07 West Penwith
West Penwith is a sparsely populated peninsula, ringed by high cliffs and rising to high, rocky moorland at its centre. Also known as the Land’s End Peninsula, it is at the south-west extremity of England, surrounded on three sides by the pounding waters of the Atlantic Ocean. The area includes the fishing settlement of St Ives and a number of small villages. Access to most of the landscape is by narrow ancient lanes bounded by Cornish hedges.
BEACHES, BAYS AND COVES
Along the West Penwith coastline lays a string of beaches and coves.
BOATS AND FERRIES
No information is currently available for this section. Please contact the Cornwall AONB Unit if you are aware of any local information you think may be useful.
There are a number of routes serving this part of Cornwall AONB.
COAST AND COUNTRYSIDE
The ancient landscapes of West Penwith range from granite cliffs and headlands such as Zennor Head and Gurnards Head, medieval farmland, granite moorland hills such as Carn Galver and Zennor Carn, and sheltered woodland valleys, like Lamorna and St. Loy.
COMMUNITY AND TOURIST INFORMATION
EVENTS, FESTIVALS AND ATTRACTIONS
The Lafrowda festival is an annual event held in St Just in Penwith each July, in celebration of community arts. Geevor Mine also holds a series of events and activities. The Minack Theatre near Porthcurno is an impressive amphitheatre, built into the cliffs and holds performances during the summer months. Also at Porthcurno is the Porthcurno Telegraph Museum dedicated to the area's long history with communications.
HISTORIC SITES AND BUILDINGS
This part of the Cornwall AONB contains a more ancient monuments and sites than any other place in Britain. Useful information, news and images can be gained from sites such as The Ancient Sites in West Penwith or Cornish Ancient Sites Protection Network. Chysauster Ancient Village is a great example of a 2000 year old settlement of a kind only found in this area. The St Just Mining District is part of the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage Site. It is possible to visit mines at Geevor, Levant and Botallack.
Cornwall Wildlife Trust has several nature reserves in this Cornwall AONB area - Baker’s Pit, Bosvenning Common, Caer Bran ,Chun Downs and Kemyel Crease. Cornwall Wildlife Trust have also very recently purchase two new reserves at Bostrase and Bartinney, nr Sennen. Areas of Lower Bostrase and Leswidden are designated Special Areas of Conservation and Sites of Special Scientific Interest.
PARKS AND GARDENS
Trengwainton Garden near Madron is a jungle oasis that offers splendid views of Mount’s Bay.
RIVERS, PORTS AND HARBOURS
The AONB continues past Land’s End towards the south coast area of Penwith, finally reaching the harbour village of Mousehole in the South East.
TOWNS AND VILLAGES
West of St. Ives is the village of Zennor, which has changed little in appearance in the last century. Further west, the parish of Pendeen encompasses several hamlets including Bojewyan, Boscaswell, Lower Boscaswell, Trewellard, Carnyorth and Levant. The market town of St. Just is the historic and commercial centre for West Penwith.
WALKS AND CYCLEPATHS
Click here for fantastic walks in this area from iWalk Cornwall.
Some areas of West Penwith have been designated as Open Access under the Countryside & Rights of Way Act (2000). This gives the right to access given areas of land on foot. However please check the maps to be sure of where you can and cannot walk before you set out and remember to follow the Countryside Code and respect the working nature of this upland landscape. Information about Public Rights of Way can be found on the Penwith Access and Rights of Way Forum website. The First and Last Trail dips in out of the south section of this area, finishing at Land’s End and the St Michael’s Way crosses a small section of its western edge.