From the black volcanic cliffs at Mullion Cove to a thousand shades of green around the Helford River, the Lizard Peninsula is a land apart.
Immerse yourself in crystal-clear waters, stride out along the cliff tops or explore leaf-lined tunnels beneath mackerel skies. Escape to a natural landscape like no other.
The Lizard first raised its head hundreds of millions of years ago when molten rock from deep within the earth squeezed through to the surface, forming the bed of a long lost ocean. Millions more years saw this bed raised and bulldozed onto what is now Britain. You can still stand astride the boundary fault today – it runs between Mullion and Porthallow – and south of that line you’ll find very different rock to the rest of mainland Britain.
The Lizard first raised its head hundreds of millions of years ago when molten rock from deep within the earth squeezed through to the surface.
Delve into the caves at Kynance Cove at low tide or visit the craftspeople of Lizard Village and you’ll come face-to-face with part of our unique geological landscape: dark green, red and white veined serpentine rock. Keen geologists will also find schist and gabbro here.
Exceptional plants and wildlife
The mild oceanic climate, maritime cliffs, coastal grasslands and heathland of the Lizard support a unique collection of plants, insects and animals. There’s over 250 species of international importance to be found amongst the heath, rocks and grasslands here and some of the most specialized flora of any area of the UK.
A mosaic of colour bursts forth on the cliffs in springtime when pink thrift, yellow vetch and blue spring squill carpet the ground. In summer every conceivable shade of pink and purple contrast against the pop of yellow gorse blossom. Join a wildflower walk with local experts to find out more or take a stroll and enjoy the display.
A mosaic of colour bursts forth on the cliffs in springtime when pink thrift, yellow vetch and blue spring squill carpet the ground.
Plan a trip to Kynance, Predannack or Goonhilly Downs to get an eyeful of Cornish heath – it’s common here but you won’t find it anywhere else in Britain. You might even spot an adder, Britain’s only venomous snake, lurking in the grass, and, of course, there are common lizards to be found too.
Keep your eyes peeled for dolphins, seals and basking sharks off the coast in the summer months or enjoy a trip beneath the waves at one of our many extraordinary dive sites. And don’t miss the chance to spot a Cornish though, which can be seen all year-round. Look out for their glossy black plumage, curved crimson beak and red legs — and listen for their distinctive ‘chee-aww’ call.
DID YOU KNOW? The Cornish chough, which appears on the county coat of arms, is one of England’s rarest breeding birds.
Conservation in action
Heathland is a unique habitat that requires careful management. Farmers and conservation organisations like the National Trust, Cornwall Wildlife Trust and Natural England use traditional breeds of sheep, cattle and ponies to graze the cliffs, keeping encroaching scrub at bay and providing a habitat for rare plants and animals to thrive.
For more information on the wildlife of the Lizard, including a library of species to look out for and the latest news and sightings visit the-lizard.org
DID YOU KNOW? The name Lizard probably comes from the Cornish Lys Ardh, meaning high court.