Top places to live in Cornwall Rock
Soft white sands, sparkling clean waters, restaurants, water sports, sailing... need we go on? But be warned, you won't be getting much change from £1m, it's not nicknamed Chelsea-on-Sea for nothing. Part of our Top 200 Places to Live series.
One of the more expensive postcodes in Cornwall, on the Camel Estuary edge and in an Area of Oustanding Natural Beauty, property in Rock will cost you handsomely – and your neighbours (at least part of the time) for better or worse will include famous chefs, authors, actresses and, come the summer, the great and the good of London en vacances. There is a smaller thriving year round community though, boosted by lockdowns one to three, as well as the endeavours of the new generation of younger residents who have created an interesting artistic and foodie scene.
Plenty of well-rated choices within walking distance include the Michelin rated gastropub, The Mariners as well as nearby restaurant, The Dining Room. A couple of doors over you’ll find Fee’s Food. Local chef Tim Spedding (ex-Ledbury, Clove Club and Coombeshead Farm) and his partner Louise are currently offering home delivery of a restaurant meal in a box and collaborate on supper clubs and food nights locally. Karrek, the innovative restaurant under the care of Excutive Chef and Great British Menu contestant Guy Owen can be found at the St Enodoc Hotel.
When you’ve tired of those, head across the water to Padstow where its plethora of gourmet options include Prawn on the Lawn and sister restaurant, Barnaby’s, Stein’s Seafood and one-Michelin starred Paul Ainsworth’s No 6, or, head up to Port Isaac where you’ll find Nathan Outlaw’s two restaurants.
Nearby quirkier delights to note are St Enodoc’s Asparagus, which is some of the best UK asparagus we’ve encountered that can be bought direct from the farm in May, and the newly opened Lowland Brewery, a vibrant yellow micro-brewery with food trucks regularly outside at weekends.
There’s a handful of interior, galleries and clothing shops, including Aspiga in Trebetherick, The Beach Hut and The Juice Collection (bags, boots, etc) down by the ferry. Back up in the main village, there are a few more options, as well as a butchers, grocery store, bakery and the aforementioned deli / wine shop, Fee’s Food. For more choice, you can head to the nearest town of Wadebridge five miles up the river Camel, which is packed with a clutch of great independents, including the excellent health food shop Elixir, a bookshop, greengrocers as well as more lovely indie clothes and gift shops (including Muddy-award winning Winifred & Mabel). Further down the road is Jo & Co home and interiors at Hawksfield, where you’ll also find Finisterre and posh deli The Arc. Wadebridge is where you’ll find the nearest supermarket, as well as the holy grail of Cornish petrol stations with a small M&S on site (praise be!).
Rock and St Minver sit on the edge of the Camel Estuary, where you’ll also find championship golf course St Enodoc, and the local beaches are just stunning – choose Polzeath for surfing, Rock for sailing and water-skiing, and Daymer for kite surfing when it’s windy and swimming when it’s not. You’ll also find one one of many beautiful sections of the coastline at The Rumps, which makes great walking and bird watching – and if you want to get up closer, take a Wavehunter’s Sea Safari from the pontoon in the summer months.
The ferry to Padstow runs all year, so you can head to Padstow to eat, shop, or walk the opposite coast line, or by car, head up to the nearby fishing harbour of Port Isaac and beyond that, Tintagel and Boscastle.
At Padstow you’ll find the Camel Trail, where you can walk, run, or cycle to Wadebridge (and even onto Bodmin) if you so desire.
AVERAGE HOUSE PRICE
In 2020 the average house price was £990,219, which is down on the 2018 peak of £1,036,625. Semi-detached properties sold for an average of £566,500.
Probably the biggest downside to living in St Minver is the lack of choice of schools past primary, although there is a Good rated secondary in Wadebridge and it is possible, although rather a drive, to get to Truro (bus from Wadebridge) or Callywith Sixth form college in Bodmin. The local primary is sought after with an Ofsted rating of ‘Good’.
BEST KEPT SECRET
The nearby St Enodec Church is the final resting-place of Poet Laureate John Betjeman, meanwhile the sand bank in the estuary, The Doom Bar, which local legend says was created by the Mermaid of Padstow as a dying curse, has accounted for more than 600 wrecks. It is also the name of local brewery, Sharp’s, most well known beer. Final secret tip: only open in the summer, the cakes made by the team at The Hut Behind the Hedge, are delicious.
The residents of Rock have been known to make use of the helipad from which you can be at Newquay airport within about 20 minutes of leaving your front door, but the more usual road route out to the airport is double that (although the commute of choice for those who work in London or Dublin). It’s around an hour’s drive to the nearest railway station at Bodmin Parkway. More of a weekly commute, St Minver is probably somewhere where you’ll want to work from home, run your own business, or work locally at one of the surprising number of large employers nearby (Sharps, Corserv, etc).
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