Countryfile: Catch a wave and celebrate 50 years of British surfing

 

Cornwall blazes a new tourist trail this weekend with the launch of Heartlands (01209 722322; heartlandscornwall.com; admission free).

The £35m attraction, which opened on Friday, has rejuvenated the old tin mine at Robinson's Shaft in Pool, near Camborne (01872 322586; cornish-mining.org.uk). It is billed as "the UK's first cultural playground" and visitors can expect state-of-the-art exhibitions, botanical gardens, music, dance and theatre, and the county's biggest adventure play area.

* Fifty years ago this month, a group of Australians turned up on the sands at Newquay with their Malibu surfboards and revolutionised the UK's surf scene. Another surfing anniversary is being marked at Watergate Bay (01637 860543; watergatebay.co.uk), to the north-east of the town, which hosts the 40th English National Surfing Championships on 5-7 May. This weekend, kitesurfers have gathered on the bay for the opening round of the British Kite Surfing Association's National Course Racing and Wavejam, which ends today. The fastest surf powerboat catamarans will compete there on 19 and 20 May in the Thundercat Racing Series (023 8024 0388; thundercatracing.co. uk).

* The Cornwall Wildlife Trust (01872 273 939; cornwallwildlifetrust.org.uk) is also celebrating its 50th birthday this year. Gardens from the Lizard to Liskeard will open their gates this summer to raise funds for the charity. Forthcoming openings include Pencarrow (01208 841369; pencarrow.co.uk; admission £5.50) at Bodmin on 29 April, a Grade II-listed garden set around a Georgian house.

* There's plenty afoot on the Cornish section of the 630-mile South West Coast Path (southwestcoastpath.com) this year. Highlights include a new four-day walking trip in the Penzance area, aimed at encouraging visitors to link up with the coast path by train. A new map is on display in Penzance rail station detailing the walk, with improved signage leading the way to the path. The South West Coast Path has also linked up with a local company, Treasure Trails, to create family walks in the county. Three have been produced so far: Looe to Polperro, a circular trail around Porthcurno, and a walk from Lelant to St Ives. See the website for details.

* More than 200 artists across the county will display their work during Open Studios Cornwall 2012 (01209 312501; www.creativeskills.org.uk) from 2-10 June. Meanwhile, tales of life on the ocean wave will fill the air from 15-17 June at the Falmouth International Sea Shanty Festival (0905 3254 534; falmouth.co.uk; admission free) in aid of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.

* For more ideas go to visitcornwall.com.

 

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