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Holywell to Crantock Ramble

Not too shabby Cornwall, not too shabby at all…

When you wake up to a ferocious hail downpour and are prepared for a soggy ramble, but you in fact end up a hot and sweaty mess because it turned out glorious…you know the weather was on your side. Last Sunday, 34 wonderful folks joined me for a 5-mile ramble from Holywell Bay to Crantock, where we headed along the coast via The Kelseys, Polly Joke, and West Pentire.

Gull Rocks

The majestic twin islets that make up Gull Rocks off of Holywell Bay are formed from slate and are approximately 500 metres from the beach. Also known as Carter’s Rocks they and the beach are under the stewardship of the National Trust.

Holywell Bay owes its name to a spring fed well, which is said to cure those who bathe in it. In the past, parents would bring their sick children and dip them in the well in hopes of curing them. The Holy Well can be located in a cave near the north end of the beach, but it is only accessible at low tide.

The Kelseys

The Kelseys Headland is a scenic coastal area located near Holywell Bay, situated on the rugged coastline of Cornwall. The Kelseys Headland offers stunning panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean and the surrounding landscape. It's a popular destination for nature lovers, hikers, and outdoor enthusiasts seeking to explore the beauty of the Cornish coast. The Kelseys Headland is characterised by its dramatic cliffs, rocky shores, and wild, windswept scenery.

The headland is traversed by a network of coastal footpaths, providing opportunities for scenic walks and hikes along the rugged coastline. Hikers can enjoy panoramic views of the ocean, discover hidden coves and tidal pools, and spot local wildlife such as seals, dolphins, and seabirds. The Kelseys Headland is part of a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and is home to a rich variety of flora and fauna. Conservation efforts are in place to protect the area's unique habitats and species, ensuring that future generations can continue to enjoy its natural beauty.

The sun shone down on us as we marched up one side of the dunes (it’s chuffing knackering walking uphill in sand fyi) and across the tops with Holywell keeping us company until we turned the headland, and started making our way towards Polly Joke beach. Here, we stopped for a break and let the dogs splash about in the water, before heading along the coast to our next destination of Crantock.

Polly Joke

Polly Joke, also known as Porth Joke, is a picturesque cove located on the north coast between Holywell Bay and Crantock Beach. Access to Polly Joke is via a footpath from the nearby National Trust car park, which is located a short distance from the beach. The footpath involves a gentle downhill walk through fields and dunes, making it suitable for visitors of all ages and fitness levels.

Polly Joke is a hidden gem on Cornwall's north coast, offering visitors a peaceful and idyllic retreat away from the crowds. Whether you're seeking a quiet spot to relax and unwind or an opportunity to explore the natural beauty of the Cornish coast, Polly Joke is well worth a visit.

Poppies at West Pentire

Each year, typically in late spring and early summer, the fields and cliffs of West Pentire burst into bloom with vibrant displays of wild poppies. These bright red flowers create a striking contrast against the green grass and blue sea, painting the landscape with a vivid splash of colour.

In addition to the poppies, West Pentire is also home to a diverse range of wildlife, including seabirds, butterflies, and coastal plants. Birdwatchers may spot species such as fulmars, kestrels, and peregrine falcons nesting on the cliffs, while wildflowers such as thrift and sea campion add to the area's natural beauty.

Once we caught our breath at the top of the hill at The Bowgie Inn, we popped across to West Pentire and followed a more inland route across (and up 🥵) sandy fields, before dipping down into the dunes again…this is where I cursed myself for wearing black trousers! Our final stretch took us back into Holywell Bay and into the cafe, where some stopped for lunch. I checked out Imi Ola Cornwall who had set up in the Holywell NT car park in their quaint horse box, and treated myself to a mocha and Purdy a Puppachino. What a fantastic Sunday ramble with some truly magical ramblers.

As always, thank you to everyone who came along and joined me, I always leave a ramble with the biggest smile on my face, and today was no exception.

PS. I cannot wait to get back to West Pentire in June for poppy season. Keep your eyes peeled on the newsletter (subscribe over on the website) where I will be sharing details of an extra special poppy fields ramble with only a limited amount of spots available…

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