Spend a weekend in...The Roseland Peninsula
Spend a weekend in...The Roseland Peninsula.
The Roseland Peninsula has been designated part of Cornwall’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty for the quality of its landscape and coastal scenery. It is home to picturesque fishing villages, leading to the coast and St Mawes, a fashionable village curving around a sheltered bay. It is popular with walkers, wildlife enthusiasts, yachtsmen, windsurfers and canoeists.
The area is bordered by the Fal Estuary to the west and the St Austell Bay to the east.
The beaches in the Roseland are lovely wide open stretches of sand but are rarely crowded. The Tavern and Summer beaches that are on either side of St Mawes harbour, are excellent for swimming and families. Porthcurnick Beach is north of the pretty harbour and village at Portscatho. It's a beautiful south east facing sandy cove, owned by the National Trust with many rockpools for children to explore. Portscatho village faces east overlooking Gerrans Bay and has a scattering of self-catering properties and a popular pub.
In the east of the area, Gorran Haven is another small fishing village that is now a popular place to visit for those in the know. There's a large carpark in the centre of the village from where you can walk down to the harbour or along the South West Coast Path to the long sandy Vault Beach. Further on, the beach at Portluney is overshadowed by Caerhays Castle, best visited in the spring when the gardens are at their best.
On the Roseland there are many popular gardens that are a must visit, including Caerhays. The Lost Gardens of Heligan is a mysterious garden and estate offer with over 200 acres for exploration. You can also enjoy Trelissick Gardens that is perched at the head of the Fal Estuary, Trelissick Gardens boasts jaw-dropping views and a huge array of plant species. An inspirational garden with varied woodland planting, mixed borders with bright summer and autumn flowers together with exotic perennials.
Charming Fishing Villages
Portscatho and Gorran Haven are just two of the many lovely fishing villages to explore on the Roseland. Mevagissey was once the centre of the pilchard industry and is a great place to discover with its narrow streets and old fishermans cottages. St Mawes is the principal village on the Roseland Peninsula, it is a centre for a range of watersports activities. St Mawes is a picturesque harbour with a small fishing fleet and an interesting heritage. It is linked to Falmouth by the St Mawes Ferry which runs year round across the harbour.
Learn about the history of the area
St Mawes used to be an important port in medieval times that was protected by the most perfectly preserved of Henry VIII's coastal fortresses, St Mawes Castle. It was one of the chain of forts built between 1539 and 1545 to counter an invasion threat from Catholic France and Spain, it guarded the important anchorage of Carrick Roads, sharing the task with Pendennis Castle on the other side of the Fal estuary. The Castle is open to visit and you can take the audio tour to learn all about it's story.
There are a number of circular routes that can lead you to see more of the Roseland. There is an easy 2 mile coastal walk from St Mawes Castle to St Just in Roseland Church, described by Sir John Betjeman as being “to many people the most beautiful churchyard on earth.” You can take a circular 4 miles walk from Towan Beach to Portscatho where, historically during the Napoleonic Wars, smugglers would row out to the middle of The Channel in pilot gigs to trade with the enemy. During the summer months, a small passenger ferryboat links St Mawes to Place on the remote St Anthony headland, enabling visitors to visit the St Anthony Lighthouse as well as enjoying a pleasant circular walk.
Because of its 'off the beaten track' label, you won't find quite so many places to eat on the Roseland as you might elsewhere in Cornwall. But there are still some great pubs to discover, beach cafes and restaurants. Here's three of the best...
Non-residents are welcome to this hotel's restaurant where you can enjoy a combination of fresh seaside style and relaxed dining. Enjoy stunning sea views across Gerrans Bay towards Portscatho and seriously good food for adults and children, cooked simply using locally sourced and seasonal produce.
The Nare is considered by many to be the most comfortable hotels in the West Country. But you don't have to stay there to enjoy an afternoon cream tea, or dine in style in one of the hotel’s two sea view restaurants.
Informal and relaxed restaurant with wonderful views over Mevagissey Bay. Stop by en-route to the beach and have lunch or visit in the evening for a meal created from an abundance of excellent local produce, all sustainable and traceable. The Restaurant has been awarded two AA rosettes for culinary excellence.
So, why not discover a bit of Cornwall that's quiet and peaceful, even in the height of summer?