The Cornish Coastline
Living in Cornwall means I’m surrounded by the sea, so what better place to start National Marine Week than with a celebration of the Cornish coast?
As a county, we have one of the longest coastlines of any in England, though information regarding how long it actually is appears to vary from source to source. That’s not the only thing that changes depending on who you’re talking to, with some claiming Cornwall has the longest coastline in the country whilst others claiming that title belongs to Essex. Regardless of which is longest, ours is certainly the best (hello, bias) 😉
From North to South
On the English channel, our south coast is the more sheltered of the two. It’s the one I’ve grown up closest to and as such it will always have a special place in my heart. Home to sheltered coves and gentler weather, it’s a coast that features many beautiful villages, quaint villages, and stunning gardens created by Victorian explorers featuring fauna that just wouldn’t survive on the north coast. In the words of Laurence Llewellyn-Bowen, “Tim Smit had to put the Eden project in south Cornwall because the plants wouldn’t have grown in the north, and if they did, people would have smoked them.” (source)
This is because the north coast is far more rugged than the south. For that reason, it’s far more exciting (to me, at least). Being flanked by the Atlantic Ocean, it is more exposed to stormy seas and blustery wind, resulting in a wild and craggy landscape full of dramatic views and waves that draw in surfers from across the world. It’s a truly majestic landscape carved out by the sea and if you stay away from the more developed tourist towns, it’s a coast full of mystery and intrigue and the perfect place to lose yourself in Cornwall’s rich history and folklore.
With an impressively diverse range of habitats including rocky shores and reefs, sand dunes, mudflats, estuaries, towering cliffs, sand banks, kelp forests, and sand banks, there are all kinds of things to discover. Our coastline is home to a variety of marine wildlife and despite having lived in the southwest my entire life new wonders constantly reveal themselves. With rock pools full of tiny treasures and the chance to see dolphins, seals, basking sharks, and even whales, Cornwall boasts a rich and varied marine environment.
If you are visiting please be sure to abide by the Cornwall Marine and Coastal Code and be respectful of anywhere you visit. Like marine habitats across the world, ours is under threat. Species are declining due to over fishing, pollution, and human disturbance.