Inspirational Cornwall by author, Ruth Saberton

Cornish based author, Ruth Saberton, reveals the spots and charms of Cornwall that get her creative juices flowing and inspire her to write... 

Long before Ross Poldark galloped across the cliff tops the rugged scenery of Cornwall had already made a huge impression on writers. From restless waves edging sandy beaches to hidden smugglers’ coves and lonely engine houses, this county’s wild beauty inspires creativity.

Although I was born in London I’m now lucky enough to live and write in Polperro where I’m never very far away from breath-taking views or local legends to inspire my work.  My first novel was set in Cornwall and when TV’s Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan, neighbours from the next bay along the coast, came across my manuscript by chance they were kind enough to champion my book. The press thought this was a great story and my debut novel was featured in all the national newspapers.

And that’s the magic of Cornwall. It’s a levelling county where celebrities and fishermen rub shoulders in the pubs and where folk are more interested in village life than tabloid tales. It’s a place where dreams and holidays come together to make precious memories. Add to this a pinch of imagination, a dash of artistic licence and a sprinkling of colourful characters and my books practically write themselves.

So many locations and elements of life in Cornwall are woven through my books that it’s hard to know where to begin but here are five things about Cornwall that inspire me to write.


Cornish Islands

Childhood tales of islands, castles, secret coves and hidden treasure become reality in Cornwall. My book THE ISLAND LEGACY takes place on an island just off the Cornish coast– a setting inspired by the beautiful St Michael’s Mount and also Looe Island, once the home of two elderly sisters and now a wildlife reserve. Ruined castles, shifting tides and vanishing causeways make for a timeless setting while seals basking on the rocky shores and boat rides to smuggler’s coves add to the romance and magic of Cornish island life.  



Seagulls are as much a part of the soundtrack to my writing as breaking waves or chugging trawlers. Seagulls appear in all my books. Although they drive me crazy in spring, when every day brings a new battle in my Seagull Bin Bag War, the sound of their cries always transports me home. It’s impossible to imagine Cornwall without these beady eyed bin raiders tap dancing on the rooftops, nesting behind chimney stacks and dive bombing the unwary for ice cream.



The pretty fishing village of Polperro stars in many of my books. Narrow lanes with their evocative names, lichen-speckled roof tops, high harbour walls and higgledy-piggledy model village houses create the perfect backdrop for adventure and romance. The smuggler’s cave on the beach and legends of secret passageways under the village are the stuff of childhood adventures. I love to watch the water ebb and flow from the harbour and the fishing boats ride the tide while seagulls paddle in the shallows. I didn’t need to look far when imagining the setting of my Polwenna Bay books.


Secret Cornwall

Just few steps off the beaten track will uncover some lesser known attractions which inspire my writing. The Hurlers, a stone circle on Bodmin Moor, have an ancient energy shared by the many holy wells tucked away in half-forgotten spots where time seems to stand still. Ribbons and scraps of cloth are tied to bushes and small gifts left as offerings to saints. St Keyne Well near Looe is still known for the legend that whichever newly wed drinks from it first will have the upper hand in their relationship!


Bodmin Moor

Bleak and beautiful, Bodmin Moor is both awe inspiring and exhilarating. Hardy ponies crop the coarse grass and the sweep of sky and sharp air create a sense freedom. From small cottages clustered around weathered churches to isolated farmhouses, there’s the sense that people here claw a living from the wild land they have yet to tame. Bodmin Moor is shrouded in mysteries that fire a writer’s imagination. What’s that crouched on a stone wall or racing across the field? Is it the Bodmin Beast or just a trick of the light?