Cornwall is one of England’s most unique counties, lying in the southwest. It’s fairly small and also financially challenged, as aside from tourism, it has few incomes. Many locals have been priced out of buying property, due to the huge influx of people from London buying second homes, which lie empty most of the year. A surfer’s paradise, it’s also got fertile lane to grow good food and make organic wine.
This is also a main spot to view seals. But for the most part, leave seals well alone (they give vicous bites and disturbing seals can cause them to spook and abandon pups), Also keep dogs away from them (pups are often hidden in sand dunes). If you find an injured seal pup, never put it back in the sea (it could drown or freeze), as blubber is not thick enough. Call British Divers Marine Life Rescue for help.
Cornwall even has its own language, which is similar to Welsh (rather than Gaelic). People who hear it say it sounds like someone talking backwards, or how English sounds (to someone who doesn’t understand the language).
a tidal island off Cornwall’s coast
St Michael’s Mount is a small tidal island just off Cornwall’s coast, part-owned by the National Trust with a private family. Formerly a trading centre for tin, back in the 1800s it was home to over 300 people but today just 30 or so people live here (dogs are banned for most of the year, due to lack of shady areas).
Nearby off Looe’s coast is St George’s Island, its mild climate popular for visiting woodland birds. Previously inhabited by two sisters, you can walk to it at low tide, though mostly it’s only accessible by boat. There’s a legend that Joseph of Arimathea visited with Christ (as a child). Just a few stones remain of the ancient Benedictine chapel.
an east-west walk across Cornwall
The Granite Kingdom is a lyrical account of an east-west walk across England’s most westerly region: a distant Celtic land of tin-miners, pirates, smugglers and saints, somehow separate from the rest of our island. From the woodlands of the Tamar Valley to the remote peninsula of Penwirth, via the wilderness of Bodmin Moor and coastal villages, Tim Hannigan undertakes a journey on foot to reveal the real Cornwall.
Tim Hannigan was born and brought up in far west Cornwall and worked for local restaurants for years, before moving to Indonesia and working as a journalist. Now an academic on contemporary travel literature, he divides his time between Cornwall and western Ireland.
Cornish art prints (made from junk mail)
Junk Mail Art offers beautiful unique collage art prints of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. The difference is that this one-woman company makes everything from ripped-up magazines and junk mail that she receives from local people in the community, to stop it going to landfill. For this reason, every piece of art is unique, and you can also buy lovely greetings cards to send to loved ones.
The landscape of these islands is wild and free. So this is a nice way to pretty up a wall, and save paper from landfill at the same time. If you’ve ever visited a landfill, know that horrible smell is from methane, the gas that is emitted from rotting paper. This in turn is fuelling the climate change crisis. So the less ‘virgin’ (new) paper that we use, the better. Try to remember things in your head! If you can’t, then buy 100% post-consumer paper notepads if you can. Less paper to landfill – and the trees will thank you!
vegan pasties from Cornwall!
Cornish pasties account for around 6% of Cornish income, and many producers are not happy about the influx of plant-based alternatives (a bit like French pig farmers unhappy about La Vie vegan bacon, which is flying off the shelves in the UK too). But it’s time to get over it. We don’t have enough land for everyone to eat free-range meat.
This recipe for a vegan Cornish pasty (A Vegan Visit) is so good, you’ll likely never buy one from the fast food baker again. Use Naturli vegan butter block (not the spread) for this recipe, which is packed with traditonal pasty veg (cubed potatoes, swede and mushroom).
Keep these recipes away from pets due to unsafe ingredients like onion, mushrooms and faux meats – also keep fresh dough away from pets, if making pastry. Read more on food safety for people & pets.
It’s good to be nostalgic and traditional (and no doubt many people will continue to eat free-range Cornish pasties for some time to come). But knocking those that try something different is not the answer. The main brand of Cornish pasties sold in the UK uses ‘farm-assured beef’. Sounds good? The charity Compassion in World Farming says this means nothing in the world of animal welfare.
Labels may say ‘farm assured, ‘locally sourced’ and ‘farm fresh’. None of these really guarantee animals have been reared in higher welfare systems. Compassion in World Farming
The plant-based versions contain palm oil (something an artisan maker of a vegan Cornish pasty would never include). This is because you never get the real deal when buying from big multi-national companies (the company that owns Ginsters also makes Melton Mowbray pork pies, and both are of course sold in plastic packaging).
A bit like people in France not letting people in England name sparkling wine ‘champagne,’ one maker of a vegan Cornish pasty faced a furious backlash, and was forced to change the name of her ‘Cornish pasty’. Rather than give support to a one-woman business who was using local produce to support the local economy, to offer a vegan version for people who (through their own choice) don’t eat meat. Companies that use palm oil (by far not a local ingredient) are allowed to call their products by the name, so why not local artisans from Cornwall?
In fact, critics would do well to learn about the history of the Cornwall pasty, before throwing their toys out of the pram that other versions are not genuine, because they don’t contain meat. The Cornish pasty was created back in the 1200s, when the main industry was mining. Workers could then use the ‘crimped edge’ to hold the pasty, as their hands were often covered in asbestos, so would eat the pasty and leave the ‘crimp’ to ‘keep the ghosts happy’ in the mine. But what the modern critics don’t say is that although one end had meat – the other had fruit! So they were partly vegan pasties all along!