Cornwall Guide (UK) / by Josiah Edbrooke

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Cornwall

Hiking Guide

This guide is going to be a little different. So far on the site I've mostly covered locations and hikes in Taiwan, but today I want to write about one of my favourite places in the world, Cornwall, UK. Ever since I was young my family would go there on summer holidays and spend everyday on the beach playing around and surfing. Cornwall has a ton of awesome beaches and smaller less famous spots that are totally worth visiting, but for the purpose of this guide I'll focus on two particularly locations. This first place is Watergate Bay. 

This beach is one of the largest & longest beaches on the north coast of Cornwall. Due to the direction it faces, Watergate Bay often catches big swells and strong winds from the Atlantic ocean. Luckily for me and my family, one of my Aunties lives incredibly close to Watergate Bay and the cliff top walk along the shore line. This means anytime we visit, there is very easy access to the entrance to the cliffside trail. 

The path starts off weaving it's way through 3 or 4 fields, at this point watch carefully where you step. There are quite few sheep around and that means a lot of dung. Most of it is dried up but there is the occasional one that's fresh. Nothing can ruin a walk like poo on the bottom of your shoe! 

 You looking at me??

You looking at me??

The path leads to a small cove on the cliffside that's pretty spectacular looking at sunset especially. I've been there a few times before in the morning to check what the surf is looking like at Watergate Bay, as it's a handy indicator if the waves are pumping or not. I don't think there is any way to climb down to the small beach here, but at any rate I wouldn't recommend it, as the tide comes in pretty quick and you could easily find yourself stuck there. 

It does make a pretty setting for golden hour photography, with some clouds in the sky and the sun setting below the horizon there, you can get some nice pictures of the landscape there! 

 An English summer evening. f10, ISO 200, 1/250, 36mm

An English summer evening. f10, ISO 200, 1/250, 36mm

 Jump for joy. f4.5, ISO 200, 1/160, 40mm

Jump for joy. f4.5, ISO 200, 1/160, 40mm

 The small cove on the coastal walk. f3.5, ISO 200, 1/800, 24mm

The small cove on the coastal walk. f3.5, ISO 200, 1/800, 24mm

From here the path follows the cliff top, up and down the various ridges and gullies. The trail makes for a very pretty picture if you use it as a nice leading line to frame the picture. The path then weaves it's way down, then back up to the cliff top overlooking Watergate Bay. to get to this point takes about 30 mins walking at a modest pace I would say. 

 The path leading towards Watergate Bay. f3.5, ISO 200, 1/160, 24mm

The path leading towards Watergate Bay. f3.5, ISO 200, 1/160, 24mm

Once you reach Watergate Bay there is a path down the cliff side that takes you straight down to the beach, although it's a little sketchy so I would recommend you follow the main path along the clifftop towards the main entrance to Watergate Bay. Walking this route gives you a great view of the beach and the coastline stretching all along the coast nearly to Newquay  (the main surf town in Cornwall). Watergate Bay actually has of the first Jamie Oliver restaurants created for training young chefs in the area. The quality of food is very good there, and the location is awesome. It looks right out onto Watergate Bay. You can have a tasty dinner then go for a walk on the beach if it's decent weather. 

 The furthest end of Watergate Bay. f3.5, ISO 640, 1/60, 24mm

The furthest end of Watergate Bay. f3.5, ISO 640, 1/60, 24mm

Now a trip to Cornwall wouldn't be complete without a outdoor BBQ. This time the weather cooperated and was actually really nice and sunny. The English joke is that whenever you have a BBQ it will inevitably rain and everyone ends up huddled under umbrellas! Luckily this time was perfect weather, and a nice opportunity to kick back in the rays of the Cornish sun.  

 house on a hill. f5.6, ISO 200, 1/800, 90mm

house on a hill. f5.6, ISO 200, 1/800, 90mm

 Edbrooke Sr. photographer extraordinaire! f2.5, ISO 200, 1/200, 90mm

Edbrooke Sr. photographer extraordinaire! f2.5, ISO 200, 1/200, 90mm

 Silver linings. f5.6, ISO 200, 1/1000, 90mm

Silver linings. f5.6, ISO 200, 1/1000, 90mm

Cornwall has some of the best summer evenings in the UK, and the best food in my opinion. Nothing beats a good BBQ on the beach, or cornish pasty in Padstow (from the Chough specifically). That is still one food I could eat everyday and not ever get sick of! so tasty! 

The last place in this mini guide of is located on the south coast of Cornwall. Porthcurno and the Minack theatre are two very picturesque places close to Lands End and the furtherest point in Cornwall. I've always spend the majority of my time in Cornwall on the north coast, so it was a nice change to see what the south coast had to offer. The ocean here is a little more protected and calm compared to the wild swells you get all along the north coast! The Theatre is a unique location, as it is actually built into the cliffside. It overlooks Porthcurno beach and the headland that protects the bay. At sunset, the rocks catch the soft light making for a great little composition overlooking the beach there. 

 driving to Porthcurno from the Watergate Bay. f4.5, ISO 200, 1/1000, 24mm

driving to Porthcurno from the Watergate Bay. f4.5, ISO 200, 1/1000, 24mm

 Porthcurno & The Minack Theatre. f4, ISO 200, 1/320, 24mm

Porthcurno & The Minack Theatre. f4, ISO 200, 1/320, 24mm

As you can see from the pictures, the variety and mix of colours here is fantastic to shoot at golden hour. It catches the soft light really well I feel. I was able to get some really nice marco shots of all the different types flowers there. I didn't know that there was such a big mix of flowers that could grow in a climate like the UK's, especially with the rain and cold that blows through this area of the UK. I would suggest shooting 24mm and marco here as they both enable to you get the best out of the location. 

I should note, it does get incredibly chilly here once the sun goes down so if you are coming to The Minack theatre to watch a play I suggest you bring blankets and a thick coat to keep you nice and cozy. for the majority of my macro flowers I shot at f4.5, ISO 200, 1/160 at 43mm. 

That specific day I was lucky enough to catch a fairly incredible looking sunset. The cloud cover had just enough space for the sun to peak out, it caught the sky just right and lit up a magnificent red. It was just another example of the stunning scenery Cornwall has to offer! 

 The Minack Theatre. f22, ISO 1600, 4, 24mm

The Minack Theatre. f22, ISO 1600, 4, 24mm

 The sunset at Porthcurno. f4.4, ISO 500, 1/60, 40mm

The sunset at Porthcurno. f4.4, ISO 500, 1/60, 40mm

To sum up, this has been just a small taster of only two locations in Cornwall. There many more unique and beautiful places to explore and photograph in this area of the UK. If you can catch Cornwall on a sunny day, the results are pretty spectacular! If you do plan on making a trip to the UK, I would strongly suggest a visit to this part of the country if you can get there. It's probably best to use a hire car to explore the north and south coast of Cornwall. There are buses to Newquay from other major cites in the South West of the UK, if you have no access to a car though. 

I hope you've enjoyed this brief look at Cornwall! 

Until next time!

Sy Edbrooke^^