Cornwall news Ramsay, second homes and life in Cornwall's Kensington on sea UK news
MetiNews.Com - Rock is one of those places many of us don’t really think of as ‘Cornish’
Breaking News ! Proud Kernow-born residents of the village will hate me for this, but Rock is one of those places that many of us in Cornwall don’t really think of as ‘Cornish’. It’s the playground of the rich and famous, isn’t it? A place where Princes William and Harry, when they used to speak to each other, could get drunk and frolic away from the glare of the tabloids. A fishing village which soon became known as Kensington by the sea due to the inordinate amount of second homes (60% of the housing stock, in fact) and seasonal visits from Horace and Henrietta from Holland Park. The arrival, with much Mirror, Mail and – it has to be said – Cornwall Live fanfare of Gordon Ramsay and clan has put Rock back in the spotlight as the celebrity go-to bolthole. Work being carried out on Gordon Ramsay's house in February Ask a huge swathe of people elsewhere in the Duchy and they would probably tell you the young folk of Rock, having grown up working in the village pubs and shops, have been priced out of the area and now live in nearby conurbations like Wadebridge and Bodmin. It’s Cornwall but not Cornwall – a coffee table magazine idea of what Cornwall is for people pruning their hedge funds in the Home Counties while those of us who actually live here stay away, downing Rattler with the hoi polloi on Perranporth beach. Of course, this is – largely – a nonsense. You only have to be in Rock for a couple of hours to see that while, yes, there are a hell of a lot of second homes, there is also a strong Cornish community still living here, proud to announce that the majority of those seasonal property owners pitch in and are very much seen as locals. In fact, Lucy Orr – whose Lucy Orr Interiors is an emporium of globally-sourced loveliness in the heart of the village – is quick to point out (as were several other people I spoke to) that there has been a recent sea change in Rock. Interior designer Lucy Orr at her shop in Rock (Image: Greg Martin / Cornwall Live) More second home owners are despairing of life in the city, especially post-Covid, and are selling up and making Rock their full-time primary residence. Indeed, I spoke to a group of elderly women who were keen to tell me of all the facilities in the village, from the sailing club, St Enodoc Golf Club, a thriving bridge-playing community, charity events on the beach, and the recently-formed Seagulls WI, which flies in the face of tradition and is largely made up of young mums, whose children attend the nearby and much-praised St Minver primary school. These ladies were so full of knowledge of Rock, so entrenched in its daily life that they had to be born and bred here. Not a bit of it – each of them had bought second homes over the years and eventually moved down here, lock, stock and barrel. Read More Related Articles Gordon Ramsay's new mansion in Rock in Cornwall and how renovations added £1.6m in value Read More Related Articles Cornwall pub named the best in Britain at GQ Food & Drink Awards One resident, who didn’t want to be named (a lot of people didn’t want to be named – it appears that second home ownership is still a bit of a divisive subject in these parts), aired a view shared by many I spoke to. She said: “There are a lot of wealthy people who live here, but that’s what makes Rock what it is. They help the local economy by spending money in our shops rather than in chains.” Lucy agreed: “They’re all of our bread and butter. I open my arms to everyone who comes down.” Another new home in the process of being built in Rock (Image: Greg Martin / Cornwall Live) There’s a thriving community of shops which benefit from them too – a bakery, butchers, fishmonger, deli and a traditional village newsagent, still proudly sporting a Cornish Guardian awning. One of Rock’s great attractions now is the Mariners pub, which under Paul Ainsworth’s tenure has just been named the best pub in the UK by GQ magazine. The food is stunning – it will make you re-evaluate the gourmet standards of the humble Scotch egg, for one. Business is brisk and that means a whole load of locals – young people, particularly – are employed. Not just at the Mariners but at the nearby Rock Inn, Blue Tomato café and the new Tap Room restaurant. You can stay up-to-date on the top news near you with CornwallLive's FREE newsletters – find out more about our range of daily and weekly bulletins and sign up here or enter your email address at the top of the page.
. Very much a local business, despite being bought out by Molson Coors around ten years ago, it provides much-needed employment in the area. I spoke to a 19-year-old who grew up in Rock, who told me – again, anonymously – that life is pretty idyllic and manageable for younger residents of the village. “I basically grew up on the beach – we would be on the beach every day of the year,” she said. “It’s a simple life here.”
Not all houses in prime positions in Rock are huge and modern
(Image: Greg Martin / Cornwall Live)
She said that, despite popular opinion, there are estates and streets that are still home to Rock folk (actually, what do you call people from Rock? Rockers, Rockets, Rockstars?). As well as Section 106 affordable housing in various parts of Rock, there is Dingles Way. An estate of self-build homes, it was built on land given by a local farmer to ensure the village’s native inhabitants could have somewhere to live. It’s easy to see why he was keen. Rock today is a hive of building work (again, providing a lot of work for builders, plumbers and electricians in the area).
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The traditional Cornish cottages which would have once lined the banks overlooking the Camel Estuary are slowly going, to be replaced by swish modern pads, whose architects appear to be having a competition to out chi-chi each other. Though they all end up looking similar – huge palaces of Ibiza white with the sort of floor to ceiling windows that must be a bitch to find curtains for.
The sailing club in Rock is the centre for many community events and activities
(Image: Greg Martin / Cornwall Live)
Which brings us to Gordon Ramsay, Rock’s most famous resident. His house is surprisingly central as is the man himself, who is very much part of the community when he’s down. No one in the village has a bad word to say about him – “charming” and “lovely man” were bandied about. His son Jack, who recently joined the Royal Marines, has worked behind the bar at the sailing club and was described adoringly by more than one twinkle-eyed patron.
It’s actually a lot of these elderly residents who are the ones moving out of Rock, not its younger folk. One older lady told me: “There are no facilities here anymore. There’s no post office, bank or doctor, so a lot of people are moving to the Wadebridge area so life is easier.”
The Mariners has just been named the best pub in Britain
(Image: Greg Martin / Cornwall Live)
She’s not that bothered by famous visitors or nearby residents either: “I’ve seen Will Carling a lot and Jeremy Paxman. I wasn’t that impressed by Hugh Grant, I don’t like him much, but John Bowe, who used to be in Emmerdale, is lovely.” The village (Penmayn to give it its original Cornish name before the anglicised Black Rock and, shortened, Rock) is basically one long road; a road which must be hellish at the height of summer. It ends in the cul-de-sac that is Rock Quarry car park, which on an out of season October Tuesday was rammed when I visited. The argument about second homes will no doubt rage for generations to come, but as visitors still pile in, perhaps for a glimpse of Ramsay or to devour Ainsworth’s renowned dishes, Rock will continue to roll.
Source = MetiNews.Com - Cornwall