Perranporth, Cornwall

Perranporth Cornwall sands

The name Perranporth means Piran in the sands. Originally a mining community, now Perranporth is a holiday resort with a three mile sandy beach. Winston Graham wrote the first of his Poldark novels here, weaving a real and fictitious story of 18th and 19th century mining families. There is three and a half miles of sands plus safe bathing with lifeguards in the summer.

In the 19th century Perranporth was a tin mining village. The sand of the beach has now engulfed the mine buildings and little remains of them.

The lost church of St Piran's Oratory (founded by the saint in the 6th century) was another casualty of the creeping sands. It was a place of pilgrimage in mediaeval times as the shrine contained the relics of St Piran plus the teeth of St Brendan and St Martin. The sand engulfed it before 1500. It has been excavated, but had to be reburied in 1981 to protect it for posterity. The Oratory is now marked by a memorial stone.

The nearby Norman parish church (built c. 1150) was overtaken by the sand in 1804. There is a fine cross which may be a 10th century boundary marker.

To the east, near the village of Rose is Piran Round, an Iron Age fort, later used for medieval miracle plays.

Bolingey is a hamlet one mile from Perranporth with a pretty 17th century inn. In Bolingey there is also a coarse fishing lake, with carp, tench, trout and some eels.

Nansmellyn Marsh is a nature reserve just east of Perranporth, with one of the last remaining untouched areas of reedbed in the county.

A giant cliff top Millennium Sundial was erected to mark the Millennium in 2000. It shows you that local noon is 20 minutes ahead of GMT.

Perranporth Airfield was a Spitfire Station during the Second World War. It is a unique example of the type of WWII temporary airfield that was constructed solely for single engined fighters (Spitfires). It retains many of the heritage features of its original construction, notably two different types of dispersal pen and all the defensive structures, pill boxes, slit trenches etc. There are no modern buildings on the site, and is still in regular - and growing - use for general aviation and gliding.

This is Poldark Country and Winston Graham wrote his first Poldark novel whilst living in Perranporth. And Perranzabuloe Folk Museum in Oddfellows Hall was his local museum. You can discover the mystical Celtic history, the culture, the people and the many beautiful areas that inspired his memorable Poldark novels.


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