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Abtot Logo. Encounter Walking Holidays member number 5357

Lizard Town

The next place to stay in this sparsely populated and wild landscape is at the very end of the UK mainland. 


At the southernmost tip lies Lizard Town, about a half a mile inland from the Southwest Coast Path and the famous rocks which give the area its reputation for being one of the most treacherous shipping lanes in the world. Lizard Town is in fact a village and a pretty small one at that, blown and buffeted by the winds and ocean currents as they batter the beautiful serpentine rock with its rich red and green veins. 


Apart from the workshops where stonemasons fashion hunks of this rock into decorative artefacts, you feel that commercialism has not yet reached this outpost. The beauty of the natural world is allowed full rein, with seal spotting and bird watching being the main methods of relaxation.


A couple of cafes on the Lizard Point itself are well worth visiting, one making superlative crab sandwiches and the other selling highly calorific homemade doughnuts with jam and clotted cream.   The pasty shop here is reckoned to make the definitive Cornish pasty and has won accolades and awards throughout the nation and, apparently beyond. 


Visitors have made the pilgrimage from all over the world to taste the national symbol of Cornwall, which, according to local superstition, “keep the devil out”. Unlike miners, the only indigenous workforce who will not take pasties with them are fishermen because it is unlucky to take a pasty on board a boat. The local custom of makers putting their initials on in pastry was born so that the fishermen could reclaim their own when they landed.

Take advantage of this untamed land with an early evening stroll to see the sunset over the ocean and maybe visit St Winwallow Church just outside the village on the way to Church Cove. The present building is 12th century and, not surprisingly, the last of the regular church services in the Cornish language were delivered here. The pulpit is an example of polished serpentine, incorporating memorial tablets to commanders of the Lloyds Signal Station. 


An area of the graveyard is set aside for the grave of victims of the plague in 1645, and 19th century graves include those of lighthouse keepers and lifeboat coxswains, reminding us yet again that the sea here has claimed many lives one way or another.


Visiting The Top House pub is a good way to spend an evening in Lizard, eating and drinking in the windswept land of shipwrecks and dramatic rescues. Once more offering accommodation after a major refurbishment, the inn has been a hostelry for those stranded out here for over 200 years.



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