Explore Portreath, part of the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site, to share in stories and facts that only locals know. With its spacious beach nestled between rocky headlands, Portreath is a small resort less crowded than more well-known coastal hotspots.
Once a private Georgian spa and bustling Victorian port, changes in the demand for copper and tin, and investments by the land-owning Bassett family, reshaped opportunities and lifestyles for local people who previously depended on fishing and farming. Smuggling, wrecking & skirmishes with the French also have associations with this coastline.
Get to know this stretch of the North coast starting with a wander around the harbour. A specialist port for Cornwall’s most important copper and tin mining area in C19th developed to accommodate the Welsh fleet that imported coal and transported ore back to Wales for smelting. The port’s difficult and treacherous approach, lookouts, piers and capstans witnessed tragedy, shipwrecks and changing fortune in the local community.
Walking through the village we notice the unique railway incline, remnants of a tramway, the Red River and typical Cornish cottages. Surfers continue to catch waves rolling off the Atlantic as we investigate the dark cavern of Wheal Mary, an ancient copper mine, and the ‘baths’ hidden secretly in caves or cut into the cliff to provide spa waters for the Bassett ladies in the C18th.
On reaching Smuggler’s cottage there is the option to venture up Western Hill along the South West Coast Path for unrivalled views of uninterrupted seascapes and dramatic cliff top scenery before returning to the village or to just relax on the sandy beach and maybe swim in the sea and tidal pools before returning to the village to indulge in a ‘Cornish Cream Tea’ or Miner’s lunch which can be arranged as an optional extra.