Stories of the Sea

My Stippy Stappy sojourn

Friday night found me hurtling along the A30, anxious to say goodbye to the working week and hello to my home for the weekend in the pretty seaside village of St Agnes on the north Cornish coast – a UNESCO World Heritage site and a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Seven Stippy Stappy is a gorgeous, Grade II-listed traditional cottage with a unique heritage. It’s part of a Victorian terrace originally for the men who worked in the harbour, but also features in all the Poldark books written by Winston Graham, who lived in nearby Perranporth.

 

Arriving late on a November evening, we tottered down the picture-perfect garden path and opened the latch door to the cottage to find the lights on, each room beautifully warm and the scent of freshly baked scones wafting on the air to welcome us.

Seven Stippy Stappy is a harmonious balance of old and new; with all its charming original features, yet with subtly-added modern luxurious touches such as original flagged flooring with under floor heating, and a vintage-style bed but with the most comfy, luxurious mattress to ensure a perfect nights’ sleep.

Having ooh’d and ahh’d at our lovely welcome (think homemade scones, homemade blackcurrant jam, clotted cream, champagne, milk, butter, eggs and a loaf of artisan bread) we quickly unpacked and headed out to explore St Agnes.

For a small village, it’s actually jam-packed with excellent places to eat and drink, such as The Taphouse and Driftwood Spars. We however wanted to make the most of our gorgeous retreat on our first night so we grabbed some fish and chips at the fabulously-named ‘Fisson Chips’ in the corner of the village square, and trotted home to munch them.

 Cracking open the champagne, we filled our tummies then sat on the super-comfy sofa, lit the fire and zonked out for the night before dragging ourselves to bed. The gorgeous master bedroom has the most comfortable bed ever; I sunk into a deep sleep and didn’t awake until 8ish, which is super-rare for me.

The master bedroom en suite has a gorgeous free-standing bath and I took full advantage of it to wake me up. I opened the blind and laid back, watching the bird life in the pretty garden, feeling my muscles unwind in the hot water – a perfect way to start a Saturday.

Now, I will admit we probably had the naughtiest breakfast ever – a cream tea breakfast. The scones smelt so good and we hadn’t bought anything with us, so we ate them slathered in homemade jam and clotted cream, washed down with a pot of tea using Cornish Tregothnan tea. The kettle is a traditional on-the-hob job, which is a lovely traditional touch, juxtaposed with the Nespresso coffee machine which we made good use of.

We felt super-guilty after our indulgent brekkie, so turned left outside the gate and headed down towards Trevaunance Cove for an explore and much-needed stomp. This large beach is oh-so-popular with families during the summer and a fab spot for dog owners during the winter months. It’s quite a deep cove, with huge cliffs jutting either side, so protected from the wind.  At low tide, you can see the ruins of an old harbour. We took the steep coastal path up onto the cliffs and walked for a mile or so, eyes agog at the incredible sea views – the north Cornish coast is so much wilder than the southern coast, which I’m more used to.

We headed back into St Agnes where we stopped at ‘The Old Sorting Office’, a fab hipsteresque coffee shop, for a much-needed pick-me-up coffee (and a naughty pistachio brownie – divine!), before wandering around the shops – think independent butchers, fruit and veg shops and a bakery intermingled with some quality gift shops (though thankfully not many). St Agnes is a very lovely village, unspoilt by tourism with a lively, hip, surfer vibe and a great community spirit. We picked up a few bits for a relaxed dinner and headed back to the welcoming comfort of Seven Stippy Stappy.

After dinner (all sourced from the butcher’s and veg shop – excellent!) we went for a stroll towards St Agnes Head, a designated ‘Dark Skies’ site where when the skies are clear, is a fabulous place for star gazing. Unfortunately, it was a cloudy night so no stars, but it was great fun walking in the pitch black! We vow to come back when the weather is better.

The next day we took it easy, with a lazy lie in and a morning with coffee and the papers. We were booked in for lunch at nearby Taste, a great little restaurant on Vicarage Road which is so popular it doesn’t need a website, although you can find it on Facebook (I recommend booking!). When we arrived, it was already full of Sunday lunchers – couples and families alike. Offering a three - course set menu, the food was super-tasty (think mussels cooked with wine and parsley, roast beef with all the trimmings and an excellent treacle tart) and very well cooked. Twinned with an excellent bottle of red, we left very full. As it was raining, a walk was out of the window, so we headed back to the cottage, lit the fire and found an old film to snuggle down and watch. 

The next day, we headed west up the coast a little to Chapel Porth, a huge, stunning sandy beach with impressive cliffs, caves and mines dotted along the headland. The area is owned by the National Trust so very well kept, and you can park for the day for just £2. When we arrived, we had the beach to ourselves; golden sun bounced off the sea and a light mist blew inland, whilst seagulls keeled in the sky above us. We walked the shore line, shell hunting and finding jellyfish dotted here and there like splodges of clear jam. We explored the cathedral-like caves before climbing up to the coastal path that ran alongside the cliffs towards Wheal Cotes – much filmed for the recent BBC Poldark series. It’s a glorious stretch of coastline, with astonishing views. In late summer, the swathes of heather against the blue sea and sky is just beautiful.

At the end of our walk, we sat on rocks and looked out to sea, hypnotised by the rolling waves. It was a perfect way to end our north coast adventure.

Seven Stippy Stappy is a beautiful, traditional cottage which sleeps four, although is also perfect for couples. With two bathrooms (one with a bath, one with a shower) it’s deceptively spacious. With bags of character, a great garden and just a short walk from the beach and lots of places to eat and drink, this is a perfect location for a short break or a longer holiday, whatever time of year it is.

Feeling inspired? take a look at stunning Seven Stippy Stappy here.

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