafes and restaurants and take a trip back to the childhoods of yesteryear with historic toys among the many fascinating exhibits at the town’s beautiful museum.
Liskeard is home to the Cornish Times newspaper, an essential buy for visitors looking to get an idea of the life and events of the area.
It also acts as gateway to the east moor: head out of town for Caradon Hill and Minions Moor and you can survey the historic mining landscape of the Victorian era, walking carefully planned trails and old railway tracks.
At Minions, there’s the mysterious triple stone circle of The Hurlers, said in one old story to be men turned to stone for playing the sport of ‘hurling’ on the Sabbath. It’s a great centre for a moorland walk.
Different aspects of Cornwwall’s incredibly rich history and culture can be enjoyed in the towns of Lostwithiel and Fowey.
The Hurlers, Minions. Photo courtesy of English Heritage St Cleer Garage
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Cornish Visitor Guide - Spring 2017 5
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