Days Out in Cornwall
Map of Cornwall
Cornwall, with the longest stretch of continual coastline in Britain, is found at the southwestern tip of England. The varied scenery includes sandy beaches, rugged coastline and wild moorland. A rise in sea level has resulted in the drowned river valleys, or rias, of southern Cornwall, including the Tamar, Fowey, and Fal estuaries. The effect of the rias, combined with the variety of rocks, is an attractive coastal landscape that is subject to increasing pressures by the demands of recreation and tourism. Long stretches of the coast are now owned by the National Trust.
The Cornish landscape is dotted with the evidence of redundant tin mines, tin having been mined in Cornwall for at least 3,000 years. In the 20th century cheaper foreign tin production led to the gradual closure of all the mines. In 2006 the copper and tin mines in Cornwall and West Devon were designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Being surrounded by the sea affects Cornwall’s climate. There are high winds and sea mists, and heavy, frequent rainfall. The warm summer temperatures are part of the lure for tourists, and the mild winters mean that market gardeners can cultivate early and specialist crops. Many coastal towns such as Falmouth, Penzance and Fowey are active ports, but tourism is now the major source of the county’s income. Small fishing ports such as St Ives, Newquay and Polperro attract tourists and surfers, and the social structure of many rural areas has been changed radically by the popularity of Cornwall for second homes and retirement.