Often neglected and passed through in haste, the Cornish border has more to offer than simply a change in dialect and a bewildering array of pasty outlets. The differences are subtle so why not enjoy the best of both worlds and embrace both Cornwall and Devon, just remember to tell the natives that their county is far superior to their neighbours.
So where exactly do you start exploring without running the risk of upsetting the locals, well the Hartland Heritage Coast will certainly put you in the mood and includes an 11km section into Cornwall. This is a land of smugglers tales, as sheer cliffs make way for tiny coves and a sense of wilderness that typifies this small but majestic corner of the world. This also forms part of the South West Coastal Path so brace yourself for plenty of undulations and winding terrains but with the reward of views that are a sight to behold something even more impressive revealed around every corner and energy sapping crest.
Keeping on the coastal theme and the small coastal resort town of Bude has its roots set around the sea and is the hub of all life. Famed for its surfing and waves crashing in directly from the Atlantic ocean, the town itself retains a sense of character by way of Bude Castle and the canal. With fresh seafood on the menu you can play in the sea and then sample the local delicacies.
For all round family fun and a great day out then you simply can’t beat the Milky Way, and that’s not the intergalactic or chocolate version before you get too excited. With attractions, activities and entertainment to suit all ages, this is a place to truly go wild whatever the weather.
Back to earth and for a true taste, as well as smell, of life in the region then Clovelly is a slice of the bygone era. Built into a cleft in a 400ft high cliff, this world famous fishing villages is famed for a traffic-free cobbled street which houses whitewashed cottages festooned with flowers leading down to the port. Privately owned, the vision is to retain the mid 19th Century style with maintenance using traditional materials and craftsmanship. If you happen to visit on 18th November 2012, then there will be an added aroma as the annual Clovelly Herring Festival takes place. With all sorts of herring delights on offer you are sure to leave a convert to the Silver Darlings of the sea. Just remember your sensible walking shoes as this is one place where fashion doesn’t sit well against hills and cobbles.
For some explicable reason, Cornwall and Devon and are a haven for the weird and wonderful when it comes to unique attractions but brace yourself as nothing comes close to the……Gnome Reserve. Set amid rural countryside between Bideford and Bude, here over 1000 gnomes feel right at home amongst the woods, streams, meadows and gardens. Gnome hats are even loaned free of charge together with fishing rods, so you don’t embarrass the gnomes!
To round up our little whirlwind tour then no visit to this area would be complete without setting sail to Lundy Island, or the diplomatic international waters if you are still concerned about feeling the wrath of the locals. This is where a rugged granite outcrop, only three and a half miles by half a mile, sits between the Bristol Channel and raging Atlantic Ocean. With the pace of the modern world this is truly a place apart, peaceful and unspoilt where you can enjoy climbing, diving and snorkelling or something a little more sedate such as bird watching, painting, fishing or photography. In fact per square mile, you would be hard pushed to find so many activities anywhere else whilst still retaining a sense of wilderness and isolation. Rather aptly, the name Lundy is believed to have derived from the old Norse word for ‘Puffin Island’, with those little funny coloured bills still making their homes amongst the cliffs.
Naturally this is just the crust of the pasty in terms of places to visit but we wouldn’t want to ruin the fun you have by exploring on your own and finding some hidden gems for yourself.
Remember to have some spare change for your return journey but don’t think of it as a charge, merely a well-deserved tip for the service and memories Cornwall has provided.