Cornwall, as the Adventure Butler saw it

From ballet on the beach to harvesting a hedgerow, a new company shows Kate Simon how to get the most from a UK holiday

I am making like a rock. At least that's what Stacy Weeks says. We're on Bedruthan Beach on the North Cornwall coast, where she's giving me a gentle introduction to site dance – movement inspired by classical dancing, yoga and Pilates performed in the natural environment.

"Scoop your arms in front of you – a bit like first position in ballet. Thrust your pelvis forward," says Stacy. I'm not so sure I look quite like the rocks around which we're standing, but it's a pleasant feeling, all this stretching and breathing in the sea air. And if you're going to strike a pose, why not do it in a beautiful place?

Stacy, who performs professionally as well as teaching this niche art through her company Red Yew, is just one of my tutors on this short break in the West County to try out a new concierge service provided by AdventureTemples, which launches today.

The service is the idea of former business consultant Rob Pendleton, who left London to return home to Cornwall and set up a company that helps people get the best out of their travels in the UK and abroad. It was an idea spawned by the Adventure Temples website, which he started in 2009 as a social community to share travel tips.

Rob's Adventure Butler Menu in Cornwall (he has other regions of the country in his sights) features 90 eclectic activities and experiences – you can suggest others – to make a holiday more memorable. As well as providing great ideas for holidaymakers, the business model involves many small operations, such as Stacy's, that might normally be invisible to visitors to the area.

Site dance is the most unusual of the experiences that Rob has crammed into the atypically frenetic itinerary he's created for me. During my time in Cornwall, I enjoy the indulgent pleasure of riding a horse across the sands at Treyarnon with Lindsay Chandler from the stables at Trethias Farm. And I add to my dinner-party repertoire with a convivial cooking and dining workshop, courtesy of Nadia's Kitchen. It is hosted in The Millhouse at Whitehay (with working wheel), a charming cottage that Rob is keen to show me as an example of the top-quality self-catering properties he can arrange through a hook-up with the holiday rental company Unique Home Stays.

Nadia (Pendleton, Rob's wife) has an impressive CV. She has worked with Gordon Ramsay; she has run a community kitchen in London's East End, and is the author of a cookbook ranging across the world's cuisines and entitled Melting Pot. She puts me straight. "It's all about balancing the five flavours – sweet, sour, bitter, salty and umami," she says. (I will never look back.)

Together we cook up a three-course storm of largely local produce: scallops with a salad of asparagus, samphire and bacon, topped with a lemon and tarragon hollandaise sauce; lamb chops with salsa verde, roast new potatoes and buttery carrots; and a rhubarb tarte tatin. Along the way, I pick up some useful tips – leave bacon alone to stop it leaching too much liquid, or pep up that drooping asparagus by putting it in water, like cut flowers.

Rob is considering pairing Nadia's talents with those of Marcus Harrison of the Wild Food School, Britain's only full-time food forager, who takes me along a back lane in Lostwithiel for a tutorial in how to harvest a hedgerow.

The stench of wild garlic is ripe enough to allow our noses to guide us to it, though our eyes prove necessary for identifying the rather less pungent three-cornered leek. We pluck refreshing naval wort. ("Not too much," advises Marcus as I go for a second leaf. "It's a diuretic.") And I learn about the dangers of the deceptively pretty yet bitter buttercup. Back at Marcus's house, he whips up the garlic with some soft cheese to create a moreish spread, and the tang of the three-cornered leek adds dimension to a slice of quiche.

All this activity is tiring. So I'm thankful that one of my experiences is my home for the night, Woodlands Country House at Treator near Padstow, a former naval hospital, now a friendly B&B run by Pippa and Hugo Woolley. Here I enjoy comfortable lodgings and a first-class breakfast. But then Hugo is a chef. What's more, he's the author of B&B The Book of Breakfast and Brunch, so marmalade bars, Scotch woodcock and homemade lemon curd are among the cut-above fare only to be expected here.

More flavours are in store at a group tasting held at the Lindo family's award-winning Camel Valley Vineyard, followed by a superb dinner featuring potted local crab and Cornish megrim sole, accompanied by Camel Valley vintages, at Trehallas House, an 18th-century inn run by Alistair and Debra Hunter, just down the road from the winery. Rob has conveniently scooped these up as a double experience dubbed Taste of Cornwall.

Back on that beach, I mix up the site dance with some photography tuition from Chris Hewitt, a professional photographer who has tempered his globetrotting ways with the opening of the Picture and Coffee Gallery in nearby Wadebridge. He's having a bit of a job trying to get me to remember how camera apertures work. "A large aperture would be used in low-light situations," he corrects me for the umpteenth time. Yet I still succeed in snapping some of the best photographs I've ever taken.

The views help. Up on the cliff we apply "the rule of thirds" to compose a photograph across the bay; a stone wall sprouting sea campion provides a foreground with both colour and texture; the mighty rock stacks on Bedruthan's floor hold the centre, and the vast ocean beyond ripples away a final layer. It's a beautiful view and, like the other experiences, it will remain a special memory.

Travel essentials

Getting there

AdventureTemples (0843 508 5005; adventuretemples.com) offers a range of activities in Cornwall from £20 to £2,000. Kate Simon travelled from London to Bodmin Parkway as a guest of First Great Western (08457 000 125; firstgreatwestern.co.uk), which has one-way tickets on this link from £14.50. The company also runs from Reading and Bristol. Cross-Country (0844 811 0124; crosscountrytrains.co.uk) runs services from York, Derby, Birmingham and Bristol.

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
News
Very tasty: Vladimir Putin dining alone, perhaps sensibly
news
Life and Style
Listen here: Apple EarPods offer an alternative
techAre custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?
Arts and Entertainment
Top guns: Cole advised the makers of Second World War film Fury, starring Brad Pitt
filmLt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a uniform
News
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
News
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
PROMOTED VIDEO
Sport
Karen Dunbar performs
Commonwealth GamesEntertainers showcase local wit, talent and irrepressible spirit
Sport
The Pipes and Drums of The Scottish Regiments perform during the Opening Ceremony for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park on July 23, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland.
The actor encouraged the one billion viewers of the event to donate to the children's charity
Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Sport
Members of the Scotland deleagtion walk past during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
News
Joining forces: young British men feature in an Isis video in which they urge Islamists in the West to join them in Iraq and Syria
newsWill the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?
Arts and Entertainment
The nomination of 'The Wake' by Paul Kingsnorth has caused a stir
books
News
i100
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    C++ Software Engineer - Hounslow, West London - C++ - to £60K +

    £40000 - £60000 per annum + Pension, Healthcare : Deerfoot IT Resources Limite...

    VB.NET and C# developer (VB.NET,C#,ASP.NET)

    £30000 - £45000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: VB.NET a...

    Visitor Experience volunteer

    Unpaid voluntary role: Old Royal Naval College: To assist the Visitor Experien...

    Telesales Manager. Paddington, London

    £45-£55k OTE £75k : Charter Selection: Major London International Fashion and ...

    Day In a Page

    Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

    Screwing your way to the top?

    Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
    Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

    Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

    Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
    Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

    Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

    The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
    The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

    The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

    Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
    US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

    Meet the US Army's shooting star

    Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
    Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

    Take a good look while you can

    How climate change could wipe out this seal
    Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

    Farewell, my lovely

    Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
    Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

    Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

    Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
    Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

    Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

    John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
    Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

    Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

    A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
    Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

    Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

    The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
    The 10 best pedicure products

    Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

    Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

    Commonwealth Games 2014

    Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
    Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

    Jack Pitt-Brooke

    Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
    How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

    How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

    Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game