10 South Coast Eastern
The AONB from Par Sands to Looe encompasses the Fowey ria. This drowned river valley forms a network of creeks that lead toward a coastline of low cliffs and small beaches. Gribben Head, with it's prominent beacon, has panoramic views along the coast and across the Fowey estuary. The spectacular and well wooded Menabilly Valley penetrates deep inland, whilst Cornish hedges support belts of trees that extend like fingers up the slopes from the main valley.
BEACHES, BAYS AND COVES
There are a few small secluded beaches nestled among the rocky coves of this area including Polkerris, Polridmouth (pronounced ‘pridmuth’) Readymoney, Lantic Bay and Lansallos.
BOATS AND FERRIES
A foot ferry service links the two settlements of Fowey and Polruan. Cars are transported by the Bodinnick Ferry. There is also a Fowey to Mevagissey Passenger Ferry.
Routes and timetables www.cornwallpublictransport.info
COAST AND COUNTRYSIDE
The west of this area of the Cornwall AONB is dominated by the Fowey River Estuary and the large headland of Gribbin Head with its distinctive lighthouse. The area then takes in the coastal plateau to the east, stopping just outside Looe.
COMMUNITY AND TOURIST INFORMATION
EVENTS, FESTIVALS AND ATTRACTIONS
Daphne du Maurier, the famous novelist who resided in Fowey is celebrated through the Daphne du Maurier Festival each May. The harbour hosts the annual Fowey Royal Regatta in mid August. The Friends of the Fowey Estuary organise lots of events around the River. For local events in Polperro, click here. Interpretation on the China clay industry, including its history in relation to what is now Cornwall AONB, can be found at the China Clay Country Museum near St. Austell.
HISTORIC SITES AND BUILDINGS
Among the many noteable historic features of this area is Castle Dore, an ancient hill fort dating from 200BC, a few miles west of Golant. St. Catherine’s Castle was built in the 1530s to guard the entrance to Fowey Harbour. On the headland close to the castle, lies the 16th century mansion and gardens of Menabilly, former home of Daphne Du Maurier, where she wrote ‘Rebecca’, one of her most famous novels. Fowey Harbour is flanked by two fourteenth century blockhouses, one in Fowey and one in Polruan, from which chains were once suspended to close the harbour mouth.
Several areas within and around the Fowey Estuary are designated areas. Lantic Bay, Polruan to Polperro, is a Special Area of Conservation (SAC), and there are several Special Sites of Scientific Interest (SSSI). The Fowey Estuary Voluntary Marine Conservation Area (VMCA) was set up to aid in raising public awareness and education, managed by the Fowey Estuary Partnership.
PARKS AND GARDENS
No information is currently available on this section. If you are aware of any local information please contact the AONB Unit.
RIVERS, PORTS AND HARBOURS
Fowey is a bustling and scenic port that inspired the novelist Daphne Du Maurier. The picturesque harbour of Polperro to the east is best reached via theSouth West Coast Path National Trail if possible, as access by car is difficult if entering from above the village. A little further east is the small village of Talland.
TOWNS AND VILLAGES
The village of Polruan nestles on the eastern side of the River Fowey
From Fowey the AONB continues up the estuary to Golant. Lerryn is on the eastern side of the river and getting to this part of Cornwall AONB can be slow along the winding single track lanes.
WALKS AND CYCLEPATHS
Click here for fantastic walks in this area from iWalk Cornwall.
The South West Coast Path National Trail runs right around the coastline. The National Trust owns much of the land around Gribbin Head and promotes a local circular walk. It also has a large landholding east of Lerryn, and recommends a circular walk centred on Lansallos village.
The Saint’s Way meanders in a great loop around Fowey with great views of the River. The Cornwall Tourist Board and Looe Valley Walking can provide further information about walking within this beautiful area.