Lizard, Cornwall

Lizard lifeboat

The Lizard is the most southerly point on the British mainland. The name comes from the Cornish "lis" meaning "place" and "ard" meaning "high". Almost at the end of the Lizard Peninsula is Lizard village, a central square, a few houses, a couple of shops,and a pub. The only thing in England south of the village is the lighthouse, Lizard Point and Housel Bay; Church Cove is eat of the village and there are cliff walks to the west. Lizard Point has a few souvenir shops and snackeries.

The Spanish Armada was first spotted from here in 1588.

Sir John Killigrew, a notorious wrecker from the Arwennack family of Falmouth, erected the first lighthouse on the Lizard in 1620. Ship owners refused to support the venture, believing that Killigrew had ulterior motives in erecting the lighthouse, and that venture disappeared. On the 10th November 1721, thirty years before the lighthouse was built, 15 of the crew of the Royal Anne Galley lost their lives when it was lost in a storm, by being broken up against the cliffs. They are buried in a mass grave on the grass slope just west of the Old Lifeboat Slipway. Eventually in 1752 a regular lighthouse was established, and it was taken over in 1790 by Trinity House. The powerful beam of today's light can be seen for 64 miles.

Lizard Lighthouse Old lifeboat statioon, Lizard Point, England

Just offshore are the Man o' War rocks which took a heavy toll on shipping. Below the point is the Old Lifeboat House, while the modern lifeboat station is a few miles east of the headland. . Walkers in this area may be lucky enough to see the Cornish Chough, now breeding in the area.

Originally with two lifeboat stations at Polpeor and Cadgwith, The Lizard all weather Tyne class lifeboat is now located at Kilcobben Cove. Operating for over 145 years, the crews have been presented with 12 awards for gallantry. In 1907 it rescued 394 people from the White Star liner Suevic in dense fog when it struck the Marnheere Reef off The Lizard. Coverack and Porthleven lifeboats also rescued 62 people from this ship.

Almost all the Lizard Peninsula is composed of soft, colourful Serpentine stone (so called because of its snakeskin appearance when polished), which was carved in local workshops. It is a a unique metamorphic rock which is dark green veined with red and white. Serpentine ornaments were fashionable in Victorian times and still continue to be made in the area today.

Just east of Lizard village is the hamlet of Landewednack with its church of St Winwalloe, built of alternate granite and serpentine blocks.

Just to the west is Kynance Cove, owned by the National Trust, with golden sands and isolated


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