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Landscapes Of England: Hayle
The sea roars, whipped into a frenzy by the Atlantic winds racing across the bay. The waves look good today, surfers will be out for sure. Come rain or shine, these boys are dedicated.
You can taste the salty spray as it draws you towards the water. The familiar smell of seaweed was home. I knew I was back.
The Cornish town of Hayle sits in the far southwest corner of England, near the midpoint of St Ives bay. It lies approximately 10 miles north of Penzance and is part of the Heritage Coast of Cornwall, owned by the National Trust.
The Trust has purchased large chunks of the Cornish coastline, ensuring protection for its wildlife and natural beauty.
“Morning,” greets an elderly man, his face weathered, exposed to the elements and sands of time. His dog retrieves his master’s stick from the white surf.
“Wind’s up. Pity the small boats today,” he continues, his faithful companion by his side, stick in mouth.
The small fishing boats leave regularly, setting out from Hayle harbour and sailing along the estuary at high tide and into the big blue. They must return before low tide else the estuary runs dry.
Hayle is part of a beautiful stretch of coastline running from St Ives to the west, through to Godrevy Point in the east and its symbolic lighthouse.
Godrevy Lighthouse features predominantly in paintings by John Miller who has captured the stunning natural beauty on canvass in many of his famous prints.
Westwards leads to the estuary and inland to the working fishing port. The small dock escorts you to the high street, a mixture of old and new. Shopping here is not great; Hayle’s strength is its coastline.
Approximately halfway along the high street are the best Cornish pasties money can buy. Upon the corner sits the old bakers’ shop, striving to meet demand for the local delicacy.
At least half a dozen work the ovens tirelessly to satisfy the endless queues. Seagulls perch atop the roof hoping for a taste of the action.
Across the road, the Cornish Arms serves a great pint of ale with which to wash down your meal. Relax and enjoy the unique Cornish ambience where strangers stop to say hello. Far from the mega metropolis cities, life in Hayle slows down to a crawl.