Thursday, 12 July 2018
Penwith is Cornwall’s Cornwall: a peninsula on a peninsula. It also out-does the rest of the county in many quintessential Cornish characteristics: its coastline is wilder, its rocks are richer in ores, it has more prehistoric remains and its fishermen catch more fish.
Starting at the harbour in Penzance, the route heads west along the coastline towards Newlyn, passing the Jubilee Pool, a magnificent Art Deco saltwater lido. In 2014 fierce storms seriously damaged the 1930s structure, and a £3 million restoration was needed. The results are stunning and worth admiring from the café, even if you don’t take a dip.
Newlyn vies with Brixham in Devon for the title of England’s biggest fishing port. At the last count, Newlyn landed more tonnes of fish though Brixham landed more by cash value. The endless fascination of life in a busy fishing port was a big draw for a band of artists who came here and to nearby St Ives at the end of the 19th century. They donned fishermen’s smocks, took their canvases outdoors and painted the landscape and scenes of everyday rural life. Newlyn Art Gallery (right on the route) was established to exhibit their work and has just had a new modernist extension.