5 Fascinating Facts About the Lizard Peninsula
October 19th, 2020
The Lizard Peninsula is the most southern part of the UK, standing out for its unique geology and rock formations. Its rugged, rocky coastline is believed to contain rock which dates to over 500 million years old!
What is the Lizard Peninsula?
Almost an island of its own, the Lizard Peninsula is an impressive rocky headland surrounded by ocean on three of its sides with the Helford River to the North.
Situated on the South West Coast Path, it is a popular spot for walkers who come to marvel at its beauty as they enjoy a spot of adventure during their Cornwall short breaks.
It’s beautiful landscape not only attracts the attention of visitors, but the unique area is a hot spot for scientists as well! We explore its incredible history and offerings with our top selection of fascinating facts!
The Origins of Its Name is Not What You Assume
Despite its mysterious title, the name ‘Lizard’ unfortunately doesn’t derive from mystical origins.
Neither does the name come from the Serpentine rock which the area is renowned for. The surface of Serpentine transforms into a snake and scaly like surface once polished.
The roots of its name are relatively ambivalent, but one proposal is that it comes from the Cornish term ‘Lys Ardh’ which means ‘high court’.
Another suggestion is that the name has connections to the Cornish word ‘lezou’ which is translated to ‘headland’.
Image Credit: Visit Cornwall
Home to the UK’s Most Southerly Lighthouse
As the most southerly point in the UK, it comes as little surprise that it also boasts the UK’s most southerly lighthouse.
Previous to the lighthouse’s construction in 1752, the coast of the Lizard was a dangerous area for ships and was titled the ‘Graveyard of Ships’. The spot is now home to the Lizard Lifeboat Station.
Mainland Britain’s Largest Outcrop of Serpentine
As mentioned, the Lizard Peninsula has been a point of interest for scientists and geologists.
It isn’t uncommon to see many university students visit the area as the rocks here are not found in nearby locations.
One distinct rock is Serpentine. The Lizard Peninsula is mainland Britain’s most significant outcrop of the rock. It’s striking appearance was reportedly favoured by Queen Victoria which heightened the industry in the 19th-century.
Best Preserved Exposed Ophiolite in the UK
Another area of geological interest at the Lizard Peninsula is the ophiolite.
The Lizard Peninsula is heralded as UK’s top spot to see the best-preserved source of exposed ophiolite.
An ophiolite is a unique form of rock formation which is produced from the Earth’s oceanic crust pushed onto the continental crust. It is often green in colour.
The parts of ophiolite include:
• The serpentinites
• The ‘oceanic complex’
• The metamorphic basement
An ophiolite can be found in the mountain belts of locations such as the Himalayas and the Alps, and amazingly you can also see it in Cornwall!
Image Credit: Visit Cornwall
It’s an Area of Outstanding Beauty
The Lizard Peninsula has received many awards for its stunning landscape and is a heavily protected area. It is largely recognised as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), as well as providing eight Sites of Special Scientific Interest. These awards and sites are specifically bestowed to protect the geology and wildlife of the area.
The Lizard Peninsula is cared for and under the ownership of a variety of organisations including the National Trust, Cornwall Wildlife Trust and Natural England.
Off land, the surrounding ocean at the Manacles has been awarded as a Marine Conservation Zone which is rich in marine biodiversity.
The Lizard Peninsula is a stunning, natural and protected area, providing the ultimate location for wildlife to blossom. What are your favourite facts about the Lizard Peninsula? Which has not been covered in our blog? Why not share your thoughts on our social media channels; we would love to know!
7 Beaches to Visit on the Lizard Peninsula
August 10th, 2020
The most southerly point of both Cornwall and mainland Britain, The Lizard Peninsula is an incredible area of coastline that offers wonderful walks, opportunities to spot wildlife and plenty of beaches to enjoy.
Anywhere you go on The Lizard Peninsula is going to be beautiful and can provide a full day of exploration, but if you’re looking for a few pointers on where to go, then this guide should help you out!
We’ll start with one of the best-loved beaches in the area – if not the whole of Cornwall – Kynance Cove! Kynance Cove is located on the western side of the Peninsula, and just one look will make you realise why this spot is so popular!
Here, nestled under a dramatic cliff, sits a gorgeous sandy cove that meets the azure shore. The beauty of this area makes it a favourite for photographers. It’s also the perfect place for families to go and enjoy a traditional day at the beach, complete with sandcastle building and splashing in the sea.
The beach is accompanied by parking, toilets and refreshments, making it easy to spend a whole day here. Between 1st October and Easter Sunday, dogs are allowed on the beach too, so if you’re visiting in autumn or winter, you can enjoy this area with your pup in tow!
Also on the western side of the Lizard Peninsula sits Mullion Cove. At low tide, a beach is revealed here and offers a safe spot for swimming or paddling.
Mullion Cove has its own parking, toilets and refreshments, making it a perfect spot for families or full days out when these facilities come in very handy!
Located in the village of Cadgwith, the cove comprises of two shingle beaches. While not the place for building sandcastles, it’s the perfect spot for watching the water – you may even see the local fisherman at work!
The east side of the beach welcomes dogs all year round, so head here if you’ve bought your pup along for the journey too.
A beach perfect for families, Kennack Sands has dunes, rock pools and a sandy stretch ideal for building sandcastles. During the summer, the beach has lifeguards on duty, making for a safer beach experience for your family.
The beach also features toilets, parking and refreshments, so you’re sorted if you fancy an ice cream by the sea!
Dollar Cove gets its name from the silver dollars that were found on the beach in the past, from the wreck of a 17th-century ship. Some head here to hunt for further treasures, but most find treasure enough in the stunning scenery here.
Dollar Cove is surrounded by an impressive ancient rock formation that makes for a unique landscape. The sandy beach is dog-friendly year-round.
Gunwallow Beach is particularly popular with families of young children, as it is easily accessible, is lifeguarded and has plenty of facilities, including toilets and refreshments.
Perfect for those who love to get in the water too, Gunwalloe Beach is also very popular as a surfing spot.
Located between Kynance Cove and Lizard Point, Caerthillian Cove is a rocky inlet perfect for enjoying the views! Only a small amount of sand appears at low tide, so this isn’t really the spot for a family beach day, but the grassy area above the cove is perfect for picnicking!
Bird lovers are fond of Caerthillian Cove, with enthusiasts visiting with the hope of catching a glimpse of the Cornish chough, which can be spotted here.
If you’d like to explore the Lizard Peninsula, but sea swimming isn’t for you, our holiday cottages with pool, Cornwall will serve as the perfect base for your Cornish exploration!
Image Credit: Visit Cornwall