I know I am not blogging much. It is a flurry of activity here at the moment with much jewellery making. We have been out a few times as well...
Black Cliffs - This is part of the long beach of Gwithian Bay. Black Cliffs is the part close to the estuary mouth which faces out to sea. It was a beautiful day and with most people at work and few tourists around, the few people about were separated by huge areas of sand. The sky was blue and so was the sea. A gentle frothy white surf and a warm breeze.... I really do mean huge expanses of sand as well. It was around about low tide and the sand went on forever. The beach is so long that at low tide there are acres and acres of sand. You could clearly see the sand bars around the mouth.
We walked out to the sea and along then back into the cliffs and back. The sea was beautiful, the sand unmarked. The cliffs were interesting with water seeping through and interesting rock structures on view. There were faults and folding a plenty, along with an arch, pools lying beneath the cliff in the sand and raised beach platforms (the old rock cut base of beaches from times when sea level was higher.)
Restormel Castle - We took a little trip to this castle. Cornwall doesn't have the grand huge castles you find elsewhere up country. Instead we have little castles that were all about defence and not much about grandeur. Hill forts are one of the most common archaelogical remnant down here. People needed to see what was coming, from the sea and the land.
The castle is a ruin on top of a hill. It is circular with a circular courtyard in the middle. There were two bits that stuck out of the circle - the chapel and the gatehouse. The green moat is still there and you can still walk the battlements. All the floors have gone in the higher rooms but you can see where they were. The castle has a well in the middle but unfortunately they decided to widen the access to it and used it as a latrine as well.
The views were good from the battlements and it was very pretty.
St Erth Pits - Most of the nature reserves I have visited in Cornwall have been stunning. This one wasn't. It was a small overgrown wood with some evidence of nefarious goings on, probably at night and not during the day as there was no one around at all, despite the many child sized tracks going off into difficult to reach places. It felt as if the brambles, honeysuckle and ivy were strangling the life out of much of it. We were not overly enamoured.... The landscape was pocked and it had obviously been well worked at a past time but you couldn't see much of it or get to it. You could see the remains of a tramway in one place.
Reading about it now I guess it makes a little more sense. The pits were used for quarrying sand and clay used for mouldings. It was used by Harvey's Foundry in nearby Hayle and taken by rail all over the country. Apparently these beds are the most diverse yet described in the world with over 350 different ostracod fossils recorded as well as a huge array of other animals and plants. Why would they want this geological wonder open to plundering?
It was worked until 1950 so the woods are young and still establishing themselves in places. The brambles and honeysuckle will eventually be smothered by trees, except where one has fallen and light comes in.
I guess this one nature reserve they don't want to become too well known. To be honest you get that feeling about a lot of the nature reserves in Cornwall. They are places protected and not highly advertised. Known to locals and people who are interested enough to search online or look at maps, they are safe. Kennal Vale with is treacherous paths would cause the Trust to be sued if it became famous and the wrong person was hurt. St Erth Pits would be at risk to plundering by collectors if they opened it up. All these treasures are there if you want to go find them, but they are not going to shout out loud for your visit.... Not like the dramatic coast or the tourist attractions of the county.
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