Wednesday 1 June 2016
Gwithian to St Ives
8 miles (+ train)
Ayr Holiday Park
The Great Tit chicks still hadn’t fledged when I finally left Jill’s this morning; they were looking ready to go. Jill sent me on my way with several pieces of cake so I definitely wouldn’t starve.
I headed into Gwithian Towans and started walking through the sand dunes. It was a grey morning and the light was flat.
The towans (sand dunes) between Gwithian and Hayle make up the second largest sand dune ecosystem in Cornwall, 400 hectares of dunes. I only walked through part of it as it’s much easier to walk along the beach.
There were plenty of people at intervals along the long stretch of beach up to the Hayle Estuary. It was very windy and a few kite surfers were out.
The tide was coming in as I walked over the cliff top and around the Hayle Estuary. It has a main channel and other tidal areas, such as Carnsew Pool, that attract plenty of bird life.
Hayle Main Street seems to be a busy road and unfortunately that spoils any atmosphere it might have as all other noise is drowned out by the constant passing of vehicles. I wasn’t minded to stop and hurried on through to Lelant Saltings.
Jill had suggested that it might be interesting to catch the ‘Cornish Riviera Express’, otherwise known as the St Ives bay line train, operating since 1877. For people heading to St Ives there is a park-and-ride service at Lelant Saltings. It was full, with cars circling looking for spaces. I walked straight through to the train platform with 1 minute to spare before the train arrived. The ticket man couldn’t operate his machine quick enough to give me a ticket so I ended up catching the train for free. It certainly was a lovely journey along the coast, via Carbis Bay, to St Ives.
St Ives was very busy. There were people everywhere in this picturesque, narrow street town. I wandered through the streets and saw a sign for a hairdressers – just what I needed.
From the hairdressers I went straight to Barbara Hepworth’s house, which is now a museum. It had been recommended to me. I’m not a big appreciator of art but I thought her garden was magical. It was possibly the loveliest garden I had ever seen; a proper oasis from the madding crowd. I was amazed to find out that all the sculptures in the garden were there when Hepworth lived there; she designed the sculptures for her own garden. It was very beautiful and peaceful.
I was camping just on the edge of the town in a nice campsite that retains a space for hikers.
Once I had done my daily chores I decided to treat myself to a nice meal and found the Black Rock restaurant. It was lovely. I finished off in a wine bar at the Wharf; the sea front was very busy with tourists.