South Coast - Western AONB section
This is the second largest section of the Cornwall AONB at 192 sq km, running from Marazion all the way to the outskirts of Falmouth and taking in the Lizard Peninsula.
In the west the spectacular bulk of St Michael’s Mount dominates the bay. Just inland a few wetlands and reedbeds still exist including the RSPBs Marazion Marsh (just outside the AONB). Along the coast, the land ascends and falls, secretive Prussia Cove, fast-eroding Praa Sands, spectacular Rinsey Head, and onto Porthleven, famous for being battered by winter storms. Just to the east lies the Penrose Estate and Loe Pool, held back from the sea by a sand and shingle bar.
The landscape rises to the Lizard Peninsula - an exposed upland with open grassland and maritime heath. This is interspersed with intricately patterned fields many mediaeval and some prehistoric.
On the western and southern sides there are high cliffs and intimate coves - Kynance Cove is especially well known – interspersed with small fishing villages. To the east the land is gentler with wooded valleys falling down to the Helford estuary. The geology of the Lizard takes in granite, slate, gabbro and hornblende schist and, of course, the famous Serpentine rock.
Inland on the Lizard, there are small farms, Bronze Age barrows, standing stones and visually dominant later structures such as Goonhilly Earth Station and wind turbines. From the wooded Helford estury the land rises again to farmland, small woods and the villages of Constantine and Mawnan Smith, then descends to the beach at Maenporth and the nature reserve at Swanpool where this AONB section ends on the edge of Falmouth.
- Coverack / Falmouth / Helston / Marazion / Mullion / Porthleven / The Helford
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