South East Cornwall Overview.

East Looe centres on the broad sandy beach, with the distinctive Banjo Pier, the Lifeboat

Station and St. Mary's Church. Stretching back from here is a grid of narrow streets forming the main part of the town, packed with many small independent shops, restaurants, coffee shops and pubs. Along the estuary lies the quay, with several fish dealers. Towards the bridge lies the Victorian Guildhall, and just north of the bridge the railway station. This is the terminus of the stunning Looe Valley branch line to Liskeard.

Along the cliffs to the east is Plaidy Beach, and past there is the bay and village of Millendreath with another beach. Inland lies the famous Woolly monkey sanctuary. Other local attractions include the beaches, sailing, fishing and diving, and spectacular coastal walks, especially that via Talland to Polperro. In the area are several stately homes, including Antony House, Cotehele, Mount Edgcumbe, and Lanhydrock House, as well as the Eden Project near St Austell.

South Cornwall - reckoned to be Britain's most beautiful and interesting coastline - is a land of steep wooded rocky chines which lead inland from the sea along stream and river valleys. Villages spill down these craggy inlets to the water where there is often to be found an old fishing harbour, always massively defended against the rolling Atlantic winter storms, and in today's more gentle political climate usually home to yachts and fishing boats, rather than the smugglers and wreckers of yore.

Mewing buzzards ride ladders of air above the craggy igneous Cornish landscape, as farmers work their herds in what is the balmiest climate in the British Isles, due to the gentle wash of the Gulf Stream along its shores. The local history is rich: the Spanish Armada may have failed in its mission, but South Cornwall saw the only successful invasion since William the Conqueror when the Spaniards briefly invaded the county.

The little-known Stannary Parliament at nearby Liskeard, which gave the tin-miners a large degree of self-rule, last sat in 1572, and the picturesque and haunting ruins of tin-mines still dot the uncompromisingly rugged but utterly beautiful landscape. The 'Cornish Alps' are testimony to the once-great china clay industry, and stories of the sea - lifeboat heroes, sea-going villains and naval battles - dominate this once-remote region. Surfing, crabbing, lobster-fishing and scuba-diving are now the main activities in waters where revenue-men and smugglers and units of the Royal Navy and Napoleon's fleet once contended with cutlass and cannon.