W. Oliver Allen & Sons
Self Catering Holiday Accommodation in Porthleven Cornwall

01326 562222  www.porth-leven.co.uk
Loe Bar Road, Porthleven, Cornwall. TR13 9EN


Short Breaks

What's on Porthleven What's on West Walking & Cycling Local Weather 2022 Availability
Porthleven - Around and about the harbour village
Porthleven photo's. Click to enlarge.
Low tide on the beach just below us.
Looking back across the outer harbour at the Bickford-Smith Institute and beach
On the beach again facing west
The beach is submerged under the storm swell
The inner Harbour
Directly below from the above on the quay side.
The harbour Head
Loe tide and rock hopping. Right uinder the end of the pier now.
Winter sunsets are best with a calm sea
Walking the coast path east. Passing the remains of the old wheal Penrose lead mine
Cycling inland off the main roads. Do you know the location?
Porthleven is in SW Cornwall and located along the coast of the Mounts Bay between the Lizard and Lands End.

The name generally excepted to come from "Porth" being Cornish for harbour and "Leven" from St Elvan, a Celtic saint who came to the area to preach in the 5th Century. Historically Porthleven was divided by the small River Leven that now empties in to the harbour, into the two parishes of Breage and Sithney. The land either side also different owners. Ensuing some conflict over the right of shipwrecks.

Porthleven is large enough to keep all visitors catered for but still retains the character of an unspoilt fishing village, with its granite built harbour and pier and the iconic clock tower, The Bickford-Smith Institute. Often mistaken for a church it was completed in the 1880's on the site of an old pub and now houses the Porthleven council and home to the Bickford Smith Institute (billiards and snooker). But you may have spotted its photo on the national news when the winter storms roll in and we are the centre for wave watching.

There has been documented activity in the area since Neolithic times and a recorded settlement for over 1000 years. Prior to the harbour, the fisherman would drag their boats up on the beach to what was called Johnsons Cove. And if you take a drive east to nearby Poldhu Cove. We can then imagine what Porthleven would have originally looked like. The name "Portleven" starts to appear on maps from about 1600. The village you see today started with the commencement of construction of the Price of Wales harbour in 1811. With additional developments and change of owners throughout the 1800’s.

All interest is not solely with the harbour. To the east of the pier is a golden shingle/sand beach stretching for about 2 miles to Gunwalloe Fishing Cove.  About half way along is the Loe Bar. A sand bar, which divided the sea from the “Loe” (Cornish meaning pool), Cornwall’s largest natural fresh water lake (technically a lagoon!). Under the care of the National Trust the area surrounding the pool is open free to the public and provides an excellent variety of walks and expanding cycle trails. The South West Coastal Path also runs through the village and by us here on Loe Bar Road. It is easily accessed from either side of the harbour. There are a number of local walks and it is quite easy to leave the car parked for a week and do a different walk each day.

To the west of the harbour entrance at low-tide, one can find excellent rock pools and the “Moonstone” or "Giants Quoit", a 50 ton erratic, not from anywhere in UK, brought to Porthleven possibly on an iceberg and latest theories are it floated down from northern Europe. In the near distance on the cliff edge one can see the abandoned engine houses of the Trewavas copper mine near Rinsey. The workings from these extended underground and out to sea. There has also been four named mines here as well. From the village Tregonning Hill is also visible, an extinct volcano and where china clay was first discovered in this country and shipped out via the harbour.

Porthleven is not over commercialised or just open for the summer and even in winter life goes on in the village and so we are well served with a small supermarket, fish and chip shops, bakeries selling freshly made pasties, cafes and restaurants varying in prices and menus often serving local produce, three pubs, galleries, craft-workshops, and even a few small shops selling "objet d'tat" and other fancy goods as well as the holiday essentials - a bucket, spade and crab line.

Around the harbour is great for a stroll throughout the year and perhaps fishing off the pier or crabbing from the quay. For the more active fishing and coastal trips no longer run out from the harbour. Penzance being the nearest now. For cycle hire if you have not brought your own bike. Helston has a hire centre.

The beach is fine for swimming, paddling or walking with or without the dog (partial beach ban). It a sand/shingle mix. In the summer it has a daily lifeguard patrol. For surfing and bodyboarding our beach is no good unfortunately. The local reef is unforgiving and for the experience only. Just six miles either side are the sandy beaches of Poldhu Cove and the larger Praa Sands. These are ideal for beginners and experienced alike.

There are also many local events in the village through the summer season that may coincide with your visit. Major events are the RNLI Regatta Day, Porthleven Gig Day and the Torchlight Procession, Porthleven Food and Music Festival. From Easter to October on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday is the Porthleven harbour Market with a variety of goods for sale from local traders. Also look at "the gate" on The Square for the latest information of what is going on locally.