Born and bred in Cornwall, storyteller Lucy Cooper has always been drawn by tales of the ‘little people’ that live in the landscapes of the far west corner of the South West.
Her love of folklore and myth has taken Lucy from Goldsmith’s University in London to foreign shores in Bulgaria, Sri Lanka and China; but her hankering for the homeland has brought her home again.
Now living in Penzance, we think Lucy is the perfect person to ask about some proper ‘ansome places to while away a few hours.
Lucy’s favourite things…
Best thing about living in Cornwall? The culture, community and creativity… the three C’s! And the sea itself, of course. There are amazing outdoor theatre venues and groups with Rogue, Miracle and Story Republic all doing really interesting things in non-traditional spaces. And the Minack. Even in a big city I don’t think you’d have the breadth of cultural events.
You have a day off. Where do you go? Back to my old stomping ground around the frontier, Wild West town of St Just! I’ve some lovely memories of barbeques on the beach at Cott Valley, exploring the big, deep rock pool at Pol an Dys on the other side of Cape Cornwall. Or watching the sunset from Carn Kenidjac — it’s nicknamed the hooting carn and there’s a story about a headless horseman who used to appear on moonless nights!
Where’s your favourite place to eat? I’d take a picnic onto the cliffs. Or go to the Dog & Rabbit in St Just – it’s tucked away behind the newsagents but it’s a real, bustling spot with a vibe that reminds me of cafes in Australia or New Zealand. Or Jordan’s café in the Marazion car park run by Ben Jordan and his wife SJ. It’s a little hut and may not look like much but they do excellent bacon, cakes, falafel and cheeseburgers
Favourite event? The Penzance LitFest. I’m a bit biased as I was involved in it but it just attracts an amazing pool of talented writers – even a few from across the Tamar! Or, of course, there’s Galowan – which is like Cornish Christmas, New Year and Glastonbury all rolled into one. It’s the event that everyone comes back for when they’ve moved away from Cornwall.
Any other recommendations? The Museum of Witchcraft in Boscastle. It’s not just broomsticks and black cats but about Cornish spirituality. I did a lot of the research for my book there as they have an amazing library of manuscripts from the 1800s. While you’re there check out St Nectan’s Glen waterfall, entered through a pagan prayer grove filled with wishing trees. It’s very Cornish but also very exotic.
Do you have a favourite Cornish product? I love the Cornish music scene. The Ascension Plan, Flats and Sharps, Last of the Many, A Siren Song. There’s always someone great playing in the pub or at a local beer festival.
Released in August 2014, Lucy’s first book, The Element Encyclopedia of Fairies (Harper Collins), is available now from good bookshops and online.