St Mawes, Cornwall

st mawes cornwall towns

St Mawes, is a pretty village that looks across Falmouth Harbour to Pendennis Castle. The sheltered anchorage at St Mawes is home to a fleet of small boats, and is a popular yachting centre. St Mawes has two good, but small beaches, one each side of the harbour. The old fishing village has steep and narrow streets, good restaurants, attractive shops and a number of galleries.

This community grew up round the castle of St Mawes. Henry VIII built St Mawes castle to the same design, but on a smaller scale, as Pendennis Castle opposite it at Falmouth. In 1541, when they were built, it was deemed necessary to protect the Carrick Roads, Truro and Falmouth harbours from invasion. The French never came, but the Castle, with its three huge circular bastions in a clover leaf design, is a good example of Tudor military architecture. The Castle views across to Falmouth and is now in the care of English Heritage and open to the public all year round.

St Mawes Castle never saw action until it surrendered to the Parliamentarians without firing a shot. It fell to landward attack from Parliamentarian forces in 1646 (it was not designed against landward attack) and was not refortified until the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Royalist commander realised that the castle was impossible to defend from a land attack, so he surrendered the garrison to the Roundheads shortly after the siege began.

St. Anthony Lighthouse. The present lighthouse was built in 1834, to replace an earlier coal fired beacon that marked the entrance to Falmouth Harbour. It warns of the infamous Manacles Rocks. Although automated the light house is often open for visitors during the summer. The lighthouse was the set for the television series 'Fraggle Rock'. The easiest way of getting to the lighthouse and batery is to drive round.

St. Anthony Battery. St. Anthony Head controlled the entrance to Carrick Roads and Falmouth. During World War I the area was used for Army training and during World War II, artillery batteries were stationed here. The Headland is owned by the National Trust, and they offer holiday cottages here.

The fact that the Roseland is quite a long narrow, peninsular makes ferry travel often the shortest way to access many parts of Cornwall to and from here. The St. Mawes - Place ferryboat take passengers to St. Anthony in Roseland. A regular ferry service operates from here to Falmouth's Prince of Wales Pier. The trip lasts 25 minutes. The service runs half hourly in the season. Truro can be reached by crossing the King Harry Ferry from Trelissick. Boats still run in the winter, but on a windy day the crossing can get quite choppy.

Some local villages to visit include St Just in Roseland, with its pretty church and gardens, and Porstcatho, Portloe, Veryan famous for its Devil proof round houses.


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