Perranuthnoe lies in a secluded corner of Mounts bay, tucked at the bottom of a valley just above the sea. Most visitors miss Perranuthnoe as the race along the A394 to explore between The Lizard and Land’s End but for those that do spot the narrow lane turning of the main “A” road, well it leads down to a sandy beach, a peaceful unspoilt village of traditional Granite Farmhouses and cottages, all clustered below the square church tower and it is just waiting to be found.
In this blog I explore the beaches and coves within walking distance of Ednovean Farm, a little of the history of Perranuthnoe and the lives that shaped the landscape over time
- Perranuthnoe’s beaches and Coves
- Perranuthnoe – a brief history of the village
- Perranuthnoe church
- Shops and Galleries
- Tin and silver mines around Perranuthnoe
- Places to eat
- Walking from Perranuthnoe
Perranuthnoe’s beaches and Coves
There is a broad swathe of golden sands just below the village of Perranuthnoe that is revealed at low tide and reached via a long slipway or the steep original steps. The beach is flanked by soft red clay cliffs fringed by Tamarisk and contained at either end by ragged granite outcrops and partly protected from erosion by the recent addition of boulders on the western end. The long gently shelving sandy expanse is safe for bathing and it is a great beach for novice surfers and several surf schools train there.
In the summer a shallow pool is sometimes left in the centre of the beach that is perfect for young children. The only warning I would make is – as with all beaches there can be a rip current at very, very low tidal conditions and of course weaver fish can hide in the sands in shallow water.
If you visit the beach in the evening you may well spot local fisherman settling down for night fishing for the bass that come into feed on the tide. We visited the beach recently on lovely afternoon and you can find my latest snaps here of our local beach Perranuthnoe
This beach smaller and more secluded beach at the eastern end of Perran sands and links to the main beach at very low tides At one point there used to be a little slipway to and I do remember dragging my reluctant horse across the rocks from it in the ‘70’s to enjoy galloping along and across the main beach but now you will have to clamber over the rocks or wait until a low tide to walk along the sea shore.
Trevean Cove is reached by following the coastal footpath further eastwards and is accessed through a five bar gate that used to keep the cattle in the fields above back from the shore. The grass slipway leads over the broad rocky ledges to the mostly rocky cove and a steady stream used to run from a mine adit as you entered the cove but a landslide covered it and years later it is only now starting to run again. It is a quiet, seldom visited cove with sandy channel at low tide leading out to sea and a favourite haunt of sea birds who spend theirs days on the rocks here. Look out if you are passing for the remains of a cement vessel sometimes revealed at very low tide.
Only the name of Boat Cove remains now as a reminder of the fishermen that would make living from this Cove just west of Perran beach again along the coastal footpath. As years passed the small collection of fishing huts were reduced to one and the keys would be passed from one retiring fisherman to the next generation until they were passed to the National Trust for the last hut with its roof held on fishing nets patched with an interesting collection of driftwood. It was finally taken down before it fell into the sea and I looked up my old blog was written about it in February 2009. I think the snap I have of the cove in its entirety, was taken in 2007 and still show the precipitous slipway that was used to carry boat engine up to the boat house at the end of the season.
Trenow cove is again west of Perranuthnoe and reached along the coastal footpath or a bridleway that runs from the end of the tarmac road that passes the village church. It is a beautifully sheltered sandy cove with soft earthy cliffs again edged by Tamarisk and finally reached by an earth slipway over a stream that emerges from a mine adit. Wheal Charlotte stood just above this cove until it was destroyed by a mine disaster when her boiler blew up but I believe the remains of the old blacksmith shop are part of a garage just before you reach the cove. I hope you have enjoyed the visit to Perranuthnoe sandy beaches and secluded Coves and this week I will continue on my journey around the village!
Perranuthnoe a brief history
The changing name for Perranuthnoe reflects local history and it is best to look at the name in two halves starting with the Uthnoe a derogative from the very early recorded Odenol and it is thought to still echo its origins of the name of the Ednovean farm which I have written about in the meaning of “Ednovean”
The manor of Uthnoe, first recorded in the Doomsday book held by “Britric” with the previous holder listed as “Haemar” with the population recorded as three slaves, seven villagers and eight smallholders.
To trace the manor of Uthnoe is to find an interesting mix of half know facts and legend not least the mention of John Trevelyan 1452 who became Lord of the manor by virtue of his marriage to his cousin Elizabeth the daughter and heiress to Thomas Whalesborough and his lineage held the manor until 1939. The Trevelyan coat of Arms can still be seen outside of the Trevelyan Arms in Goldsithney and it features a leaping horse, which commemorates the legend that a Trevelyan escaped from the Lost Land of Lyonesse with such a strong swift white horse, that he was able to escape the sea that rushed in to submerged land. (Lyonesse lay between Land’s End and The Isles of Scilly) I have heard that the Trevelyan’s always kept a horse saddled in their stables overnight to commemorate the event and just in case……….!
The prefix of “Perran comes from St Piran who sailed across from Ireland floating on a millstone as one of the early Celtic priest to preach to the Pagan population. It is said that he performed many wonderful deeds in Ireland before falling from favour and he was strapped to a millstone and thrown from the cliffs into the sea – at that moment there was a flash of light and he was seen serenely floating away sitting on the millstone. The first known church in Perranuthnoe dates from 1160.
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Perranuthnoe church was dedicated to St Piran and Saint Michael in 1400 but the first known church on the site dates from 1160. From the first church, only the Norman doorway with its three strange heads, a now blocked doorway visible from the churchyard, the archway of the south transept, behind the pulpit and the transept itself remain. The church has been extensively remodelled and renovated over time but the13th century granite font is one of the few of its period in Cornwall. The church was largely rebuilt in the 15th century with the tower heightened in 1470 and the four pinnacles that you see today added as a landmark for shipping as was the custom in most Cornish villages. The bells that now hang in the tower date from 1636, 1688 and 1832 what a link with history sounds as they ring over the village on a sunny evening.
Unfortunately by the late 19th century the church had fallen into such a bad state of repair that it was again largely rebuilt at the cost of £1,410. During this renovation the old pews and woodwork were lost and the old floor taken up to reveal that it was full of graves of which the grandest brick built tomb of the former rector Reverend Johnson (1815-1849) was sealed and preserved and the rest levelled and covered with fresh soil.
Mining in Perranuthnoe
Mining was a major industry throughout Cornwall employing men women and children in dangerous, desperate conditions. The principal mines of Wheal Neptune, Wheal Charlotte and Perran silver here in Perranuthnoe yielded Copper and silver with Tin mined a little further inland behind Goldsithney at Tregurtha Downs. Written records were few but we were fortunate to find a map of the underground workings for Wheal Neptune
Wheal Neptune Copper Mine – James and William Gundry
The earliest mining record date from the last quarter of the eighteenth century and Wheal Neptune was the most important mine of the Parish. At the busiest period for the mine in 1815 – 1820, 13 shafts were in operation with all of the hoisting done by horse whims and the mine was drained by a 52in. cylinder pumping engine. By 1821 the mine had reached its maximum depth of 115 fathoms below the 15 fathom adit and yet by 1823 the mine stopped working. She had produced over 10.000 tons of ore and was reopened briefly in 1838 to produce a further 3,000 tons. The total production of ore made in the working life of Wheal Neptune yielded £200.000 in profit with every £5 share yielding £1,750.
Thomas Gundry left instruction that upon his death he was to be buried upon a copper load that ran through Perranuthnoe churchyard and when the grave digger prepared the grave they did indeed find the copper load as they laid him to rest
Map of the underground workings for Wheal Neptune
Charlotte United group of lodes – Wheal Charlotte, Trenow Consoles and Perran Silver
Records are few but record Wheal Charlotte producing 6675 tons of rich ore 1844 – 1856 and also a visit by Prince Albert. Prince Albert arrived by steamer to Trenow Cove to inspect the magnificent 85in cylinder engine fitted in the lower mine before ceremonially breaking a piece of ore with a pick.
These days very few traces remain of the industrial landscape as nature has healed the wounds – just the occasional spoil heap now clothed with gorse and home to wildlife and small man made entrances disgorging flowing water on to the beach. (these usually have some form of grid to protect the public!) For examples stroll along Perranuthnoe main beach to the eastern end and you will see a couple of mine adit cut into the soft earth cliffs and at Trenow a small stream flows on to the beach protected by a grid.
- The Copper industry collapsed between 1866-67, sparking a wave of emigration. D.B. Barton in his Essays in Mining History quotes figures from the Royal Cornwall Gazette – the figures given are for men only, not counting wives and children.
“The wave of emigration that took place in 1866-67 consequent upon the calamitous collapse of the south-west’s copper mining industry was a particularly massive one. In April 1867 it was estimated that the number of men that had departed from Cornwall with the previous few months had been 3,236” (page 48)
“The effect on one parish, that of St Just, may be taken as representative of the whole, even though this was not primarily a copper mining district and thus was not as hard hit as some, Here in 1861 there has been 1661 inhabited houses; by July 1867 there were only a thousand – or, in other terms, one in three stood empty and in some cases abandoned.” (Page 48)
- Perranuthnoe Parish was mined extensively for Copper not tin. The result of secondary mineralization has certain uniformity to it and while closer to the emanative centre tin is formed, copper is found further away. Perranuthnoe lies on a copper deposit – the only tin of any significance has come from the Tregurtha Group (Goldsithney) and it has been postulated that a small emanative zone lies on Tregurtha Downs
Lynfield Craft Centre
There are a small group of shops set in an the old farmyard for Lynfield Farm at the bottom of the village near the beach in Perranuthnoe
Linen and Clay
A tiny light filled shop run by Anna Hewitt and Claire Garland offering a carefully curated and yet eclectic range of gorgeous stock. I spotted hand thrown pottery vying for my attention with textured cushions and the addition of artisan breads from Baker Tom and Kelp Bakeries. I took my snaps near to Christmas time which is probably why there is a witty reference to Coca Cola in the display (Note to self must type faster!)
Opening times Tuesday to Friday 11.00am – 4.00 p.m. Saturday 2.00pm – 4.30 and Sunday 12.00 – 4.30
Jenny moved her thriving hairdressing business to Perranuthnoe as soon as Lynfield Craft centre opened and the tine frontage always emanates gales of laughter as Jenny plies her trade within. Jenny honed her trade working on cruise ships before tending to the local and visitor locks alike. To find Jenny – Toppers Too, Lynfield Craft Centre, Perranuthnoe Penzance. TR20 9NF Tel: 01736 711359
The Cowhouse Gallery
The Cowhouse Gallery is run by a co-operative of artists and craftspeople living in Wet Cornwall and has a far reaching range of unique stock at quite frankly wonderful prices. It is always my first stop when I’m looking for presents in the ever changing designs. I took a few snaps when I was passing the other week.
Andrew Giddens Studio Gallery
.What better place for a studio for an artist passionate about the moods of the sea but within ear shot of the roar of the swell from Perranuthnoe’s beach. Many of our guests have spent a happy hour chatting with Andrew and returned with a painting discreetly tucked under one arm from their walk to the village!
On the day I visited he had a work in progress on his easel. Andrew starts with a red ground before building up his painting and then he may scratch back some of the layers to reveal a few flecks of that vibrant red to make his seascapes zing.
Visit Andrew’s web site – Cornish Art and read his blog for an insight into his work
Follow the lane to the further to the sea and you will spot Wellyracks. Welly racks are a great solutions for welly owners (and if you live in or visit the country a pair are just about compulsory) They make a unique hand crafted wellie storage and they are individually made in the old chapel. Just perfect for every country home, they come painted in soft country chic colours or in glowing natural wood. Visit Kay and Geoffs Website http://www.wellyracks.com/index.html
Perranuthnoe Café’s and Pubs
The Victoria Inn
Perranuthnoe’s fine old pub probably started life in the 12th century and it still has a reassuringly solid Cornish feel to the old stone walls, combined now with a modern stylish touch. The Victoria has established a huge local reputation for great food over the years and the tradition has been carried on by Nik and Laura Boyle.
There’s a Mediterranean style courtyard for long summer evenings and roaring log fire for winter nights and the menu reflects the season with traditional game for the cooler months and delicious seafood for the summer. Check out the menus on the Victoria Inn’s website for the latest info!
Perched right on the cliff edge, the newly extended stylish wooden café has great views over the beach and is not only a magnet for walkers along the coastal path, the surfers and beach users it also has with a fair smattering of dedicated locals. Drawn by the mix of barrister style coffee, home made cakes, cream teas and lunchtime offerings ranging from Greek salads to Shepherds pie. Sit in the light filled café or the cliff top garden listening to the roar of the surf below. For more info check out The Cabin website
The Peppercorn Café is set on the end of the Lynnfield craft centre group of converted farm building beside two of Perranuthnoe’s art galleries. Choose to sit outside and admire the views to Cudden Point on fine days or snuggle up beside the log burning stove in the cooler months. The Peppercorn is under new management this year but still offers the same delicious homemade cakes and Gluten free options.
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Walking around Perranuthnoe
Perranuthnoe is a wonderful centre for walking with the coastal footpath leading away to the east towards Cudden point and o the west to Marazion and St Michael’s Mount. We enjoyed walking to Trenow Cove in the autumn along the coastal footpath to the west and out to Stackhouse Cove to the east in the spring …to be cont come back soon!
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More reading from Local websites based in Perranuthnoe
For latest news of Perranuthnoe visit Perranuthnoe’s official website http://www.perranuthnoe.com/
For photos of village life and news, Sue and Jim’s Around Perranuthnoe Blogspot http://aroundperranuthnoe.blogspot.co.uk/
For Google Map entry Perranuthnoe travel guide
Stay in Perranuthnoe
Bed and Breakfast at Ednovean Farm for luxury five star B&B with lovely gardens and sea views overlooking the peaceful village of Perranuthnoe