Saturday, 13 May 2017

A walk around Pentire Head, near New Polzeath

Typical - we have some great weather for a few days but it changes somewhat for the worse when we go for our Thursday walk. Nothing too drastic but enough to dampen our expectations of clear views along the coast. We were heading down west to walk around Pentire Head, just to the east of Polzeath. By way of orientation, we were west of Doc Martin Country, east of Poldark Country and smack in the middle of David Cameron's Holiday Country. But we didn't see any of them.
The route was a straightforward circular one of around 4.5 miles with a few ups and downs. As we were walking around a peninsular, there was a very high ration of sea to land.
Our starting point in the National Trust car park and looking down onto New Polzeath, with Polzeath beach in the distance.
This gives a good flavour of the views we had. It's a good time of year for flowers on the coastal footpath and for the entire walk the sides of the path were swathed in colours. Lots of yellow from gorse, but alos pink from Thrift, white from Bladder Campion etc.
Looking up the coast westwards towards Port Isaac (or Port Wen to Doc Martin fans). I was surprised to see the foxgloves so far advanced down here as, in our garden, ours haven't even got to the bud stage yet.
The cliffs that were obscured by foxgloves. Note the sea: calm and dead flat. I can't remember the last time I'd seen it like this and it lead for a walk that was uncharacteristically devoid of wave noises.
The Moule, the island off Pentire Head. As a pre-Brexit preemptive strike, someone has claimed it for Cornwall by planting a  a St Piran's flag on its highest point. I wonder what the gulls thought of the move, especially the short-sighted Brexiteer Gulls.
Lots of Red Valerian around. The floral heads are a collection of interesting elongated tubules that only yield their nectar to the long proboscis of a foraging butterfly. Bees stand no chance of getting at it.
Lots of lovely lichen covered stone walls.
Swathes and swathes of Thrift festooning banks, walls and anywhere else it can grow.
And where the Thrift didn't grow, Bladder Campion did. Another interesting flower. The 'bladder' is formed from the sepals and remains on the plant long after the flowers have gone. It aids seed dispersal by being shaken by the wind and distributing the fine seeds.

Pink Thrift and yellow and orange Bird's Foot Trefoil.
Every now and again we'd come across a gossamer-like nest in blackthorn bushes. They were the communal 'homes' on the caterpillars of the Lackey Moth. Their hairs are irritant or urticaceous, if you'd like a more scientific word.
Quite a few male Orange Tip butterflies were flying around, either looking for food or a mate.  Best of luck to them with the latter as the female of the species is rather shy, doesn't fly around much and keeps well hidden in the undergrowth.
Nearing the end of the walk and we get a good view of the beach at Polzeath, one of the premier surfing beaches and one beloved of David Cameron. Not many surfers in evidence today but that's not surprising given the state of the surf and the tide.

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