Fishermen have been landing their catch and repairing their nets here since the pier at Mevagissey was built in 1430. From the heights of Polkirt Hill you can survey the whole scene; a maze of tiny streets with their attractive clutter of cob and slate buildings cascading gently down to the waterfront.
Mevagissey was a major 19th century exporter of pilchards, with 40 million a year passing through to be salted and packed for export abroad, with another lucrative line in smuggling. It remains a working harbour with brightly painted fishing vessels alongside boats to take visitors out to fish for mackerel and to hunt deep-sea sharks. Less than 3 miles away is the small picturesque anchorage of Gorran Haven with its sandy beach.
To see close up the species inhabiting the waters around here, you could snorkel at Gorran Haven or stay dry and visit Mevagissey’s old lifeboat station which has been converted to an Aquarium. To the southwest of Gorran Haven is Dodman Point, once a large iron-age promontory fort and one of the coast’s highest landmarks at 400 feet.
There are a number of lovely beaches in this area of Cornwall, including the silver sands of Vault Beach and more golden grains at Caerhays while Hemmick, at the end of the narrowest of narrow country lanes, offers seclusion with sheltered coves and rock pools.
Back in Mevagissey village – the name of which is derived from that of two Irish saints St Meva and St Issey – you’ll find plenty of dining choices, as well as tourist shops. There are three Cornish holy wells, the Brass Well and Lady’s Well in the manor of Treleaven and the third in the gardens of Mevagissey House.
For those who recall fondly the Pears’ Soap ads of old, business founder Andrew Pears was born in the village in 1768 and had a barber’s shop there until 1789. Deemed a Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty the 14th century fishing village of Mevagissey lies at the end of a valley not far from the Lost Gardens of Heligan and the Eden Project, and under a 30-minute drive from CLC Trenython Manor.