I always figured it was called the Lizard because it comprises of serpentine rock but apparently its comes from its Cornish name "'Lys Ardh'" meaning High Court as opposed to neighbouring town of Helston which formerly possessed a lower judicial rank within its Celtic sted.
"An area of outstanding natural beauty", the geography and ecology is such that the second you slide onto its flat top from Falmouth or Helston you will know what I mean. In summer the cliff paths flourish, cattle grazes, Cadgwith wins awards for traffic bottlenecks and people spend a fortune on wild camping (its more expensive not to get a toilet these days.)
The Lizard is undoubtedly special not only because it is place to visit but never journey through but because its Ophiolite is the stuff that gets those dirty little geologists chomping at the bit. Simply put the Lizard is the ocean floor lifted of the seas bed by tectonic movement. That explains the steep cliffs, the flat top and the fertile soil.
From a certain surf spot on the lizard there are blow holes, that pop before ejaculating violently. There are the largest monoliths I have ever seen strewn around covered in lichen and bird shit with equal aplomb. There is even a clue to the destructive nature of this area of coast.
The Lizard even in today's age of GPS has a lifeboat station where active service is very much a feature for the brave cornishmen who volunteer. The Lizard is polkaed with wrecks that has brought divers to the area especially on the east side and has driven fear into many a worthy sailor not least of all the Spanish Armada.
The Lizard sticks out way to the south of the Penwith bulge. The drive is a long way from other spots and should you not know where to go, which tide to surf it on and which wind it requires you can burn half a day without seeing a wave. It's probably not worth the drive, if the waves were that good you'd know about them already, you see them in mags, people would let on. Just a quaint little idea. Still its a great place to spend some time and is home to Cornwall's best pasty.