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A seven-mile stretch of coastline rich in history and views

Words and photographs by Rebecca Bentley

The seven-mile stretch of coastline from Mousehole to St Michael’s Mount is as rich in scenery as it is in history and local legends, but it’s a far cry from the usual coastal path walk. Taking in the country’s busiest port at Newlyn Harbour, the Penzance Promenade and Jubilee Pool along the way, walkers can enjoy the ease of paved, level streets instead of undulating and precarious pathways, making this a pram-friendly choice for families that’s map-free territory too.

The walk kicks off from the popular fishing village of Mousehole, which has been made famous for its stargazy pies eaten at the annual celebration of Bawcock’s Eve on December 23. The traditional recipe is a guarded secret at the Ship Inn to this day and it’s little wonder that the sight of pilchard’s heads peering from the crusts has made it a dish to remember. Legend has it that the dish was first made when local boy, Tom Bawcock braved tempestuous seas to rid the village of famine and brought in a huge bounty of fish.

The popular tale is the inspiration behind Antonia Barber’s children’s tale The Mousehole Cat that has been adapted for the stage by the Duchy Ballet. The village’s picturesque harbour dappled in multi-coloured buoys and surf boards is also home to the biennial Sea Salts and Sail festival that will take place again in July 2016. It’s worth exploring Mousehole’s winding backstreets, quirky little shops and restaurants before heading off down Cliff Road in the direction of Newlyn.

The route runs alongside the busy port where you’ll see an array of fishing vessels forming one of the largest fleets of its kind in the country. Beam trawlers, long liners and crabbers haul in a plethora of seafood that’s celebrated at the annual Newlyn Fish Festival in late August. The town is teeming with character and weathered charm, and is also home to Newlyn Art Gallery that you can easily make a detour to on the way.

The road out of Newlyn joins up with Penzance Promenade, built in the 19th-century. It takes you up to the Art Deco lido otherwise known as Jubilee Pool. It was first opened in May 1935, the year of King George V’s Silver Jubilee and is currently undergoing large refurbishment after being battered in the storms that raged the coast in February last year, but is set to reopen for the summer of 2016. The road curves round from here towards Penzance Harbour that lies parallel to the town centre. From here you can catch pleasure boats such as the Marine Discovery to explore the coast and its sea life, and the Scillonian III passenger ferry sails to the Isles of Scilly. From here, take the South West Coast Path that leads all the way to Marazion and looks out onto Mount’s Bay with St Michael’s Mount ahead in the distance.

The coastal town is home to the Marazion Marsh reserve run by the RSPB where more than 250 species of birds, 500 insects and 500 plant varieties thrive in Cornwall’s largest reedbed. Just a little further down the coastal path you’ll come to the famous causeway that leads to St Michael’s Mount. At low tide you can walk across it, so it’s worth checking the tide times, but during the spring, summer and autumn, small boats ferry visitors to and from the island at high tide.