It’s been over a year since my first (and until now, only) visit to Mousehole, the second of Tolla Crisp’s regions to carry her Cornish theme (mixed with broader flavours from Europe). That visit, in June 2021 (see: A corner of Cornwall in Second Life), was made notlong after the region had opened, and saw it feature elements inspired by the ancient Cornish fishing village of Mousehole (pronounced maʊzəl, or Porthenys in Cornish) – at one time one of the busiest fishing ports, far down towards the very tip of England’s “toe”, on the southern coast of Cornwall.
At the time of that visit, Mousehole directly abutted Tolla’s Frogmore (now in its 5th iteration); however, time has passed and now Frogmore Cottage – a region given over mostly to rentals but with public paths winding through it – sits between the two.
Now sitting within a Homestead region, Mousehole has perhaps lost its more recognisable links to its physical world namesake – but in doing so it has lost none of its charm or beauty. Built by Dandy Warhlol (Terry Fotherington), in keeping with past builds for both Mousehole and Frogmore – and doubtless with a lot of input from Tolla – the region now presents itself as mix of small, rugged islands of the kind that might be found around the Cornish and Devonshire coasts, and flooded lowlands.
The landing point sits on the main landmass for the region, a squat island marked by a shale shoreline to the south from which rises an impressive rock formation which, from some angles at least, is perhaps mindful of a seal or sea lion sitting on the shore, head raised to the sky. The rest of the island points north from here, taking first the form of a flat-topped shoulder of cliffs before dropping down to lowlands where sits a tiny hamlet. Far smaller than Mousehole, this nevertheless recalls both the village and the June 2021 build thanks to the sign from the old pub hanging on the wall of what might have once been a fisherman’s house, but which now looks deserted.
This little hamlet, with its mix of houses that suggests both English and European influences, sits with a small harbour facing north and east towards the two Frogrmore regions.However, it is separated from them be a low-lying island which both shelters its moorings and is home to one of the region’s two large sandy beaches – the other sitting under the “sea lion rock” and the table-top cliffs of the main island.
Three further isles help complete this little archipelago. Two sit side-by-side astride a narrow channel to the north of the main island. Linked be a wooden bridge spanning the separating gorge, they are repectively the home of a smattering of further houses and buildings, and a single little pavilion.
Westwards sits a rugged blob of an island, its flat top home to ancient ruins whilst carrying a hint of Cornish moorlands even whilst a tall white lighthouse rises from their southern extent. Little bridges connect these latter isles to the hamlet, presetting the means for visitors to explore all of them on foot, despite the swirling waters churning the channels between them.
Throughout all of this there is, as one would expect, a wealth of detail both on land and on the water. In the case of the latter and despite the visible turbulence of white-capped foam suggesting shallows and rocks beneath, it is clear that the channels separating the islands are an important part of life here. Rowing boats are moored throughout, and Dandy has made clever use of a farmhouse design to incorporate water and moorings neatly into its layout, the overall design of the house offering that twist of European influence mentioned earlier without making with house feel out-of-place in this setting.
Those wishing to reach the Frogmore regions – or get to Mousehole from them – can do so via low wooden bridges which connect with a rocky spine rising from between Mousehole and Frogmore Cottage (and indeed, straddling the two regions). When coming from Frogmore Cottage, this slender island, windswept and battered by the tide, offers a warm greeting, a small cafe and a familiar sight across Cornwall in the form of hardy little ponies.
As always with Mousehole / Frogmore there are many opportunities for photography here, and the default EEP setting does much to help reinforce the idea that this is a part of Cornwall which is saying “goodbye” to summer skies and sunny days, and preparing itself for the arrival of the harsher days of winter. Well worth a visit.
- Mousehole (rated: Moderate)