Porthleven photo's. Click to enlarge.
tide on the beach just below us.
back across the outer harbour at the Bickford-Smith Institute
the beach again facing west
beach is submerged under the storm swell
below from the above on the quay side.
tide and rock hopping. Right uinder the end of the pier now.
sunsets are best with a calm sea
the coast path east. Passing the remains of the old wheal
Penrose lead mine
inland off the main roads. Do you know the location?
||Porthleven is in SW Cornwall and located along the coast of the Mounts Bay
between the Lizard and Lands End.
The name generally excepted to come from "Porth" being Cornish for
harbour and "Leven" from St Elvan, a Celtic saint who came to the area
to preach in the 5th Century. Historically Porthleven was divided by
the small River Leven that now empties in to the harbour, into the two
parishes of Breage and Sithney. The land either side also different
owners. Ensuing some conflict over the right of shipwrecks.
large enough to keep all visitors catered for but still retains the
character of an unspoilt fishing village, with its granite built harbour
and pier and the iconic clock tower, The Bickford-Smith Institute. Often
mistaken for a church it was completed in the 1880's on the site of an old pub
and now houses the Porthleven council and home to the Bickford Smith Institute
(billiards and snooker). But you may have spotted its photo on the
national news when the winter storms roll in and we are the centre for
There has been documented activity in the area since Neolithic times and a
recorded settlement for over 1000 years. Prior to the harbour, the fisherman would drag
their boats up on the beach to what was called Johnsons Cove. And if
you take a drive east to nearby Poldhu Cove. We can then imagine what
Porthleven would have originally looked like. The name "Portleven"
starts to appear on maps from about 1600. The village you see
today started with the commencement of construction of the Price of
Wales harbour in 1811. With additional developments and change of
owners throughout the 1800’s.
All interest is not solely with the harbour. To the east of the pier is a golden
shingle/sand beach stretching for about 2 miles to Gunwalloe Fishing Cove.
About half way along is the Loe Bar. A sand bar, which divided the sea
from the “Loe” (Cornish meaning pool), Cornwall’s largest natural fresh
water lake (technically a lagoon!). Under the care of the National Trust the area surrounding the
pool is open free to the public and provides an excellent variety of walks
and expanding cycle trails.
The South West Coastal
Path also runs through the village and by us here on Loe Bar Road. It is easily accessed from either side
of the harbour. There are a number of local walks and it is quite easy to
leave the car parked for a week and do a different walk each day.
To the west of the harbour entrance at
low-tide, one can find excellent rock pools and the “Moonstone” or "Giants Quoit", a 50 ton erratic, not from anywhere in UK, brought to Porthleven
possibly on an iceberg and latest theories are it floated down from
northern Europe. In the near distance on the cliff edge one can see the
abandoned engine houses of the Trewavas copper mine near Rinsey. The
workings from these extended underground and out to sea. There has also
been four named mines here as well. From the
village Tregonning Hill is also visible, an extinct volcano and where
china clay was first discovered in this country and shipped out via the
Porthleven is not over commercialised or just open for the summer and even in winter life goes on in the
village and so we are well served with a small supermarket, newsagents and
post office, fish and chip shops, bakeries selling freshly made pasties, cafes and restaurants varying
in prices and menus often serving local produce, three pubs, galleries,
craft-workshops, and even a few small shops selling "objet d'tat" and other
fancy goods as well as the holiday essentials - a bucket, spade and crab line.
Around the harbour is great for a stroll throughout the year and perhaps fishing off the pier or crabbing from the quay. For the more active
fishing and coastal trips no longer run out from the harbour. Penzance
being the nearest now. For cycle hire if
you have not brought your own bike. Helston has a hire centre.
The beach is fine for swimming, paddling or walking with or without the dog
(partial beach ban). It a sand/shingle mix. In the summer it has a daily
lifeguard patrol. For surfing and bodyboarding our beach is no good
unfortunately. The local reef is unforgiving and for the experience
only. Just six miles either side are the sandy beaches of Poldhu Cove and
the larger Praa
Sands. These are ideal for beginners and experienced alike.
There are also many local events in the village through the summer season
that may coincide with your visit. Major events are the RNLI Regatta Day,
Porthleven Gig Day and the Torchlight Procession. In recent years The Porthleven
and Music Festival in April is an event not to miss. From Easter to
October on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday is the Porthleven harbour Market
with a variety of goods for sale from local traders. Also look at "the gate" on The Square for the latest
information of what is going on locally.