It’s a rough, scarred piece of headland, littered with the remains of old sewage treatment works, war bunkers and quarrying. It’s backed by a modern water treatment works, which emanates a rather stinky aroma. And sadly there’s usually a little bit of fly tipping in the car park that we use at the top of St. Georges Hill.
But, the views are staggering. Head out to the coastal path and drink up one of the best views of Perranporth Beach. When we were here last the skies were grey and the Cornish mizzle had set in, but a thick blue sea gushed into land in a frothy white swell and misty views reached miles back along the coast to Penhale Point.
Turn your back on Perranporth, head towards St. Agnes and you’ll pass the tumble down remains of old concrete structures, now abandoned and re-appropriated as bike jumps and graffiti canvases. In their heyday these formed part of the thriving mining industry that saw wolfram, tungsten and tin chased out of the earth. In the late 19th Century this is also where Alfred Nobel, founder of the Noble Peace Prize, bought an ammunitions factory, which manufactured explosives and grenades for the Great War.
At Cligga Point is an old quarry – I love this place, it seems so alien from the rest of the cliff top. Hard seams of rock quite literally rise up to the sky, with perfectly square cubes of stone having broken free and tumbled to the ground. Through the quarry and the view opens up to St. Agnes headland. From here you can continue along the coastal path and past the airfield, established as a RAF fighter station during World War II. The airfield explains the lack of engine houses on this stretch of cliff top, which were destroyed so they couldn’t be used as navigation markers by the Germans.
The headland has been ravaged over the years, both by man’s industry and nature’s wrath. But that’s not to say that it’s void of all beauty. It is in fact rich with the wild flowers of pink campion, gorgeous gorse, crocosmia and heather. And even trees have adapted to the harsh conditions, with knarled oaks crouching low to the ground, boasting branch spans of 2 meters but not more than 1 meter of height.
Carry on all the way to St. Agnes and pick up some lunch at the Driftwood Spas before catching the bus back. Or simply loop and come back the same way – there’s always a new perspective to be found on the return journey.
More photos below the map…