Photos of West Cornwall - Photos by Palden Jenkins

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Photos of West Cornwall

West Cornwall is nowadays my home. I love it here, and these pictures will suggest why!

West Penwith, where I live, is the part of West Cornwall west of Hayle and Marazion.
Its main town is Penzance (in Cornish Pen Sans, or 'holy headland')
Penwith means 'the headland beyond' or 'the far beyond'.

Click any picture to see a larger version.

A gull at St Ives - Godrevy lighthouse behind
Waves at Chapel Porth
Waves at Porthcurno
Waves at Nanjizal Bay

Cornwall is not really English - it is Kernow, one of the old Celtic realms of Britain, with Wales, Ireland, Brittany, Strathclyde and the Hebrides. Being half-Welsh, Kernow's ancient roots mean something to me, jiggling my cells.

In one sense Cornwall is quite isolated (5-6 hours from London and Birmingham). Yet also it has a global feeling - we have four continents over the horizon across the seas (North and Latin America, Europe and Africa).

Cornwall is Britain's surfing capital. This is Gwithian, near Hayle.
Wave-washed rocks at Gurnard's Head
Waves on the reef off Godrevy Head
Longships lighthouse, off Land's End

Yet, surrounded by ocean, we sit on solid, deep granite which doesn't budge an inch, no matter how much the waves crash and the winds blow.

Storm at Marazion
Winter storm at Porthleven
Winter storm at Porthleven
Calm seas at Portreath
Porth Nanven near St Just - and the Sennen lifeboat

Cornwall is memorable for its cliffscapes, ancient sites and atmosphere, for surfing, seals and cetaceans, fishermen, pirates and tin miners. It is one of Britain's main holiday regions and is also home to many interesting people who like living at the end of the world - including yachties, arty types and authors, greenies, returned expats, alternative types and sundry oddbods.

Near Cape Cornwall
Godrevy Point
Godrevy lighthouse
Seal tribe asleep at Godrevy at low tide
Seals at Godrevy

It's rich in wind and wave power
and geothermal energy, as yet under-exploited.

We have lots of weather too - want some?

Seals at Godrevy
Rough seas at Gurnard's Head
Cove near Porthcurno
Nanjizal Bay, south of Land's End
Porthtowan, looking towards St Ives
Pendeen lighthouse - with foghorn
Godrevy lighthouse, as seen by telephoto from Trencrom Hill
Merry Maidens stone circle near Lamorna
Merry Maidens stone circle
Merry Maidens stone circle
Boscawen-un stone circle - one of Britain's few intact stone circles

Let's visit some of West Cornwall's many ancient sites.

This area has more ancient sites per square mile than anywhere in Britain
apart from the Orkney Isles - both areas at the extremes of Britain.

Deliberately sloping stone at Boscawen-un - acting as an anchor tent-peg in Britain's ancient energy net
Boscawen-un stone circle
Quartz stone at Boscawen-un
Quartz stone at Boscawen-un

One reason why Penwith has so many ancient sites is that, in Megalithic times 4-5,000 years ago the Irish Sea was the centre of activity in Britain and Ireland.

Later, about 2,500-1,500 years ago, it was a major tin-mining area,
perhaps one of Britain's most prosperous regions. Phoenicians, Greeks and Romans came seeking tin, and St Michael's Mount was the main trading place.

Chun Quoit, above Morvah
Classic Cornish historic scene: megalithic Chun Quoit, Victorian tin mine, old church and sea
Carn Euny ancient Celtic settlement, 2,000 years old
Inside the fogou at Carn Euny
Clutie offerings at Carn Euny holy well
Men an Tol - the female and two males!
Men an Tol
Hole in the stone
The Nine Maidens stone circle
Nine Maidens
Nine Maidens stone circle with Carn Galver behind
Lower Boscaswell Fogou
Tregeseal stone circle near St Just
Tregeseal as seen from below Carn Kenidjak
Carn Kenidjak from Tregeseal
Zennor Quoit
Old Celtic Oratory at Cape Cornwall
Celtic cross near Porthcurno
Old stile near Madron Well
Tin mine at Botallack
Tin mine at Botallack
Cape Cornwall
Cape Cornwall from Carn Gloose

Here are some of the headlands
of West Penwith.

Some of them were
ancient strongholds
and sacred sites.

Gurnard's Head from Zennor Head
Gurnards Head, between Morvah and Zennor
The Brisons off Cape Cornwall
Cape Cornwall. Behind, the Brisons.
Carn les Boel seen from the south - Carn Boel behind
Carn les Boel from the north - end of the Michael Line.
Nanjizal Bay, next to Carn les Boel - Carn Boel ahead
Carn Boel
Carn Boel from Pordenack Point

Here's the cliffscape south of Land's End
- Pordenack Point, Carn Boel and Carn les Boel -
a dramatic area populated with many rock-beings
(to find out what I mean, see Simulacra)

Pordenack Point
Enys Dodnan, just south of Land's End
Gull fly-past at Carn les Boel
Cliffs between Carn les Boel and Carn Barra
Rock formations near Carn Barra
Looking out from inside the cave at Nanjizal Bay
The cave at Nanjizal Bay
Seal cave, Carn Barra
Ancient stones near Carn Barra
Carn les Boel
Carn les Boel
The Scilly Isles from Carn les Boel - 25 miles away
The Scilly Isles from near St Just
Cape Kenidjak
Sea Pinks at Nanjizal Bay
St Michael's Mount, seen from Botrea Hill
St Michael's Mount from Cudden Point
St Michael's Mount in rain

St Michael's Mount and Trencrom Hill
- legendarily the homes of battling giants -
act as the gate-posts of West Penwith

St Michael's Mount in a storm
St Michael's Mount from Trencrom Hill
On top of Trencrom Hill
Trencrom Hill from the west - Carn Brea behind
Trencrom Hill from Marazion
Trencrom Hill from Godrevy Point
Trencrom Hill from Hayle Towans
St Ives Bay and Godrevy Point from Trencrom Hill
Godrevy Point from Trencrom
The well on Trencrom Hill
Midsummer sunset as seen from Trencrom Hill, the sun follows the left-hand gradient as it sets
Higher Hill Wood, below Trencrom Hill
Higher Hill Wood
Higher Hill Wood
Higher Hill Wood
Stream at Lamorna
Gull in meditation
Gull guarding rocks
Treen and Gwella, two regular residents of the roof of a friend of mine
Birds overflying Morvah on the way to Wales
Kittiwakes at Cape Kenidjak
West Penwith

It's easy to love Cornwall
and magic West Penwith.
It's slightly more difficult to leave it
and heave back up the A30
back into the madding crowd!

The South West of Britain
Zennor Head
Cornwall has big hulking rocks - rather a lot of them
Prussia Cove
Getting some space
Rough seas at Penberth

© All photos are copyright by Palden Jenkins, 2009-2013. Use in any way, online or in print, requires permission.

NEXT: Simulacra in West Penwith

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