The Cornish Legends that you have to investigate for yourself…
Cornwall is a place of mystery and magic. Many of the Cornish legends are so entwined into tradition that they are still remembered, spoken of and in some cases feared today.
Let your imagination run wild and come and explore the sites of these legends for yourself. All the rugged coastal settings for these tales are less than an hour from our front door…
The Tale of Mother Ivey
Mother Ivey’s Bay – 26 mins
Mother Ivey’s Bay is the epitome of paradise. Tucked away down quiet country lanes and protected by Trevose Head, which shelters the bay from the winds and swells of the North Coast, the calm waters of the bay sparkle turquoise and the sand is untouched and pristine. The headland boasts well maintained foot paths in both directions and on a clear day you can see all the way to St. Ives – 30 miles away across the sea!
It’s believed that Mother Ivey was a local witch who cursed the land at Trevose Head. The headland was owned by a rich, greedy family of pilchard farmers and, when they refused to feed the people of Padstow with their left over catch, the witch showed her wrath by putting a spell on their farm. Even to this day, people are cautious about working the land as many strange coincidences have occurred whenever people have tried…
The Mermaid of Zennor
Zennor – 52 mins
With beautiful coastal walks, stunning, untouched beaches and a cosy pub serving traditional, warming meals and fresh crab sandwiches alike, it’s well worth the drive down to deep west Cornwall, along the road less travelled to get to the location of our next legend.
The beautiful Mermaid of Zennor is still a prominent legend in the gorgeous mining village of Zennor. She is said to have fallen in love with a local boy when she heard his beautiful singing in the church and together, they ran away to the waves, never to be seen again! Many of the stories say you can hear their stunning songs from the caves below the village, where they supposedly live to this day with their mermaid children.
Crantock Cave Carvings
Crantock Beach – 15 mins
Located just outside Newquay, Crantock boasts the river Gannel which is home to lots of local wildlife and a huge sandy beach with heaps of space for happy dogs and sandcastle builders. The bay is hugely popular with surfers and swimmers and is lifeguarded in the busy summer months.
Visiting the cave carvings is a must-see when you’re in Cornwall. The incredible carvings are of a woman and her horse, etched into the rock by her lonely lover. The tale tells of a beautiful woman who was riding her horse along Crantock Beach when the tide suddenly came in and washed them both away. Her sweetheart was left behind, wandering the beach in the hope she would come back. Legend has it he used to wait in the cave, where he felt her presence was strongest. Alas, she’s said to have never returned, but the cave carvings that remain are a constant reminder of his love for her.
The Giant of Bedruthan
Bedruthan Steps – 20 mins
This stunning Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is home to a National Trust car park with plenty of parking and a cute little café serving delicious cream teas, cakes, home made pies and steaming coffee.
The footpath takes you along the striking coastline to 149 steps, carved into the cliff face that lead you down to the beach of Bedruthan. Scattered with caves and plenty of rock pools for sea anemone spotting and star fish gazing, legend has it that the rock stacks out to sea were used as stepping stones by the Giant Bedruthan to leap across the bays.
The Doom Bar
Padstow Estuary – 22 mins
Padstow is a gorgeous, traditional Cornish fishing village with lots of lovely cafés, pubs and shops. Today, Doom Bar is the name of a delicious local ale brewed by Sharps and taking the Padstow to Rock ferry across the Doom Bar is a lovely day trip for the whole family.
But this legend is a bit of a darker tale and tells of how the infamous Doom Bar in the Camel Estuary came about. The Doom Bar is a sunken bank in the centre of the estuary that, at low tide, can beach ships and cause strong rips and breaking waves in otherwise calm waters.
Variations of the story differ but they all tell of a beautiful mermaid that lived in the estuary who was killed by a local sailor. The motive of the man changes from storyteller to storyteller; some say he was in love with her and she refused to marry him, others say she was mistaken for a seal. Apparently, in her final moments of life, the mermaid cursed her home with a huge storm that whipped up the sea bed and formed the Doom Bar as we know it today.
So there you have it, our favourite tales of Cornish legends. Which ones do you believe?
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