1. From the corner of the car park nearest the buildings, follow the path alongside the stream towards the sea and onto the lane. Then turn left and follow the lane uphill until, just past Trevose House, you reach some steps leading to a slate stile on your right.

    Port Quin is a tiny cluster of fisherman's cottages around a sheltered inlet in Port Isaac Bay. In the early 19th century, the settlement of Port Quin had upwards of 20 houses but was then suddenly deserted. There is a local legend that one night, a violent gale sank the entire fishing fleet, leaving 32 women widowed. The name is a corruption of the Cornish "Porth Gwynn" which means "white cove". Portwenn - the Anglicised version of this - is used as the name of the fictional village in the ITV Comedy Drama series "Doc Martin". The harbour itself was used for filming the 1970s Poldark series.

    There is a cave under the ruined building beside Quay cottage with a shaft leading up from the cave that is thought to have been used by smugglers.

  2. Cross the stile and keep right to follow the path downhill. Follow the path past a waymark on the edge of the inlet until you reach a waymark signposted to Epphaven.

    The tiny castellated building on Doyden Point is fittingly known as Doyden Castle. When you reach the Epphaven waymark, you can follow the track to the right to have a closer look and return to the waymark to continue on the route.

    On the end of Doyden Point at Port Quin, is a small castellated building known appropriately as Doyden Castle. Doyden Castle is a cliff-edge folly built in 1830 which was allegedly used for decadent gambling parties. The sheer cliff edges and (at the time) unfenced mineshafts would presumably have been more than a little hazardous for drunken revellers. It's now owned by the National Trust and let as holiday accommodation. The wine bins still remain on the lower ground floor.

  3. At the waymark, follow the path ahead waymarked to Epphaven to reach a track by a pillar. Follow the path opposite to the mineshaft, fenced with a ring of upright slates.

    The Cow and Calf are two rocks directly out from Port Quin; one rock is larger than the other - hence the name. They are the topmost part of a reef rising approximately 10 metres from the sea bed which is entirely submerged at high tide, but breaks the surface at low tide.

  4. From the mineshaft, continue along the coast path, through a pair of gates, until you reach a stile at Trevan Point.

    There were two mines at Port Quin. Near Doyden Point, there are mineshafts of Gilson's Cove Mine either side of the coast path. This was a mixed lead/silver and antimony mine from which a little copper ore was also extracted. One shaft goes down to sea level, the other deeper. Between the two shafts where the coast path runs is the remains of the platform for a horse-powered winding device, known as a whim, which was used to haul ore up from the mine. Further inland is Port Quin mine which was solely an antimony mine.

    Antimony is in the same chemical group as tin, lead and mercury and was used in alloys, particularly with these metals, including solder and printing lead. Like lead and mercury, it is toxic if ingested (which wasn't known at the time), so mining it was probably not a recipe for a long life.

  5. Cross the stile and follow either of the paths ahead, which join after a short distance. Follow the path down the valley until you reach a waymark to Epphaven.

    Dartmoor ponies, bred for hauling goods, have been recorded living on the wild and inhospitable moors since the Middle Ages. They are unsurprisingly a very hardy breed and have a lifespan of around 25 years. Over the 20th Century, their numbers declined from just over 25,000 in the 1930s to about 5,000 by the start of the 21st century when only around 800 ponies were known to be grazing the moor. Dartmoor ponies have recently found a new niche as conservation grazers. As well as on moorland, they are used by the Wildlife Trusts to graze the coast to prevent bracken and gorse taking hold.

  6. At the waymark, keep right along the coast path and descend into the valley beside the beach (Epphaven Cove), to reach another waymark.

    Epphaven Cove is submerged at high tide, and is rocky until the lowest part of the tide when a sandy beach is revealed. At low tide, the beach merges with the adjacent beaches to form a continuous strip of sand around Lundy Bay.

  7. Continue ahead on the coast path, through the gate, in the direction waymarked to The Rumps. Follow the waymarked path until you reach a waymark signposted to Pentire Point and Porteath at the next beach (Lundy Bay).

    On 15 December 1979, the wind had been blowing westerly force 11 since the previous day and that morning had reached force 14 on the anemometer at RAF St Mawgan. Padstow lifeboat station was informed that the Greek vessel Skopelos Sky, three miles north west of Trevose Head, had transmitted a mayday distress signal and needed immediate help. The cargo had shifted in the huge sea and consequently the ship had a dangerous list. Due to the massive waves, which the lifeboat's coxwain described as "like being an insect in a ploughed field", rescue with the lifeboat was impossible as one moment it was alongside the ship's deck and the next beside the propellers. Consequently, the ship's crew had to be rescued by helicopter. The last man remaining aboard - the captain - was winched clear of the deck, seconds before the ship was hit by a huge breaker and rolled onto the rocks at Doyden Head. The ship has now been totally smashed to pieces by the sea with some wreckage buried in the sand and some amongst the cliffs.

  8. Turn left onto the path waymarked to Porteath and follow it until it eventually ends at a stile.

    Lundy Bayis situated on the east side of The Rumps headland and consists of 3 small beaches. The leftmost two are sometimes known as Lundy Beach and between them there is a collapsed cave, forming an arch opening onto the beach. At high tide, the beaches are rocky, but at low tide, beautiful golden sand is revealed.

    Due to the north-facing bay and steep cliffs, it's quite sheltered from a southwesterly wind. The result is that when there is a good size swell, there can be some quite clean surf here near low tide when the westerly-facing beaches are blown out. The beach slopes more steeply than many of the west-facing surf beaches, so rides tend to be short.

  9. Cross the stile and bear left slightly to the highest point of the field to reach a waymarked gate in the middle of the far hedge.

    If there are sheep in the field and you have a dog, make sure it's securely on its lead (sheep are prone to panic and injuring themselves even if a dog is just being inquisitive). If the sheep start bleating, this means they are scared and they are liable to panic.

    If there are pregnant sheep in the field, be particularly sensitive as a scare can cause a miscarriage. If there are sheep in the field with lambs, avoid approaching them closely, making loud noises or walking between a lamb and its mother, as you may provoke the mother to defend her young.

    Sheep may look cute but if provoked they can cause serious injury (hence the verb "to ram"). Generally, the best plan is to walk quietly along the hedges and they will move away or ignore you.

  10. Go through the gate and follow the left hedge of the field to a waymarked gate just before the buildings.

    Clover is a native plant and a member of the legume (pea and bean) family. It is also sown as a fodder crop and as "green manure" as it improves soil fertility. The two most common species are known simply as white clover and red clover, based on the colour of their flowers, with the latter generally being a slightly larger plant. Red clover leaves also have a white V shape.

  11. Go through the gate and bear right onto a track. Follow the track until you reach the Bee Centre car park.

    Chickens are descended from junglefowl and those in Britain came originally from India. They evolved the ability to lay large numbers of eggs to take advantage of gluts of food that occur in their native forests. It is thought they were introduced to Britain by Iron Age tribes who bred them for fighting rather than meat and cockfighting remained Britain's national sport until 1835. During the mediaeval period, more placid forms of chicken were bred that were less hazardous to farm but it wasn't until the 17th Century that chickens and eggs were farmed on a mass scale. In Britain, over 10 billion eggs are now consumed every year.

  12. Exit the car park, past the Bee Centre and over the cattle grid, to reach a gap in the hedge on your left, just before the main road.

    Porteath Bee Centre, on the road to Polzeath, has been open since 1970 and has grown from a hobby into a business. The Centre offers a shop to buy honey, a tea room for Cornish cream teas, candle making and bee supplies to start your own.

    The name is likely to be from the Cornish Porth Treth, meaning "sandy cove" and presumably referring to nearby Lundy Bay. The name of the settlement of Portreath (with an "r") near Redruth has similar origins.

  13. Go through gap in the hedge (if overgrown, you may be able to go through the gate instead if open) and bear left to follow the track along the fence to a gate. Go through this into the main area of the field then follow along the left hedge to a gateway.

    Lichens are a partnership of two different organisms: a fungus providing the "accommodation" and an alga or cyanobacterium providing the "food" through photosynthesis. The fungal partner provides a cosy, sheltered environment for the alga and tends it with mineral nutrients. However, the alga partner is more than simply an imprisoned food-slave: it is such a closely-evolved alliance that the fungus is dependant on the alga for its structure. If the fungal partner is isolated and grown on an agar plate, it forms a shapeless, infertile blob.

  14. Go through the gate and follow the left hedge to a stile.

    The reason that you may see scruffy sheep with wool falling off is that due to cheap man-made synthetic (plastic) fibres, demand for wool declined through the late 20th and early 21st centuries resulting in many sheep not being shorn due to the low wool price.

    As well as being environmentally-friendly, wool fibre has a number of technical properties that synthetic fibres lack including fire-resistance and the ability to absorb and release moisture. Some novel high-tech uses are now being found for it including biodegradable ground cover matting to control soil erosion. As concerns grow over the effects of plastics in the environment, this may also lead to a renaissance in natural fibres including wool. It may therefore not be too long before demand increases and fields are once again full of neatly-shorn sheep.

  15. Cross the stile and turn left onto the lane. Follow it back to Port Quin.

    The land around Port Quin was bought by National Trust in 1956. The land between Doyden Point and Trevan Point was bought in 1984 with funds from the National Trust's Project Neptune and the Cornwall Fund, completing the acquisition of a 6 mile stretch of coastline from Port Quin to Pentireglaze Haven.

    Project Neptune was started by the National Trust in 1965 to purchase and protect large portions of the British coastline. By 1973 it had achieved its target of raising £2 million and 338 miles of coastline were looked-after. The project was so successful that it is still running although mainly focused on maintenance. There is still an occasional opportunity when privately-owned coastal land is sold. A particularly notable one was in 2016 when the land at Trevose Head was put up for sale and successfully purchased by the National Trust.

Wild Fennel grows in and around the car park at Port Quin.

Originally from the Mediterranean, fennel has naturalised in the UK, particularly in coastal areas and is recorded as far back as the 10th century.

The Greek word for fennel is "marathon"; the name of the sporting event originates from a battle which took place in a field of fennel.

The leaves, seeds and also flowers of the wild fennel can be used in cooking. Of these, the flowers are the most potent and also the most expensive to purchase.

Whizz half a red onion, a couple of sprigs of wild fennel leaves and a glove of garlic in a (small) food processor. Whizz in one fillet of smoked mackerel (skinned), juice of half a lemon and a pinch of salt + freshly ground black pepper. Finally whizz in some cream cheese (for a paté) or crème fraîche (for a dip) a spoonful at a time until the desired consistency (thickness) is reached.

Mussels are filter feeders and their "foot" is used to generate threads which they use to anchor themselves to rocks. Mussels clump together both to create a more secure attachment to the rock and also to trap water at low tide.

Mussels are preyed on by dog whelks which dissolve a hole in their shell, through which they inject digestive enzymes which result in mussel soup. Mussels have evolved a defensive strategy whereby they lasso invading whelks with their threads and tether them to the rocks, where the whelks starve to death.

Fortunately, consumption of mussels by humans is a little less fraught with danger provided you don't harvest them between May and August: a species of plankton that is poisonous to humans can be hoovered up by the mussels in this period. Make sure you collect more mature mussels of at least 50mm in length as smaller ones are less good to eat. It's worth studying the tides to get the beach for a low spring tide as this is when you'll find the biggest, juiciest mussels. Ideally, take a bucket and bring your mussels home in clean seawater. Once harvested, soak them for a few hours somewhere cool in clean saltwater to allow them to purge any sand (don't submerge them in freshwater as this will kill them). Sort through them, tapping any that are open on a surface to see if they close shut. Discard any that remain open or any that are damaged (they have perished and are not safe to eat). Before cooking, mussels must be thoroughly cleaned and rinsed and the "beard" (threads that secure the mussel to the rock) should be removed.

There are two types of anemone that you're likely to encounter on Cornish beaches. The most common are those that look like red blobs out of the water, known as beadlet anemones; in the water they open into a crown of tentacles. The little blue beads around the edge that give them their name are fighting tentacles, used to beat up rival anemones and chase them out of their territory (they can move around the on rocks albeit very slowly). The other species is larger, green-and-purple snakelocks anemone which has tentacles that contain a fluorescent green algae which glows under UV light (should you own a battery-powered UV lamp and be on the beach at night). Anemones are very long-lived, often reaching 60-80 years and more. They do not age and have the potential to live indefinitely if they are not eaten by predators.

Blackthorn trees were planted as hedges to keep out cattle and they are still common in Cornish hedgerows today. Given the right conditions, a blackthorn tree can live 100 years and grow to about 20ft in height. In harsher environments such as by the coast the bushes may be as little as 2ft tall.

In mediaeval times, blackthorn was associated with evil and a bad winter is sometimes known as a Blackthorn Winter. This may also tie in with the English word "strife" which has Celtic origins. The letter Straif used in Celtic Ogham script was originally the word for "sulphur". In late mediaeval times, a retrospective assignment of trees to letters in the alphabet used for Ogham that weren't already tree names became popular (sometimes known as the "tree alphabet") and blackthorn was chosen for Straif.

Blackthorn stems are often covered in fungi or bacteria and if a thorn punctures skin, these can sometimes cause infection. Any splinters left in the skin can also disintegrate over time and result in an immune response. If a puncture wound becomes infected, it's a good idea to get it checked-out in a minor injuries unit in case antibacterial or anti-fungal treatment is needed to prevent it escalating.

Blackthorn wood is very tough and hard-wearing as therefore was used to make tool handles, walking sticks and as a traditional Celtic weapon for clubbing people to death! It is still regarded as the ultimate wood for making walking sticks. Once cut and trimmed, the wood needs to be dried for at least a year (often several) which allows moisture to escape and the wood to shrink and harden.

Gorse is a member of the pea family with seeds in pods. The seeds are ejected with a popping sound when pods split open in hot weather. This can catapult the seeds up to five metres. The plants are able to live 30 years and survive sub-zero temperatures, the seeds can withstand fire and remain viable in the soil for 30 years.

Gorse seeds each contain a small body of ant food. The seeds also release a chemical which attracts ants from some distance away. The ants carry the seeds to their nests, eat the ant food and then discard the seeds, helping them to disperse.

Before the Industrial Revolution, gorse was valued as a fuel for bread ovens and kilns as it burns rapidly, very hot and with little ash. It was in such demand that there were quite strict rules about how much gorse could be cut on common land.

Gorse is also known (particularly in the Westcountry) as furze from the Middle English word furs. This itself is from the Old English word fyres, closely related to the Old English word for fire.

Gorse is present as two species (Common Gorse and Western Gorse) along the Atlantic coast. Between the species, some gorse is almost always in flower, hence the old country phrases: "when gorse is out of blossom, kissing's out of fashion" (which is recorded from the mid-19th century) and "when the furze is in bloom, my love's in tune" (which dates from the mid-18th century).

Gorse flowers have a coconut-like scent and rather than fresh coconut, it is reminiscent of desiccated coconut or the popular brand of surf wax, Mr Zoggs. However, not everyone experiences the smell in the same way: for some people it's very strong and for others it quite weak. Flower scents are volatile organic compounds which drift though the air and has evolved as an advertisement to pollinating insects that nectar is available. Squeezing the flowers releases these compounds onto the surface where they can evaporate and therefore intensifies the smell. Similarly the warming effect of sunlight helps the compounds to evaporate faster and so the smell is more intense on sunny days. Gorse flowers are edible and can be used in salads and to make a tea, beer or wine.

Gorse flower wine can be made using 5 litres of gorse flowers stripped from the stems and simmering these in 5 litres of boiling water. Once the flowers are removed, 1.3kg of sugar should be dissolved in the hot water and allowed to cool to room temperature. Then add 500g of chopped raisins and juice and zest of 2 lemons and ferment with white wine yeast and yeast nutrient. Although flowers are present year-round, they are best picked in spring (April and May) when they are most profuse and fragrant.

The purple flowers resembling a miniature pansy that you see along the footpaths from March to May are almost certainly dog violets, so-called because they are unscented (rather than scented of dog) to distinguish them from the sweet violet. The plants are able to thrive both in shade and full sun, so are found in grassland and hedgerows as well as woodland. Sweet violets prefer shade, so if you do encounter these it will most likely be in woodland, but the dog violets are more common even in this habitat.

There are actually two different species of dog violet although they can interbreed to form hybrids. The common dog violet prefers shade whilst the heath dog violet prefers sunny spots and historically this is what kept them apart as separate species, although they are both relatively tolerant of a wide range of conditions. Human activity, particularly felling of woodland, has resulted in them ending up in each others' "territory" and they can sometimes even be seen growing side-by-side. The easiest way to tell them apart is from the shape of the leaves leaves which are heart-shaped in the common dog violet but upside-down teardrop-shaped in the case of the heath dog violet.

Waves pounding into a cave compress the air inside. This can often be seen venting quite explosively from caves as a blowhole. Inside the cave, the force from the air being rapidly compressed and decompressed gradually fractures the rock. Eventually this is unable to support the weight of the roof of the cave. Once this collapses, the sea washes away the soil and smaller stones leaving just the largest boulders which are slowly smoothed by the wave action.

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