By Rhoda Parry
Call the Midwife star Jenny Agutter has travelled the world but the South West Coast Path in Cornwall is where she loves spending time the most. With filming just finished for Series 10 of the popular BBC series, Jenny is set to return to our screens to play Sister Julienne. The BBC is still to confirm the official date for airing, but it looks likely that the new series will begin in Spring.
With this in mind, we caught up with Jenny to discover where she loves to be when she’s not on set...
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‘I travel a lot in my line of work, but every time I come back to Cornwall, I feel it’s the most stunning place in the UK,’ Jenny told us. ‘The Cornish coastline feels rugged and ancient, not just old, but like you’re stepping way back into the times of the dinosaurs. The rock and the ruggedness of it has such presence.’
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Jenny and her husband, Johan Tham, live in the Lizard area, just above Cadgwith, in a house he’d bought several years before she met him. ‘Interestingly enough,’ she confides, ‘when I was collecting watercolours, years before I met him, I ended up with a collection of Cornish paintings of the area that I live in anyway!'
Cadgwith is a working fishing village and, even through full lockdown, the fishermen were still going out in their boats. ‘They were all taking fish up to the local farmhouse to sell locally and also to send off across the country, with overnight delivery,’ she adds.
So where does Jenny love to walk? ‘On this part of the South West Coast Path, one can walk all the way down to Cadgwith then up past the Devil’s Frying Pan. This spectacular site is formed from the collapsed roof of a sea cave leaving an arch of rock,’ recommends Jenny.
The site is owned by the National Trust. ‘From there just carry on to Lizard itself, which is the furthest southern point and if you are lucky, you will see the seals. It’s rocky, all clifftop and it changes quite a lot. In some places, you can suddenly come across areas of heather. As you get towards Penzance, it drops down to a steep beach, and spikes of serpentine rock can be seen coming out of the sea.’
Last year was the first time Jenny and Johan had been in Cornwall solidly from spring all the way through the year. ‘When it’s sunny, the colours are extraordinary, but when it’s grey, windy and wet, it’s also beautiful, and brings with it something else, she says.
‘Spring is fantastic though. After the winter, the moment the leaves start to come on the trees, you see this shadowy film of green outside, and then everything comes alive so fast. You get the bluebells, the camellias, and then the wildflowers on the cliff paths.
Last spring, swallows nested in a shed just outside Jenny's house. ‘There were five babies; we watched them growing up – they didn’t seem to mind at all. They’d all sit on a little ledge looking at one another, all very fluffy and big. I felt so sad to see them fledge. They all gathered together and then they were gone.’
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