Cape Cornwall

The Old Land's End

Cape Cornwall nr St Just
Cape Cornwall

Sitting at (almost) the furthest point in Cornwall, Cape Cornwall is just four miles north of Land's End, the western extreme of Great Britain. Until 200 years ago and the creation of Ordnance Survey mapping, this small peninsula close to the town of St Just was in fact believed to be the nation's westernmost point.

Primarily owned by the National Trust, there's none of the fairground feel of Land's End. Instead, Cape Cornwall beckons visitors to this impressive point on the Cornish coast through its natural beauty alone.

Last light - Cape Cornwall
Last light - Cape Cornwall

One of only two capes within the United Kingdom, Cape Cornwall seems to have been receiving visitors since at least the late Bronze Age. Excavations have revealed box-like stone burial places known as cists, filled with pottery from the period along with the rather impressive Ballowal Barrow on neighbouring Carn Gloose cliffs; an ancient burial chamber of some size.

Close to the neck of land which joins the cape to the rest of Cornwall, there are also the remains of St Helen's Oratory, which was built over the site of a church thought to have been constructed in the sixth century AD.

Cape Cornwall ruin
St Helen's Oratory

However, the most obvious landmark on Cape Cornwall is the 1864 chimney belonging to the former tin mine, which was left standing as a useful navigational aid to shipping. The defunct mine was bought by Heinz (of Tomato Ketchup and Salad Cream fame) in 1987, and donated to the nation. It forms part of the Cornwall and Devon Mining Landscape UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Sitting to one side of the cape is a wide rocky cove, with a fairly foreboding air. Porthledden cove is flanked by cliffs and situated at the end of a craggy valley which is home to some fascinating and quite unusual mine workings. To the other side is the much more accessible Priest's Cove with its tiny fishing fleet and a few huts. The cove is also home to the "Children's Pool" - a rectangular seawater pool which consists of a modified rockpool.