Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Continuing Consideration of Cornwall [2]

After St Ives, we go to St Ives (eventually)!

See "Continuing Consideration of Cornwall [1]" (read again). On returning from St Ives it was time for a break. These little Optare buses are not designed for those "broad of girth" and there was a need for a little leg stretching; and, of course:-
Opposite Penzance bus station is an excellent caff, sadly only open to mid afternoon.
Suitably refreshed with a mugga plus well-filled bacon sarnie, it was soon time to set off again. This trip had to be a simple out-and-back run; there being no suitable round trip schedule.
Route 10 is, in part, a local service for Penzance, serving the Parc Letta estate at Heamoor ...
... which enjoys a bus every 30 minutes with the 10A to Madron. No-one boarded or alighted, but the previous 10A had left late, so perhaps the local crowds were on that vehicle? Our bus then rejoined the main road after setting down a couple at Trengwainton Garden ...
... oddly pluralised by First.
A Sheltered garden bursting with exotic trees and shrubs
Trengwainton’s 25 acres invite you to explore – and come back for more. Discover a garden where the spirit of the Plant Hunters lives on in breathtaking spring displays of magnolias, rhododendrons and camellias.

Our walled kitchen garden will inspire creativity with your own growing space and wide open views across Mount’s Bay will have you reaching for your camera. Lose yourself amongst winding, wooded paths, picnic by the stream or simply find a quiet corner to breathe in the peace of this special place.

The next excitement was this:-
The tomb of an unknown tin miner? An up-market Tesco trolley park? The entrance to an underground car park? The smallest church in West Penwith? Alas none of these. This is ...
... Tan tan ta-ra; tan tan ta-ra ...

St Just Bus Station!

Is there a lesser bus stationed bus station anywhere in GB? fbb does remember the Castle Donington bus station of his youth which consisted of a large patch of cinders with a single concrete bus shelter. Things may be better now?

St Just is sometimes know as St Just in Penwith to diferentiate it from St Just in Roseland just across the water from Falmouth.
The ancient settlement has a strong mining history and was during the 19th century one of the most important mining districts in Cornwall both for copper and tin. The boom in 19th-century mining saw a dramatic increase in the population of St Just, the 1861 census records the population figure as being 9290, however like other areas in Cornwall the population declined with the collapse in the tin trade in the 20th century. It was announced in July 2006 that the St Just mining district and the rest of the historic mining areas of Cornwall had become the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage Site.

Service 10 continues eastbound via Carnyorth, Pendeen and a double run to Lower Boscaswell where a reversing lay-by is provided.
Just across the fields can be seen the appurtenances of Geevor Tin Mine ...
... which ceased production in 1990 but is now a tourist attraction.
It is 550 yards from the main road and the No 10 bus route; but the vintage service 300 actually toddles down to the car park area. Lower Boscaswell, Pendeen and thus Geevor Mine (gateway) are served every hour on the 10; but alternate buses continue along the coast road to Morvah, another former mining village. here fbb snapped (a) the lavish public transport facilities ...
... (b) the chapel, typically converted into a dwelling ...
... and (c) the bus back to Penzance.
Throughout the journey, and in every direction, could be seen the ruined remains of the mining industry; at one time the life-blood of the Penwith peninsula, but now just a memory.
fbb's next trip was pure self-indulgence.
Open top buses run on the hourly 17B which suuplements the half-hourly 17. It is a slower route but, to make the open top experience a bit seasidey, it runs via Marazion with gorgeous views of St Michaels Mount. Sadly, apart from a short-ish section approaching St Ives, the open toppedness of the route is disappointing. Unless you like an open top view of Long Rock industrial estate ...
... or a fruitless trip to St Ives Holiday Village; sounds quaint but ...
... it's a caravan and chalet park; it's not at St Ives but at Lelant Downs 5 miles away and it's down a long double run through woodland with no views. Disappointing. There was some spark of interest in the journey however; and for once fbb was fascinated by the history of the vehicle itself.
L637 SEU started its life with City Line, the Bristol bit of Badgerline, and is seen here "re-badged" after the adoption of the new name by the merged Badgers and Grampian.
It then moved to the West where it had an unfortunate happening with a low bridge in Falmouth. There were no passengers on board.
It was towed clear ...
... and the job of converting it to open top was completed by First's engineers.
Anyway, fbb arrived at St Ives where relief was needed. By now a little fatigued, fbb decided to take a break in a coffee shop just down the road ...
... where he paid £4.25 to use the "facilites"; there being none at or near the bus terminal. But he did get a freshly made pot of tea (a big pot, at least three goodly sized cups) ...
... and a piece of home made rich fruit cake free as part of the deal.
And so, boringly down the main road, back to Penzance. The bus arrived late, something of a feature pf First's services and thus fbb missed his next scheduled departure.

But, before outlining the closing hours of his trip, your investigative author needs to review the variety of public transport happenings in St Ives.

 Next bus blog : Wednesday 2nd July 


  1. £4.25 for a cup of tea and a slice of cake - you were done mate!!

  2. Three cups of tea. And I was desperate for "other opportunities". No worse that £2.50 for a cappucino latte americano with sprinkles. And it was "barista" service, whatever that means. St Ives seems to lack my more usual pot mug and a wodge serving establishment (with spoon on a chain!)

  3. I can see a new blog topic for fbb forming here... Check out Leysdown bus station in Kent for lacking facilities on the end of Arriva's 360/362 on sheppey.... Makes st just look like brentonside! I'm sure you can see what it has, or doesn't have on google street view or something!

    1. Yes you can, it's on shellness road... Apparently there was a bus station there once, but it was demolished 20 years or so ago, but arriva still call it Leysdown bus station. Ilfracombe was pretty bad last time I went there too, but hasn't that now been fully levelled and developed with only on street stops, or was that just the former garage building....

    2. The Isle of Sheppey boomed in the period after World War One when those from the 'east end of London' could travel down for a day excursion or longer. Land was cheap and it became an area of chalets etc.

      It could however only be reached by rail with some difficulty via the Sheppey Light Railway which itself connected onto the Sheerness 'branch'. As a result coach services were the obvious answer and for many years they boomed. Even as late as the 1960's there were several journeys a day and in the Summer multiple relief's, Many continuing beyond Sheerness to Leysdown.

      Maidstone & District also operated a day tours and excursions programme to cater for the visitors, and at one time an open top double deck service on the island. I vaguely remember as a child seeing an ancient single decker heading off from Leysdown to the lonely destination known as Shell Ness (I think a former sea plane base and more recently a location for more private bathing!)

      This was the period when I think the bus station was built as it appeared a necessary way of providing enquiry, booking and 'control' facilities. Apart from the 'office' there was I believe space for two vehicles in the shed to the side but as far as I know no vehicles were allocated to it.

      Sheerness as the main town was even busier at its bus station, but services rapidly declined in the late 60's and 70's, Leysdown was closed and demolished just leaving 'the floor' (which is the hard standing referred to) and Sheerness followed some years later. The back of what had been that bus station is now the 'yard' replacing a much larger depot near Halfway where the Sheppey Light railway had previously crossed the main road.

  4. As I remember, they've tarmacked the layby at Castle Donington, but that's about it.

    I like your picture of the generous departure and arrival facilities at Morvah. Just remove the phone box and they seem to be in danger of falling over!

    Talking of poor bus stations, have you seen the magnificent facilities at what is proudly called "Keswick Bus Station"? A layby with four stops positioned so closely together you're not sure who's queuing for which bus. And when you stand[as there's no seating], hope for fine weather, for there's no shelter either. At least there is a loo in the adjacent supermarket, but they must be getting tired of the constant stream of passengers entering just to use it.

    Your "Toilet Deal" at St Ives - £4.25p for use of closet and tea and cake thrown in [not literally, I hope], seems good business sense. For by the time you've sunk three "goodly" cups of tea, you need to start all over again......