The next morning after breakfast, it was time to visit Goonhilly downs relay station (you must pass the massive dishes to get to Coverack), I remember well the very first transmissions sent from the USA to the UK via satellite all those years ago, I believe it was Raymond Baxter that presented the programme. I do wish I had taken a bit of time and visited the Wildlife Trusts Nature Reserve that adjoins the Telecom. site.
Buzzards, owls and other birds of prey hunt across the downs. In summer the open pools hum to the sound of dragonflies, while adders and lizards bask on sunny bare ground and rocks. The area is dominated by the giant satellite dishes of Goonhilly Earth Station.
We also saw three South African fur seals that had come from various zoos, that no longer had space or need for them.
and saw two South Asian Otters lying basking curled up together in the morning sun. (bit far from home though)
We then trudged the path back to the large but steep car park. We then headed on along the winding roads and into Helston for a look around and a spot of lunch.
We parked up quite centrally and walked through a small alleyway (the towns and villages of Cornwall seem to consist of joined up alleyways)
and out into the main street, Coinagehall street. There was a small market taking place (6 stalls) the most interesting was the fish stall with lots of local fish and shellfish. We popped into the old townhall to have a look at the small market selling various bric-a-brac, local produce and local art.
All this beer and no pasties, so we went along the road looking at the menus at all of the pubs, cafes and restaurants not a one selling the local delicacy. Plenty of Bakers and Ye Oldie Cornish Pasty Shoppes, but no hostelry selling them, why oh why? So it being a smashing day we decided to buy our pasties and drive out of town and find a spot to have a pasty picnic. We popped into a pasty shop and bought 1 large traditional Cornish pasty made with skirt, swede, onion and potato all wrapped in nice flaky pastry and another made with chicken and leek. We turned down an alleyway (did I say Helston is full of alleyways) and there it was, a fantastic small shady park with a bench and table, through the gate, opened up the pastry package, they were massive, I got out my trusty hunting knife and sliced the Cornish Pasty in half, the air was at once filled with the wonderful aroma of beef and vegetables, this wonderful pasty turned out to be the best we ate on the trip and I do believe the best I have ever tasted, absolutely delectable. We didn’t eat the Chicken and Leek as the Cornish one was more than sufficient.
The fallen giant, with its new offspring
The gardens were set out by a Quaker named Alfred Fox in 1823, over the years he increased the number of exotic plants and even built a maze made out of laurel bushes, this was made to keep his 12 children occupied (though I don’t think it kept him occupied for long). Unfortunately I the last severe storms caused some of the oldest of the parks inhabitants to become unstable and for safety reasons they had to be felled, the discussion is now on, are they to be left to rot giving homes for various other plant and insect life or to be removed and something new planted to replace them, I am of the former school of thought, as they would still be giving life to the gardens and also some of their branches have taken root and are turning into trees. Alfred’s Great-Grandsons bequeathed the gardens to the National Trust and they are doing a fine job in keeping with the founder’s original idea.
At the end of the valley you come to a wonderful fishing village it consists of no more than 10 houses one of them an old schoolhouse now converted into holiday properties.
It had once again started to rain, not heavy and as we had our waterproofs on and our cowboy hats it didn’t really bother us, Linda has a bright yellow one so I am able to keep her in sight and call her to rein if she strays from the beaten path, mine is a real pukka gen Aussi one brought back from my daughters last vaunt there.
Here he comes girls
It didn’t rain hard and not all of the time so we did enjoy our visit. The gardens are well kept and we did visit the some of the outhouses (stables, old dairy and storage facilities) as well as the Kings Hall, this hall is supposed to be where King James slept as he escaped to the Scilly Isles on his flight from Cromwell’s army.
This is not the only place that he is supposed to have stayed, so maybe he was using doubles a bit like Churchill did during the Second World War to throw the following Round Heads.
It rained intermittently during the day, but with a bit of raindrop dodging by visiting the Lifeboat station (always a must whenever I am near one),
having lunch, visiting the Tate, it certainly didn’t spoil our enjoyment.
this is an unpretentious upstairs eatery done out in West Indian style, rough tables and mismatching chairs absolutely wonderful, this is to be found on the main street. It serves fantastic food at very reasonable prices. I ordered crabs claws and the Jambalaya, Linda the Gumbo and was not disappointed, large meaty claws and a spicy Jambalaya full of prawns, crab and ling. Linda also said her meal was very, very tasty.
We then walked through the town doing bit of window shopping until we arrived at St Ives Tate gallery, it is an imposing building overlooking the main surf beach of Porthmeor.
The Architects David Shalev and Elred Evens certainly knew what they were doing when they designed this inspiring building and they picked the site well, if you go to the up to the first floor gallery and look away from the sea into the windows, you will see the sea reflected it is so mesmerising and that alone was worth the visit. On entering you are hit with the clean lines and then the wonderful glass window of Patrick Heron, there was also many of his textile designs from his early years. Of course there was also a multitude of works by Hepworth, Moss and Ruppersberg to name but 4 of the 8 artists. We spent a wonderful couple of hours wandering and looking at the works of the St Ives artists before watching the video presentation of Lindner performed by the Northern Ballet under Kenneth Tindall representing Hepworths The Family of Man, a riveting piece of visual art. We then made our way back to the railway station and back to the P&R and our van and headed for home.