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Cornwall: The English Riveira

During the 18th and 19th century, Cornwall was transformed by the growth of copper and tin mining. The region was mined extensively and became a major contributor to the Industrial Revolution. The technology used in the Cornish engine houses and foundries was exported all over the world and was of great benefit to mining as a whole. Today the remains of this once, vast industry are protected by ten World Heritage sites, that preserve this proud heritage. These include the Wendron Mining District, the St Agnes Mining District and the Port of Hayle.

The word ‘Riviera’ has often been applied to these parts due to the agreeable weather conditions. The mild climate encourages the growth of a large number of sub-tropical plants and flowers such as The Slender Mullein – a type of flower that only grows wild in Devon and Cornwall. The deep blue seas and sweeping, golden beaches are also reminiscent of far-off Mediterranean shores. Despite the evidence of these similarities with continental Europe, Cornwall still manages to maintain a distinct character and charm, exemplified by the secluded, seemingly untouched towns of Antony, Bodinnick and Fowey.

North Cornwall is more remote than the southerly reaches. The wild and seldom-visited Bodmin Moor is crossed by just one road, the A30. Thankfully most of the moors are only accessible by foot or horseback with little or no accommodation for vehicles. The large southern resort towns are contrasted by tiny hamlets that pepper the wind-swept landscape of Bodmin. Bolventor is a fine example and was used by Daphne De Maurier as the setting for one of her famous smuggling novels.

Cornwall’s beaches offer some of the best surfing in Europe with a variety of reef breaks scattered on both the North and South coasts. Other water-sports such as Kite surfing are also popular and take advantage of the powerful winds that sweep along the waterfront. The 270 miles of coastal paths, which twist in and out of valleys and coves, attract hikers and ramblers who come from far and wide to enjoy the spectacular seascapes afforded by these trails.

The variety of activities and attractions in Cornwall ensure a steady influx of visitors every year. For thrill seekers the beaches and cliffs offer an abundance of possibilities, while others can take pleasure in the World Heritage sites and dramatic, varied landscapes. The English Riviera, surely one of the most desirable holiday destinations in Europe.

John Dale travels throughout the UK writing about the regions he visits. Many of his accounts are detailed on his site: Cottages to rent which includes a section on Cornwall holiday cottages.