Village News

Christmas Lights

201220 | Cornish village Angarrack where the Christmas lights are off but somebody’s home

Cornish village Angarrack where the Christmas lights are off but somebody’s home

It's normally full of visitors eager to see its famous Christmas lights in December

Bobby Thomas has lived in Angarrack for years.Bobby Thomas has lived in Angarrack for years. (Image: Greg Martin / Cornwall Live)


Usually at this time of year a village in Cornwall is inundated with thousands of visitors who come from far and wide to marvel at the stunning Christmas lights – the best in the South West according to many.

However, there’s nothing usual about this year so Angarrack Christmas Lights Committee took the difficult decision in September to cancel this year’s display – the first time since it started in 1986.

The small village near Hayle has a big reputation for its festive lights, featuring an animated Twelve Days of Christmas across rooftops, on the sides of houses and even in the river which flows past its jealousy-inspiring cottages and designer houses.

As anyone who has visited (and helped create traffic chaos in the narrow streets) can attest, it really is awe-inspiring and for many people Christmas isn’t Christmas without a visit to Angarrack.

So what’s life like in this lovely little enclave of West Cornwall this rather different December?

It’s clear from speaking to residents that they’re torn – the peace and quiet on the run-up to Christmas is novel and refreshing but they miss the sense of community and camaraderie. Yes, they even miss the multitudes who peer through their windows.

Angarrack was spookily quiet when Cornwall Live visited this week. One of the few people walking around was Bobby Thomas and his labrador Kim, who has lived in the village for 30 years – that’s Bobby not Kim, who would have made the Guinness Book of Records if so.

He said: “The Christmas lights were first started by a Mrs Cook and then more people joined in and it got bigger and bigger.”

He’s in two minds about the lack of jaw-dropping displays this year.

Bobby Thomas and his labrador Kim
Bobby Thomas and his labrador Kim (Image: Greg Martin / Cornwall Live)

“I like to see people walking around and the village full of life but it’s nice not to have everyone parking everywhere. Normally you’d be lucky to get in and out between 6pm and 9pm if you live here.”

Angarrack hasn’t got any shops so the hubs of village life are the community centre and the pub.

The centre adjoins Angarrack Methodist Church and plays host to Butterflies Montessori Nursery, village meetings, parties and allsorts. The Angarrack Inn would normally be rammed and enjoying its busiest time of the year, but it’s a different story in 2020.

The pub’s charismatic owner Billy Quitco said: “We are disappointed that there are no Angarrack Christmas lights this year but we have had a very busy summer and have been well supported by many of the residents in the village.

“We have used the autumn months to prepare our new extension which will be available for functions and to provide extra seating at busy times of the year.

“We are looking forward to a return to normality in 2021 and a fabulous Christmas lights display next winter.”

12 days of Christmas with Angarrack Christmas Lights last year
12 days of Christmas with Angarrack Christmas Lights last year (Image: Greg Martin / Cornwall Live)

The villagers I spoke to were very complimentary about the takeaway meals the pub provided through lockdown which were referred to as a “lifesaver”.

There’s an intriguing plaque outside the pub which reads Lottie Tregorran ‘The Robin Lady’ 1765 to 1853.

I was expecting a delightful story about one of the pub’s first landladies who fed the birds she loved so much. Not quite.

The story goes that Lottie’s son set off on his horse when a robin flew out of the bushes and flew up the horse’s nose and startled him, rearing up and throwing the landlady’s son off who hit his head and died.

Lottie was so upset that she never forgave robins and spent the rest of her life putting out poisoned food to kills the birds she blamed for killing her son.

I have to admit to only walking through Angarrack at night-time guided only by the twinkling lights, carol singers and revving of cars engines, so seeing it during the day brings a whole other dimension.

Billy Quitco in the Angarrack Inn
Billy Quitco in the Angarrack Inn

One highlight is seeing the viaduct in all its glory.

The 11-arch granite-built viaduct carries the Cornish main line railway across the steep-sided valley of the Angarrack River, a tributary of the River Hayle, between Camborne and Hayle stations.

The original viaduct was designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel for the West Cornwall Railway and was built wholly of timber on stone footings, and was nearly 800ft long and 100ft high. The stone from the original Brunel footings was re-used to construct the sea wall on the approach to Penzance railway station. Sadly, there’s no longer any evidence of Brunel's original structure.


Building of the replacement started in January 1883. A tram-road of a few hundred yards was laid to a nearby quarry owned to provide infill for the granite viaduct. The Grade II listed building was opened by the Great Western Railway in 1888 and its granite arches each have a span of 56.5ft.

It’s by no means the only slice of history in Angarrack – in the centre of the village is a display of two tin ingot moulds, which were discovered when Hillside Court was developed in the 1990s.

Angarrack Smelter was established in 1704 and the moulds have been dated to 1760 and 1870, when mining was at its height in Cornwall.

Billy Quitco in the Angarrack Inn
The viaduct bisects the village of Angarrack (Image: Greg Martin / Cornwall Live)

The village is an attractive mix of this olde worlde charm and lots of intriguing new builds. There’s one house in the centre of the village, raised as if on stilts, which looks like it should be the abode of some movie star in America.

In fact, it actually was the home of a movie star.

Rachel Trewartha, who grew up in the village, told me: “There was a lot of excitement when we heard Kate Winslet was moving in. I was seven years old and rollerskated to the house, knocked on the door and asked the lady, ‘do you know when Kate Winslet is moving in?’ I am Kate Winslet, she said. She was lovely.”

She added: “There is a great community spirit in Angarrack – everyone knows everyone. It was a great place to grow up – if you went out on your bike, everybody in the village would look out for you.”

She said that although very much a retirement village, there are more young families living in Angarrack now, with the kids particularly loving the annual duck race.

Rachel agreed with her dad Michael, a longstanding member of the community, that although the people of Angarrack are enjoying the peace this Christmas, it’s “really weird” not having the lights and the visitors.

Here’s to next year when we can all enjoy this special village in December, but remember … park sensibly!

 

 

 

Bobby Thomas has lived in Angarrack for years.
Bobby Thomas and his labrador Kim
12 days of Christmas with Angarrack Christmas Lights last year
Billy Quitco in the Angarrack Inn
The viaduct bisects the village of Angarrack

Book page

TitleCreated
220623 | George Eustice and Derek Thomas would lose seats in Cornwall if election held now, YouGov poll suggests 2 days 11 hours agoBook page
220609 Recent Lungworm case in Hayle | Lungworm increasing threat to Cats and Dogs 2 weeks 3 days agoBook page
220301 | UK overrules scientific advice lift ban on bee-harming pesticide, Eustice not "rule out completely risk to bees" 7 weeks 10 hours agoBook page
220211 | Will banned bee-killing pesticides become the new norm? | Secretary of State ignoring expert advice 7 weeks 10 hours agoBook page
220505 | Prices at 'value brand' Tory minister's family farm shop dwarf supermarket rates George Eustice is 'trustee of family' 7 weeks 10 hours agoBook page
220412 | Cornwall residents and visitors urged take Covid seriously as free testing ends 'Don’t pretend Covid has disappeared' 9 weeks 4 days agoBook page
220416 | 'Keep your masks on' visitors told | As tourists head West for Easter, health chiefs issue Covid warning 10 weeks 1 day agoBook page
210317 | Great value bus travel is coming to Cornwall as Council leads the way with pioneering trial 10 weeks 6 days agoBook page
For Angarrack Life Magazine (April 2022) | Cornwall Heritage Trust 11 weeks 3 days agoBook page
2021: 36 spills for 87 hours into tributary Angarrack Stream | Relistian Pumping Station SWW 301607 | Raw Sewage in our Rivers 11 weeks 5 days agoBook page
220404 | Are you aware of a series of outages since 6.15 at TR27? | WPD (@wpduk) 11 weeks 6 days agoBook page
220330 | People need to remain vigilant about Covid, experts warning, as free universal testing for the virus ends in England 11 weeks 6 days agoBook page