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Abtot Logo. Encounter Walking Holidays member number 5357


Reaching Zennor at the end of your walk you will find a wild, remote, but fascinating settlement with a history going back over 4000 years. The name comes from Saint Senara, a Breton Saint whose original chapel was said to be on the land now occupied by the church.  


Its most famous resident, DH Lawrence, talked of the village "nestling under high shaggy moor hills and a big sweep of lovely seas lovelier even than the Mediterranean." His summary being "It is the best place I have been in – I think". He wrote ‘Women in Love’ here, named a short story after the village pub the Tinners Arms, but we suspect was not quite so fond of the village after being ordered to leave during the First World War. Local police grew suspicious of Frieda his German wife and local tales and gossip alleging Frieda was signalling to passing U Boats from their cottage was the finish of the couple in Zennor.


The 12th century Church of St Senara at Zennor is also worth visiting – it can be a sobering spot, with its memorials to John Davey claimed on this coast to be the last Cornish Speaker, to those lost at sea and those lost in the mines. Wander round the graveyard to get an idea of how many unlucky sailors ended up under the ground here far away from their homes.


However, it is the carved bench of a mermaid with her comb and glass that is the most famous item in the church. Representing The Legend of the Zennor Mermaid, a true siren of the sea. She sat in this spot to listen to Matthew Trewella,  a local lad and chorister singing on the Sabbath. So besotted was she with his singing that she enticed him down to the depths of Pendour Cove nearby, where although he was never seen again, he can still be heard singing in the deep with his love. 


For those wanting an evening walk, you can head up rocky Zennor Hill behind the village for great views of the coastline and to seek the ancient stones at Zennor Quoit.  


If that’s too industrious just outside the village look for Giants Rock the seat of the legendary giant of Carn Galva, the striking peak along the coast from the village. Would-be witches need to climb the rock nine times at midnight to gain their magical powers.


Accommodation is not prolific here and walkers will end up at The Tinners Arms either to sleep or certainly to eat. This is a long tradition for travellers along the coast to Zennor, it was built in 1271 and not much has changed since. In later years it was the meeting place of local smugglers, or Zennor Gentlemen as they were called, who landed their cargo in the cove below Church town where the mermaid was supposed to have lived. 


If it looks familiar to horror fans it could be that it was the location for Dr Bloods Coffin, a 1960’s film which saw mad scientist Kieron Moore dissecting unfortunate locals in a nearby tin mine! There is no TV or Fruit Machine here and no signal for your mobile phone but there is a warm fire in the colder months and a terrace overlooking the Atlantic for those warm summer nights.... either way it’s a great place to end the day in.

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