The coastal village of Crantock is signposted on the way to its neighbouring town of Newquay, a popular destination with my family. I had always wondered about the place when we sped by, but for some reason or another, plans to visit hadn’t come to fruition. So, I was delighted to finally go there.

At last, I took in the surroundings named after Saint Carantoc. The Celtic saint’s story is based on fact and legend. A captivating 6th century adventure, where the abbot sets off from Ireland to Cornwall in a coracle accompanied by a dove. After traversing the waves, they landed on the banks of the River Gannel and intended to live there, but the dove guided him to the site of the church.

The Parish Church of St Carantoc’s beauty, within its Norman and Early English architecture, is thanks to George Metford Parsons. The vicar took over in 1894 and established a restoration appeal. Before this, it suffered at the hands of Cromwell’s men and later fell further into decay. It was an honour to go inside and admire the ornate wooden features, enriched decor and magnificent stained glass windows which took several years to replace.

I’ve never seen punishment stocks on holy grounds before. It seems odd, and mystifying in such a peaceful setting. However, I imagine this wasn’t the original location in the 17th century, as they were probably situated in a public spot to maximise the offenders’ humiliation.

A path wends down to the road, where further along, a carved face glares out from the surface of a little door positioned in a stone wall. An interesting topic today, but in the past, St Ambrew’s ancient and sacred holy well played a vital role in providing water to the community.

Past marram-grass-topped dunes, the views are breathtaking. Of desert-like swathes of sand and the River Gannel, and on the opposite Newquay hillside, tropical gardens and terraced properties climb up the terrain. To the left, rollers shush over the shore, a haven for swimmers, surfers, paddleboarders and all types of water and coastal activities.

It was wonderful wandering along embracing nature, and sipping iced coffee before heading back up through the village of idyllic buildings, including a general store. Its windows full of local artists’ work with a crochet crowned post box outside.

I’ll definitely be returning to Crantock again soon, that’s for sure.

All the best,
Sue. X