Cornwall very nearly an island and very different from any other part of the country. The North Coast, in particular, is a land of legend, of mystery, of romance.
For millions of years it has been defended against the raging Atlantic Ocean by the finest stretch of cliff scenery to be found in the British Isles.
The man-made attractions of the orthodox seaside resort fade into insignificance when compared with the brilliant colours of the water, the scenic grandeur of the towering cliffs and the natural beauty of the sandy porths which breach them at frequent intervals. This fascinating area can be reached in comfort in a day by express train or coach from London or the Midlands, with bus connections to the more remote parts, while those who make the journey by car are assured of well-surfaced, fast roads to all the more popular resorts. Throughout the North Coast area there are excellent hotels and guest-houses. Accommodation can also be had at inns and farm-houses, and furnished cottages may be rented.
Early booking is, however, essential.
From Bude south-westward the health resorts on the north coast of Cornwall are more invigorating in summer than those on the south, but the difference decreases south-westward, until at St. Ives the variation from Penzance is not nearly so marked igh and open position of Newquay renders it more suitable for summer, when its bracing air is unexcelled in the West; but there are many sheltered spots near where the mild winter of Cornwall may be thoroughly enjoyed, to the special advantage of those to whom a degree or two, more or less, of temperature is of less importance than protection against the stronger winds.
The rainfall in North Cornwall is less than in South Cornwall.
It may be interesting to note that sunset time is 23 minutes later than London. The Summer sea temperature varies between 58 and 61 degrees
In winter Newquay, in common with most of Cornwall, hardly knows snow, and frosts are of a mild character.
Tintagel and Boscastle are quiet, restful spots where the bracing Atlantic breezes can be enjoyed to the full while Bude possesses all the best health-giving qualities of the other North Cornwall resorts Cornwall, generally, is a wonderful place for the naturalist, and fine north coast claims its share of rare plants.
NEWQUAY is the most considerable centre and easily the most popular holiday resort on the north coast of Cornwall. It is a bright and cheerful town possessing all the ingredients for a healthy happy and interesting holiday. It lies midway between Bude and Land’s End, 28 miles by rail from London, 254 by road and 14 miles north of Truro.
At this point of the coast Towan Head projects north-westward and with Pentire Headland and Trevelgue Head forms two spacious sandy bays. The principal
portion of Newquay has been built, in comparatively recent years, along the cliffs overlooking the more easterly of these two bays, and the eastward expansion s goes on; but the town has rapidly taken command of the wide western bay, and has also spread itself over the northern slopes of the ridge of high ground known as Mount Wisc. Many of the houses here have excellent views in all directions: northward over Newquay to the Headland and the sea, southward over the luxuriant valley of the Gannel.
Though it cannot boast of any particular historical interest, Newquay was known under the name of Towan Blystra many centuries ago. In 1439 Bishop Lacy, of Exeter, granted an indulgence for the construction, repair and maintenance of the harbour. Carew, the Cornish historian, writing in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, mentions “Newe Kaye”, a place on the north coast.
In former times Newquay was merely a little fishing village, practically unknown except for its catches of pilchards. A century ago its population
could hardly have totalled a hundred; in 1871 it had risen to 1,121. The population now numbers nearly 22,000 with a tourist industry worth billions, a remarkable story of progress when it is remembered that the main industry (pilchard fishing) has departed, and that the town depends almost entirely on its visitors.
The railway which put Newquay in touch with the rest of the world dates only from 1875. Once given the opportunity, the public quickly showed their appreciation of Newquay cliff scenery, the charm of its vast sands, and the purity and brilliant colouring of its sea, gracious and lovely in fine weather, and magnificent when the wind blows hard from the west and north, or when the ground seas from the Atlantic sweep in line and hurl themselves against the stern, wild cliffs.
NEWQUAY in the south-west, has various beaches at the foot of the town in complete shelter, Fistral Bay being somewhat less protected
From a westerly wind the Towan, Great Western and other beaches are sheltered by the Headland, and when the wind is from the east, shelter is to be found in Fistral Bay and on Tolcarne and Great Western Beaches.
At first sight the town appears to consist of a long, winding and busy street close to the edge of the cliffs, with houses and shops on each side. Between the buildings occasional glimpse of the sea can be obtained, and by turning out of the main street terraces and slopes facing the beaches can be reached in a minute. It must be admitted, however, that owing to the lack of foresight of the early builders, Newquay lacks the fine front it might have had. Large numbers of new houses have risen in recent years on the higher ground away from the cliffs, and though these are farther from the sea they have a remarkable range of coast views. The town has also extended downwards towards the Trenance Valley, and on the other side of the golf links towards East Pentire Point, while eastwards it is difficult to see where Newquay ends and Porth begins.
The most prominent building in the town is the Church of St. Michael, (1909-11), well situated on the slope of Mount Wise. It is designed as far as possible after the style of the old Cornish churches. The Methodist Church, overlooking East Street, is another building commanding attention, and at the top of the
Crescent, in Bank Street, is the rebuilt Congregational Church.
Whether by car, coach or bus, visitors will find Newquay one of the best motoring centres in Cornwall. It is well placed for drives to all parts of the Duchy, the roads are good, the town boasts efficient garages, and there is a good network of public road services serving all places of interest.
Here, then, is a holiday playground ready-made by Nature. No man-made pier in the kingdom can compare in grandeur with Newquay’s natural pier, Towan Head, which runs for nearly a mile out to sea, covered with soft, springy turf and other sea flowers.
The extremity is a chaos of rocks against which the waves of the Atlantic hurl themselves with stupendous power-in rough weather. certainly a sight to be remembered.
From this point the sweep of the coast-line can be followed round, the sheer perpendicular cliffs and rocks showing more or less prominently above the belts of yellow sand, north-eastward past Porth and Watergate Bay to the famous Bedruthan Steps (huge detached rocks nearly 200 feet high), to Park Head, and on till Trevose Head, with its lighthouse, limits the vision.
On either side of the Headland is a fine bay, that to the east being the larger and more populous, though an increasing number of visitors favour the more open Fistral Bay, west of the Headland.
Newquay’s eastern bay is lined with a series of smaller bays. These are floored with firm sand and are ideal for bathing. Immediately east of the Harbour and overlooked by the Pavilion Cinema is Towan Beach.
Here the pleasures of bathing may be enjoyed at all times and seasons. The water is delightfully clear, and the far-reaching Headland ensures immunity from west or north westerly winds or swells. There are numerous bathing huts, but for many, convenient little caverns and rocks suffice. The Harbour is a favourite bathing place at high tide, as diving can be practised from the quays.
North-eastward of Towan Beach is the Great Western, or Bothwicks Beach, which can be reached at low tide by going round the Island. There are good changing facilities. At high tide access to this beach is obtained by the winding road by the Great Western Hotel.
The next beach north-eastward again is the Tolcarne Beach. This is reached from the others at low tide, by steps fromm Narrowcliff at high water and by a cliff path at Crigga Head.
Westward of the Headland is Fistral Bay, with a splendid stretch of sands. With the golf links at the back and splendid views of the Towan
and west respectively, it is not surprising that this western bay is becoming more popular every year, though extreme care is necessary when bathing.
Headland and Pentire to north The Golf Links are finely situated between Towan Headland and East Pentire, overlooking Fistral Bay and commanding a magnificent all-round view. This 6,000 yards’ course of eighteen holes is considered one of the best and most sporting in the county.
The hazards and bunkers are formed chiefly by sand-dunes, pits, and stone walls The Club-house is the castellated building known as The
Tower. The entrance is in Tower Road. There is also a pavilion with verandahs, adjoining the first tee. Large numbers of temporary members including non-players join the club annually. The Club also has one hard and three grass tennis courts available to visitors.
The Harbour is merely a little cove guarded by two very solid stone piers access is by a long flight of stone steps or by a rather steep road leading down to the harbour. Its sandy floor at low water, is charming, and is increasingly popular with children. Bathing is allowed. Around it are perpendicular cliffs smothered in season with wall-flowers and alerian from base to summit, and rich always with ferns
This rocky inlet, with wers-a rare and lovely picture. There are the occasional fishing boats (bearing the distinctive PW of Padstow, the port of registration), but principally yachts, and motor and rowing boats, the majority of which are available for hire.
To reach the North Quay, continue northwards along Fore Street until North Quay Hill is reached on right. A few yards down the hill are seats from which a grand panoramic view of Newquay’s magnificent beaches is obtained, with the busy little harbour just below. There are promenades farther down and the quay itself may be reached, either by a steep, rough and narrow lane or by stone steps. Immediately over the Harbour is one of the many shelters and promenades with seats, pleasant for reading and sea-gazing, whatever the weather.
The site was formerly occupied by some pilchard curing-houses known as Active Cellars. Formerly the tanks of pilchards were enormous, but now the fish seldom get so far up the coast as Newquay, and if they did there are no seine nets with which to catch them. At these cellars the pilchards were salted and pressed beneath large stone weights, and the oil extracted The arrival of the shoals was signalled from the Huer’s House, on the Headland. This little building has great interest for visitors as a symbol of a departed industry, though it is not so old as it looks.