Cornwall LivingIssue #86
Al fresco adventures
For those looking to set aside their smartphone and engage their adventurous side, from coast to countryside, Cornwall is one big playground!
It’s that time of year again – the sun is out and Cornwall’s coastline and countryside have come to life with the bloom of spring and the promise of summer. What better time to get outside? This month, in order to help you make the most of this special time of year, we take a quick look at just some of the adventurous offerings available around the Duchy. So grab your diary, take a seat and prepare to start filling out your spring and summer itinerary.
“there’s plenty to be explored in our beloved county”
We’ll start off gently, for those of you looking to ease your way into an active summer lifestyle. It’s been a long winter and as they say, it’s important to stretch! To loosen up those still-stiff muscles, we recommend lacing up your boots and enjoying one of Cornwall’s innumerable walks. Whether your preference is coast or countryside, wetland or woodland, there’s plenty to be explored in our beloved county. Being based in Porthleven, we here at Cornwall Living are well poised to offer some top walking tips and, as we too need to shake off the winter chill, we’ll start with a couple of routes close to home. One of my personal favourites is the two-mile circular route around Godolphin Hill. Starting off in the reception/tea room of Godolphin estate, it isn’t long before you find yourself at the crown the hill, gazing in one direction towards St Michael’s Mount and in the other, to St Ives Bay. It’s like looking down at a map!
Another wonderful route is the ‘Plantations and Parkland’ walk around Penrose estate, between Helston and Porthleven. Commanding a staggering acreage of parkland, much of which enjoys views of Loe Pool – Cornwall’s largest natural freshwater lake and a Site of Special Scientific Interest – this moderate walk of around 1.5 miles is a pleasure for those who like immersing themselves in nature. To find out more about these routes and to discover more of Cornwall’s best summer strolls, visit nationaltrust.org.uk/lists/walking-in-cornwall
Now that you’re feeling limber, it’s time to mount up. Cornwall is a cyclist’s paradise, with countless coastal routes, winding country roads and off-road trails catering to cyclists of all abilities and disciplines. Perhaps you’re staying in north Cornwall with the family? If so, the Camel Trail, leading around the Camel Estuary from Wadebridge should certainly be in your to-do list. You can hire everything you’ll need for the trail from Bridge Bike Hire (bridgebikehire.co.uk). What’s more, the team offers visitors the opportunity to enjoy the trail via the evening rides – a good chance to gain a different perspective of this beautiful hotspot of nature, with dramatic sunsets serving as a backdrop.
Perhaps you’ve opted to stay well away from the crowds, but still want to make the most of Cornwall on two wheels? If so, the team at Go ByCycle (cornwallbikehire.co.uk) can deliver hire bikes to you, wherever you are in the Duchy. They can even deliver to you directly on arrival, so you can be mounted and away, as soon as you’re off the train! This year, the Go ByCycle has invested heavily in some serious electric bikes. These are more than capable of making even the steepest Cornish hill a relaxing ride, perfect for anyone looking to explore the county at their own pace. There’s also a range of road, touring and family bikes, and the team have lots of suggestions if you’re looking for routes to suit your ability.
Now that you’ve dusted off the cobwebs and allowed the weather to warm just that little bit more, you’re probably feeling like cooling off. How better to do so than a day spent on (or in) the water? There are a whole host of activities for kids and adults alike to get stuck into, with businesses dotted around the coastline to help you make the most of them. Lizard Adventure (lizardadventure.co.uk), for instance, allows you to have a go at stand up paddle boarding (SUP), coasteering, kayaking and climbing, also running survival skill sessions and offering equipment hire. They recently opened a new site in Hayle too, where you can have a guided trip or lesson on kayaks and stand up paddle boards, or hire one and head out on your own path. These include the ‘Mega-Sup’, which fits up to eight adults and is great for parties!
Just down the coast in Porthleven you’ll find Vertical Blue Adventures (verticalblue.co.uk), offering SUP lessons and hire, guided kayak tours and exciting multi-day adventures, tailored to you. These can include kayaking, wild swimming, shelter building, fires and foraging, as well as moonlit paddle boarding and exploring the coastline on foot.
Heading down the coast, sitting opposite St Michael’s Mount at Marazion, you’ll find The Hoxton Special (thehoxtonspecial.com). With amazing views of the mount, this exciting venue is perfect for water sports and coffee lovers alike. Putting to use the abandoned lifeguarding hut, just along from the station house car park, visitors here can make the most of SUP rental, kitesurfing lessons and yoga classes, all with the best coffee on the beach waiting when you finish.
On choppier days when the ocean doesn’t quite have the same appeal, you’ll be pleased to know that you can still make a splash. There are a number of freshwater venues around Cornwall, with an array of activities to help you and yours make holiday memories. Kernow Adventure Park (kernowadventurepark.com), for instance, is a reclaimed, flooded quarry offering activities that include assault courses, open water swimming, even wakeboarding! Find out more on page 20.
Similarly, Retallack Resort (ariaresorts.co.uk/retallack-resort) near St Columb Major boasts aquatic fun in spades. Imagine a huge, ‘Total Wipeout’ style aqua park, water zorbs and SUP, not to mention the Flowrider – delivering perfect, easy-to-ride waves, whatever the weather. All of this, plus luxurious, self-catering accommodation and a spa – if you’ve been looking for the perfect, all-in-one adventure holiday, Retallack Resort could well be the one.
Another superb company that takes shelter from the breakers of the coast is Camel Ski School, operating on the beautiful Camel Estuary. As the name suggests, Camel Ski School (camelskischool.com), which is headed up by Charlie Toogood, gives kids and adults alike the chance to try their hand at waterskiing. But that’s certainly not all. On the calm waters of the estuary, if you’re really feeling like pushing the boat out, why not try wakeboarding or even wakesurfing? Charlie tells us: “Wakesurfing is an addictive and exhilarating combination of surfing and wakeboarding. Basically it’s like surfing an endless wave, and it’s a huge amount of fun!”
Head further still up the north coast, towards Port Isaac and the neighbouring Port Gaverne, and you’ll find Cornish Rock Tors (cornishrocktors.com) and the team’s recently launched venture, Cornish Swim Tors. Between them, these sister ventures offer visitors guided group or private swims and open water training sessions, great for anybody wanting to swim in nature, whatever their goals. They also run coasteering sessions, SUP and sea kayaking, making Cornish Rock Tors one of the best all round on-the-water adventure companies on the north coast, one you should definitely look up!
Finally, it wouldn’t be an adventure holiday in Cornwall if you didn’t at least have a go at surfing, especially seeing as the Duchy is home to some of the best surf breaks in the world. Enlist with St Ives Surf School (stivessurfschool.co.uk) and you’ll quickly catch the bug, learning from some of the country’s best, most innovative and progressive surfers! Right in the heart of St Ives on the stunning, Blue Flag Porthmeor beach, learning to surf with this school is a great way to maximize your trip to this must-visit seaside town, especially when you realise that the team offers SUP, coasteering and kayaking too!
Alternatively, if you’re hoping to base your stay in and around Newquay, why not blend your surfing lessons with a luxurious stay at the Headland Hotel, situated above Fistral beach? Click here to find out more.
If you’re staying further up the coast near Bude, then Outdoor Adventure (outdooradventure.co.uk), as its name suggests, has all your adventure needs covered. This independent outdoor activity centre offers an incredible array of fun and exciting activities, immersing you in some of the region’s most spectacular locations. Do you want to try surfing? No problem. Coasteering, climbing or abseiling? You’ve got it. Outdoor Adventure really does live up to its name, with a whole host of other activities available such as Canadian canoeing, kayaking, coastal traversing, archery, walking and more.
So there you have it. We have but scratched the surface of the Duchy’s outdoor adventure scene but as you can see, if you and yours are looking to make the most of the great outdoors this spring and summer, you’ll be hard-pushed to beat Cornwall as your destination of choice.
Take relaxed cycling to a whole new level with ICE Trikes. Based in Falmouth, this superb company makes recumbent trikes that make exploring Cornwall a truly incredible experience. Fancy winning a ICE Trike Riding Experience for two with a stay at Falmouth’s Greenbank Hotel? Simply head to www.cornwall-living.co.uk/competitions and enter this exciting prize draw!
Cornwall Underground Adventures is the county’s first and only authentic guided mine exploration experience, offering you a thrilling underground experience and a rare insight into an industry that has very much shaped the Cornish landscape.
For those who want to delve beneath the waves and discover Cornwall underwater, Kennack Diving, based on the Lizard, can make that dream come true. Mainland Britain’s most southerly dive centre, Kennack Diving offers a range of PADI courses, with more than 10 years of local diving experience to help make your Cornish adventure truly memorable.
Looking for a little coastal couture to stand up to the test of life by sea? If so, Weird Fish has a stylish range of hard wearing, everyday wear for everybody. Click here to find out more.
"there’s plenty to be explored in our beloved county"