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My fave places: Phillipa Ashley

The Sunday Times bestselling author Phillipa Ashley's latest Cornish novel is set in the fictional Falford - based on the beautiful Fal estuary. But where else has inspired her? We nabbed the lowdown on Phillipa's fave places in Cornwall.


Godrevy crowns the far eastern end of the magnificent sweep of sands that is St Ives Bay. It’s lighthouse was made famous by Virginia Woolf but nowadays, most people come for the reliable surfing, bodyboarding and walking. There is also a National Trust viewing point looking down on an inaccessible cove where seals haul out – sometimes in their hundreds. Walk north along the cliffs for peace and quiet.


At the height of the summer season, Porthcurno and adjacent Pedn Vounder have a not-undeserved reputation for being packed with beachgoers and the surrounding narrow lanes are often clogged with traffic. It’s easy to see what draws so many: the creamy sands and aquamarine water have become the stuff of Instagram legend. The village is also home to the clifftop Minack theatre and the PK Museum of Global Communication – believe it or not, those tranquil waters flow over undersea cables carrying millions of telephone and email messages! Visit in early spring when the sea is just as blue, and you’ll have the place almost to yourself, and wildflowers adorn the cliffs. In summer, arrive very early or after dinner to avoid the crowds.

St Just and Cape Cornwall

Also in the far west of Cornwall is St Just, the UK’s most westerly town. Originally a tin mining community, it is now a hub for artists with several galleries including one of my favourites, the Jane Adams Gallery. Visit the ancient church and the medieval grassy amphitheatre and afterwards, fuel up in one of the pubs or cafes such as the Cookbook Café where you can grab a cake and coffee while browsing second hand books. You can walk down to the beautiful Cot and Kenidjack valleys and Cape Cornwall (above) with its fishing cove and monument.


A fictional Porthleven was the setting for my Porthmellow series. I love this vibrant, bustling port with its double harbour, famous clock tower and occasionally infamous waves! In ‘normal times’, the town is famous for its annual food and music festival which takes place in April and provided the backdrop for A Perfect Cornish Summer.

Gunwalloe, The Lizard 

In An Endless Cornish Summer, I’ve moved to further south to the Fal estuary, with its romantic creeks is the setting for my new Falford series. There’s a big sailing and fishing community that offered inspiration for the book. Just below the Fal estuary you’ll find The Lizard – a place of diverse landscapes, and also has remote coves and towering cliffs. My favourites include Gunwalloe, which is also known as Church Cove because of the ancient church in the dunes (above). You can literally step from its churchyard onto the sands. At neighbouring Dollar Cove, you might even be lucky enough find a silver coin washed up from a wreck.

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