Earth Story

It was a beautiful day for March. The sky was blue and cloudless. I was playing taxi driver for my OH who had a music gig to attend in the most westerly town in Cornwall, St Just in Penwith, so I reckoned it was time for me to visit Land’s End, the most westerly part of mainland England, which I last visited way back in 1991. Unfortunately there was a sea haze all around the coast (15 miles from home if you were wondering) so there were no views towards the Isles of Scilly or even up the coast to Cape Cornwall.  Ignoring the tacky tourist theme park development the natural landscape is pretty majestic, though as usual it was pretty breezy on this exposed headland.

Looking north towards Cape Cornwall

The many names for Land’s End are centuries old. The earliest  name for the site seems to ‘Penwith Steort’ recorded in 997. Penwith is Cornish for ‘extreme end’ and Steort is Old English for ‘tail’ or ‘end.’ The Middle English name ‘Londeseynde’ appears in 1337 and ‘Penn an Wlas’, Cornish for ‘end of the land’, is first recorded in 1500.

Rocky shoreline at Land’s End, showing Dr Syntax’s Head

Fascinating discoveries found on-site dating as far back as the Mesolithic Period (10,000-4000 BC) prove that people have been travelling to and living at Land’s End for 10,000 years or more.

Looking south – Armed Knight

The cliffs are made of granite, an igneous rock, which means they are resistant to weathering, and have steep cliff faces. There are two varieties of granite represented at Land’s End. Adjacent to the hotel the granite is coarse-grained with large phenocrysts of orthoclase, sometimes more than 5 in (13 cm) in length. To the north, at the First and Last House, there is a finer-grained granite with fewer and smaller phenocrysts, and the different granites can be seen from a distance by the smoother weathering of the finer variety. The granite dates to 268–275 million years ago of the Permian period. Wikipedia

The mythical ‘Lost Land of Lyonesse’ is said to lie beneath the waves between Land’s End and the Isles of Scilly. According to legend, Lyonesse was a rich part of King Arthur’s realm that was drowned by the sea on a cataclysmically stormy night.

The First and Last House in England

There are over 130 recorded shipwrecks around Land’s End, as well as countless more unrecorded. In modern times, Longships Lighthouse at Land’s End forms one point of an important protective triangle – Longships Lighthouse, Wolf Rock Lighthouse and the Lizard Lighthouse collectively create one of the most well lit waterways in the British Isles.

Longships Lighthouse

It’s a shame that the National Trust were outbid when the land came up for sale in 1987 as then the area may have been left in its natural state.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #192 | Earth Story


  1. Cathy says:

    What a shame the NT were outbid for the land…

    1. Heyjude says:

      Quite. But to be honest the theme park area is very small in context with the rest of the coastline and no huge roller coasters or things you find at Alton Towers or Legoland.

      1. Cathy says:

        I can’t remember how close we have been to Lands End, but it was probably twenty years ago (can’t believe that!) and I wonder what it was like back then…

        1. Heyjude says:

          The theme park was there when I went in 1992, we quite enjoyed the film about Lyonesse, my daughter and I liked the model village and my boys had fun on the pirate ship. None of those there now.

        2. Cathy says:

          When my children were small, so also about the early 90s, we went to a theme park in Cornwall but I think that could have been Flambards, although it was relatively low key for a theme park – I particularly remember a circular milking parlour (an acitive milking parlour, not a ride!)…

        3. Heyjude says:

          Yes, Flambards are still going. I’ve not been there though.

  2. Leya says:

    Land’s End – beautiful, and I love the name. Like Finisterre in Spain. I first thought it horrible with a theme park, but see it is not that bad…I don’t remember that day, but we were there in 1977 on our first tour around parts of England. thank you for making me remember!

  3. Fantastic photos Jude. Regards, Roberto.

    1. Heyjude says:

      Thank you Roberto.

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