What's the best way to see the prettiest villages in England's countryside?
HUSBAND AND I ARE VISITING ENGLAND IN MID-APRIL LOOKING TO TAKE THE TRAIN THAT SKIRTS THE SOUTH COAST TO CORNWALL THEN DO DRIVES BASED FROM A SELF-CATERING COTTAGE IN CORNWALL. FRIENDS SAY THIS AREA IS VERY BUSY; ANY QUIETER AREAS? WE LIKE WALKING AND VISITING SMALL, PRETTY VILLAGES. M. BAKER, BALLINA
Great Scenic Railways (www.greatscenicrailways.co.uk/ ) might be just your cup of tea. These are slow and wonderful train journeys in Devon and Cornwall. Apart from a couple of lines such as the Avocet and Riviera Line, they don't run close to the coastline but rather burrow towards it along the minor lines that branch off the main lines between Exeter and Penzance. This is some of England's prettiest countryside, and out a train window is the perfect way to see it. These train lines are also astonishingly good value.
While it's true that the coastline is busy and jammed with traffic in summer, in mid-April you're well short of peak season. There are plenty of walks you can do in this region – just about any village will have walking trails running through it. Weather can be dicey, this is England after all, and therefore it might be better not to plan your walks too far in advance until you know what the weather is likely to be doing. Cicerone (cicerone.co.uk) is a specialist publisher of walking guides with several titles to cover the areas you'll be visiting.
Among the prettiest villages in this region are St Mawgan, Bocastle, Mousehole, Kingsand and Cawsand, Mevagissey, Fowey and Port Isaac, famed as the setting of the Doc Martin BBC series.
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The story What's the best way to see the prettiest villages in England's countryside? first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.