Over the next few weeks, we shall be publishing a series of articles about one of the most beautiful, and interesting areas in Britain – Cornwall.
From the sea to famous Cornish authors and their works, via castles, exploring and some unusual places to stay and things to do, our aim is to provide you with just about everything you could possibly want to know about Cornwall.
We did finally manage to decide which topic was best for kicking off our special series, and here it is – some of the wealth of fascinating facts about the region. If it whets your appetite (and we hope it does), keep an eye out for the next instalments.
(Almost) everything you need to know about Cornwall
- Historically, Cornwall had its own language, Kernowek/Kernewek, which is an officially recognised minority language and, as such, is protected by the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. Interestingly, the language is experiencing a revival recently, with the number of speakers continuing to grow.
- Kernowek was classified as an extinct language at one point, however, this was reviewed in 2010, when the revival meant the description was no longer accurate
- Approximately 500 people currently name Cornish as their first language
- Cornish falls into the same Brittanic language category as Welsh, Breton and Cumbric. Irish, Scottish Gaelic and Manx form a separate Goedelic category, although both fall under the umbrella of Insular Celtic.
- The Cornish Language Partnership is tasked with developing, and promoting the development and use of, the Cornish language
If you’re interested in dabbling in some Cornish before you visit, there’s a handy guide to writing it here, while the following video explains the numbers nicely.
This video may help you to master some basic Cornish words
- Cornwall’s name is derived from “cornovii” and “waelas”, or hill dwellers and strangers, a fact which seems rather apt given the popularity of the region with holiday makers, ramblers and, of course, surfers
- The population of Cornwall is approximately 500,000 and is greatly eclipsed by the number of tourists visiting each year, which estimated at around 5 million
- In the early 20th century, over half of the tin produced in the entire world used to come from Cornwall
- At 296.2 miles, the Cornish coastline is the longest in the UK
- Approximately 13,500 Cornish pasties are consumed every day, generating around £150 million towards the Cornish economy each year
- Bodmin produced the world’s largest Cornish pasty in 2010, a behemoth weighing in at 190lbs and measuring 15ft long
- Aside from pasties, Cornwall’s other biggest export is china clay
- Tintagel Castle on the northern Cornish coast is believed to have been home to King Arthur
- Celebrities with Cornish ties include Dawn French, Thandie Newton, Sir Ben Ainslie, Kristin Scott Thomas and Andrew Ridgley
- The black with a white cross Cornish flag is intended to represent dark molten rock and thin lines of tin, and is a direct reversal of the former Breton flag
- The Isles of Scilly is the warmest place in the entire UK, with an average temperature of 11.6 degrees
- Cornwall has not one, but three, patron saints – St Piran, patron saint of tin miners, St Michael and St Petroc
- Since 1963, Cornwall has had its own National Tartan
- Sports native to Cornwall include Cornish rugby and Cornish wrestling
- Craft beer connoisseurs won’t be disappointed by the local range available in Cornwall, with brands including Sharp’s, Skinner’s, Austell, Atlantic and Springo. Of course, there’s also scrumpy cider for those who aren’t so keen on beer
- Truro is the only city in Cornwall
- Cornish and Welsh people are the only remaining descendants of an ancient race which existed around four to six thousand years ago
- Be prepared to clean oodles of sand out of the car if you visit Perranporth Beach – there are approximately 7,000,000,000,000,000 grains to be found there
- Cornwall is older than England itself, in terms of being recognised as a nation
- Rather than being a region of England, it is widely contested that Cornwall is a crown dependency, or Duchy
- As such, Cornwall has a legal right to its own Parliament
- 90% of place names in Cornwall have been derived from Kernewek, which goes a long way towards explaining some of the more outlandish ones (Brown Willy, Playing Place, Grandma’s Gusset or Green Bottom, to name but a few)
- St Michael’s Mount has its own underground railway linking the harbour to the castle
- Cornwall’s Eden Project is the world’s largest indoor rainforest, and the 55-metre-high dome could fit the Tower of London inside it
This is just the start of our series of Cornwall guides – keep an eye out for the next instalment!