Locals say Cornish beauty spots ‘ruined’ by mass tourism
Over the past summer, large numbers of tourists have taken to Cornwall’s most popular beauty spots – inspired by stunning images of idyllic beaches on social media.
The so-called Poldark effect has also been blamed for an increase in the number of visitors. It reached such a peak in August that the busiest beaches were no longer advertised by Visit Cornwall.
Hundreds of cars filled the parking lots and blocked the roads to places such as Kynance Cove on the Lizard Peninsula and Porthcurno in the far west of Cornwall.
Tourism is of course the heart of Cornwall’s economy, but the sheer numbers of people over the past year have made some question whether so many visitors to one place are sustainable. Visitors were invited to explore the hundreds of other beaches that Cornwall has to offer.
As Easter approaches and the tourist season begins again, we visit Porthcurno to see what people have to say.
On a blustery but generally beautiful March day, Cornwall Live spoke to a local resident who was walking the coastal path above Pedn Vounder Beach, midway between Porthcurno and Logan Rock.
The man, who asked not to be named, said the area was devastated in the summer by too many visitors.
âBasically it’s ruined in the summer, especially since the advent of the internet,â he said. âA lot of locals don’t even come here because it’s overcrowded.
âThe problem is, they don’t treat him with respect. You have people who come here and leave their litter boxes or their disposable barbecues. I found used diapers buried on the beach and people don’t clean up after their dogs which has become such a big deal.
He said locals tend to clean up trash and they are also called in to help in emergencies.
âThere is no mobile signal here,â he added. “There are so many incidents here in the summer where the locals literally save lives.”
We left the man, who walked down the steep cliff path to Pedn Vounder, where he started picking up litter from the beach.
Other visitors to Porthcurno Beach all agreed on the exceptional beauty of the cove.
Irma Taylor, 27, from Lithuania now living in Camborne, said: âIt is just beautiful. It’s so nice when there is no one else around. I love it. Thought I’d go check it out now before all the tourists get off.
Mike Emery, 74 on holiday in Derbyshire, said he and his wife have been visiting Porthcurno for 20 years. He said, âIt’s very beautiful. It is probably one of the best beaches in the UK, certainly on the south coast. Often during the summer months, when the sea has that gorgeous turquoise color and the cliffs are greener than they are now, it rivals most Australian beaches. ”
He added, âWe often come in the winter or spring because it’s a lot looser, but we’ve been there several times in the summer for the past 20 years. It’s much more popular now.
Sam Blakeman and Katie Kissack, both 24, from Sheffield, had just toured Land’s End along the Coastal Path. Katie said: âWe had some fantastic views today. It is absolutely magnificent.
Sisters Amanda Beynon, 60 from Rugby, and Fiona Johnson, 58 from Telford, were on vacation with their families. Fiona said, âFor me at this time of year it’s actually loneliness when you’re on the beach, as opposed to going downhill in the summer. We just sat for three quarters of an hour and saw seals and seabirds and listened to the waves. It’s fantastic.”
Amanda added, âLiving in the middle of the country so far from the sea, it’s so nice to sit and listen to the waves. My husband and I went there in June which is also very nice as it is not crowded. But, I wouldn’t consider it now during summer vacation. It’s just too busy – too many people.