For the purposes of simplicity I’m categorising North Cornwall as the whole of the North Cornish coastline between Godrevy in the south to the Devon border in the north.
This coastline’s character is determined by its exposure to the full force of the prevailing south-westerly winds that travel over three thousand miles across the Atlantic. You therefore don’t have to be a geologist, meteorologist, or any other sort of ologist to realise why this part of Cornwall is a lot more rugged than the more sheltered southern coastline.
The waves that travel across the ocean end up on some great beaches, which is why North Cornwall is one of the most popular surfing destinations in the UK.
The undisputed capital of Cornish surfing is Newquay, which attracts those who enjoy the beach by day and the bars by night.
Needless to say, that this isn’t everyone’s idea of a good time, but there’s more to do here than just surfing. Anyone who likes to walk the coast path is in for a real treat. There are some outstanding views along the way with dramatic cliffs and picturesque harbours, and if you like legendary folklore, this area has it in spades.
If Newquay is the commercialised capital of surfing, then its equivalent for legendary folklore has to be Tintagel. The place where King Arthur was supposed to have been conceived, thanks to some wizardry by Merlin, Tintagel is a magnet for those trying to find out whether he was real or not, but there’s no doubt that the castle on top of the headland is real, and really shouldn’t be missed.
Just as there are quieter places to surf than Newquay, then there are also quieter places to explore mystic Cornwall, and near Tintagel is St. Nectan’s Glen. It’s one of those places that may not be easy to find, but not hard to forget either.
If you like all this unravelling of fact from fiction, then why not pay a visit to Port Isaac. The place is real enough, but it’s probably better known as Port Wenn, the fictional name for the village of the belligerent Doc Martin.
North Cornwall can attract plenty of people during the summer, and understandably so, but come here out of season when there are fewer people around and the weather is rough, then I think it has an even more magical feel – not that I believe Merlin‘s got anything to do with it of course – mind you, I’m still not sure about those fairies in St Nectan’s Glen.