Pennance is set in Cornwall, the far south-west corner of the UK. Cornwall is surrounded by rugged coastline and is battered by the Atlantic. It is busy in summer as a very popular tourist destination, but quiet and atmospheric in winter. This is my favourite time to visit and when the novel is set.
Pennance is a fictional village although the name is a Cornish name meaning head of the valley (and I’m afraid I liked the pun to describe Lucy’s state). It is situated on the south coast which is slightly more green and less rugged that the north coast which receives the full force of the Atlantic waves.
Karen’s house near Pennance and the garden running down the valley to the sea was inspired by gardens such as Trebah, although I imagined it as a much more modest version. These gardens are set in sheltered valleys which are luscious and green while the exposed coast and spurs can be more barren.
Here are some photos of the places that inspired the setting of the cottage, manor house and valley garden leading to the coast (although these weren’t taken in winter and have a different atmosphere to the novel):
Cornwall coast – setting for several scenes in the book