Local area around Port Gaverne, North Cornwall
For peace and tranquillity one need go no further than the gardens of Gullrock itself, but placed as it is right on the Cornwall Coast Path, venture beyond the boundaries and you will experience views without parallel.
The history of our little hamlet is easily deduced from the remaining cob built fish salting cellars or "palaces". Like Gullrock, they are all now long since converted to other uses, but are still recognisable as U-shaped buildings around a central courtyard. Another bygone use of Port Gaverne was as a landing place for ships taking slate from nearby quarries and bringing in coal. Adjacent to the beach are seven acres of public access land, known as ‘Port Gaverne Main’, or just ‘The Main’, giving excellent views of the coast north to Tintagel and beyond.
The North Cornwall Coast Path uses the road briefly above Port Gaverne at Cartway Cove (where the former path fell into the sea), and does not meet a road again until Trebarwith Strand, where it drops to sea level at the head of the beach. To walk all the way from Port Gaverne to Trebarwith Strand is recommended only for the seasoned rambler, but is more than worth it if you have the stamina!
Every part of this path has magnificent views. For the less energetic, the walk to Bounds Cliff is quite easy. Just beyond, at Barrett's Zawn, a path branches up the valley and eventually joins the road.
In the other direction from Port Gaverne, the Coast Path follows the road up the hill from the head of the beach to Port Isaac. The old village of Port Isaac is in the next valley and is best reached by taking the footpath which skirts the cliff at the lower end of the car park. The harbour and lobster pools are worth visiting at low tide. Over the harbour wall some of the caves cutting under the headland are accessible, but make sure you know the state of the tide before exploring outside the harbour! The huddled cottages and narrow streets of old Port Isaac are justly famous. Indeed, the narrowest thoroughfare in the world is here: Temple Bar, affectionately known as Squeeze-ee-belly Alley.
Follow the road up Roscarrock Hill and the Coast Path resumes, taking you round Lobber Point to Pinehaven. The beach at Pinehaven is a mass of rock pools in which the variety of marine life is both beautiful and fascinating. Paths from Pinehaven will take you to the road above Port Isaac, or to Port Quin either round the cliff edge or via Roscarrock Farm.
Port Quin is now inhabited again, mainly the converted fish cellars which are let as holiday accommodation by the National Trust, but for many years it was deserted. The remains of fishermen's hovels lurk in the hedgerows, a quiet reminder of the power of the ocean; for the village was abandoned when it's fishermen failed to return from the sea. On the cliffs above the cove a different sort of relic tops the headland. Doyden Castle, a small castellated folly built in 1830, is the whim of Samuel Symons of Gonvena: a retreat where he and his friends rode out to gamble and drink.
As a change from purely coastal walks, a footpath follows the Port Gaverne valley this will take you either to the village of Pendoggett, or you can make a circular walk by branching up the hillside to the hamlet of Trewetha, then taking the path down into the next valley, steep and wooded, past the site of the old Port Isaac Mill and into Port Isaac just above the harbour. Return through the village to the road down into Port Gaverne.
Wherever you wander from Gullrock there is so much to see. The scenic value of the land and sea is complimented by the varied flora and fauna it supports. And there is more information about all sorts of things in each bookcase, or from Malcolm.