The village of Zennor is located about 3 miles west of St Ives. Located on the wild and rugged north coast and backing onto the West Cornwall moors this is a place that can feel far removed from modern life. It is a pretty little village with a pub, the Tinner’s Arms, a small museum and an attractive church. In years gone by the folk of Zennor made their living from farming, fishing and mining. Now-a-days the fishing and mining have gone and those involved in farming are greatly reduced. This doesn’t mean there is no life in the village. There are a constant stream of visitors to the village, many on their way through whilst walking on the nearby South West Coast Path.
Zennor is steeped in history and legend. The surrounding moors are home to many ancient monuments most notably Zennor Quoit, the imposing remains of a now collapsed burial chamber. It has been estimated that the capstone that originally sat on top of the quoit weighs more than 10 tons.
The village church is St Senara and it is from this saint that the village gets its name. Dating back to Norman times the church is intertwined with Zennor’s best known legend – the Mermaid of Zennor:
In the legend the eye of local man Matthew Trewella is caught by a mysterious and beautiful women who watches him singing at the church every Sunday. As she became bolder the two fell in love. When Matthew asked her to stay she told him she had to return to the sea. He told here he would follow her wherever she went and carried her down to the cove, into the sea and under the waves. The two were never seen again but it is said that on fine summer evenings, if you listen carefully you can here the sound of Matthew’s singing.
In the church there is a carved bench end of a mermaid that dates back over 600 years.
The coast around Zennor is spectacular and is the perfect example of the West Cornish coast. Rugged granite cliffs stand firm against the relentless might of the Atlantic Ocean. A popular walk is from the village centre to Zennor Head around a mile along the coast. From here there are views up and down the coast to Gurnard’s Head and out over the treacherous Pendour Cove.