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Cornwall is one of the UK’s most dramatic, visually breath-taking and romantic counties – and so it’s no wonder that this beautiful place has served as the setting for novels, films and TV series over the years. Cornwall is regularly used as the backdrop for films or TV programmes that aren’t even set there – as it provides the perfect backdrop for anyone looking for a rugged, dramatic landscape.
But here we take a look at some films and TV series actually set in this unique coastal county, including some of the locations you can visit when on a walking holiday in Cornwall with Sherpa Expeditions.
Ladies in Lavender
Directed and co-written by Charles Dance, and starring Dames Maggie Smith and Judy Dench, 2004’s Ladies in Lavender’s credits read like a who’s who of British film royalty.
Set in 1930’s Cornwall, the film tells the story of aging sisters Ursula and Janet, whose peaceful lives are turned upside down when they find a nearly-drowned Polish man lying on the beach, and decide to nurse him back to health.
Locations in which the film was shot include St Ives, the Lizard Peninsular and Prussia and Keneggy Coves near Porthleven, all of which can be visited on our Marazion to Mevagissey Walk.
Poldark was originally a popular British TV series in the mid-1970s, but it’s the recent remake that launched in 2015 that has made the series a global hit. It stars Aidan Turner as Ross Poldark, who returns home to Cornwall from fighting in the American Revolutionary War. It follows his trials and tribulations as he tries to forge a new life back in Cornwall.
The stunning Cornish coastline is a major aspect of the show’s visual impact. Filming locations include St Just, Land’s End, Charlestown, Helston, Lizard Point and Porthcothan. Many of these locations are visited on our walks along the South West Coast Path – so if you’re a fan of the show you can really immerse yourself into Poldark’s world.
The 1939 film based on Daphne du Maurier’s classic novel of pirates, rogues and smugglers, is the definitive, and most famous version, although there have been more recent remakes for both film and TV.
This classic film was directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starred Charles Laughton and Maureen O’Hara. The setting for the story, Jamaica Inn itself, is still very much around and open to visitors – built in 1750 as a coaching inn for travellers crossing Bodmin Moor.
Another 1939 adaptation of a classic Daphne du Maurier novel, again directed by Alfred Hitchcock, and this time starring Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine. The only problem with this entry on our list, is that, although set in Cornwall, the film was actually shot entirely in California! At least the 1997 remake starring Charles Dance (him again) and Diana Rigg was partly shot in Cornwall.
Rebecca tells the story of Max de Winter, who brings his new wife to live with him on his country estate in Cornwall, named Manderley. However, the new Mrs de Winter soon finds that her husband’s deceased first wife, Rebecca, still has a strange hold on everyone at Manderley.
Doc Martin has been a much-loved programme on British TV since 2004. It stars Martin Clunes as a gruff, abrupt surgeon from London, who relocates to the seaside village of Port Wenn in Cornwall.
Port Isaac is the real village that serves as the location for the fictional Port Wenn. Port Isaac is a charming fishing village just north of Padstow on the northern section of the South West Coast Path. As well as being a lovely visual showcase for life on the Cornish Coast, there is much humour to be had as Doc Martin slowly gets used to the sometimes-eccentric way of life in a small Cornish village.
A bit of a left-field one – as it’s unlikely you’ll have seen it unless you’ve spent some time watching German television.
Rosamunde Pilcher was a hugely successful British writer of romance novels, whose books sold over 60 million copies worldwide between 1949 and 2000. She was born in Lelant, just outside St Ives – and her Cornwall surroundings provided the setting for many of her novels.
Her books became especially popular in Germany, where her novels have been adapted into more than 100 TV films. The popularity of these hugely successful films resulted in Rosamunde Pilcher receiving a British Tourism Award in 2002 for the positive effect that her books and the TV adaptations have had on Cornwall.
It’s no surprise that so many of the books, films and TV programmes set in Cornwall over the years have been tales of romance, intrigue and high-drama – given the highly dramatic and ruggedly beautiful nature of the county. You can experience all of it on a Cornish walking tour with Sherpa Expeditions.
For this month’s photo gallery, we’re delighted to have teamed up with photographer Andy Cox, whose website
cornwallwithacamera.com features some of the most stunning shots we’ve ever seen of this truly beautiful part of the UK. Andy has lived there for nearly all of his life – few people know the magic and charm of Cornwall’s breath-taking landscapes better than him. All of the photos you can see in this gallery, plus many more, can be purchased as prints and photo gifts from his website, and you can also find him on Facebook and Instagram. Andy has also taken many photos of other parts of the UK, most notably the Isles of Scilly, the Lake District and the Scottish Highlands.
Most importantly, every location featured in this gallery is visited on one or more of our Cornwall walking or cycling holidays – so you can enjoy the magnificence of these places in the flesh. Booking for 2019 is now open, so what are you waiting for?
Cheesering at sunset
Godrevy Lighthouse at sunset
Godrevy Lighthouse in a storm
Bodmin Moor in golden light
High tide sunset at St Michael's Mount
Poly Joke, Pentire
Trevaunance Cove, St Agnes
As proud supporters of the South West Coast Path in Cornwall, we are excited to announce that this year the English long-distance trail is celebrating its 40th anniversary.
The path spans 630 miles between Minehead and Poole and is one of the UK’s National Trails. We have divided it up in several sections for both walkers and cyclists and these trips cross landscapes with special status. There are, for example, the UNESCO listed areas of Jurassic Coast in Devon and the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape.
Originally, the path had served as a route for coastguards to trace smugglers and their activities on the sea. The coastguards walked between lighthouses, often at the end of the cliffs to be able to look down into the coves and bays. The creation of the trail that we can hike today was done in sections, with the last section completed in 1978. It still follows much of the original route and thanks to England’s right-of-way laws it even allows visitors to pass through private property. Walkers along the South West Coast Path follow undulating trails, walk through moorlands & charming fisherman towns, and can take in panoramic views of the Bristol Channel, English Channel and Celtic Sea from the high viewpoints.
To mark the occasion, the team at South West Coast Path Association who maintain the path, have created a challenge of raising £40,000 by the end of October 2018. If you are planning to walk the path this year, you will find along the trail many other activities to celebrate the path. And if you are feeling generous, you can find information of how to donate to the path here.
Walk the Highlights of the South West Coastal Path with Sherpa Expeditions
Cycle the South West Coast Path with Sherpa Expeditions
For more information on each section, please download the trip notes from this website or feel free to discuss your queries directly with our team in London.
Walkers like you and us have the pleasure of walking the South West Coast Path partly because of the efforts of charity organisations like the South West Coast Path Association. We spoke to Director of The South West Coast Path Association, Esther Pearson, on the work that they do and October’s charity event The Challenge, during which they aim to set a world record while fundraising to preserve the Path.
When was the South West Coast Path Association established?
The Association was formed at a public meeting in 1973 and registered as a charity in 1974 and we were mainly engaged in campaigning for a complete Coast Path in the early years. Our mantra was to ‘have one foot in the sea at all times’ but was really about getting the South West Coast Path all connected and as close to those great sea views as possible. Today we still campaign for further funding for essential repair and improvement projects and continue with our main aim of protecting and promoting the South West Coast Path.
The Path stretches 630 miles and is the longest in England, what else makes it special?
The South West Coast Path is unique as a trail in so many ways, it passes through such varied scenery, taking in four beautiful and very different counties. It was originally created by coastguards, patrolling the peninsula looking out for smugglers, and there is so much history to discover along the route. 70% of the Path travels through protected landscapes which helps to ensure the beautiful landscape is kept safe from excessive development.
If people have just 3 days to walk, which part of the path should they choose?
I am biased because I love where I live at South Milton and often walk the stunning sections of the Path around there in South Devon. But a great three-day walk can be found starting from Falmouth to Par, taking in the lush Roseland Peninsula and a series of picturesque fishing ports. You start your walk by taking a seasonal ferry from the lovely St Mawes to Place, then continue with a mix of strenuous climbs and easy strolls to the popular and historic harbour town of Mevagissey, finishing at the beautiful beach at Par. I am really looking to revisiting this section during the Challenge month when we will be walking with Alex Polizzi.
© Thomas Tolkien
We heard there can be heavy winds on the path?
We do advise to try to plan your walk to take place in good weather, however it is wise to check the forecast before setting out on the Coast Path and always be careful. The wild and untamed nature of the Coast is one of the reasons why around 8.7 million people visit the Coast Path every year. You can find useful tips about staying safe on the website of the South West Coast Path Association.
In October this year, you are organising The Challenge. Why should people join?
The South West Coast Path Challenge is a great way to experience the Path, it is easy to take part, simply walk or run on the Path during October and register your miles!
It costs £10 per person to register and walkers will receive a registration pack and Challenge 2016 t-shirt. You can head out on your own, on a Sherpa Expeditions holiday or join the association on an organised Challenge event. You can sign up either on the South West Coast Path website or when booking one of the Sherpa Expeditions' trips departing in October.
We hope to beat last year’s record of clocking up enough miles to go around the Path 14 times! People should take part to help to raise funds for the Coast Path just by simply enjoying a fun day out by the sea.
What achievement of the association are you proudest of?
Launching the charity’s first ever public appeal led to achieving the Coastal Communities Funding and being able to complete long awaited projects to improve and repair the Path. This has been a real highlight of the last few years. I am also proud to have been involved with opening the section of the Path at Strete in Devon. It was a culmination of over forty years of campaigning and lobbying to take the route off a busy road and to reveal never before seen views of some of Devon’s finest coastline.
And what is next on the association’s list regarding preservation?
There are projects funded by the Coastal Communities Fund planned for Summer 2017, including 40 replacement Fingerposts across Cornwall, Kissing Gates at Nare Head, a replacement footbridge at Kynance Cove and an important replacement bridge at Silvermine Bridge. You can see some of the projects we have completed. Our Area and Path Representatives report on their sections of the South West Coast Path and identify where new projects are needed to keep the Path in great condition for all walkers and cyclists to enjoy.
Finally, have you walked the complete path from Poole to Minehead yourself?
I’ve walked lots of sections over the years but not all of it yet. Although I have the intention of one day having walked every section of the South West Coast Path in order! I have managed to walk in some beautiful locations and during The Challenge last October I walked from Durlston Country Park to the finish point of the Path at South Haven Point and can thoroughly recommend that others join us for the spectacular views of Old Harry Rocks this year!
This year for the first time, Sherpa Expeditions supports the South West Coast Path in order to preserve and restore the Path for future generations to enjoy. If you book a trip that includes the South West Coast Path departing in the month of October 2016, you get a 10% discount, which you could use to donate directly to Path preservation.
Join The Challenge with Sherpa Expeditions this October >> Show Me More