Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The end of England: Land's End - September 4, 2010

At the extreme south-westerly point of the British mainland, which is also the extreme westerly point of the mainland of England, lies Land's End, longitude 5 degrees 43 minutes. A small settlement on a headland of the Penwith peninsula in west Cornwall, Land's End has a romance and resonance far beyond its humble reality. Frequently cited to invoke the idea of great distance - Land's End to John o' Groats for example expresses the outer limits of Great Britain being the longest distance between two inhabited locations. John 'o Groats by the way, is a 300 population village in northern Scotland and is 838 miles by road from Land's End. Inevitably, such a distinction leads to Land's End being the start or finish point of sundry races, walks and charitable events.
Land's End was purchased in 1987 by Peter de Savary who began the serious commercialization of the renowned landmark with several new buildings and a nascent theme park. In 1991, de Savary sold both Land's End and John o' Groats which he also owned, to Graham Ferguson Lacey who, in turn sold it to the present owner, Heritage Attractions Limited, five years later. Philistine I may be, but the commercialization does not appear to have done much harm and may even encourage visitors to discover the area.
Land's End is one of four small communities comprising the local civil parish, the others being Trevescan, Carn Towan and Sennen Cove. Sennan is the largest of the four and was on our agenda for the day. The population of Sennen is about 800 and it lies 315 miles west-southwest of London. The parish church is dedicated to St Sinninus and has been there, in one incarnation or another, since the 15th century. There is a headless alabaster figure representing the Virgin Mary in the transept and a three-stage battlemented tower housing three bells.
More views of the area on a cold and blustery day are here.

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