Where  in the world: Cornwall worth visiting again and again

by Sarah Welch

I hope you’re not getting tired of my articles on Cornwall, but since it’s the most favorite place I’ve visited (three times), there is so much to tell.

Have you ever read any of Daphne Du Maurier’s novels, many of them set in Cornwall? Most notable are Rebecca (1938), The Birds (1963), My Cousin Rachel (1957), Frenchman’s Creek (1941) and Jamaica Inn (1936). Her writing style was rather dark and mysterious, but her novels continued in popularity throughout the years and most were made into movies.

Jamaica Inn is located in Bolventor in the middle of Bodmin Moor, Cornwall, United Kingdom. The first time I crossed Bodmin Moor with a driver and a small group of ladies, it was exactly as I had envisioned a ‘moor.’ Wild and windy, tall grass, wild horses, few trees, inhospitable! Our driver told us that you would not want to take a walk across the moor without knowing your path as there are bogs where people and animals have walked into, never to be seen again! Small hills called ‘tors’ are scattered throughout the area, the two tallest named ‘Brown Willy’ and ‘Rough Tor.’ There are also stacked stones dotting the moor.

Jamaica Inn was built in 1750 as a coaching house in Bolventor (Bold Venture), Bodmin Moor.

The inn itself is built of ancient stone and has several add-ons during the years, first to accommodate coaches and horses, then more room for travelers. Today, it has a restaurant, gift shop and a Smuggler’s Museum.

As the book depicts, Jamaica Inn was well known in the smuggling trade. Cornwall was a very poor area and food and goods were taxed at high rates, making purchase impossible by the working class. Smuggling became a necessary enterprise.

Well-organized smugglers would bring goods by boat, while someone on the coast signaled ‘coast clear’ or not, to bring goods in. Sometimes, they would hide goods in caves until it was safe to bring them in. Smugglers were rarely caught and punished, especially if the magistrates were offered bribes of smuggled goods.

Because it was inland, Jamaica Inn became a good storage and distribution location for smuggled goods.

Because if its dark past, many people have reported seeing or hearing ghosts in and about Jamaica Inn, most often at night. The inn now offers ‘ghost hunting’ overnight stays guaranteed to scare!

Jamaica Inn was featured on a TV episode of Most Haunted and it was reported as one of the ‘spookiest’ episodes they had ever recorded.

On my most recent trip there, our tour guide said she always felt “creeped out” when she came to Jamaica Inn and could hardly wait to leave! I didn’t feel any evil or friendly spirits and loved being there in 2008 and again in April 2018. I could go back tomorrow!

“20 years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you did not do, than by the ones you did do.” – Mark Twain