South Coast - Eastern AONB section
It is unusual in that it takes in both the town of Fowey to the west and the village of Polperro in the east.
From Par Sands the AONB runs out past Polkerris to Gribbin Head with its distinctive 80 foot high ships’ day-mark, behind, hidden by trees is Menabilly, once home to Daphne DuMaurier and the inspiration for Manderley in her novel 'Rebecca'. At the mouth of the Fowey River you will find St Catherine's Castle and Readymoney Cove before heading into the town that clings to the steep valley sides (as does the village of Polruan opposite). A popular sailing destination, it is the scene for a spectacular regatta every summer.
The Fowey River and its creeks run inland past the Bodinnick Ferry through dense (for Cornwall) woodland, mostly of ancient oaks. These woods hide the legends of Tristran and Isolde and the Tristan Stone and Iron Age Castle Dore lie nearby. They are also supposed to be the inspiration for the Wild Wood in Wind in the Willows. Venture up the creeks and you will find pretty villages like Lerryn, Penpoll and Golant.
On higher land between the creeks, the landscape is of scattered farms with field patterns dating back to medieval times. Occasionally a churchtown can be found such as at St Veep or St Winnow where the church sits by the waters edge, possibly one of the most tranquil spots in south-east Cornwall?
Back on the coast at Polruan with its ruined blockhouse on the waters edge, the coastal strip of the AONB runs an unspoilt seven miles to Polperro. Along the way you pass the stunning Lantic Bay, the beach a rewarding 20 minute steep climb down the cliff. West Coombe at Lansallos is another hidden secret, it's horseshoe beach a favourite with locals. From here to Polperro the South West Coast Path tests even the fittest walkers, with its ups and downs, but the reward is arriving at the picturesque fishing village, with its steep narrow streets and slate cottages, beloved by smugglers in the past.
Beyond Polperro, the bay at Talland is watched over by the parish church, tucked into the hillside. The AONB continues a short distance towards Looe, stopping at Portlooe where the valley runs down to Old Mill Cove where a waterfall flows onto the beach.