A pretty cove shrouded in an aura of mystery and romance, Prussia Cove has a certain rugged feel that is sure to ignite the sense of adventure within you.
Contacts and Links
Address: Prussia Cove Beach, Rosudgeon, nr Marazion, Cornwall, TR18 3EL
The History of Prussia Cove
Prussia Cove is best known as the site of the Carter family’s home and hideout. The Carter Family were infamous smugglers and ship wreckers who were active during the 18th century.
The name Prussia Cove stems from the leader of the family, John Carter, who acquired the nickname “The King of Prussia” as a child (opinions on the reason for the nickname differ, from Carter resembling Frederick the Great, King of Prussia at the time, to him being given it by his brothers in a card game).
The activities of the Carter family died out in 1803 following John Carter’s death and the sale of Prussia Cove. Several terraces were built by the coastguard in 1826 to overlook the cove so that no smuggling activities could take place there again.
It’s been centuries since the Carter family operated out of the beach, and yet Prussia Cove remains a fascinating destination for any looking for some insight into the history of Cornwall’s most infamous smugglers.
On warm summer days, it's lovely to swim in the calm waters of the cove, especially when it comes right in at high tide. However swimmers should be aware of the presence of rocks further out and away from the main channel. Note that there is no lifeguard cover, but unsupervised surf rescue equipment is provided on the beach.
An isolated idyll
Prussia Cove blends the secluded beauty of a rugged Cornish cove with the rich depth of Cornish smuggling history. You may visit just to admire the spectacular view out to sea, and to clamber over the rocks in search of a quiet spot to read.
Or perhaps you’ll come to stand high above the cove and imagine what life might have been like as a smuggler in 17th century Cornwall. Trying to make ends meet with a Government increasing taxes at every opportunity. The romantic idea of rugged men bringing in brandy, gin and tobacco, may be true, but in fact the cargo's would include any goods that could be brought in cheaper than buying them in this country. A huge tax on salt, a necessity for fisherman to cure pilchards, meant this was one of the most smuggled goods in the late 1700s.
Today there’s a special serenity about the cove that everyone can enjoy, but the ghosts of smuggling past still refuse to leave. Their life was a difficult one, this place wasn't always an isolated idyll.
Prussia Cove is actually made up of several secluded coves, each with its own character. The main cove is known as Bessie’s Cove by locals, named after Bessie Burrow who reportedly ran an Ale house high above the cove.
Piskies Cove, a 20 minute walk to the west of Bessie’s Cove. is tucked under the shelter of Cudden Point. At low tide it's twin beaches can look very inviting but are virtually inaccessible unless you have local knowledge.
At Coules Cove to the east, it is still possible to see the bricked up smugglers cellars, perhaps built originally by John Carter? Nowadays, a row of Victorian coastguards cottages sit overlooking the cove which is mainly made up of rocks. Again, it's a narrow path down into the cove so take care when using it.
Plan your trip
Everything you need to know about getting to Prussia Cove.
Prussia Cove Beach, Rosudgeon, nr Marazion, Cornwall, TR18 3EL
The only car park nearby is a five minute walk up the road from Prussia Cove, just passed Trenalls. It’s not large and there are limited spaces. In the summer months, it’s recommended you arrive here early in the day if you want a space.
Everything else you might need to know about Prussia CoveView all
Though not one of Cornwall's sandiest beaches, swimming and snorkelling at Prussia Cove is still a popular pastime on calm days at high tide. Please be aware that there are no lifeguards on duty. Surf rescue equipment is available at the cove.
Dogs are welcome all year round at Prussia Cove.
Prussia Cove was named after infamous smuggler John Carter, who acquired the nickname “King of Prussia” as a child. The exact reason for the nickname is unclear, though several explanations have been offered. One has Carter choosing to roleplay as the King of Prussia during a game of soldiers with his brothers, while another suggests he closely resembled Frederick the Great himself.
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