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Trerice in November

November 2, 2015 No Comments

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This weekend Debbie ventured over to Trerice near Newquay in the November sunshine (where did October go?).

Run by the National Trust from now it is only open at the weekends throughout the winter.

Read more on the website here.

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Winter Surfing

October 30, 2015 No Comments

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Cornwall is the unofficial home of UK surfing. Since Australian lifeguards brought their boards to Fistral, in the sixties, the county has become synonymous with waves, campervans, and beach culture.

And little wonder. All but surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with hot summers and an abundance of beautiful surf spots – offering everything from peeling point breaks to barrel-throwing slabs – Cornwall is perfectly suited to the sport. Consequently, the industry has carved out quite a niche here; equipment and hire shops, surf schools, shapers, and international competitions thrive during the summer months welcoming the hordes of up-country surfers, eager to dive into the beautiful Cornish waters.

The thing is, summer surf in the UK is actually pretty poor. Long flat spells are interspersed, intermittently, by lacklustre lines and only the very occasional good, strong swell. Unsurprising then that most committed surfers look forward to autumn and winter.

While the water gets significantly colder and the weather can be decidedly bleak, the intrepid off-season surfer is rewarded with more consistent waves and more sparsely populated line-ups. In the darker months, it’s not uncommon to have lesser known surf spots all to yourself. Of course, it’s true what they say about safety in numbers – it’s not advisable to surf quiet spots if you are unfamiliar with the rocks, tides, and currents. That stuff is tres dangereux to beginners.

It’s also important to bear in mind that the gear which served you well through tepid summer months will likely be inadequate for the colder part of the year – unless, of course, you were over-prepared for summer. Crucially, you will need a winter suit, with 4-5mm of neoprene on the torso. And, when winter proper hits, and the air temperature is lower than that of the sea, you’ll also be grateful for gloves, boots, and a hood.

Amateur surfers may also be forgiven for overlooking wax grade. The optimum board wax will remain tacky in the water and, since the water temperature changes significantly, so too must your chosen wax. UK winters require ‘cold water’ wax which is unsuitable for summer use due to its low melting point. Likewise ‘cool water’ summer wax might be hard to apply and not tacky enough in winter.

There may be a certain degree of testing your mettle against the conditions, but it’s worth it. Your nose may run, but in the snugness of your winter wetsuit, it doesn’t matter. It’s all about the waves and the space and variety you get from October onwards. It’s one of our favourite reasons to be in Cornwall all year round.

Cornish Days Out: Newquay Zoo

August 26, 2015 No Comments

Newquay Zoo

If your family get excited by feathers, fur and flippers then you couldn’t find a better day out than Newquay Zoo. Cornwall’s largest Zoo houses 130 different species of animal and whilst not exactly the size and scale of Bristol or London Zoo, or even Paignton for that matter, Newquay Zoo is a great animal lovers day out on its own, or as part of a larger day out to Newquay. The zoo has a boutique feel to it and a welcoming atmosphere. All the cute animals are in easy view, whilst the more slimy reptilian creatures are behind closed doors.

One of the best things about Newquay Zoo is the way the keepers interact with the animals and us, the public. Throughout the day, there are opportunities to get up close with the animals, watch feedings and ask questions. They are a friendly bunch and the day’s activities are well advertised on your way into the zoo. The meerkats are particularly adorable during feeding time.

One of the highlights of the day is the animal encounter and Pickle the penguin. Pickle was hand reared by zoo keepers after his parents were forced to abandon their eggs when their nest was flooded. Penguins mate for life, but Pickle seems to feel more at home with humans than with his fellow penguins.  As such, he follows the keepers round, gets up close for photographs and, on occasion, will even let you have a little stroke. Apparently he has a crush on one of the head keepers too.

Being smaller than your average zoo is no bad thing. You can really see animals up close and the lions, when they’re not dozing on platforms, are awe inspiring to watch playing with giant cat toys – possibly filled with cat nip, or maybe just meat?

As well as the animals there’s an adventure trail for the children to follow, face painting and other educational activities.

The zoo are also offering special experiences that would be perfect for your junior zoologists with a birthday coming up. For £70 you can become a junior zoo keeper for the day (with a free accompanying adult), or you can have a penguin experience, feed the lions, meerkats or lemurs.

The one area that the park does fall down on slightly is its café. There are plenty of places for snacks, ice creams and drinks, but if you need something more substantial we would recommend taking a picnic and using one of the zoos many open picnic areas instead.

All in all, Newquay Zoo is a fun and informative day out for the family. Make sure you take full advantage of the feedings and chances to get close to the animals.

Visit their website here.

Bedruthan Steps Beach

December 24, 2014 No Comments

Bedruthan Steps

Bedruthan is one of the county’s more dramatic beaches. Having been compared to California’s Big Sur, it is dwarfed by spectacular rocky stacks, which punctuate the beach. It is said that the outcrops were put there by Bedruthan, a giant, and used as stepping-stones. At low tide the beach stretches for over a mile with plenty of nooks and crannies to explore.

The area around Bedruthan and Carnewas is ideal walking territory. Within two short miles of Bedruthan Steps there are two Iron Age hill forts and six Bronze Age burial Barrows. There are stunning cliff-top views past the stacks and at high tide you can watch the waves crash against the rocky outcrops in dramatic fashion. With this in mind, the National Trust has created ‘The Piazza’, a viewing platform on the cliff edge.

The beach gets its name from the steep steps taking you down to the shore. Carved into the cliff face, the 149 steps can be an interesting challenge; it’s worth it, but not for the faint of heart.

Next to the viewing platform sits a National Trust shop and café for refreshments, as well as parking. The food is excellent and good value; especially the Hunters Lunch. There is a second car park: the Carnanton Estate Car Park. This second car park has picnic tables, which are perfect for a lunchtime picnic, overlooking the spectacular scene below.

The huge scale of the rocks gives the beach an almost mystical feeling. You can explore the large cave next to the foot of the steps, stroll around the stacks or use the beach’s clean, pristine sands to sunbathe on.

It is worth noting though, that there is no swimming from the beach – there are strong currents, which make it a dicey prospect for all swimmers – but there are lots of sandy rock pools for the children to paddle in.

Lying between Newquay and Padstow, Bedruthan Steps is perfect as part of an exploration of the north coast. This part of the Cornish coastline is particularly beautiful with numerous small coves culminating in the spectacular steps themselves. Not as crowded as Newquay’s own beaches, it is the perfect place to experience the ‘rugged Cornish coastline’ in all its glory.

Polo on the Beach at Watergate Bay

July 7, 2014 No Comments

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This weekend was the annual ‘Polo on the Beach’ at Watergate Bay on the north coast of Cornwall.

A free event with activities for all ages, from ‘welly wanging’ with Joules, to Land Rover Experience. A brilliant location to see the horses and there was even a flash mob in the middle!

Read more about the event here.

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Chasing the sun….

April 28, 2014 No Comments

 

Newquay Harbour, Cornwall

The thing I love about Cornwall is that if you wake up and the weather is a bit grey, you can head out to the opposite coast and the weather can be completely different.   On Sunday we headed for Newquay to visit a wet weather attraction but on arrival the weather was so glorious we walked and sat in the sun instead.  Newquay harbour was looking absolutely beautiful in the Spring sunshine.