7 REASONS TO LOVE LISKEARD
PUBLISHED: 12:07 14 May 2014 | UPDATED: 13:04 30 August 2017
© John Martin / Alamy
Liskeard is a picturesque market town at the head of Cornwall's Looe Valley made famous by Mary Portas
AMANDA GOUGH discovers independent shopping, good food and gorgeous countryside in Liskeard
is an ancient stannary and market town in the south east of the county, lying seven miles above the beautiful fishing ports of Looe and Polperro. Mentioned in the Domesday book, Liskeard has been holding a market since 1240, which still continues today. This town is the seat of the Caradon District Council and although small, its population has expanded enormously in the last few years, yet it still retains a lot of its individual character, giving at least seven good reasons to live here.
Neil Austin, the owner of the Stove Shop, has been trading in Liskeard for 30 years. Neil says: 'Trading in Liskeard has always been good; its a nice town with good schools and lovely places to eat. Neil and his family moved to Liskeard in 1979, eventually setting up the Stove Shop on Pike Street.'
'Liskeard is also a popular home town for surfers and sailing enthusiasts as it is close to many of the popular beaches and resorts along the south Cornish coast'
Just before I left Liskeard I met Eric and Christine Sharp who moved to Liskeard about 39 years ago, and say they would never move anywhere else. They told me that they have seen a lot of changes over the years. Liskeard has become too big for the size of its town centre; the population was half the size it is now when we moved here.
1 Great location
Liskeard is conveniently located on the A38 and the main railway line from London to Penzance. Many people I spoke to in Liskeard find it a convenient place to live for commuting to the city of Plymouth for work. Liskeard is also a popular home town for surfers and sailing enthusiasts as it is close to many of the popular beaches and resorts along the south Cornish coast and at Plymouth Sound. It is also only about 15 minutes drive from Siblyback Lake, which is a popular watersports centre.
2 Surrounded by countryside
Liskeard is surrounded by beautiful countryside, and a popular natural local attraction is Golitha Falls, where you can take a walk through ancient woodland along the River Fowey. North of the town lies the rugged landscape of Bodmin Moor. At the Minions, and rooted in the towns history, are the remains of the copper mining industry. Many people I spoke to also mentioned how much they love the beautiful view from the Cheesewring, a natural stone formation on the moor
Liskeard's shops mainly comprise small independent businesses. Many of the shops specialise in local products and there are plenty of Cornish products to satisfy the tourist. Many shops still retain original Victorian shop fronts and interiors. Take a stroll along Fore Street and Pike Street and it is easy to recognise that Liskeard maintains a sense of character and originality.
There is a signposted trail around the Heritage sites in this ancient market town. You can pick up a map from Stuart House, Liskeards Arts and Heritage Centre. There are also over 100 distinctive Victorian buildings by the architect Henry Rice scattered throughout the town. You can follow a guide from the Henry Rice Society at Stuart House. Liskeard's library, adjacent to the Stuart House, and the Arts Centre itself were both designed by Henry Rice, as well as the museum on Pike Street and the Conservative Club on Church Street.
5 Great places to eat
Liskeard has more than its fair share of great places to eat for a small town. Many people told me about the popular new Table, Table family restaurant on the roundabout coming into the town. A popular caf on Pike Street is The Fat Frog, and pop into Tapenades if you fancy elegant surroundings and lovely food. The surrounding villages also have some popular places to eat including the Cartwheel Restaurant at Penhawger Farm and the Well House Restaurant in St Keyne.
6 Community spirit
Many people I spoke to feel that Liskeard has become run down over the last few years but there is a strong community spirit to change this and help the town expand as the population has grown and demand for more homes has increased. The Market has always played a central role in the town since medieval times and is an important community asset.
7 Good housing
House prices are still reasonable in Liskeard and the housing market is more stable than many other areas of Cornwall. Bradleys Estate Agents told me that houses are still selling in Liskeard and many small apartments are being bought as Buy to Let investments. At the top end of the market there are a few big properties selling for up to £525,000 with views over Bodmin Moor.
From Plymouth take the A38, Liskeard is clearly signposted. From Truro take the A390, which also leads direct to Liskeard through St Austell.