Last month my husband and I roamed the farthest southwestern edge of England. It was March, a month known for wild and wet weather in a land that is wild and wet.
|Celtic Cross at St. Just, Cornwall|
We started in Plymouth, Devon to hear golden-throated Mary Black and the Irish musicians/song writers, Clannad. That evening wrapped us in the magic of England’s southern lands giving us a proper welcome.
|Gwen at Dartmoor|
From there we headed to Dartmoor, climbed some tors and listened through the howling winds for the hounds of Baskerville. We didn’t hear any but nevertheless enjoyed the climb in the wind and rain to view the distant green fields.
|Tintagel, legendary home of King Arthur|
A short drive later, a drive on the left side of narrow hedged roads, we arrived at Tintagel, possible castle home of the legendary King Arthur. While its history waxes and wanes between fact and lore, certainly it was the remains of a fortification from the Roman-British era, and further developed during the 1100’s--Arthur’s time. In the 1200’s a rich Earl, enamored by the Arthur story, remade Tintagel into a seat of power.
Whoever inhabited Tintagel, they picked well. The fortress sits on a prime promontory to defend the harbor. No ships or army can approach unseen. The site also feeds the eye as it overlooks the Celtic sea across to Ireland, with views of crashing waves and open skies.
|The Eden Project|
From there we meandered south, combing the countryside stopping at the Eden Project, working cider mills, forgotten gardens and quaint seaports. Each seaport had it’s charms: St. Mawes, St. Just, St. Michael Mount, the equivalent of Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy, and Zennor, if you seek mermaids.
While the farthest south point on the western edge, Land’s End, is disappointingly touristy, Lizard Head, the south-eastern most point is a jewel worth walking.
|Glendurgan Garden and Maze, near Falmouth|
|St. Michael's Mount at Low Tide|
This may be the perfect way to explore this region, on foot with the sea and sky surrounding you. And perhaps if you watch carefully, you might see a mermaid sunning on the shore.
All text and photos copyright Caroline Arnold.