Adventurer and TV presenter Simon Reeve loves to be buffeted by sea breezes and feel sand underfoot, singling out the dramatic North Cornish spots of Rock on the Camel Estuary and Porthtowan Beach near St Agnes as two of his favourite places
INTERVIEW Anna Turns
My single best memory in nature this year was on the rugged coast path at Porthtowan on the north coast of Cornwall. The light was perfect, there were 50 or so surfers in the sea, the surf was crashing against the rocks and it felt like an absolutely perfect British coastal moment. There are so many underrated secret beauty spots along the Cornish coast path and the light has a slightly different tonal effect, perhaps because the county is surrounded by sea.
I’m interested in the extremes of life and I’m lucky to jet around the world, but when lockdown began I found being stuck at home quite difficult. Filming in Cornwall was a real tonic because it’s also quite extreme, especially during this crazy summer. I’ve visited Cornwall many times before, but going with a film crew creates a different experience. It forces me to find out more, go to places I wouldn’t normally see and meet some eccentrically brilliant characters with amazing stories to share.
I was lucky to dive with the team from Fathoms Free to pull up ghost fishing nets that had got snagged on some reef and were steadily killing marine life, plus we met amazing researchers out there in all weathers protecting the grey seals along the coast. I love Polzeath too, and the Camel Estuary with Padstow on one side and Rock on the other. These are really spectacular parts of the planet.
I need to be buffeted by the wind, feel the sand under my toes and feel a sense of the great outdoors. The closer you are to the ground, the richer, more memorable and more rewarding your experience will be. It’s possible to have adventures close to home and exploring green and blue spaces has huge head-health benefits too. Walk the South West Coast Path and it will be a landmark moment in your life even through the blisters.
We mustn’t underestimate our need to travel. It’s not a modern luxury; humans have always travelled, it’s part of our DNA. That desire to see what’s over the horizon or beyond the corner or over the nearest hill – our coast and the great oceans beyond are fundamental parts of that.
Catch up on Simon’s latest two-part BBC series Cornwall on iPlayer.