Porthpean to Looe – beaches on a sandy bay and busy china clay ports.
East of Gribben Head, the sandy sweeps of St Austell Bay give way to a series of delightful little beaches backed by cliffs which rise to more than 300 ft (100m). Behind the cliffs, a patchwork of green and gold fields rolls inland, contrasting with the lunar landscape of china clay workings north of St Austell. Fowey, Polperro and Looe are quaint old ports with narrow streets, old building and harbours bright with boats.
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Porthpean – A narrow, rock flanked lane whose trees form a leafy tunnel in summer drops steeply down from Higher Porthpean to a sandy beach with fine views across St Austell Bat to Gribben Head. Its sheltered waters provide safe conditions for bathing, although the beach shelves quite quickly. The ebbing tide reveals patches of rock dappled with pools where prawns can be nettled. The village was once a pilchard fishing community, and the old fish cellars are now used by the local sailing club.
Charlestown – This fascinating little port dates from the end of the 18th century and takes its name from Charles Rashleigh, the local mine owner who financed the venture. The port was designed by John Smeaton, the builder of Eddystone lighthouse…. [ Read More ]
Carlyon Bay – Overlooked by a private estate with hotels and a golf course it offers a long, sandy beach.
Par Sands – Sands which shelve very gently and run out for half a mile at low tide make this and excellent beach for children. It is overlooked by dunes which shelters a caravan site with a reedy pool. To the west are all the tall chimineys and long, low buildings of a works where china clay is processed and loaded on to ships at a private harbour built in the 1820’s.
Polkerris – Cellars where pilchards were salted are a reminder that Polkerris was once numbered among Cornwall’s many small fishing ports. Its ‘seine house’, where fish were processed for oil, was once the largest in Cornwall. The sandy beach, flanked by rocks and cliffs, has a breakwater built by the Rashleighs of Menabilly, a house near Gribben Head.
Gribben Head – An 84 ft ‘daymark’ for sailors, built by Trinity House, crowns this craggy headland, reached by a 20 minute walk over fields from the car park near Menabilly Barton. Walkers skirt the private gardens of Menabilly, Daphne du Maurier’s home for many years and the ‘Manderley’ of her novel Rebecca. The path passes Poldridmouth Cove where trees, shrubs and low cliffs overlook a sandy beach which the headland shelters from south westerly winds.
Fowey – Ocean going ships load china clay mingle with scores of small craft and the occasional cruise liner in the sheltered waters have made Fowey a busy port since the Middle Ages…. [ Read More ]
Polruan – The narrow street which plunged down to this village at the entrance to the River Fowey. In the past, many wooden ships were built at Polruan, and there is a still a busy boatyard. A passenger ferry runs to Fowey.
Lantic Bay – Exceptionally clear seas wash a secluded bay which faces due south and has several small, low tide beaches divided by outcrops of rock. The shore is a 15 minute walk from Lansallos, an isolated hamlet with a fascinating 14th century church. Its features include a medieval bell broken by drunken villagers in the 19th century, and a pulpit, the base of which is part of a pinnacle brought down in 1923.
Polperro – Old, whitewashed cottages, crammed together like sardines in a can, combine with a picturesque little fishing harbour to make Polperro one of England’s most memorable villages. It has long been a powerful magnet for tourists who throng the astonishingly narrow streets during the holiday season.
Smuggling and fishing were Polperro’s main sources of income until the 19th century, but the village’s future was threatened by a great storm, demolished the breakwater and wrecked almost 59 boats.
Talland Bay – Step narrow lanes run down from to a beach of sand, shingle and rocks flanked by headlands more than 300ft (100m) high.
Looe Island – Half a mile off Hannefore Point, and reached by launches from Looe, this is the largest island within reach of the Cornish Coast. It is privately owned, and a haven for sea birds.
Looe – East Looe and West Looe were both granted charters in the 14th century and remained independent communities, each with their own members of Parliament, for the next 500 years. Linked bay an old, multi arched bridge, they stand on their side of a narrow estuary whose tide-washed tributaries flow seawards down deep, wooded valleys.
East Looe’s web of narrow streets bustles with visitors in holiday season. Fishing boats land their catches at the town’s eastern quay.
A sandy beach at the mouth of the river is sheltered by a jetty known as the Banjo Pier because of its shape. As well as seaside amusements, Looe has a museum, an aquarium and sub aqua club.
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