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Exploring the Fowey Estuary

For those looking forward to a holiday in Cornwall, the Fowey estuary offers everyone something to do. From enjoying maritime activities, nature walks, great food and drinks and even art, the region will give all visitors a reason to be glad they chose Tencreek for their holiday this year.

With the village of Fowey as the starting place, the estuary is a great place for walking, boating and more. The area offers some of the region’s best tourist attractions, great places to eat, and other ways to enjoy the Cornish countryside. The estuary is the perfect destination for those enjoying a caravan holiday in Cornwall.

The Estuary

The deep water near the harbour has made it a popular stop on shipping and cruise routes over time. In the upper reaches of the Fowey, the tide creeps up through the Lerryn Creek twice a day.

There are several key geographic features to look out for when visiting Fowey. At the headlands, Gribbin Head is at the western edge of Fowey Harbour. Also known as The Gribbin, it is topped by the Gribbin Daymark. The daymark stands at more than 80 feet and is resplendent in red and white stripes. The daymark was installed as aid for ships in the region.

Another key feature of the Fowey Estuary is St Catherine’s Point. It is the western gatepost to Fowey harbour and located on the point is St Catherine’s Castle. Built in the time of Henry VIII to protect the Cornish coast, and has now been taken over by English Heritage as a tourist destination.

Along the estuary is the 1,000 year old village of St Winnow. Also on the western coast of the estuary is the village of Golant. The estuary ends at Lostwithiel as the water branches off into the Lerryn, Pont and Penpoll creeks. From Lostwithiel, the waters of the Fowey travel into Bodmin Moor.

Walks along the Fowey Estuary

Between the villages and towns along the estuary, there are a great number of walks on offer in the area. There are walks to enjoy the sights in and around the town centres of Fowey, Lostwithiel and nearby Polruan. – the leading voice for events on the estuary – provides those interested with a number of great walks to pique your interest.

One of the most popular organised walks is the Hall Walk. It is a circular walk that includes a ride on the ferries that help connect both banks in the estuary. Managed in part by the National Trust, the walk includes Pont Hill and has plenty of outlook views of the harbour. It includes woodland paths, creeks, and some steep pathways.

Also part of the National Trust, the coastal paths near Fowey offer all the best of Cornwall. There is a path that starts at Readymoney Cove and connects Fowey and nearby Par. For more details, see our earlier guide to the South West Coastal Path.

Further inland, there are enjoyable river walks as well. Along parts of the upper estuary, you can walk from Fowey to Golant or Bodinnick to Mixtow along pathways that give you amazing hilltop and woodland views.

For more details on area walks and excursions, please go to Fowey’s Trips and Tours page.

Local Fowey tourist destinations

To enjoy the sea up close and personal, the Fowey Aquarium brings together local sea life with a few exotic friends. This family-friendly attraction is affordable with extended hours during the summer months. Located on the Fowey Town Quay, it tries to educate visitors about the diverse marine life found throughout the Cornish Coast. It was first started in the 1950s and maintains a great deal of its traditional holiday charm.

For art enthusiasts, the Fowey River Gallery welcomes people to gaze upon some of the best local art. The gallery is spread across two floors in a former merchant’s house in the centre of town. It features a number of artistic pieces – some available for purchase. The gallery hosts a number exhibitions featuring local artists. Currently, the work of Nick J. Williams is on display until the end of August. Williams’ works in oil provide his perspective of the Fowey Estuary and the many birds that make it their home.

Fowey River and Sea Cruises provide a great opportunity for visitors to enjoy the estuary. Their cruises give people the chance to see the area and relax at the same time. They have 45-minute river and harbour cruises available, and can be booked for private functions.

With years of experience, the cruise team provides guided tours along the estuary. The cruises go as far up river to Wisemans Reach, past the Fowey docks, along the mussel farms and down to the Readymoney Cove – near the entrance to the nearby village of Polruan.

If you are more of a land lover, there is the dry land alternative to cruising provided by Fowey Town Tours. In a relaxing tram, experienced guides will show you all the on land sights in Fowey that many visitors overlook. They will take you on a journey through the town’s Celtic and medieval past. The tour is just under half an hour and is offered throughout summer days.

A bite to eat

Mixing in with the sea, the Fowey Picnic Boat is a uniquely Cornish way to eat out whilst visiting the town. Aboard a classic 1930s wooden motor boat, you can sit back with some wine and enjoy the sights of the estuary and harbour as you eat. The friendly skipper will help you design an experience perfect for you. The Fowey Picnic Boat can carry up to five adult passengers, and most picnic cruises last two hours.

A Cornish local favourite, Sam’s in Fowey brings you fantastic sandwiches, burgers, and a variety of specials. Highly rated by all that eat there, the restaurant takes advantage of Fowey’s maritime history and offers all its visitors a great time and an even better meal.

On the southern part of the estuary, the Lugger Inn in Polruan is another crowd favourite. Providing fresh ales from the nearby St Austell Brewery, this pub takes pride in its fresh seafood and locally harvested Fowey estuary mussels.

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