Crantock lies five miles west of Newquay, but unlike the more well-known Cornish seaside town, this village has plenty of quiet understated charm and character, which makes it popular with families, dog owners and those just looking to relax and enjoy the North Cornwall coastline.
Berwyn is located on West Pentire Road, just a few minutes' walk from the heart of Crantock village. This picturesque North Cornwall village is home to one of the best beaches in the area, as well as an historic church which towers above Crantock, two very good pubs which serve excellent food, a summer tea room, art gallery, gift shop and a much loved, and well stocked village shop.
It is thought Crantock was the site of the ancient city of Langorroc, which during a great sandstorm was buried. In the 6th century the Celtic Saint Caranog, who was also known as Carantoc, built a small oratory as a college for priests, but it greatly suffered during the reign of Henry VIII. The current church, St Carantocus, is built on the original site, and tries to incorporate the monastery that once stood in its place with a range of features dating from the 13th and 14th century. The church has an intricate wood screen, which was handcrafted, and towards the rear of the church are the village's original stocks, last used in 1817. The stunning stained-glass windows in the church portray the story of St Carantoc.
The River Gannel acts as a natural border between Newquay and Crantock. During the high season, a ferry operates between Fern Pit and Crantock beach, escorting travellers between the two resorts.
Crantock beach is perfect for families and lovers of the North coast surf. The wide sandy beach, which allows dogs throughout the year, is protected by large sand dunes. When the tide is out you can also enjoy a walk along the beach to West Pentire.
Crantock beach is a leisurely 10 minute walk from Berwyn's front door, so you can leave the car at home and travel across the fields and dunes for a day of fun in the sand and waves. At the south end of the beach are high cliffs, and to the north is the mouth of the River Gannel. During the busy summer months you may find this beach handy for avoiding the crowds attracted to the more popular beaches on the North coast. Lifeguards are also on duty from the middle of May through to the end of September. If you don't fancy walking to the beach, a car park is available either in the village or by the Bowgie Inn; alternatively you can use Pentire headland for parking. Whilst enjoying the beach, look out for the carving in a rock on the left hand side of the beach. Visible at low tide, the rock features a woman's face and the inscription 'Mar not my face, but let me be safe in this lone cavern by the sea, let the waves around me roar, kissing my lips for ever more.' It is thought the words were carved into the rock by a fisherman several centuries ago, when his ship was wrecked in the cove.
Much of Crantock is now owned by the National Trust, including the headland, which is recognised as a Site of Special Scientific Interest due to the wild flowers and rare plants that grow here. The area is perfect for those who love to walk, with the South West Coastal Footpath running though the village.
Porth Joke, or 'Polly Joke' beach as it is more commonly known by the locals, is a stunning golden sands beach only reached on foot. The beach is located in a deep cove between Crantock and Holywell; it is often overlooked and has therefore changed very little over the years, making it a lovely oasis of peace and tranquillity. Even on the busiest day you are guaranteed to find a secluded spot, and everyone will love the rock pools and caves. Accessing the beach is a little difficult with the nearest car park a good 15 minute walk away, but once you reach Polly Joke the trek is well worth it.
Crantock has two excellent pubs, which can be reached either on foot or by car. The Cornishman and The Old Albion Inn serve traditional dishes, and are open all year. The Albion is more than 400 years old, and with its thatched roof and whitewashed exterior it is a beautiful place to enjoy a traditional meal. In the summer, The Cornishman has BBQ's in its garden, as well as a reasonably priced menu. You can also try out The Cosy Nook Teagardens Cafe and Restaurant, which serves light snacks, cream teas and evening meals during the main season.
Crantock has its own village shop, which is very well stocked. Every day there are freshly baked Cornish pasties, croissants, meat and bread available in the store, which is also the local Post Office.