08 South Coast Western
This AONB Section stretches from Lizard to Marazion, encompassing the Helford River. Granite outcrops like St. Michael’s Mount form a distinctive silhouette visible across all of Mounts Bay, whilst popular sandy beaches face south. The shingle Loe Bar separates the sea from Cornwall’s largest fresh water lake. Historic engine houses cling to the cliff slopes at Trewavas and Rinsey, and woodlands occur along valleys
BEACHES, BAYS AND COVES
The west coast of the Peninsula is home to the surfing beaches of Praa Sands, Porthleven and Perran Sands at Perranuthnoe. The west coast is also indented with small sandy coves like Piskies Cove, Mullion Cove, Poldhu Cove and Kynance Cove. Rounding Lizard Point, the east side of the Peninsula is dominated by rocky cliffs and heads, interspersed by small beaches such as Kennack Sands and Coverack Beach. To the east of the Helford River is Maenporth, usually accessed from Falmouth.
BOATS AND FERRIES
COAST AND COUNTRYSIDE
At the northern end of the area is the well known landmark of St. Michaels Mount. Further South the Loe Pool and Gunwalloe area forms part of the National Trust’s Penrose Estate. The Lizard Peninsula offers a spectacular coastline of Serpentine cliffs and rocky coves whilst the remote countryside is predominantly agricultural pasture with heathland and rough grassland, of which large areas remain unenclosed.This contrasts well with more cultivated landscapes to the north west of the Peninsula that drop away to the steeply wooded valley sides of the River Helford.
COMMUNITY AND TOURIST INFORMATION
EVENTS, FESTIVALS AND ATTRACTIONS
The National Trust run a series of events in the area, as does the Helford Marine Conservation Association. The Mullion community website has a village ‘notice board’ of local events and activities. At the western end of the Helford River there are excellent views of the river from the National Seal Sanctuary at Gweek. The Lizard Wireless Station at Lizard Point, The Marconi Centre at Poldhu and the Goonhilly Satellite Earth Station all show the long association of this area with the development of modern communications.
HISTORIC SITES AND BUILDINGS
The whole of the Lizard Peninsula is littered with historic sites such as bronze age barrows, hut circles, earthworks and ancient settlements. Trelowarren, south of Mawgan is one of Cornwall’s most historic estates. The historic landmark twin towers of the Lizard lighthouse (where there is a lighthouse visitor's centre) mark the southern most point in Britain.
Much of the Lizard Peninsula is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest and National Nature Reserve. The Helford and Falmouth Estuaries are designated Special Area of Conservation, and also a Voluntary Marine Conservation Area. Visit the Cornwall Wildlife Trust reserves of North Predannack Downs and Windmill Farm. Click here for information on where to spot the Chough, the rare iconic bird of Cornwall.
PARKS AND GARDENS
The south side of the Heford River contains two of Cornwall’s most famous gardens. Glendurgan is owned and managed by the National Trust, whilst next door Trebah is run by an independent trust. A regular garden ferry service operates during the spring and summer - tides and weather permitting. Penjerrick Gardens, just north of Maenporth, is a jungle botanist’s delight.
RIVERS, PORTS AND HARBOURS
Mullion and Porthleven harbours receive the full force of the Atlantic swells. Guarding the mouth of the River Helford are the two small river ports of Helford and Helford Passage with the lovely Ferryboat Inn. Along the north side of the Helford River there are several small creeks like Anna Maria Creek at Port Navas.
TOWNS AND VILLAGES
Half a mile from St Michael’s Mount is the village of Marazion. Mullion is the main economic centre serving the Peninsula. From here it is a couple of miles to The Lizard. The villages of Cadgwith, Coverack and Ruan Minor punctuate the eastern coastline and the last large village in this part of the Cornwall AONB is Mawnan Smith.
WALKS AND CYCLEPATHS
Click here for fantastic walks in this area from iWalk Cornwall.
The South West Coast Path National Trail skirts right around the Lizard Peninsula offering lots of circular walks into the countryside.