It’s often referred to as Cornwall’s forgotten corner, but the Rame Peninsula deserves to be shouted about (just not too loudly). CHRISSY HARRIS finds out more.
They fly nicely below the radar here in south-eastern Cornwall. This quiet section of an otherwise very popular holiday county enjoys a rather special location, often bypassed by tourists in search of the bright lights of Newquay or St Ives or Padstow etc. On down the A30 or A38 they go, missing an opportunity to enjoy a beautiful stretch of sandy and pebbly beaches, tidal creeks, rolling fields and country parks, collectively known as the Rame Peninsula.
This unspoilt area is Cornish through and through and yet just across the water from Devon, making it an attractive destination for those who play fast and loose with their cream tea etiquette. Don’t be fooled by the peace and quiet, however. There is loads going on here, so much, in fact, the locals are petitioning the council to set up more notice boards to showcase the events taking place throughout the year.
Maker Heights, a former army barracks on the highest point of the Rame Peninsula, is a hub of most of this activity. It includes art and music studios, galleries and workspaces, a campsite and music venue.
“We have got a really special community here,” says local musician Tom Ogilvie, director of Patchwork Studios at Maker Heights. “Everyone says there must be something in the water. We’ve got some incredible musicians and artists – it’s just this melting pot of creativity in a little pocket of Cornwall.
WHEN IN RAME – YOUR INDISPENSABLE GUIDE
EAT AND DRINK
- The Old Bakery in Cawsand reopens for the season at the end of March, selling takeaway artisan pizza, pasties, pastries and more. Sourdough is a speciality.
- The Honey Room cafe, Millbrook, serves fabulous vegan and vegetarian food, made using local produce. It has a lovely courtyard garden.
- The Canteen at Maker Heights is ex-River Cottage chef Nick Platt’s laid-back cafe/restaurant. Great food and great views await those intrepid enough to make it up the hill.
- The Salty Dog Cafe at Millbrook serves hearty breakfasts and other delicious local produce cooked to order. Dogs welcome, obvs.
- Rame is well served for pubs. Try the Rising Sun, the Devonport (they do hand baked pasties) and the Halfway House Inn, Kingsand or the Cross Keys Inn, Cawsand. For a top-notch Sunday carvery, it’s got to be the Edgcumbe Arms, Cremyll.
- The Carew Arms in Anthony has a great local feel and a top menu, including delights such as sherry-braised ox cheek and smoked haddock kedgeree risotto, as well as pub favourites and a senior citizens’ menu.
- Whitsand Bay is more than three miles of soft, Cornish sand. It can get pretty wild here and there are often surfable waves. On calmer days, the area attracts divers who come to explore the HMS Scylla, an ex-naval frigate sunk in 2004 to create an artificial reef.
- Cawsand and Kingsand beaches are jewels in the Rame Peninsula’s crown. They are great for families because they’re so sheltered with top rockpools and easy access to beach shop facilities etc.
The distinctive rounded landmark of Rame Head with its medieval chapel is an iconic part of the landscape. You’ll get a bird’s-eye view of the coast for a long way in both directions at this historic lookout point. Celtic warriors built a rampart across the neck of the headland to defend it from possible attack.
These days, it’s a great place for wildlife, especially bird-spotting. Merlins, peregrines, hen and marsh harriers and short-eared owls have all made an appearance. Dartmoor ponies were introduced here several years ago to graze the headland.
Rame Head falls within Mount Edgcumbe Country Park, another must-see. Explore the spectacular coastline, gardens and trails here, shop and eat and then take part in some of the activities, such as Segway or alpaca trekking. Or, get married there like I (sorry, we) did.
Antony Woodland Gardens describes itself as Cornwall’s best kept secret. Next to the National Trust’s Antony House, this haven of tranquillity sweeps down to the Lynher estuary, with secluded coves and stunning views across the water.
MEET YOUR MAKER
Part of the most complete set of Napoleonic Barracks in the British Isles, Maker Heights is the Rame Peninsula’s creative hub and home to artists, musicians and more.
You can also stay at the non-profit Make Camp, an unspoilt site right on the coastline here. All of the money received from the campsite is reinvested into to the Rame Conservation Trust.
The Sea Forts Cornwall offers a wilderness camping experience at Maker Heights, with a collection of adventure and Luxe Bell Tents.
As well as Maker Heights, visit the Panache Gallery in Antony; Periwinkle Gifts in Kingsand and The Byre Gallery in Millbrook.
You can drive but it’s much more fun to set sail to Rame from over the water in Devon.
The cheerful blue-and-white Cawsand ferry runs from April to October, departing from Plymouth’s Barbican Landing Stage to the beach, Cornish side. You’ll have to walk the plank to reach the shore. This service has been operating from more than 100 years.
Or else catch the Cremyll Ferrry, an eight-minute crossing which runs between Stonehouse in Plymouth and drops passengers off on the slipway at Mount Edgcumbe.
For more Cornish activities to fill your staycation days, check out these 10 best days out in Cornwall.