Across the other side of St. Ives Bay you can just make out a small island with a lighthouse - Godrevy. To get a closer look it’s possible to drive around to Godrevy Point and park up, but there’s another, and better way, to get up close to it - by boat.
The Dolly P operates out of St. Ives harbour and is a 10m long fibreglass boat with a capacity to carry 12 passengers. It has a powerful engine that will whisk you across the bay in no time. The journey takes about an hour and follows the coastline for one part of the journey and a direct white knuckle ride across the bay for the other. It doesn’t always follow the same pattern as to which way round they do it.
The lighthouse on Godrevy Island was built to protect shipping from the ‘Stones’, a nasty set of rocks a mile long that are half submerged at high tide. Between 1838 and 1858 there were at least 16 wrecks on these rocks and in 1854 when the steamship ‘The Nile’ became another casualty with the loss of everyone on board (25 crew and 10 passengers), Trinity House agreed that a lighthouse was needed. Although the preference for shipping was to have a rock tower lighthouse on The Stones reef, it was eventually agreed that Godrevy Island would be a cheaper and more practical alternative and was completed in 1859.
The island is home to a small colony of Grey Seals and was also the inspiration for Virginia Woolfe’s book ‘To the Lighthouse’. I haven’t read it but from what I can gather, although the plot was based on the Isle of Skye, her connection with her parents’ house in St. Ives and the time she spent there formed the basis of the book’s storyline.
- Sailing and Boating
- Family Travel
The island of Godrevy in St Ives Bay got its famous lighthouse in 1859, after yet another ship and its passengers and crew had been lost on the already infamous Stones Reef outside it in 1854. Today it is fully automatic and solar powered and what you see is the 26 metre tower which is visible from St Ives itself a little more than three miles away. If you go on a boat trip from there, you will also find that the island is home to several types of birds. Godrevy's biggest claim to fame is none of this though, but the fact that it features as the lighthouse in Virginia Woolf's "To the Lighthouse" which itself is set in Scotland but this is what inspired her to embed it in the story.
- Sailing and Boating
A most wonderful village, Zennor is perhaps not stricly off the beaten path since buses stop here between Land's End/St Just and St Ives, but so many people miss it when they get stuck in St Ives itself so I have chosen to put it here. The countryside around the village is really ancient and you can see old Celtic farmland patterns from 3000 BC and onwards all around you in the form of tiny plots encircled by stone walls. On top of that, there are old monuments scattered everywhere too such as stiles and stone formations. Some of the smaller ancient finds from these times can be seen in the Wayside Museum (closed in winter) in a 16th century water mill in the village itself which also has a hostel and some other accommodation if you want to stay (D.H. Lawrence loved it so much he got a house here for a while). Further on there is also the Gurnard's Head which has become famous as a gastropub in later years.
A famous legend is that of a local mermaid who got one of the local boys. This is today cherished in a lot of ways, not least by the local ice cream makers Moomaid of Zennor (has a parlour in St Ives). Perhaps you too will find legends here if you go walking. The South West Coast Path passes the village so quite a few hikers find it and the paths are open all year round for those who want to see scenery enough to make you religious and break down in tears - tears that can roll all the way down to the Atlantic you have as a backdrop...
- Historical Travel
- Hiking and Walking
Pedn Olva Hotel Lookout bar
The Pedn Olva Hotel has a couple of great places to have a drink with a sea view.
As well as the rooftop bar that you can see, there is also another outside bar near the swimming pool, which overlooks the sea and Portminster Beach. This isn't obvious to non-residents of the hotel, but is open to the public until 6pm. Ask at the bar, then turn right and walk thru the dining room.
The bar itself also has a great windowed area for watching the sea when the weather isn't so good - this is open to non-residents all day - just go down a couple of steps by the right of the bar.
If you walk from the Harbour towards Portminster Beach, you'll pass the hotel.
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- Women's Travel
Breathe in some fresh air
Well, most people tend to drive to Land's End, take a look through the Telescope and tick it off the list but we found this alternative a lot more enjoyable.
Take the coastal road from St Ives down to Sennens Cove and park up at the Car Park there on top of the beach. Then take a walk though the village and up the other side along the Coast to Land's End.
You pass a couple of lovely shops - one in particular looked like a Medieval Round House and had some great curios. It's probably about 2 miles or so and it's a really pleasant walk past an old shipwreck gets you away from the hustle and bustle of St Ives.
- Hiking and Walking