St. Neot and Golitha Falls

Have you ever seen the movie Hot Fuzz? You know how it has that perfect (seemingly) village that is so pretty and quaint and idyllic? Well, they weren’t making that idea up – England is full of these sorts of places. And once you’ve seen Hot Fuzz, when you visit these sorts of places, you can’t help but wonder what the seedy underbelly is like there. But unless you stay in one of those sorts of places for a period of time, you’ll probably never know. So best to just take the place at face value. One of these perfect little places is St. Neot, a village in Cornwall, England. It has won “National Calor Village of the Year” award twice as well as the “Calor Gas Village of the Decade” award once.

Watching elderly ladies gossiping in the garden of a church, which also happens to be the cemetery, was pretty much the highlight of my visit to St. Neot. While the village was very pretty and quaint, it was also very quiet. Quiet streets lined with quiet stone houses. Quiet church surrounded by a quiet old cemetery. Quiet, quiet, quiet. These ladies were pretty much the only evidence that people lived here.

A visit to St. Neot means a visit to its church. While the granite church itself dates to the 15th century, the tower apparently dates to the 11th century (the original building was a monastery). The church is known for its medieval stained glass, many of which date to about the year 1500. Surrounding the church are numerous gravestones. I personally love old cemeteries – it was neat to see the thin stones and get a glimpse of lives gone by. Amazing how short life can be…and how short it really is for all of us in the grand scheme of things.

Not far from St. Neot is Golitha Falls which lies in a wooded area and as you walk through it on a quiet day, you can almost feel the ages pressing down on you. This place just feels old. It is about a half hour walk from the parking lot and you’d want to go either early in the morning or late in the afternoon to get the full effect of the light glowing through the green leaves and the flowing water of the River Fowey. The falls themselves are tiny. No Niagara or Kaieteur Falls here. The point in coming here really isn’t the falls themselves, though they are pretty. To me, it is the surroundings – this is why, in my mind, it is best to come when there aren’t many other people about. Some things are just that more beautiful in solitude, and Golitha Falls is one of them. Okay, fine – if you’re into the whole significant other thing, you can take that one person.

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