Day 301 The Cornish Riviera

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. 

the view of Godrevy Lighthouse and beach across the towans
I headed into Gwithian Towans and started walking through the sand dunes. It was a grey morning and the light was flat. 

Gwithian Beach
a strange surfer at the beach
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. 

looking across the mouth of the Hayle Estuary to St Ives
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. 

kite surfers as the tide comes in at the Hayle Estuary
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. 

the Hayle Estuary as the tide comes in – a haven for birds
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. 

looking back at Hayle from the ‘Cornish Riviera Express’
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. 

Carbis Bay from the train
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. 

How I imagined the Cornish Riviera – sandy beaches and palm trees
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. 

Barbara Hepworth’s garden…
…a very tranquil place
I was camping just on the edge of the town in a nice campsite that retains a space for hikers. 

Porthmeor Beach and St Ives Head
a great pitch, overlooking St Ives Head
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. 

St Ives harbour

4 thoughts on “Day 301 The Cornish Riviera

  1. Donna Munday June 2, 2016 / 10:44 pm

    So glad you got to the Barbara Hepworth garden! And great that the visit to Jill was such a roaring success! When you get to the Lizard remind me to tell you about the seal sanctuary where rescued and injured seals recouperate.

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    • Lucy June 3, 2016 / 7:56 am

      You do know the Tate is closed until 2017? Just in case you wanted to visit. Arty stuff is something I’d like to learn to appreciate more – the garden was lovely. Jill is amazing and I’m very glad I met her.

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  2. Chris Frazer June 3, 2016 / 3:14 am

    What a fab adventure and so lovely that you are visiting all those places you obviously remember from your childhood……..beautiful just beautiful……perhaps you will have less people around you when the schools go back.! On on Juice.

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  3. jomunday99 June 4, 2016 / 8:48 am

    I’m just catching up on your blog after being away for the past week. I’ve now been reading for an hour – still in bed!! It’s addictive. I’m pretty sure Dave and I camped at Ayr campsite if it’s the one high above the bay – we went straight after Glastonbury one year – exhausted and filthy. The pitches for non backpackers were pretty close together and the man in the tent next to us was snoring so loudly that it felt as though he was in the tent with us! Really enjoying seeing the coastline of Cornwall and glad you’ve had decent weather to enjoy it

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