Kingsand and Cawsand

posted in: Sally Atkins Artist | 0

Back on the road after a week of contemplation and sadness.


Day two of my big sketching project meant I was up early and arrived in Kingsand at 10am, having driven through low grey clouds and mizzle I nearly turned around twice but was determined to get some more work done so I carried on driving hoping the light would improve and the clouds would be blown away. I was so early even The Salty Dog cafe was still shut so couldn’t even stop for a coffee.

On arrival at Kingsand the road to Cawsand was closed, slight apprehension as I wanted to do both towns at the same time…… I drove down into Kingsand and into the car park, unfortunately I’d given Dave all my change this morning so I decided to see if there was anywhere I could park… I turned and continued down on to the narrow one way Garrett Street, which at some points it’s only 7 feet wide and even my little yellow car felt large driving down the road. I wondered whether I would find anywhere to park which was a NO, and emerged in the square at Cawsand. Every where was closed and quiet except a group of Gig rowers, getting all the oars out of the rowing shed. They were a welcome sign of life in what was a closed town. Cawsand is much smaller than Kingsand and because of it’s road closure was excessively quiet. But I parked up in the square and sketched one of my planned buildings – the low old single storey building that backs onto the beach… called, appropriately, The Bungalow. I will be doing some research in to the origins of this building later.

I walked to the beach to see the Gig racers but they were nowhere to be seen, just one person walking their dog on the sands, I took photos and looked more closely at the lovely ceramic tiles in the Cawsand Ferry shelter… beautiful. Attached to the high wall protecting the town from the worst of the winter storms stood a little brick and wooden building probably dating back to the mid 20thC called the Fisherman’s Rest. It nestled in the protection of the wall with a wooden bench facing the sea.

It was starting to rain so I got in the car and I chanced the normal but ‘closed’ road just in case it was still passable which led me up along the edge of Cawsand Fort overlooking the bay, but the road was REALLY closed so I pulled in by the cenotaph to look over the buildings below me. There was a shell of a building with just the front elevation still standing which must have been on Garratt Street, well worth more investigation. Back in the car I looked at the map as I really wanted to get back to Kingsand and not have to drive to Crafthole to get back on the main road. There was a tiny lane that ran behind the town and Cawsand Fort back towards Kingsand. I took it and it climbed high up and over the hill that separates the two bays, I drove back down the road into Kingsand and stopped outside the Spar for some change – which they didn’t have, oh well I have a magazine to enjoy later!

Still without the change for the car park I drove up another slender lane towards the Rising Sun pub and there was my next sketch – Penlee Narrows – I’d seen it on Google Street view and was so pleased to be able to park the car and sketch it. The owner drove past me and thought I was interested in buying it as it was for sale, when I said I was sketching it he told me how it came to be so narrow. The Canon family ran out of space in their existing home and decided to building in the alleyway which is how the house came to be. I had a sneaky look on the internet at the interior and it is very cleverly done inside. The owner said that at the other end of the alleyway was another building squeezed into the space!

I drove back down into the town and back into the car park just as the Car park attendant drove off. Safe in the knowledge I had time to get some change I trapsed off to the Post Office gift shop and got what I needed. I am glad I parked there as walking back to the main road there is this amazing cottage that is called Dovecote – I wonder why!?

I walked back past the Post Office and towards the Clock Tower that sits on the edge of the sea, the houses all around seemed to be holiday lets as the shutters were locked and the floor defence boards were in place. I was now desperate for a coffee so I walked along The Cleave, the cafe was closed (possibly for good from the looks of it!) and so I went into the pub The Devonport Inn. Locals were gathered round the roaring open fire and it was a lovely welcoming pub. I sat and had a coffee and stared out of the window looking out to sea… it was so calming. Once warmed by the coffee I walked further on and round to a little separate part of The Cleave and the houses were huddled for the winter, the shutters closed tight on some and open with renters enjoying the serenity of a winter week in Cornwall. Loads of photos were taken and sketches will be done of some of these as well as the ones I’ve already done ‘live’.

Retracing my steps I diverted up a narrow lane to find a beauty of an old cottage and just a little further up I recognised the row of cottages where Penlee Narrows sat. Back down the hill on the sea front and along to near where the car park was located, I kept walking along the road I had driven down to Cawsand and found a lovely cafe that will be open in February… no good for me now! I kept walking and climbed up the incline past holiday let after holiday let, then came to the building I had spotted from above, it was an old pub that had burned down in 2013, just the front was intact. I peered through the wire mesh across the windows to see the side walls still had evidence of wallpaper and where fire places were. This was The Old Ship and on the shuttered door was the hand written inscription ‘Dreams are Written’, such an inspiring phrase. A community trust owns the site and they are hoping to recreate the pub, adding a cafe, a heritage centre and 4 flats. I wish them well.

By now I’d nearly walked to Cawsand and could see the Cross Keys Inn which sits on the square I had been to earlier, so I turned tail and walked back. I stopped off at the Halfway House pub for an overpriced sandwich and then got back into the car, by now my feet were aching, but I felt chuffed for walking so much.

I drove out of Kingsand back along Garratt Street into Cawsand then out on the road that takes you along the coast towards Freethy which is where I wanted to stop next. Or rather just before Freethy, the Cliff Top Cafe to be precise. There are dozens of wooden chalets painted black and brown that cling to the steep cliffside of Widesand Bay, I thought with it being January and my experience just down the road that the cafe would be closed so just took my phone with me to take photos… it was open and really busy. How I wished I’d waited and come here for some lunch! I walked gingerly down the uneven steps made out of naturally placed stone boulders interspersed with some manmade concrete ones then edged down the steep slope to get some lovely shots of the chalets… another sketch to be done later. The clouds were dark to my left looking West and out to sea they hung heavy but just where I stood the sun was pushing it’s way through the greyness and the sea was sparkling, the misty horizon meant the sea and sky merged, I sat on the look out benches and just took in the view. It was fabulous.

By the time I climbed back up to the road I was getting tired… those steps were really steep for my little legs! I drove into Crafthole and decided to add this to my list. I parked up and hobbled (feet were really aching now!) around the single street that makes up the place with the great name. I took loads of photos and met a lovely lady who lives in the old Forge, and opposite was Wren Cottage. Definitely sketching material in Crafthole.

I drove then down to Downderry which was also on my list, however it’s really devoid of any really interesting buildings (if anyone knows any different please share!) I went to look at the Inn on the Beach but it looked as if it was closed down and was not the building I thought it would be, very 1980s. Disappointed I drove on to Seatton which has the most beautiful beach and a selection of new holiday builds, but as I drove out of the village I spotted a 1930s bungalow with a veranda which made up for the lack of suitable buildings to sketch.
From here I followed the road towards Looe then turned off towards Liskeard… away from the coastal road and back inland. Back onto the A38 and on towards the Tanhouses and back to Lostwithiel. Totally knackered – sorry shattered!

Today I woke up and was aching everywhere…. so have lazed about whilst Dave went out on his scooter to Mevagissey. A treat was coffee and scone at Q Street when Dave came home, where I started the blog.

Sally xx

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