Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Travelling Tuesday - Cornwall

Today Brigid Coady is talking about visiting a part of the UK that had evaded her up until now.

I have travelled all over the world, been to some fascinating places but I realised this year that there were parts of my own country, the UK, that I have never visited.

So this year I went to a part of England that I have never visited before. A beautiful and evocative part of the country that has inspired writers for centuries. Cornwall.

I know you are thinking how after *mumbly mumbly* years I have never set foot in this county but it is true. When I was a child we were either living abroad or we went north for our vacations. So when I was offered the chance to spend five days with friends in a tiny village called Manaccan near the Helford river I jumped at the chance.

The train journey from London is five hours and as we passed over the bridge outside Plymouth which separates Devon from Cornwall I could feel all my worries and my metropolitan life melt away with the tide. I was picked up in Truro and was taken through winding one car wide country lanes overhung with twisted trees until we reached the village. It was like going back in time. The little country church in the centre was hosting a village fete at the time and within ten minutes we had picked up first editions from Elizabeth Goudge and Daphne du Maurier.

And it is to Daphne du Maurier I want to move to. I was staying within a stones throw of Frenchman's Creek, I was surrounded on all sides by the sort of landscape and seascape that had inspired her works. It was amazing. Trees dipping into the water in Frenchman's Creek, the wild woods tangled with trees, the thatched cottages like scenes from a movie.

What is also great about the countryside around Helford is that it is full of fantastic houses that are owned by the rich and famous. Paul Bettany holidays there and Johnny Depp is rumoured to have recently bought a house that overlooks the river. His view will take in the yachts that moor there and also if he was in residence that week, the sight of me and my friend Liz attempting to kayak to Frenchman's Creek... it was not pretty but I haven't laughed so much in years.
As I got on the train from Truro at the end of my time there I wished I could have stayed longer. The whispers of stories were in my ears.

What part of the world inspires you most? Have you ever been to Cornwall? What was you're favourite place?

Brigid's short story 'The Great Leap Forward' is FINALLY available in the anthology 'Even More Tonto Short Stories'


  1. Congratulations on getting your short story into the anthology, Brigid.
    I love Cornwall too, especially the Lost Gardens of Heligan.

  2. Thanks Christina! It was due out in May but was delayed. Never thought it would happen :-)

    I didn't get as far as them but hope to one day.

  3. Thanks for the article, Biddy. I love Cornwall, have set two books there and am on my way down there very soon. It's an inspiring landscape.

    Congrats on your story, Biddy. :)

  4. Hey, I've been to Manaccan! I was probably about ten at the time, and we stayed in this house overlooking the creek, miles from anywhere. Manaccan was the nearest village, but we had to drive there. Beautiful place. I remember catching fish in the creek and then eating it for dinner.

    These days we tend to go to the north coast and stay in Port Isaac, which after so many visits begins to feel like home. I've even set part of a book there. And whenever I go to Tintagel I'm inspired, partly by the scenery but also by the truly amazing Cornish pasties you can buy there. Best I've tasted. Yum!

  5. Tragically, the rumour re Johnny Depp is apparently untrue (as were the ones about Joanna Lumley, Madonna and Rowan Atkinson - we do love a good bit of rumouring down here). However I'm keeping a bit of a look-out just in case and if I find myself next to him in the checkout queue at Helston Tescos I'll send you a pic.

  6. Hi Phillipa - it is very inspiring! Thanks x

    Kate - Manaccan is beautiful as is the whole of that area. I have yet to go to North Cornwall but maybe soon!

    Judy - Curses! Although of course we know the Paul Bettany bit is true. And yes a photo is a must.

  7. I've wanted to go to Cornwall for years. A friend of mine owns a cottage near St. Ives but sadly it is always let, primarily to the production company filming Doc Martin.

  8. I never realised that Frenchman's Creek was real. I know Daphne du Maurier's books are all set in real places, yet somehow that one seemed to convenient to be true. It's my favourite of her books so Cornwall just got shifted even higher up my Bucket List!