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(Cornish: Heyl, meaning "estuary")

Hayle is one of Cornwall’s more recent settlements, it’s sheltered harbour offering the opportunity to grow a major here on the north coast in the 18th century. Much further back in time, Hayle formed the start of a route to St Michaels Mount dating back thousands of years to a time when Phoenicians traded for tin over 2000 years ago.

The 15th century Phillack Church is worth a look as you arrive, a small stone over the south porch is inscribed with a symbol of early Christianity and is believed to date to the 6th century. Perhaps more in order if you have travelled over the dunes the old pub next door is worth a visit, if only for its name The Bucket of Blood. The name dates back several hundred years to one fateful day when the landlord went outside to draw water from the well. Pulling up the pail, he found the water to be bright red, as a corpse has been thrown down the shaft.

The estuary itself, the most south westerly estuary in the UK, is an important bird watching site, with thousands of migratory birds gathering here en-route to warmer climes in winter. Much of the RSPB area of wetlands is reached with a short evening stroll from the town and there are bird-watching hides to spot a rare visitor.

For the tired walker Hayle has plenty of pubs and eating places that, are easy to find in the narrow streets. If you just want to wind down after dinner, take a stroll along the three miles of sands stretching out of Hayle,  with stunning and reassuring views out over the waters to your destination end at St Ives.

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