St Just is the closest town to Land's End and has an enviable position on the edge of the moors whilst still being close to the beautiful north coast. The town has retained its character and remains unspoiled. It was once the centre of the tin mining industry in this area of Cornwall and is evident in the narrow streets of granite cottages and the disused engine houses that predominate the rugged landscape.
The town is well serviced with a good selection of traditional inns, tearooms, cafés and restaurants so when it comes to eating out you won't be disappointed, from vegan cafés to traditional cream teas, it is all here. The locals are friendly and will happily chat away to you. The town is small and easy to get around and a major attraction is that the town is flat, no step hills here, with plenty of free parking too.
Not far away are two small rocky beaches, Gwynver and Portheras, Gwynver features a swimming pool carved into the rock.
The town is home to a number of wonderful galleries that showcase the work of talented local artists.
In the heart of the town is Plain-an-Gwarry, an ancient open air theatre used for religious plays in medieval times, and more recently the Lafrowda Festival, a seven-day performing arts festival usually held in mid July. It is considered to be the oldest remaining theatre in the country.
St Just in Penwith Parish Churchyard is tucked away in the town, it dates back to the 14th century consisting of part of a 1336 building. On the interior walls is an interesting early wall painting of St George and the Dragon. Other items of interest are the Selus Stone a three-foot-high pillar with a Roman inscription. A Greek monogram, in the north aisle, which was uncovered 150 years ago.
There is a wealth of heritage on the doorstep of St Just, all around are old standing stones, hill-forts, cairns and other ancient archaeological sites. If you travel along the coastline you will come across relics relating to the old tin mines, these are best explored using the many themed circular trails that extend from the town.
The old Crown Mine engine houses have a super position looking out over the jagged Atlantic coastline. The upper shaft of the mine workings ran for 2000 feet (0.61 kilometres) under the sea.
North of St Just is Kenidjack a hooting cairn said to be haunted by a cackle of witches led by Old Moll. Nearby is a cliff castle that was most likely used up till the Iron Age. There is a lot of folk lore associated with the area.
Nearby is the lovely Cape Cornwall, a Bronze Age settlement and the most westerly point in Cornwall. This impressive hump-backed cape possesses a 138-year-old mine chimney stack and is the only place in England where two oceans meet. It extends to a height of 229 feet (ca. 70 metres) above sea level and provides amazing views over the Western Approaches, it is worth the steep climb to the summit. Unusual plants and birds add to the ambience of the area.
Located off shore are The Brisons two offshore rocks and part of an underwater reef culpable for many shipwrecks. A little further down the coast from Cape Cornwall is the picturesque Cot Valley, as well as the lovely valley of Nanquidno.
Tregeseal Stone circle is a substantially restored prehistoric stone circle about one mile Northeast of St Just. The nineteen granite stones are also known as The Dancing Stones or Nine Maidens, and range in height. According to local legend, girls who danced on the Sabbath were turned to stone as a punishment. This is what remains of a pair or maybe even three adjacent circles. Quite interesting and found on the beautiful moorland above Tregeseal which adds to the allure.
Ballowall Barrow is a large and important Bronze Age round mass of stonework and entrance to a burial chamber, located close to the South West Coast Path. It is best viewed from above but care should be taken especially in wet weather. The information board is really helpful and has excellent explanations. This exposed site has a fine viewpoint overlooking Cape Cornwall and the surrounding countryside. The perfect spot to watch the sun go down over the Atlantic.
Pendeen Lighthouse was established in 1900 and is a beautiful working lighthouse on the west coast, in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It sits dramatically on a sheer granite headland. Up close, you can see the mirrors turning and in foggy weather will hear the horns sound. The lighthouse itself is now one of Trinity House’s visitor centres, with tours of the tower and the machinery available, this is the only way to get access, There are stunning panoramic views regardless of the direction you stray.
The clifftop golf course of Cape Cornwall Golf is simply spectacular and welcomes visitors. You might have to battle the elements which adds to the challenge of this course.
St Just is surrounded by some of the most beautiful coast and countryside scenery with its rugged and windswept coastline and hidden-away coves. It has some incredible walks and the perfect retreat to escape from it all.