Tidying up the picture on the Lizard

View over Kynance Cove, on the Lizard Peninsula, Cornwall

No-one likes a blot on the landscape, least of all when the rest of the vista is irresistibly photogenic.

Telegraph poles strewn with wires marching across rural pastures, an architecturally dead council toilet block in a quaint village square, a derelict concrete shed marring a leafy country lane - we’ve all had them in our sights and wished them gone. 

It’s hard to resist reaching for the camera when experiencing the unspoilt beauty of Lizard Point and Kynance Cove for the first time, but you might also be wondering how these places escaped the usual man-made eyesores. Why did the 20th century fail to make its mark here?

The truth is, it didn’t.

If you compare a photograph of Lizard Village taken in the 1970s to one taken today, it’s like a game of Spot The Difference. And we know which one we prefer.   

Our acquisition of Tregullas and Tregaminion (Britain’s two most southerly farms) in the early 1990s allowed us to set about restoring the character of the land between the village and Lizard Point. Forget concerns about creating chocolate box scenes for tourists, this is about conservation of a dramatic natural resource.    

After much discussion with the telephone and electricity suppliers, more than one and a half miles of overhead cables were buried underground. Fifty-one telegraph poles were taken away, removing the cat’s cradle of wires that ran towards the sea. Old, unattractive farm buildings were demolished, and yes, that hideous district council toilet block went too.

Talking of public lavatories, have you visited the one at Kynance Cove yet? Did you notice the roof, turfed with native plants? How about the walls made from local stone or its corridors clad in sweet chestnut timber? We rather hope you didn’t, because the aim of all our landscape improvement is for it to blend in with the area’s outstanding natural beauty. Environmental protection, as always, is high on the list too.

A ‘bio bubble’ tertiary sewage treatment system at Kynance deals with all waste at the busy site, directly boosting the Cove’s bathing water quality. The café is the first Trust property to be roofed with photo-voltaic solar roof tiles, generating more than five thousand kilowatt hours of electricity a year – enough to make 45,550 cups of tea a year. Thermafleece sheep’s wool insulates the floor and roof, the latter also sporting a solar water heating panel. 

Cornish hedges using serpentine stone have been built around the car park at Kynance, significantly reducing the visual impact of all those visiting camper vans in summer. We think about what it looks like in winter too. The overflow car park has been re-turfed to look like an agricultural field outside the main season, and once the peak months have passed, we remove the attendants’ wooden huts.

Not that we want you to focus on all our hard work. Next time you’re marvelling at the Lizard’s magnificence through a camera lens, you’ll surely hone in on the natural drama rather than the recent tweaks. We think it's fair to say it's one of the most picturesque places on earth.