SOUTHWEST COAST PATH // KYNANCE COVE – THE LIZARD

SOUTHWEST COAST PATH // KYNANCE COVE – THE LIZARD

“Real adventure is defined best as a journey from which you may not come back alive, and certainly not as the same person.” – Yvon Chouinard

And in a blink of an eye it was all over, these are the pictures from the last three hours of my time walking in Cornwall and it got emotional. I feel like I could have carried on walking forever and ever, I wasn’t ready at all to stop nor did I want to! I wouldn’t have been more blessed with a beautiful evening and the things I learnt about myself and the people I met along the way will forever be etched on my heart. The whole experience was incredible. Six days earlier I wasn’t even show if I had six days of walking in me and here I was at the end not wanting to stop!

Without any doubt, Kynance Cove is the `jewel` of the Lizard Peninsula. Owned by the National Trust it is now protected from any development. Access to the cove is from a private road off the main Helston-Lizard road about 1 mile from Lizard village. Or like me along the coastal path. I did hit the jackpot with the lighting when I arrived, just as the sun was starting to set.

Kynance is a unique feature. It`s beach, known in geomorphological terms as a `Tombolo`, connects ASPARAGUS ISLAND to the mainland. It is also famous for its SERPENTINE rock, which is used to carve ornamental lighthouses, ash trays etc and can be purchased from many of the gift shops located in Lizard village.

Cornish geology typically consists of black, folded slates and pale grey, blocky granites. At Kynance Cove however, the cliffs are made up of dark green and red rocks, polished by thousands of years of crashing waves to look like shiny snakeskin.

These rocks are types of Serpentinite, and occur with dark grey igneous rocks (gabbro) and stripey metamorphic rocks (amphibolite) along the Lizard coast from Mullion to Porthallow. These rare “Lizard Complex” rocks have intrigued geologists for hundreds of years, and record an ancient ocean.

The geomorphology of the cove is strikingly beautiful, and at low tide the waves crash onto both sides of a spit of sand that joins the main headland to a series of sea stacks. This landscape is a result of the geology; various rocks of the Lizard Complex have been eroded at different rates. 

Kynance Cove is known for its flora and fauna as well as its geological significance, and it is sometimes possible to spot the rare Cornish chough, the bird of the Cornish coast of arms, perching in the clifftops. 

I couldn’t resist a little swim before continuing on my walk after all it might be my last one for a year! I lost all my shyness over the week, I will now get changed anywhere! During the summer I carry my swimsuit in my hiking bag for such an occurrence, I also have a micro towel that works like a dream and folds up into almost nothing.

Lizard Point with its lighthouse is the most southerly point in Great Britain. It is famous for the local serpentine stone, a unique metamorphic rock which is dark green veined with red and white. Serpentine ornaments were particularly fashionable in Victorian times but the village still has several serpentine turners working during the season.

Since 1751 there has been a lighthouse on Lizard Point, warning shipping of the dangers of this beautiful but treacherous coastline. Just offshore are the Man o’ War rocks. Below the point is the Old Lifeboat House. The present lifeboat station is a few miles east of the headland. On the 10th November 1721, thirty years before the lighthouse was built, 15 of the crew of the Royal Anne Galley lost their lives when the vessel was dashed against the cliffs in a storm. They are buried in a mass grave on Pistol Meadow, the grass slope just west of the Old Lifeboat Slipway. Walkers in this area may be lucky enough to see the Cornish Chough, now breeding in the area.

The last couple of highlights for this section from the Southwest Coast Path official website.

  • The rocky stacks and arches of the exceptionally beautiful Kynance Cove: the largest outcrop of serpentine rock in Britain. Owned by The National Trust, the cove is tucked out of view by the towering cliffs either side, so it is quite a dramatic view as you approach. The cove became a popular destination in early Victorian times, which is when the stacks of Asparagus Island, Gull Rock and Steeple Rock received their names. Alfred Lord Tennyson is said to have visited this part of the Lizard on a number of occasions, and the beauty of the cove was also experienced by the playwright George Bernard Shaw, Charles Kingsley and a rather seasick Prince Albert!
  • Standing at the most southerly point in Britain: Lizard Point. This is a particularly hazardous stretch of coast and there has been a Trinity House Lighthouse here since 1751. Apparently, there was a certain amount of resistance to the building of a lighthouse as it was seen to damage the wrecking industry! The lighthouse has recently been refurbished as a Heritage Centre where you can discover more about its history and take a guided tour up the tower.

Before I knew it I was at The Lizard and the end of this adventure for now! I was overcome with emotion at the end, in fact I cried. For the last six days and evenings walking along the Southwest Coast Path was my thing and for now it was over. I had the most overwhelming feeling of sadness, I could feel my heart breaking for the end and it totally crushed me and continued to crush me for the next couple of days. My heart will always beat for the sea, being away from it is awful and I am forever on countdown to return to it.

I treated myself to an ice cream and as if by magic was treated to the most incredible sunset. I couldn’t have asked for a better ending to what had been the most amazing week ever. I sat and watched the sea until I couldn’t see anything but darkness ahead of me, I was returning home the next day and I was anything but ready.

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