Introducing Patrick Semmens: Cornish Hedge Builder

posted on August 27th, 2014 by Laura Ellis

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In the first of an occasional series about Cornish crafts and heritage we take a look at traditional Cornish Hedge Building.

Penwith has a distinctive and uniquely Cornish landscape with small fields and winding lanes edged with Cornish hedges. These hedges are so characteristic of Cornwall, it made us curious to find out more about this Cornish tradition. We met up with Patrick Semmens, a local hedge builder who’s built many miles of Cornish hedges over the past four decades and is a founder member of the Guild of Cornish Hedgers.

Patrick explained that a true Cornish hedge is made up of local stone, packed with earth or subsoil, there’s no other material required, other than practical skill. “The shape is distinctive with the hedge being as wide at its base as its eventual height. It should taper in from the base with an inward curve and the top is domed with consolidated soil and thick turf – this acts like a roof to the hedge, shedding rainfall and protecting it from water damage.”

There are over thirty thousand miles of hedges in Cornwall and some date back to the Bronze and Iron Ages. A well-built hedge can last for well over a century and usually reflects its environment using local stone. In Penwith this is granite and a hedge here has a completely different look to one in north Cornwall where the local stone is killas (Cornish for slate) which, unlike granite, has flattish sides.

Hedges that border fields are often gradually covered by grass and wild flowers, sometimes so much so that the stone is completely hidden and they become a real haven for wildlife. Around houses and villages hedges are usually maintained so that the characteristic stone pattern can be seen.

The Guild of Cornish Hedgers was set up to promote the building of quality Cornish hedges and thanks to Heritage Lottery funding they run an apprentice scheme to keep this ancient craft alive.
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Have fun this August bank holiday in Cornwall!

posted on August 22nd, 2014 by Emma Raczkowski

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Would you believe that it’s nearly the end of August already? We can’t either. If you’re lucky enough to have some time off this Bank Holiday weekend, but aren’t sure what to do, here are our recommendations for getting out and about to make the most of the last of the summer sunshine. There’s plenty to do in Cornwall!

Mullion Scarecrow Spectacular – Friday 22nd until Tuesday 26th August

Every year, the Cornish village of Mullion hosts its annual ‘Scarecrow Spectacular’ weekend. For 2014 the theme is ‘proper job’ and each scarecrow will represent a different trade or profession. You can enter a competition to see if you can guess all 68 of the scarecrow jobs correctly!

Jubilee Pool Food Festival, Penzance – Saturday 23rd August from 10am – 5pm

If you’re a fantastic foodie, pop along to the Jubilee Pool Food Festival in Penzance on Saturday.  Your entry ticket includes a draw to win a lovely Cornish hamper stuffed with goodies, and you can sample some amazing food from local producers as well as a barbeque and live music. All proceeds go to ‘Save our Lido’ fund, in order to restore the much loved pool which was destroyed by the floods earlier in the year.

Cornwall Folk Festival, Wadebridge – Friday 22nd – Monday 25th August

It’s a packed programme this year at the festival, with lots of different artists playing in many venues across Wadebridge. Get your dancing shoes on!

Newlyn Fish Festival – Monday 25th August

Newlyn’s annual celebration of fishing and seafood is back: there’s a fish kitchen with live demonstrations, harbour demonstrations as well as music and activities for the kids.

If you’d like a slightly more relaxed weekend:

Go for a walk on the South West coastal path

There are many miles to choose from – stroll leisurely around the Lizard, or take in the dramatic scenery of Cornwall’s north coast.

Go fruit picking

Blackberry picking season has just started, and once you’ve finished your foraging, why not give our apple and blackberry crumble recipe a go?

Our Favourite Cornish Views

posted on July 25th, 2014 by Emma Raczkowski

St Michaels Mount

Here in Cornwall, we often come across some stunning views around the coast. Here are some of our favourites from West Penwith, the area which inspired the work of Denys Val Baker.

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Five Fun Facts About Cornish Gorse

posted on July 14th, 2014 by Laura Ellis

Kissing is out of fashion when gorse is out of blossom

 

Gorse is a common site across Cornwall. It fills our countryside and coast paths with gorgeous colours of yellow and green, delighting folk and inspiring artists. This year, it has also inspired our designers and gorse yellow has become a staple colour for our newest collection.

In honour of this inspirational shrub we have put together five fun facts about Gorse for you:

  • It has a wonderful, coconut aroma – some individuals experience this more strongly than others!
  • It’s edible and has a fruity, pineapple taste! You can make a rather delectable pickle with the flowers, or even a wine. Our favourite way to eat them is to simply add the raw flowers to salad for taste and colour – watch for their hefty spikes when picking though.
  • “Kissing is out of fashion when gorse is out of blossom” is a traditional Cornish proverb. (We’re a passionate bunch down here, common gorse is permanently in bloom!)
  • Gorse seeds are produced in elongated pods that noisily burst open when ripe!
  • Gorse has had many uses over the centuries, including being used as fuel, grazing stock and thatching for houses!

 

Rinsey Head Walk: Gorse Wheal Prosper

Follow Seasalt Cornwall’s board Granite and Gorse on Pinterest.

The Seasalt guide to rockpooling in Cornwall!

posted on July 12th, 2014 by Emma Raczkowski

Seasalt guide to rockpooling in Cornwall

The summer holidays are nearly here, and it’s time to get out and about on the beach.  As well as the usual activities of building sandcastle, taking a sea swim and playing some beach tennis, Cornish beaches are great places to go rockpooling.

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Celebrating Golowan in Penzance

posted on June 27th, 2014 by Laura Ellis
Photo: Claire Graham

Photo: Claire Graham

Seasalt started life in a little shop in Adelaide Street, Penzance.

The works of Denys Val Baker, Penzance and the rest of West Penwith has become a source of inspiration for our AW14 collection.

This weekend is one of the biggest events in Penzance’s calendar. The town has been a hive of activity celebrating the traditional Golowan Festival. (Quick Cornish lesson: Golowan is the Cornish word for Midsummer)

Traditionally the streets would be lined with lit tar barrels, and bonfires could be seen on the surrounding hills, although this was outlawed in the late 1800s! Luckily the local schools along with a group of local artists came together in 1991 and revived the Golowan Festival in a bid to remember their heritage. The modern festival is much less dangerous than its predecessor (no flaming barrels to avoid!) but it is no less fun.

This weekend is the heart of the celebrations. Tonight, Mazey Eve, showcases local musicians, Penglaz, the Penzance equivalent of the Obby Oss weaving its way around the quay and culminates in a beautiful firework display.

Photo: Gingerbeardman

Photo: Gingerbeardman

On Saturday, Mazey Day, the streets are lined with stalls, there’s music, art exhibitions and activities throughout Penzance, but perhaps the main events not to be missed are the parades through the town.

Photo: Tiffany Terry

Photo: Tiffany Terry

Sunday is Quay Fair Day – it’s a slightly more relaxed day focused more around the quay.  With model boats on the boating lake, art exhibitions, folk music and market stalls there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

If you are planning to join in the festivities we’re still in that little shop on Adelaide Street, so do pop in and say hello!

Photo: Tiffany Terry

Photo: Tiffany Terry

The Seasalt guide to cloudspotting

posted on June 27th, 2014 by Emma Raczkowski

Seasalt cloudspotting

Cornish weather is famously unpredictable. It can go from thunder and torrential rain, to mizzle to blazing sunshine in a single day.  It can even differ depending on which coast you’re on! To celebrate the launch of our new catalogue ‘When Cornish Skies are Smiling’ and our crazy Cornish weather, we’ve compiled some of our favourite clouds scenes in the Duchy.

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The Seasalt team explore West Cornwall

posted on June 18th, 2014 by Emma Raczkowski

Kitty, Matt and Jacqui from our marketing team went to explore West Cornwall, the inspiration behind our next season.  It was a gorgeous day so they took lots of lovely pics as well as sketching the beautiful landscape.

Here’s a teaser – see if you can name any of the places that they visited!

Seasalt team visit to West Penwith

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Falmouth International Sea Shanty Festival

posted on June 16th, 2014 by Laura Ellis

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The Best Cornish Bike Rides and Cycle Trails

posted on June 7th, 2014 by Emma Raczkowski

Cornwall's best cycle trails

Rain or shine, Cornwall is always a beautiful place to get out and about on your bike. We’ve chosen our top picks for you to get out and about around the county over the coming summer months.

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