On December 12 1901 Poldhu Point was the site of the first transAtlantic wireless radio communication when Marconi sent a signal to Newfoundland.
That communication innovation continues to this day, with Goonhilly Earth Station, identifiable by its distinctive satellite dishes, aiming to lead the world in space communications technology.
Off those coves, if you’re lucky, you’ll spot some of Cornwall’s most endearing inhabitants: seals.
The south coast of Cornwall is home to the Seal Sanctuary at Gweek, were some of these beautiful marine mammals who have met with misfortune are cared for before being released back into the wild, if possible.
The centre teaches visitors about the lives and habits of the seals and houses sea lions too. Feeding time is a very popular attraction.
At the gateway to the Lizard is Britain’s most southerly town, Helston, more than 800 years old.
A shopping and dining destination, Helston is, of course, most famous for a single day in May, usually the 8th, when it stages its Furry Dance, or Flora Dance.
There are four dances throughout the day, the first starting at 7am (historically for domestic servants), the ladies in summer frocks and the gentlemen in white shirts and dark grey trousers with neckties bearing the town crest, loaned for the day.
The second dance at 9.50 is when children from the town's schools dance dressed all in white, the individual schools denoted by the head dresses that the girls wear. The premier dance follows at Midday when the ‘gentry of the county’ dance, the ladies in long ball-type gowns topped off with picture hats and the gentlemen wearing morning dress.
The final dance of the day begins at 5pm, a dance historically for the tradespeople of the town.
Not far from Helston you can discover Godolphin, rich in archaeology and wildlife. The 16th-century garden is one of the most important historic gardens in Europe.
The wider estate boasts Leeds engine house and stack, the remains of the Godolphin family mine.
In the tranquil and mysterious woodland, the years of mining have left an unnatural, undulating landscape.
Near Helston is another of Cornwall’s premier attractions, the family theme park of Flambards.
And not far is the Royal Naval Air Base at Culdrose, home to a hugely popular air show in July. Round the year there is a viewing platform to watch what’s going on.
If your interest lies in the opposite direction, near Wendron you’ll find the Poldark Mine, where you can venture underground and see what Ross was up against – don’t worry, you don’t have to take off your shirt…
Take the ferry between Truro and Falmouth for stunning scenery. Boats run regularly and there’s a commentary.
Climb Jacob’s Ladder in Falmouth – 111 granite steps built to make it easier (!) for the faithful to get from The Moor in the town centre to the Methodist Chapel on the hillside above.
Take the children to dig for buried treasure: Dollar Cove, Gunwalloe, got its name after a 1743 shipwreck in which a Spanish ship carrying two- and-a-half tons of gold ‘pillar’ dollars went down. Legend says some coins are still buried in the sands of the cove.
Take the footpath that skirts Loe Pool, the largest lake in Cornwall, seven miles in circumference, and look out across the still water: here, according to Tennyson, is where Sir Bedivere threw the sword Excalibur.
The pool is separated from the sea by only a bar of gravel and flint.
Glendurgan garden in summer. Photo courtesy of National Trust. Something weird:
Can you spot the Queen’s Pipe? At the end of Custom House Quay in Falmouth stands a chimney-type structure, built by the authorities during a clampdown on tobacco smuggling: all the captured contraband went up in smoke – literally.
In Wendron churchyard is a true rarity. Only a dozen headstones were ever erected over the graves of slaves in Britain, and Wendron has one – Everisto Muchovela, a captive from Mozambique, who died in 1868 aged 38 and was buried with his ‘owner’, Thomas Johns, under the epitaph
Spot the Donald Healey link at Trebah Gardens: the estate was once home to the Cornish-born creator of some of Britain’s most- loved sports care, like the Austin Healey Sprite and the Healey 3000, and there is a statue in his memory there
In Helston, the birthplace of Bob Fitzsimmons, boxing’s first triple world champion, is marked by a plaque.
If you want to see an example of Lizard serpentine rock on a grand scale, visit the small church of St Peter in Coverack built in 1885 for £500 (roughly the equivalent of about £24,000 today according to the National Archives currency converter), has a serpentine pulpit.
Don’t forget to visit Godolphin Hill on the south-westerly reaches of the Godolphin estate. Here you can breathe in some of the best views in Cornwall looking out over St Ives Bay to the north and the famous St Michael’s Mount to the south.
Mawgan Porth offers a stunning location for a day at the beach. www.cornish-visitor.co.uk
Falmouth Maritime Museum Cornish Visitor Guide - Spring 2017 37
Here lie the master and the slave Side by side within one grave Distinction’s lost and caste is o’er The slave is now a slave no more
Can you spot the blue glass in Truro Cathedral? There’s a tiny blue pane in the stained glass window above the high altar. A schoolboy’s stray rifle shot during the war is said to have destroyed the original glass; a builder asked to repair the damage could only find the little pane of blue. In an unlooked-for bonus, when the sun strikes the blue pane in late summer it sends a shaft a purplish light right down the nave of the Cathedral.
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