Sunday, 13 September 2009

Treasure Map

I like looking at maps. Sometimes you find out really interesting things about the places around you. Sometimes you find cool places to go.

Today was one of those days when we went to a new and good place because I spent some time looking at the map.

There is a bay called Gwithian Bay which stretches from Godrevy Ligthouse at one end to St Ives Island at the other. The villages of Gwithian and Lelant as well as the towns of Hayle, Carbis Bay and St Ives sit along it's length. In the middle is the mouth of the Hayle Estuary. If you could stand at the mouth you would look along cliffs to Carbis Bay and St Ives and along sand dunes past Hayle to Gwithian and the headland of Godrevy.

Hayle is an unusual town. I admit I didn't think much of it when I first went there. A long road stretches parallel to the dunes along one branch of the river from Copperhouse to Foundry. This road isn't the most exciting but it is the part everyone sees. Copperhouse and Foundry were iron founderies and their social effect on Hayle was huge. People worked for one or the other and they lived at the appropriate end. Huge rivalries developed between the two groups.

The industry had a very marked affect on the geography of the town as well and there is a good map here. The river flows past Copperhouse parallel to the dunes to Foundry and then it turns towards the sea and out. A number of quays are found at the Foundry end and one of them leads into the Copperhouse Canal which allowed ships to make it to Copperhouse.

Parrallel to the dunes you have first the old railway (no longer running) then the river then the canal and finally the road with all the houses of Hayle beyond. There are three large pools, Copperhouse Pool between Copperhouse and Foundry, a lovely duckpond inland from Foundry and Carnsew Pool the other side of the Foundry from Hayle.

Carnsew Pool is separated from the quays by New Pier. New Pier extends nearly all the way into the mouth of the estuary and separates the river that flows through Hayle from a second river that exits here. The pier also has a second leg that goes all the way round Carnsew Pool.

We walked from Foundry along past one of the many Quays and onto new Pier today. This took us past Carnsew Pool which tumbled over a waterfall and under a bridge in the pier. I expect at high tide the water flows the other way. I loved this. The water was clear and you could see all the stones of the fall. The bridge was all blocky and old fashioned with the many of the stones of the arch protruding outwards. From here the view across the pool to the far arm of the pier was fantastic.

We walked along the pier to the end where we sat on a bench. We were only a couple of hundred yards from the beaches on either side here and we could hear the conversations of others but we were separate and alone. Those to our left basked on a beach backed by dunes and those to our left walked dogs on a beach backed by cliffs and rivers flowed out to sea on both sides, glittering in the sun.

The pier is like much of the quays - faded industrial glory. Much of the buildings here are gone leaving that strange post industrial landscape. Gravel and hardcore compete with gorse and scrub. The pier has been built using all sorts of waste and more has probably been dumped over the years. Bricks, glass, bits of quartz.

Much of the quays are derelict as well, bits of wall demolished stones missing here and there. Anyone thinking this is a sadly declined fishing harbour is wrong, fishing was not the cause of this harbours complexities but it is now the only benefactor. Piles of lobster cages lie on the quay here and there.

F took lots of pictures but i don't have any to post right now, but I shall. I would also like to show you more of this bay because I like it very much and it would be good for me to explore more of it....


  1. Hello Rose, your day trip out sounds lovely! I can not wait to see the pictures!

  2. Sounds like a wonderful adventure, looking forward to seeing the pictures.

  3. i adore maps! i have a load of our village going back to the 1500's and whenever we go any distance in the camper i always sit with the map out checking for hill forts, standing stones, caves. our map even has my pencil lines tracing ley lines across some pages :)