Swanpool Beach is an enchanting little cove with an adjoining lake and nature reserve. The beach is well known for its watersports and, in contrast, the lake has ‘Special Scientific Interest’ status and I think it’s this fabulous mixture that makes Swanpool so special.
Swanpool Beach is the sort of place you can rock up in the morning, pay £2 for parking (including a free cup of Tregothnan tea!) and there’s enough going on to keep you entertained for the whole day.
Next to the car park is the lake, a mix of fresh and salt water habitats and home to over 100 species of birds. It is a real sanctuary for nature lovers and famous for its swans of course – although there is only one pair who call it home at the moment as they are a fiercely territorial couple. Fortunately, Peter Lochrie, the proprietor of the beach and the café, is a little more welcoming to incomers. In fact he’s passionate about his beach and making it a great destination for visitors.
Swanpool beach is a very safe beach due to its natural shelter and this not only makes it great for bathing but also means it’s a brilliantly safe environment for teaching watersports. Elemental UK are based at Swanpool, a Cornish adventure centre, offering a range of watersports including kayaking, canoeing, sailing, snorkelling, stand-up paddle boarding, coasteering and windsurfing. All the equipment is provided along with expert tuition.
Pete also runs the Swanpool Beach Café with a great group of staff and, together, they won bronze in the Cornwall Tourism’s Café of the Year awards in 2009. They offer a fab menu of simple but sumptuous fare which they make and bake in house – paninis, soup and cakes. They use as many local ingredients as they can and Pete is really passionate about this “It’s very important because it keeps the money circulating in the county and it’s become what people and we ourselves expect. It seems very natural to do this. Earlier this year we moved solely over to Cornish teas grown just 15 miles up the road, they sit alongside loads of other Cornish products Callestick ice Cream, Roddas cream…” Attention to detail is what Swanpool’s all about, in the colder months they offer ponchos and hot water bottles to their visitors, the staff are friendly and it’s just a winning combo.
Swanpool Beach is also home of the Quirky ice creams; Caribbean Kiss, Smarty Pants, Jelly Belly, Hedgehog…. the list goes on… The Quirky ice creams consist of a traditional cone, topped with a scoop and a half of Callestick Farm Cornish vanilla ice cream, smothered in oodles of Rodda’s Cornish clotted cream and then topped with some fabulous favourite treats. The hedgehog is the best-selling ‘Quirky ice cream’ and is topped with honey roasted hazelnuts. And who would Pete share a chat over a Quirky to? The Queen. “Not that I’m a monarchist, far from it, but nobody ever does this and I think it would be cathartic”.
Swanpool Beach really does have the X factor when it comes to funky ice creams and the location’s pretty fabulous too. A worthy contender.