Arriving in Cornwall, we made straight for the caravan site that would become our home for the next seven days. Located directly next to the village of Crantock, the site (Crantock Beach) has some stunning views out across the Celtic Sea, between us and Ireland. A few quiet evenings gave us chance to explore the area…
Status: Cornwall Unitary Authority & County, Village, England
Eating & Sleeping: Crantock Beach Pub
Attractions: Crantock Beach, Celtic Sea, Crantock Village Church, Trevose Head Lighthouse, River Gannel, Gannel Estuary etc
So this was the view from our static caravan, literally looking out of the front window. The Celtic Sea laps at the rocks in the distance, and the whole scene looked just as incredible, if not more so, as the sun rose the next morning! Not a bad view to wake up to.
Exploring the campsite, a short walk brought us out on a piece of moorland, looking towards Crantock Parish Church, dedicated to St Carantoc (Welsh Saint who supposedly fought King Arthur in Somerset). Presumably the name Carantoc has changed slightly over the centuries to become Crantock, the modern version.
The Church itself is one of the oldest buildings in the area, and dates back to the 14th century, when the earlier Norman Church was rebuilt. It lies just off the historic centre of the village, which includes such buildings as the fittingly named Pub, the Cornishman!
Wandering down towards the Beach one evening, we came out on the Gannel Estuary, where the River Gannel reaches the Celtic Sea. It’s journey begins around 8 miles away in the village of Indian Queens, in the very heart of Cornwall, before it flows towards Newquay, forming a large channel between us at Crantock, and the town.
It’s a pleasant area, popular with surfers, as are many beaches around Cornwall. Although we didn’t have time to look for it during our stay, you can also visit the famous Crantock Beach Carving, to be found at the Western edge of the beach in a small cave. When the tide is low enough, the carving of a woman is visible, supposedly carved to represent a woman who drowned in the sea at the turn of the 20th century when she was riding her horse along the beach.
Looking out from our Caravan, far past the many buildings of Newquay visible in the near distance, we spotted the Trevose Head Lighthouse, 20 miles away near the Cornish town of Padstow. The Lighthouse was built in 1847, and originally consisted of two separate lights, with the main “High Light” at the top of the Lighthouse Tower, and the lesser “Low Light” outside in front of it’s base further towards the cliff edge. The Tower stands around 90 ft tall, at the top of the enormous 150 ft cliffs which lead down to the water below.
In 1882 the High Light, which had previously been a static light, was replaced by a light utilising a mode known as Occulting. This meant that instead of an unlit light flashing on and off regularly, the light was permanently on, and flashed off and back on again. The same year, the Lower Light was removed completely. Today the whole system is run by Trinity House, and was manned by Lighthouse Keepers until 1995, who lived in small cottages around the base of the tower. These have now been converted into holiday cottages, and the Lighthouse is run remotely from the Trinity House planning centre in Harwich, Essex.
Trinity House itself was granted a Royal Charter in 1514 by King Henry VIII to help safeguard the lives of seamen in and around Britain and its territories. Their official remit, as stated on their website is:
“We are the General Lighthouse Authority (GLA) for England, Wales, the Channel Islands and Gibraltar.”
When we visited Gibraltar in 2014, we found a Trinity House Lighthouse at Europa Point, looking out across the Mediterranean Sea towards Morocco, Africa. Trinity House’s counterpart to the North, the “Northern Lighthouse Board” covers Scotland and the Isle of Man, whilst the “Commissioners of Irish Lights” are in charge of both Northern Ireland, and the Republic of Ireland.
Over the next seven days we set out to explore Cornwall, which would take us around all it’s major towns, and to the edge of land itself, and even further…