A Winter's Sojourn

I love to go to West Penwith, the area between St Ives, Lands End and Penzance. The coast has spectacular light and the colour of the sea is mesmerizing, but I also like the largely unchanged landscape of the lanes and moorland areas . With the backdrop of the ocean the colours of this whole area literally sing whatever the weather and whatever the season.

A short break in January was the perfect time to go. It was quiet and although chilly, there’s nothing better than wrapping up in layers and walking, followed by with a hot chocolate at ‘The Dog and Rabbit’ cafe in St Just.

We splurged out on a hotel break as a xmas present to each other. Going back to a warm hotel, good food and a hot tub was a real treat this time of year with walks on empty beaches.

Famous for it’s light, it’s what has drawn artists here in their droves. It shifts by the second and the sea changes colour with it. Totally mesmerising, I can only describe it as complete spectral light. It appears to be reflected from everywhere and I have never seen so many total rainbows and patches of refracted light.

St Ives reflection

Walking into St Ives, Low tide

A perfect break was made even better as fate seemed to play a part I can only say that one thing led to another and chance meetings resulted in us bumping into one of my favourite artists and finding a sculpture I knew was in a field nearby. You could say it ‘made my year so far’ !!

The day started with a walk to Treen Cove near Gurnards Head. An easy walk down a track to the coast where we saw the ruins of Chapel Jane (from ‘yein’ meaning bleak) and joined the coastal path with views north and south and over the stream that tumbled down over the cliff.

After a pitstop in lively St Just, we drove down Cot Valley to Porth Nanven, one of the most stunning little valleys with the most unusual rock formations and tumbled boulders on the beach looking out to the brisons.

Onward to see the infamous bronze sculpture.

I cannot reveal the location as we were very lucky to be privy to it but I was some excited and not disappointed. Based on a local mining character, it is in the form of a bronze scarecrow, it’s arms lined with birds.


The light on this January day was bright but the sun was low in the sky by mid afternoon so it was a dash up more country lanes and over the highest point on West Penwith, where we found the small car park and directions to walk to Carn Euny, a bronze age settlement of great archeological importance with a fully intact Fogou; a cornish underground chamber dating back 2,500 years.

The day ended with a swim, sauna and hot tub followed by a gin and tonic and dinner (what luxury)..a good nights sleep and the day home, with a visit to Godrevy and seal watching.

So, if you catch it right, don your walking boots, wrap up warm you can have the best time in Cornwall in January; a perfect time for a break.

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