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Minions
The exposed village of Minions on Bodmin Moor is in the centre of an area rich in mining and much older archaeological remains. A rich copper lode was discovered on the southern slopes of Caradon Hill in 1836 and by 1856 there were more than 20 active mines in the immediate vicinity; there are still many ruinous engine houses to be seen here today. To the north of the village is the extraordinary rock formation of the Cheesewring (‘If a man dreamt of a great pile of stones in a nightmare,’ wrote Wilkie Collins in his delightful Rambles Beyond Railways, ‘he would dream of such a pile as the Cheese-Wring’). Nearby are the ancient stone circles called the Hurlers in the midst of a ‘sacred area’ littered with standing stones, burial cairns and Bronze Age settlements.

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Morwenstow
In the wild far north of Cornwall, with its bleakly beautiful cliffs and wind-blasted settlements, the parish of Morwenstow feels like the edge of the known world. The poet Robert Stephen Hawker was the vicar here from 1834 to 1875; he is renowned for giving Christian burials to shipwrecked sailors and reviving the Harvest Festival, as well as for his poetry which he wrote in a driftwood hut on the cliff edge, now owned by the National Trust. His Gothic vicarage (with its chimneys modelled on the towers of his favourite churches) stands alongside the church of St Morwenna and St John in which there survives much fine Norman work.

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Mousehole
Perhaps the fairest of all Cornish harbour villages, the yellow-lichened houses of Mousehole, built of fine-grained Lamorna granite, huddle around its sturdy curving harbour on the western shore of Mount’s Bay and there is barely a jarring element to be seen. What is probably the oldest pier in Cornwall, dating from 1390 or thereabouts, is now incorporated into South Quay yet is still easily identifiable with its massive irregular blocks of stone. This was then the most important fishing port in Mount’s Bay and a market was granted here, proof of its prominence, as early as 1266. In 1595, 200 Spaniards landed at Mousehole and burned most of the village before moving on to torch Paul, Newlyn and Penzance. There is still scorched stone in Paul church and in some of the older buildings in Penzance. The story of Tom Bawcock, a fisherman who saved the village from starvation, is memorably celebrated on December 23rd – Tom Bawcock’s Eve – and is now more widely known through its retelling in the children’s book The Mousehole Cat.

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Mullion
The tiny embattled harbour at Mullion Cove on the forbidding western flank of the Lizard was not built until 1895, giving protection to the pilchard fishery which had developed here against all the odds. This is a most dramatic place even on a calm day, with great black cliffs towering all around and casting dark shadows on the turquoise water; in a westerly gale it is truly terrifying. On Angrouse Cliff , between the coves of Polurrian and Poldhu and just to the west of Mullion village, a memorial marks the site of Guglielmo Marconi’s first high-power wireless transmitting station. From here in 1901 was sent the first wireless message across the Atlantic.

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Mylor
Mylor Creek is a surprisingly peaceful, sequestered inlet off the Carrick Roads with the partly handsome village of Mylor Bridge at its head. At its mouth is the substantial harbour, thronged with yachts and dinghies, and the parish church of St Melorus with a wonderful Norman doorway and, outside the south porch, the largest cross in Cornwall, nearly half of which lies underground. The harbour, with its massive quays, was built as an Admiralty dockyard at the start of the 19th century to supply naval vessels with stores and ordnance and, later, to serve the training ship HMS Ganges, moored across the Roads in St. Just Pool from 1866 to 1899. The author Howard Spring lived here, in the churchtown, from 1939 to 1947.

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Click here for Cornish Towns, here for Myths and Legends and here for Cornish History.

Coming soon, the Cornish Accommodation Directory......

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