Thursday, 9 June 2011

Half term break in Cornwall

Thanks to my wonderful friend taking my two children to Clacton for the week, my partner and I were able to spend a few days in Cornwall over the half-term. Every time I go there I am stunned by the natural beauty of the area and how relaxing it is to be away from it all. We even had some sunny weather! We stayed in a lovely B&B called Lower Tresmorn Farm in Crackington Haven near Bude. This is the main farmhouse where they have several rooms but there is also a beautiful converted barn. Rachel and Chris, the owners, were extremely friendly and hospitable.

Lower Tresmorn Farm is a working farm with sheep and cattle and being right on the coast it has beautiful views of the sea. 

The nearest beach is Crackington Haven and is a lovely secluded bay with dramatic cliffs on either side. There is a pub, the Coombe Barton and two good cafes. I can recommend the local crab sandwiches!

There is quite a lot of sand on the shore line but the upper part of the beach is mostly covered by these attractive lined pebbles

We were only in Cornwall for three days but we visited lots of places such as Boscastle Harbour which flooded very badly in 2004. It is beautifully restored now and is home to Boscastle Pottery.

The pottery has been run by Roger Irving Little since 1967 and specialises in mocha ware. This is a technique where "mocha tea" is applied to wet slip. The tea runs through the slip creating a tree or fern-like pattern. The tea contains a staining agent. Traditionally tobacco was used for this but nowadays coffee or various chemical recipes are used instead.

We also visited the tiny secluded fishing village of Clovelly in North Devon (and had to pay £5.95 each to get in!) The village is traffic free and the main street, known very simply as 'up-a-long' and 'down-a-long' tumbles its cobbled way down 400ft of solid rock to the tiny harbour and lifeboat station.

It is a steep descent down to the sea but you walk past pretty cottages, tempting passageways and tiny winding lanes that lead off to either side and offer the prospect of discovering even more peaceful, picturesque treasures of Clovelly.

In Elizabethan times herring fishing was the main activity supporting the village until the shoals began to move away in the 1830's. In the middle of the 19th Century Charles Kingsley, author of 'The Water Babies', returned to live in the village where he had been brought up when his father was rector there. His presence coupled with a Victorian love of the sea produced a tourism boom and by the end of the century ships were arriving from around the Bristol Channel to land tourists by small boat onto the pebbled shore.
Donkeys are used to deliver provisions to the houses and cafes there.

It is a truly unspoilt and unique place where time has stood still.

There is of course a pottery there established in 1992 and the resident potter Caroline Curtis produces hand thrown slip decorated earthenware pots in beautiful designs and colours.

I love these vegetable markers and fancy having a go at making some myself.

The workshop is open to visitors and for a small fee you can make your own pot.

The next day we drove from Bude to the small harbour town of Fowey and drove past some unbelievable foxgloves growing wild in the hedgerow. I just had to take a picture (much to my partner's annoyance!) Aren't they wonderful?

Anyway back to Fowey, (pronounced Foy not Fowee). It is a pretty natural harbour (my photo does not do it justice!) which has been used as a port for hundreds of years. Previously the centre of the Cornish China Clay industry but is now more famous as a yachting destination.

Fowey's most famous resident is the well known authoress Daphne du Maurier. She spent many years holidaying and living in and around the harbour town until her death in 1989. Cornwall was a strong influence in many of her books.

There is also a great choice of tea rooms,a delightful fudge shop, gift shops and art galleries displaying local art and craft and I fell in love with these pottery boats.

and raku fired fish by Tony Worthington

The cloud started to clear and the sun came out in the afternoon so I was able to get some good photos of the Bude coastline on our way back. It really is breathtaking.

We had a lovely few days, thanks to my friend now back to reality!

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