The South Coast Eastern AONB stretches along the south coast between Par Sands in the west, stopping just short of Looe in the east. Inland it follows the River Fowey as far as Lerryn and St Winnow. It includes some famous historical sites – particularly around Fowey where we have two blockhouses and a castle – and Polperro, well-known for its smuggling. It is also an area with an enviable record for attracting writers and is rich in wildlife. Oh, and I nearly forgot, there are one or two worthy viewpoints for getting your camera out of its bag and filling a few memory cards!
Fowey is easily accessible with a large car park, though the hills are steep. Lerryn has a small car park and plenty of opportunities to explore the surrounding countryside. Polperro has a large car park and is easily accessed. Nearby Talland Bay has a smaller car park. The coast between Polperro and Polruan is less easily accessed because the roads are narrow.
Perhaps the best way to get to Polruan in the summer is on the passenger ferry from Fowey but there are car parks at Polruan and Lantic Bay (National Trust).
I am simply going to pick out a few of my favourite spots in this AONB and describe when they are at their best and what to look for.
Lerryn has great potential throughout the year but during autumn it can be very colourful, particularly in a county where autumn colour is in relatively short supply. The trees in the steep-sided valley are quite well sheltered and this gives them time to change colour before the wind whips the leaves from their limbs. At high tide, on a calm day the colours are reflected in the shallow water of the creek giving twice the bang for your buck. In fact even if you visit just after high tide when the water is receding you can still get good reflections in the wet mud. The key is to be there early or late in the day when the sun is low in the sky, the warmth of the light at these times of day enriches the colours and enlivens the scene.
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