With the sea on three sides and the Helford River to the north, the Lizard Peninsula is almost an island - a high plateau surrounded by sea and studded with numerous coves and beaches. For the visitor, the Lizard Peninsula has everything: spectacular cliff walks, water sports, pony trekking, crafts, golf and glorious sandy beaches. There are the picture book communities of Cadgwith and Coverack, the charming inland village of St Keverne, and the quaint harbour at Mullion Cove. And at Lizard village itself, the serpentine turners can be seen polishing their unusual stone. This surprisingly large area tends to attract visitors who want to get away from it all, it is the Attractions and varied walks which inspire most people.
As you approach from Helston, the usual rolling West Cornwall terrain gives way to much more open landscapes. The mine-engine houses which dominate so many of the surrounding areas are almost absent. The Lizard has always been regarded as that little bit different from the rest of Cornwall. The bays, sandy coves and rocky inlets provide some of the safest spots for bathing, sailing and windsurfing in Cornwall.
The dramatic dishes of the famous Satellite Earth Station dominate Goonhilly Downs, habitat of many rare species, and the 99 acres of Predannack Downs nature reserve are of botanical and archaeological interest. Technology is very much a part of this area with the wind turbines standing alongside the Satellite dishes contrasting with the windswept Attractions of the Downs. Unique and special are words easily applied to this area. The Lizard is a naturalist's delight. Spring usually comes early, and the lovely cliff walks offer a wide range of both rare and common flowers. Hedgerows are full of foxgloves, primroses and other spring flowers. Seals, basking sharks and dolphins are commonly seen, and most rock pools are full of interest.
The area is perhaps most rewarding for the ornithologist as there are many bird species - resident, summer visitors and passerines. Indian Summers are common in Cornwall and many migrant birds can be spotted. An introduction to the natural delights of the Lizard Peninsula can be enjoyed at the Countryside Centre at Trelowarren House.
At the gateway to the Lizard, Culdrose Royal Naval Air Station is the largest such base in Europe and plays an important role locally in air-sea rescue as well as holding a spectacular Air Day in July each year.
Mullion is the largest settlement on the Lizard. In the height of summer this is a bustling inland village which acts as an ideal base from which to explore. A short walk or drive brings you to picturesque Mullion Cove, or the sandy beaches of Polurrian, Poldhu and Gunwalloe. Follow the coastal footpath south for five miles and enjoy some of the most impressive coastal Attractions in Britain, including Kynance Cove where at low tide the golden sands can be a suntrap and the rock pools and caves an absolute paradise for children and adults alike to explore. Travel north and you come to Poldhu where the first radio signal was sent across the Atlantic, and Gunwalloe which has a beautiful church set amongst the sand dunes.
At Lizard Village you can buy a miniature serpentine lighthouse, and then stroll down to Lizard Point, the most southerly point in mainland Britain - to see the real thing, its 29 mile beam still alerting passing shipping to the dangers of the treacherous coastline. It is not unusual to see several large ships rounding the Lizard to enter or leave the English Channel - the maritime equivalent to the M25! Return in more stormy conditions and you will realise why so many have been wrecked off these shores. Before you leave, enjoy a home made pasty at the Lizard Pasty Shop, but make sure you order before you go walking!
Along the east coast you will discover wooded valleys and a scattering of hamlets and fishing coves. Villages such as St Martin, Cury, Porthoustock, Porthallow and Ruan Minor and family beaches like Kennack Sands and Coverack are all worth a visit. Fishing boats still set sail each day from coves such as Cadgwith and Coverack where there is a sheltered bay, ideal for most watersports. Once the haunt of smugglers and the occasional pirate, you are now more likely to see windsurfers and scuba divers. At the village of St Keverne lies a grim reminder of past wrecks where there are graves of 400 shipwrecked victims of the Manacles Reef.