Explore Gunwalloe, Dollar and Poldhu Coves

Gunwalloe and Dollar coves from the cliff topWe’ve made the most of the balmy autumn days to explore some of the pretty coves and villages and made a visit to The Lizard on a beautiful autumn day to seek out the intriguingly named Gunwalloe Cove and Dollar Cove that are  separated by the romantically named “The church of Storms” before travelling on to the popular beach of Poldhu just around the point.

This AONB (the area of outstanding natural beauty) that has the same protection as a national park and flanks the Helford River and it encompasses The Lizard Peninsular as well as the coastline all the way through Perranuthnoe to St Michael’s Mount near Penzance.

I had another reason to visit too because the ley lines cross at Gunwalloe as they do at St Michael’s Mount and so it has a very special place in local heritage.

Stop the car!

Extensive view towards Loe bar and Porthleven from GunwalloeAs we approached Gunwalloe I was captivated by the view back over Porthleven and Loe bar on a glorious autumn day.

The deceptively beautiful view belays the fact that Loe bar has been notorious over the centuries for ship wrecks and one of the oldest to flounder in Cornwall  pre dates the famous Tudor Mary Rose (Flagship of Henry VIII) was found just off of Gunwalloe fishing cove where we were heading for that day

There is ample National Trust car parking at Gunwalloe (and loos) supervised by the dog from the local farm, just above the cove and so with the meter fed we set off on foot to explore.

Gunwalloe Church Cove and Dollar coves

An expansive nearly empty sandy cove at GunwalloeAs we set off along the lane we were torn between exploring the Church of Storms or Dollar Cove en route. (Dollar cove so called because Spanish bullion was said to have been washed up there) but rumbling tummies and the warm sunshine won and we walked on to Gunwalloe beach where the carefully tended Mullion golf course dips down almost to the dunes. The hillside above us was alive with earnest golfers about their business on immaculate turf but a quick skip over the stream brought us on the sand.

As we wandered along the tide line we passed a young family of intrepid sea bathers (brrr!) and two delighted Golden retrievers enjoying the surf before settling upon a perfect spot to picnic and snooze the afternoon. We only stirred again as the clouds rolled in and packed our towels to wander back to explore the Church of Storms or St Winwaloe to give it its proper name.

You may think that Gunwalloe Cove is vaguely familiar? Well it was used as a location for the wreck of the Queen Charlotte – how evocative was that with the long history of shipwrecks in the treacherous waters of cornish storms.

The church of Storms

This is one of the oldest churches in the area, originally founded by the Breton missionary Winwaloe, with tranquil white washed interior and warm burnished wooden pews. The light streamed in through the seaward facing windows as we tiptoed around intrigued by the serene interior. Look out for the sections of rood screen just inside the doors made from wood salvaged from the wreck of the St Anthony of Brisbane which sank en route to Flanders on the 15th of January 1526. The wreck, which predates the Mary Rose, has been located by marine archaeologist in Gunwalloe Fishing Cove

Dollar Cove or Jangye Ryn

cornish cove below blue skiesDollar Cove was so named when in 1669 the Spanish ship San Salvador was lost nearby. She was said to be carrying two tonnes of silver and to this day coins are rumoured to be still be washed up after fierce storms.

This cove is much stonier than the previous sandy beach but charming and sheltered none the less. Alas there were no coins to be found there that day and so after a few moments we walked on over the cliff to enjoy the views back over the cove and the fine undulation in the cliffs strata before finally turning for home

Poldhu Cove

sleeper sculpturesPoldhu Cove is a short (ish) and beautiful walk around the headland or a lengthy drive back to the cross roads and around via Mullion to visit with extensive car parking just across road from the beach. Cross the road on the bend with care and then saunter through the sand dunes to this very popular beach with a buzzy little surfing café artfully concealed amongst the Marram grasses.

The afternoon was drawing to a close as we arrived with a mackerel sky overhead but he sun still sparkled on the water and a promise of summer still hung in the air.

Poldhu is famous for the first wireless  signal that was sent from there by Marconi in 1901. If you are interested why not visit the Marconi centre to see the site of the first transatlantic signal

A winter snap of Poldhu Cove

Winter in Cornwall brings racing tides tumbling towards the once tranquil sandy beaches of summer – challenging in the wind but so worth the effort to see the full beauty of the Cornish coastline. This was Poldhu Cove yesterday with a stern wind and tumbling waves – oh so different from the balmy autumn day when we last explored this wild and rugged part of the Lizard Peninsular.

Have you heard of ley lines or energy Leys?

Well I must admit I hadn’t either until an American guest came to stay with us because we were near to a Ley line and so I had another reason to visit because the ley lines cross at Gunwalloe as they do at St Michael’s Mount and so it has a very special place in local heritage.

Ley lines are earth energy lines and tend to pass through places of cultural significance that have been passed down from early man. Speaking from memory they usually follow the main aisle of churches but at St Michael’s Mount one passes through the “Blue drawing room” but that had y been The Lady chapel in earlier times.

The lines know as St Michael and St Mary’s lines cross the Apollo and Athena are found at St Michael’s Mount and at Gunwalloe the Apollo and Athena earth energy lines can be found.

I did invest in a book and map once about Ley lines written by a local dowser Hamish Miller but sadly it was lent to a guest in 2003 and we have yet to have them returned. I can still remember Hamish personally delivering the signed copy that I had ordered for Charles’s birthday though. The book is still in print though available from The Penwith Press http://www.penwithpress.co.uk/earth-energy-leylines Maybe I’ll buy another copy!


Our autumn spent exploring the unspoilt beaches of Cornwall

stunning blue seas in autumn Gunwalloe Poldhu and Dollar Coves have made a great finish to our autumn exploring the sandy beaches of Cornwall. One of my personal favourites has to be Portheras and Boat Cove for sheer unadulterated beauty. Kennegy for is contrasting appeal and local history beside Prussia Cove and our walk along the spectacular Godrevy and Gwinear beach will stay in my memory for a long time. Porth Chapel for a blissful sunday afternoon and Risney at high tide for moments lent from a busy day. And we even found time to walk down to the local beach in Perranuthnoe!

We’ enjoyed our autumn exploring the unspoilt beach of West Cornwall and The Lizard and there are so many more to see but alas on a farm as the days close in.  The couple of hours we had to spare in the afternoons is swallowed up along with the day light until the nights draw out again. Until then my blogs will continue closer to home.


About Christine Taylor

Christine has written a weekly blog about life at Ednovean Farm and interesting places to visit in West Cornwall for over ten years now, concentrating on those off the beaten track places that only the locals find. Charles and Christine Taylor have hosted Luxury Bed and Breakfast at Ednovean Farm Nr Penzance in West Cornwall since 1991 and live there with three cats and five horses, including a Spanish Stallion called Danni. Ednovean Farm has been awarded AA five star gold for Bed and breakfast and is included in The Michelin Guide and The Alastair Sawday Guide . The Farmhouse and gardens has been featured in BBC Homes and Antiques, Homes and Gardens. Period Living and 25 Beautiful Homes as well as being used as a film and photo shoot location.

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