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Coastlining 9: Portscatho – St Anthony Head

Date: 3rd May 2014        Distance walked: 6.2 miles        Height climbed: 919 ft

2014.05.03  (3)

New boots squeak clean. Residents greet me like a local as I make my way back through the village of Portscatho along the road above the harbour that leads to a dead end that leads to a stile that leads to the coast path. It’s been raining and everything looks and feels and smells very green. The first hillslope outside the village is covered in rows and rows of posts and tubes for young trees – part of the Diamond Wood plantation I believe – the sprouting heads of which are just beginning to peek out of the tops of the tubes like forced rhubarb. It’s hard to imagine what this will look like covered in woodland, apart from completely different. I keep my wool layer on and shove my hands in my pockets. The dew and rain-damp beads on the glossy leather of my new walking boots like a chocolate bar taken straight from the fridge into a warm kitchen. I’ve been wearing them in at home and for short strolls in the evenings. It’s a short and easy walk today: a smooth mud-ribbon of a path over a low gently undulating coastline, heading homeward for me. Continue reading


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River Fal 13: Fin

– Place to St Anthony Head (where?)

The final – or maybe the first, depending on which way round you look at this – creek to join the Fal estuary is the Percuil River whose own mouth forms St Mawes harbour and whose course separates the St Anthony headland from the rest of the Roseland, creating a peninsula on a peninsula. The almost-isolation of its geographical situation is echoed in the quiet countryside clothing these shores. After Place House, the one-time ancestral home of the influential Spry family, the near-hidden cruciform of the 12th century church behind the mansion is the penultimate footprint of manmade construction before reaching the very tip of the land. Nestled in the midst of a conservation area and flanked by overhanging trees and rampant wildflowers, St Anthony’s church feels somehow more sympathetic to its rural surroundings than the slightly pretentious facade of its neighbouring mansion.

I turn a corner and suddenly I’ve left behind all trace of woodland and meadow that have exemplified the latter stages of this journey downstream. The flora becomes edgy and littoral: thrift instead of cow parsley, sea campion replacing red. A sharp drop to my right reveals a secluded cove at the cliff base. There is no more river now. There is no more estuary, even: I have reached the Cornish coast of the holiday brochures.

St Anthony Head beach picture credit: Trinity House

 

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