Bodmin Moor AONB
Bodmin Moor AONB is the largest section of the Cornwall AONB at nearly 200 sq/km. The expanse of grassland and heather is dotted with granite outcrops and strewn with boulders, making it a lovely place for a countryside walk. As you walk through Bodmin Moor, you will come across the evidence of many prehistoric settlements, and in the marshy hollows surrounding the River Fowey you can find ancient oak trees.
Though Bodmin Moor is almost cut in two by the A30, it retains a surprising sense of wildness, and ancient stones such as The Cheesewring and The Hurlers add to the mystery of the place. The highest point, Brown Willy, is 420 metres, and you enjoy amazing views of the surrounding countryside. On walks up to the summit, you are sure to come across a plethora of plants and protected wildlife.
South Coast - Eastern AONB
The South Coast - Eastern section of the Cornwall AONB runs from Par all the way to Looe, and inland, up the River Fowey as far as St Winnow. The coastal path is part of the AONB, running from Par Sands around Gribbin Head, past St Catherine's Castle and Readymoney Cove to the port of Fowey. The town of Fowey, which is just a short walk from our hotel, is a delightful place to spend the day, with boutique shops, the bustling quay and quiet streets to wander around.
Further inland, the River Fowey passes Bodinnick Ferry through dense woodlands, consisting of ancient oaks. These woods are linked to the legends of Tristram and Isolde, the Tristan Stone and the Iron Age Castle Dore lie nearby. On the coast around Polruan, opposite the estuary to Fowey, the AONB is a strip of unspoilt landscape, reaching seven miles to Polperro. This area of the Cornish coast has a long history of fishing and smuggling.
Tamar Valley AONB
The Tamar Valley straddles the border of Cornwall and Devon and is a place rich in beauty and history, and you can find some of the finest scenery in the West Country. The estuary is a haven for wildlife, including avocets and little egrets. One of the best ways to explore the AONB is by train on the scenic Tamar Valley Line, or by boat on the Tamar Passenger Ferry. There is also an extensive network of footpaths, allowing you to explore on foot or bike.
Time and people have shaped the Tamar Valley. In medieval times, the Valley thrived on the mining, where they exploited the silver and tin reserves, then in the 1800s, the mining turned to copper. Today, with the tranquillity and serenity of the countryside, it is hard to imagine there used to be over 100 mines along the river. You can still see chimneys and ruins throughout the valley which serve as a reminder of the industrial past.
South Coast - Central AONB
The central section of the South Coast AONB takes in the land around the nine creeks of the Carrick Roads in the Fal estuary, the famous Roseland Peninsula and the coast from Penryn to St Austell, and stretched inland almost to the city of Truro. Many villages can be found around the heads of the creeks, often containing medieval churches.
Around the Roseland Peninsula, the coast consists of killas rocks, which form the cliffs, bays and coves between Nare Head, Dodman Point and Black Head. Below these promontories, there are plenty of sandy beaches to discover, many of which remain unspoilt by the summer tourists. Famous landmarks in this AONB include Pendennis Castle, St. Anthony Lighthouse and the beautiful church of St Just.
These are just four of the Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty; click on the links below for our guides to the others in Cornwall. Why not also take a look at our previous post about why you should visit Cornwall in 2018?
Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on the coast
North Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
Image credit: Nilfanion