Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Repeat of a favourite coastal walk

The other day, well Monday of last week to be precise, a friend and I enjoyed a superb coastal walk. I had written about this same walk a couple of years ago although this time we stretched our legs slightly to make the ramble a little longer ...

I'm sure that all lovers of the British countryside know those special places they regard as their own, you know the sort of locations which feel like going to visit a special old friend when you go back to see them. For us that part of Cornwall's south coast between Lansallos and Polruan is one such place. As an added bonus the drive there is pretty well stress free and, at just under an hours travelling each way, a practical distance from home.

Apart perhaps from a few yards at the Polruan end our walk was wholly on National Trust land and there is a total air of timelessness about it. Lansallos itself consists of a church, campsite and a scattering of cottages and houses, really not much more than a hamlet. The Trust have their usual low key car park: two years ago I noted that the honesty box asked for 50p, this has now gone up to a whopping £2! Now £2 for all day parking near the coast is still pretty reasonable in my book so I'll forgive the NT its fourfold increase (I was a member, will be again probably, but have made a temporary economy which means paying these occasional car park charges on their land).

Here, at the start of our walk, we are just inland from the coast and the path to the sea is down a wooded valley for about three quarters of a mile, the briny not coming into view until the last moment. One reason that we selected this particular day, other than it was warm and sunny, is that it was potentially a good time to observe butterflies and coastal flowers, especially toward Lantic Bay. We weren't disappointed!! Having said that I had hoped to spot some 'Clouded Yellows' - it was not to be. Later a friend, more knowledgeable about butterflies than I, said he had read reports of clouded yellows moving up through the country but fewer being spotted on the coast for some reason. But we were compensated by plenty of other butterflies and also a humming bird hawk moth, the first this year!

I won't go into further detail regarding the scenery, there are plenty of images on the 'net of Lansallos Cove and Lantic Bay illustrating how special this area is. After we got home my friend challenged me to write down how many species of wild flower we had seen - I thought I was doing quite well with about two dozen, she though had amassed a total of over 40! Well she is a better botanist than I am! Many of the flowers are butterfly friendly: for instance lots of 'birds foot trefoil' and 'Small Blue' butterflies feeding on them.

In truth there are many other special walks I know but perhaps none of them surpass this one.

Correction: the 'Small Blue' butterflies may have been both small and blue but in fact the species we saw was the 'Common Blue'. Glad to get that sorted!

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