Kingsand and Cawsand are twin villages situated in south-east Cornwall, on the Rame Peninsula. This was not always the case, for many centuries they were on opposing sides of the border with a tiny stream serving as the boundary. Cawsand was located in Cornwall and Kingsand was in Devon until 1844 when Kingsand rejoined Cornwall. There is a house known as Devon Corn which has the boundary marker still showing on the front. Today it is difficult to differentiate between the two villages as they intertwine together without any distinguishing signs.
Cawsand overlooks Plymouth Sound and adjoins Kingsand which, has great views over the breakwater to Jennycliff.
These pretty villages feature traditional whitewashed fishermen cottages and pretty pastel houses nestled amongst the cliffs, quaint, cobbled narrow-lined streets and an unspoiled charm abounds. Flowers in hanging baskets and decorated windowsills further add to the quaintness of these villages.
Both villages have an interesting heritage and are well known for their smuggling and fishing past. In fact, they were the main centre of smuggling in the West country in the 1700s and early 1800s with tons of contraband landing here every year from a large fleet of smuggling vessels. The old pilchard cellars and boat stores are still evident along the coast. Unfortunately, the smuggling tunnels have been closed over.
There are three natural beaches in Kingsand and Cawsand, being separated by sections of rock. They are protected by a wooded headland sheltering them from the elements. Situated along The Cleave you will find Kingsand Bay which is a combination of sand and shingle, Girt Beach is more shingle-based and Cawsand Beach is predominately sandy. There are no frills at these beaches so bring along your bucket and spade for some good old-fashioned fun. At low tide there are rock pools to explore. The simplicity of these beaches makes this area a real gem.
Cawsand Bay is a natural harbour with secluded safe and clear waters, making it a great spot for water sports such as, kayaking, paddle-boarding and diving. The small bay in Kingsand is a popular anchorage spot with boaters.
Being on the South West Coastal path there are some fabulous cliff top walks with amazing views and things to see such as Queen Adelaide’s Grotto, which was once a lookout and was named after Queen Adelaide following her visit here in 1827. Today it is an old ruin situated in the cliff by Penlee Point. The stone archways are pretty impressive, and provide unobstructed views of the rugged coastline. Nearby is Mount Edgcumbe where there are 800 acres for walking. The area offers lots of opportunities to birdwatch, so bring along those binoculars.
The Rame Peninsula is establishing itself as a hub for artists owing to the quality of light and the scenic surroundings providing an evolving landscape for artists, inspiring many wonderful works of art. To see some local talent take time to visit The Westcroft Gallery, a contemporary exhibition space, found in a converted boat shed and accessed through a lovely courtyard.
Panache Gallery also stocks local artist paintings, as well as selling photographs, jewellery, sculptures and pottery. You might find a pretty souvenir to take home.
The Mayday bank holiday sees the Black Prince procession, this involves a parade of dancers carrying a model boat decorated with spring flowers through the villages. In the evening the boat is launched into sea, the tradition is to bid farewell to the harsh winter weather and welcome in the summer.
An essential feature of these villages is the clock tower along the seafront at Kingsand. It was constructed to commemorate the coronation of King George V, the building it is attached to is used as a community hall (often referred to as The Institute). The Institute is home to a large cross-stitch tapestry picture of the two villages, which was created by residents to commemorate the golden jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II.
With plenty of establishments to cater to hungry mouths, there is lots of choice when it comes to finding a place to eat from traditional inns to artisan bakeries. Lots of local produce is found on the menus resulting in great tasting food.
Kingsand and Cawsand can be enjoyed regardless of the time of year, as there is plenty to see and do all year round. With the sun is shining there is nowhere better to be than here savouring the stunning scenery. Winter has its own merits what could be better than hunkering down in a cosy local pub in front of a roaring fire after a brisk walk.
This secluded corner is one of the least visited parts of Cornwall so is ideally suited to those looking for a quieter experience with all the charm less the crowds. In fact, it is sometimes referred to as the Forgotten Corner but, that should not discourage you. Now discovered you will find yourself wanting to return.
You can drive or take the ferry from Plymouth to get here.