Roseland peninsula improvement tells a fisherman’s tale

A stunning section of the South West Coast Path along the Roseland peninsula has been improved thanks to funding from the Great South West Walk and the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) with the work carried out by The National Trust.

The Great South West Walk, which took place earlier this year to celebrate the South West Coast Path Association’s 40th anniversary, raised over £500,000 and identified 90 much needed improvement projects around the entire 630 mile South West Coast Path.

The event and the improvements it supports are all part of the South West Coast Path Team’s ‘Unlocking our Coastal Heritage’ project, which received funding from the RDPE to conserve, enhance and interpret the Coast Path.

The Roseland peninsula is a popular section of the Coast Path and the improvements will be of great benefit to the thousands of walkers that visit the area. The works include sensitive repairs to Mallet’s Cottage, the remains of a stone and cob building, with no roof which subsequently, over the years, has suffered significant erosion. The building is thought to have been empty since the mid 1800s and it is likely the cottage was originally thatched.

While it was not appropriate to renovate the building to its original condition, the National Trust wanted to carry out repairs and, where possible, consolidate the building to reduce future erosion. As there is local social history relevance attached to the cottage, the Trust wanted to retain the building for future generations so they could learn the story and enjoy the building as it stands.

Emma Shepherd, one of the National Trust rangers that worked on the project said:

“Repairing Mallet’s cottage had been a ‘wish-list’ project for some time and only now made possible through collaboration with the South West Coast Path team and invaluable financial input from RDPE.  It’s great to know this little cottage will weather the storms of a few more generations, to keep fisherman Mallet’s story alive.”

The tiny dwelling was originally built by a man called Mallet, who married a girl from Veryan, but soon left his wife to pursue his trade as a fisherman from his cottage on the cliffs, returning to Veryan at weekends with his catch. He kept a boat in the inlet beneath his home, hauling it up clear of the waves when not in use. ln the 1840's he emigrated to Australia leaving his wife behind. About 120 years later, by an extraordinary coincidence, the National Trust farm tenant for the area picked up two Australian hitch-hikers east of Bristol. One of them was Tina Mallet, the great granddaughter of Fisherman mallet, returning to Cornwall to visit her roots.

Further work was carried out at various locations to renew several flights of steps at busy and popular sections of the path. This includes the popular family beach at Porthcurnick, situated close to the village of Porthscatho, which is well used by locals and visitors alike and home to the very popular Hidden Hut beach cafe. Along with providing the low tide route for the Coast Path, the main access to the beach is via a long flight of concrete steps that were in dire need of repair.

Using a local contractor (A1 Complete Builders) experienced in undertaking such work, the bottom flight of steps were re-cast in ensure they withstand the inevitable onslaught from the sea. Above this bottom concrete flight, the remaining steps have been formed using granite steps to provide a beautiful aesthetic finish whilst ensuring they last significantly longer than the previous steps, thereby maintaining access along this popular section of Coast Path and to the beach, for many years to come.

Steve Church, Secretary of the South West Coast Path Association, said:

"The Association is delighted to have been able to allocate funding from our Great South West Walk to enable these projects to go ahead. The Roseland length of the Coast Path is simply beautiful, and these works have not only brought about practical improvements but have also enabled repairs to a picturesque and historic feature of great interest to all those who walk this stunning coastline."

Pictured above: The stunning view of Porthcurnick beach looking towards Nare Head. Access to the beach has been improved with new steps and reinforcements.

Published on: Nov. 28, 2013