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Autumn a season of joys and consolations

Bronze Autumn Bracken frames a view across the sea to St Michael's Mount

St Michael’s Mount from the coastal footpath around Mounts bay

Autumn days brings those glorious days of bright sunshine and cool clear air, days of racing waves trailing plumes of vapour and the thoughts of cosy warm suppers tucked beside the ancient inglenook of a pub high on the moors.

The country lanes are filled with tawny leaves drifting underfoot, the high warm banks dressed in russet bracken now with rich red berries spangling the hedgerows occasionally I meet the occasional walkers clasping an Ordnance Survey map in lanes softly enveloped by autumn at its best.

The changing pace of life of the autumn has finally given us a chance to purge the debris generated by “The Beast from the East with bonfires sending lazy plumes of smoke up into the air.

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Away down to Lamorna

Harbour wall and shletering landscape - lamorna cove

The harbour at Lamorna – notice the winter storm damage that sent granite blocks tumbling to the sands

“Away down to Lamorna” is chorus of a famous Cornish song and I had forgotten just how beautiful Lamorna Valley was, until we drove down through the valley to the harbour again this week.

The tinge of autumn was yet to touch the luscious green of the all enveloping trees in this sheltered valley and summer lingered on for a perfect late autumn day.

We had planned a lunch at the Lamorna Wink before a visit to Chygurno Gardens on one of its last open days before the winter. As the season slips from summer to autumn we’ve already revisited several gardens this year – gardens that we first visited when planning our own gardens and we previously visited the terraced Gardens of Chygurno back in about 2000 just as the first Tree Ferns were planted.

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Is it autumn yet?

Autumn russet bracken framing ST Michael's Mount in a blue sea

St Michael’s Mount from the coastal footpath near Perranuthnoe

Should we say it is autumn yet I wonder? Well this week summer blew Cornwall a parting kiss and delivered blues skies, warm seas and gorgeous sunshine to the days, as we drift between the meteorological* autumn and the autumn equinox* in the hinterland known as late summer.

These balmy late summer days are just perfect to walk along the tranquil coastal footpaths and soak up the sun on the empty beaches, so join me in this week’s blog to explore a secluded cove in the shadow of St Michael’s Mount and watch dusk fall over a fish supper in Marazion, as summer blows a parting kiss.

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Bonython Estate Gardens

Trees reflected in a lake - bonython gardens

The magnificent Gunnera lake is everything you would expect a lake to be, cool and elegantly stylish

Bonython Gardens with its 18th century walled gardens, tranquil lakes and dramatic sweeps of parkland is almost a hidden gem amongst the Great Gardens of Cornwall.

With its laid back approach, Bonython is definitely a must for garden visitors seeking to step off the “Tourist Trail” and move into another world of old fashioned hospitality in a deeply personal garden.

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Cooling Sea breezes in the heat wave

Waves breaking on sandy beach - perranuthnoe in the heatwave

Perranuthnoe’s sandy beach flanked by smaller coves

The sea has never seemed bluer than this month as the heat wave changed our lives to a Mediterranean rhythm, as day after day of endless sunshine spread before us.  We abandoned work in the afternoons to settle at the seas edge below the red baked clay cliffs of one the little coves that flank the sand of around Perranuthnoe Beach. The tranquil rhythm of the waves slipping idly on to the beach and slight breeze from the sea has been blissful this month in Cornwall with the delicious promise of a swim in the evenings in the mirror calm waters.

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Ages of Art – Ancient Frescos of Breage and Newlyn School Paintings of St Hilary

Detail St Christopher - Breage church frescoWe took a look at some of the ages of art yesterday in our local churches, visiting the 15th century Frescoes in Breage church and the Penzance and Newlyn school paintings in St Hilary – well worth a detour if you are looking for a different interest on you holiday in Cornwall.

We’ve been meaning to visit the frescos in Breage Church  and a recent visit to Godolphin House to see the Bluebells proved the perfect catalyst as we “passed” Breage on the way home.

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Godolphin from Bluebell woods to hill

Drifts of BluebellsI’ve watched the bluebells spring up around the country lanes of Cornwall this week and I spotted the first House Martin, back from its long migration to Africa. These twin augers were enough for me to feel spring was at its peek and summer fast approaching and I knew it was time to visit the fabulous swathes of bluebells in the National Trust’s Godolphin estates ancient woodlands and maybe climb to the summit of Godolphin hill to see the landscape of West Penwith stretched panoramically below me.

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Explore Penzance – Stanary town and harbour

Penzance street scene - explore PenzanceMention Penzance and “The Pirates of Penzance” comes to mind and for sure the Barbary Pirates were still snatching the good citizens of Penzance well into the seventeenth Century, yet explore the solid town of Penzance today and you will find a solid matron of a town, rising above the harbour. Penzance is more of solid, middle of the road, type of dowager, compared to the fashionable thirty something of St Ives but explore and you will find a rewarding companion in the sleepy granite streets, still echoing with memories a whisper of the Medieval town, the seafaring pirates and smugglers and the solid dignity of a former stannary town shaped by the Cornish Tin Industry.
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Three winter walks with wonderful memories

romantic heart shaped sandbank below Logan Rock winter walksToday I’d like to share three of our favourite walks with you – just snaps and impressions but wonderful memories that I’ve treasured over the years.

When a fabulously bright and sunny day dawns in wintertime, the Cornish have a special name for it: – “A day lent from summer” and those balmy sun filled days are perfect for walking in Cornwall and of course making wonderful memories along the way.

Over the years we’ve walked the coastal footpath around the peninsular from Perranuthnoe to Land’ End and then around to St Ives in easy stages and they were a powerful tool in making the winter seem shorter and now, looking back through our albums storing memories to treasure for a lifetime.

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Porthminster beach in winter

figure on the tide line - looking down on Porthminster Beach in winterThe perfect arc of golden sands of Porthminster beach marks the true gateway to St Ives just below the railway station and a short stroll from the bustling harbour.

As a popular beach, the soft sands of Porthminster have a charming back drop of manicured sub tropical gardens that in turn give way to the wooded slopes that artfully concealing the little railway that ferries visitors along the edge of the bay from Lelant Saltings to St Ives.

Porthminster beach is a smaller, more intimate beach than the Carbis Bay Beach that we visited just before Christmas but with same stunning views across St Ives Bay to the famous Godrevy lighthouse immortalised in  Virginia Wolfe’s book “To the Lighthouse”

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