Explore the Helford

St Anthony in Meneage -M.Camp

The Helford estuary, to the south of Falmouth, is an idylic mixture of isolated woodland, secluded creeks, rich farmland and semi-tropical gardens. It has long been recognised for its scenic beauty, but it is also a wonderful natural habitat with several protected areas.

The shoreline, from the sea up the muddy creeks such as Gweek, covers over 30 miles in length and includes a wide range of habitats. The rocky coast at the mouth, gives way to sandy beaches and hidden wooded inlets, many only accessible by water.

Wildlife abounds, from sightings of dolphins and seals in the estuary to wading birds such as egrets in the mud at low tide. Deer may be seen in the woods and dragonflies skirt across the creeks in the summer sunshine. At the head of the river you will find the Cornish Seal Sanctuary, best visited in the winter months when seals are most likely to be rescued and brought here for treatment.

On the northside of the river you will find the two adjacent gardens of Trebah and Glendurgan, both are rich in plants and offer stunning vistas across the water. The nearby Budock Vean Hotel also has extensive grounds running down to the waters edge and an adjoining golf course.

Leaving from the bottom of the Budock Vean's gardens, Koru Kayak offer guided trips to Frenchmans Creek, imortalised by the author Daphne DuMaurier. The creek is accessible on foot, but you can't beat drifting on the tide, sneaking past swans in silence. There are plenty of other paths all along the estuary, taking you to delightful hamlets such as St Anthony in Meneage (pictured above) and Manacan with its thatched cottages.

If you want to discover another side of Cornwall, try the Helford.