Best-selling author Liz Fenwick on her favourite things about Cornwall
PUBLISHED: 11:05 02 July 2019 | UPDATED: 11:05 02 July 2019
We all have our own ideas of what makes Cornwall so special – we ask those who have made The Duchy their home to share their favourite spots. First up is best-selling author Liz Fenwick
Nicknamed the Queen of the contemporary Cornish novel, bestselling author Liz Fenwick's latest novel explores the enduring mystery of Cornwall's coastline. But when not creating a fictional Cornwall, she can be found in a few of her real favourite spots.
Born in Massachusetts, Liz underwent ten international moves before she settled in Cornwall. She first visited the county in 1989 and bought her home here seven years later.
Her latest novel The Path to the Sea will please fans of Kate Morton and Barbara Erskine, evoking the mystery and wonder of the Cornish coast through the story of the Trewin women and their experiences at Boskenna, an imposing house on the Cornish cliffs, over several generations.
Do you remember your first impressions of Cornwall?
Yes! It was a late June weekend and the weather was scorching. I was overwhelmed with blue sea and sky and the lanes. Were roads really that narrow? I held my breath staring at the hedges in full bloom. I may have seen foxgloves before but they were so close and punctuating the sky like giant exclamation marks. The whole weekend was a case of beauty overload. The only negative for me was the water temperature. My then boyfriend, now husband, took me to remote beach on The Lizard and we swam... well, he did. I chickened out, only reaching my knees. Coming from Cape Cod where the Gulf Stream actually warms the water to 22C in summer the cool clear waters off this beach were too much for my thin American blood!! That weekend was the beginning of a love affair with the Duchy and it's just getting stronger maturing from infatuation to enduring love.
This is like asking my favourite book! My top walk is Frenchman's Creek and not just because my husband proposed on a walk there but because in the circular walk you glimpse the secrets of the creek, the towering pines at the top framing the Helford and Falmouth Bay and the woodland. I love the coastline around Prussia Cove it never fails to inspire awe. The walk up to Godolphin Hill shows a landscape shaped by man and nature. Everywhere you look you see man using the resources... mining, excavating the stone.
But it's the view from the top when you can see from St Ives to the Lizard and up along the spine of Cornwall that takes my breath away.
Porthpean - classic sandy cove hugged by cliffs on one side, Dollar Cove - you never know with this beach if you'll have sand or stone but there always rock pools and normally decent surf for body boarding, Church Cove - right next door is the sandy option and perfect in the off season, and all the little beaches along the Helford which is where I spend most of the summer, even swimming if it's hot enough.
So hard to choose! Porthminster Beach Café, Fat Apples Café (best breakfast), Shipwrights Arm's in Helford, Tresanton's summer barbecues...
Again so many but top this time is the View from Porthpean Beach looking to Gribben Head. I discovered this view when I was researching my latest book The Path to the Sea and I set the book in Porthpean House. I rented the house for a week and could barely take my eyes away from the view! The weather didn't matter it always drew my attention. I can't get enough of the view of the Helford sitting outside the Shipwrights... preferably with a Cornish gin and tonic in hand!
Favourite historical story about Cornwall (real or imagined)
It has to be Daphne du Maurier's Frenchman's Creek quickly followed by Wrecker by Noel O'Reilly and China Court by Rumer Godden.
What words sum up Cornwall for you?
Magic, mystery, myth, raw beauty and home.