Despite being a three-person family, I have long hankered after a seven-seater car. At weekends, we often go out for scenic drives (usually with CT in mind), and invariably take the grandparents along. But trying to get a pair of grown-up bottoms in the back next to a child seat is always a task, and the two end up jostling and squabbling like teenagers. When my friend, Sally, offered to pick me up from Bodmin Parkway station for a trip to Lanydrock, with three children of her own in tow, I salivated indecently over her people carrier. So I was thrilled to test-drive the spacious Ford S-Max over the bank holiday.
It seemed only right to do something family orientated and, the day being absolutely fabulous (in a marked change to the summer weather as a whole), we decided to head down to the Lizard, starting with Kynance Cove. It was several years since our last visit, and I won’t be leaving it so long until the next. Having parked in the National Trust car park (free to members), we took our beach bag and struck off down the steep path towards the beach. The view clean took my breath away: blue skies, white sands, azure waters sparkling with the reflection of the sunlight – had it been a picture postcard, you might have thought it was the Med.
Reality bit, however – although sunny, it wasn’t actually terribly warm. Not that this deterred my daughter, who had stripped off before you could say Jack Robinson and was happily frolicking in the many freezing sea pools. Do five-year-olds feel the cold? Apparently not.
There are many reasons to love this part of The Lizard. It is surrounded by heathland which is home to some of the rarest flora and fauna in the UK. If you’re lucky, you might even spot the red legs or hear the call of Cornwall’s native chough.
Look down at your feet, and see the familiar greens and reds of serpentine, which is unique to the Lizard peninsula. Once thought to be the root of a volcano, it’s now known to be part of the Earth’s mantle, bulldozed by an advancing continent, onto the newly evolving Cornish mainland millions of years ago. When Queen Victoria and Prince Albert visited in 1846, they were enchanted by the unusual characteristics of serpentine, and their royal patronage spawned an industry of architectural and decorative stone working that continues in a lesser form to this day – see the shops at nearby Lizard village.
There’s a very popular café here, serving Ann’s pasties and other food between Easter and November (weather dependent in colder months), and has sustainable toilets. The beach is an explorer’s paradise, with lots of nooks and crannies; however, it’s worth checking tide times, especially at spring high water, when the beach is completely covered. We didn’t have long ourselves, and were soon scooping up our belongings and moving further up the sands. There, it was considerably breezier, and our newspaper blew clean away, to much hilarity (on Daughter’s part at least).
We took this as our cue to move on, and headed to Lizard village for an ice cream and a gentle stroll. The most southerly point is about 15 minutes’ walk from here. Then it was time to head back, taking a scenic route across Goonhilly Downs, past the famous Earth Station, and back to Helston.
* Photographs by Viki Wilson