by Mike Carter

The historic Cornish village of Porthleven is the most southerly working port on the UK’s mainland. It is just waiting to be discovered and enjoyed by new visitors. The harbour was constructed after the wreck of HMS Anson on Loe Bar during a ferocious December 29th 1807. Tobias Roberts, a hero of the day, swam through violent dangerous seas out to the Anson. A rope was tied around Tobias enabling him to create a link between ship and shore, a lifeline for those on board. Although he successfully reached the ship, over one hundred including the ship’s Captain Lydiard perished.

Appalled by the loss of life, Tobias Roberts knew that a harbour of safe refuge was urgently needed. Being a man of determination he won the battle and Porthleven Harbour was constructed and then improved at a later date. Once a hive of commercial activity including imports and exports, boat building and fishing, trade declined leaving Porthleven harbour supporting a reduced number of commercial boats, pleasure craft and sports.

However, the harbour still plays a big role enticing tourists from all around the world. The media gave a lot of attention to Porthleven when it was lashed by a hurricane in December 1989. The coverage on the television was televised all over the world, with pictures showing the demolishing storm with its huge eaves throwing shingle and seaweed over 22 meters (72 feet). That’s the height of the clock tower in Porthleven. TV and film crews have been to Porthleven over the years, with programme makers helping to promote Porthleven’s natural unspoilt attractions.

Whilst serving on the local council in the early 1990’s it became clear that the economic future of Porthleven would become more dependent on holiday trade. Following this idea, Porthleven’s first commercial website was established which continues to attract visitors from around the world. The annual Discover Porthleven leaflet was produced to help publicise the village in addition to tourists signs being introduced.

Porthleven has a number of quality self catering cottages, B&B and hotels situated around the harbour, above the beach and within the village. Many accommodate commanding views of the bay, the harbour or surrounding countryside. The village also has a small drop in caravan and camp site. Porthleven has three Inns, the oldest being the Ship Inn. In these you will discover good food, good ale and friendly locals. According to local legend and the BBC the Ship has a few resident ghosts.

There are a variety of places to eat such as The Blue Haze Restaurant a recent asset to the village and quickly building an excellent reputation with both locals and visitors alike. Kota Restaurant and B&B located on the harbour head produces a well presented and varied menu. Both restaurants have chefs with a passion for cooking local sourced food. In addition there are two fish and chip shops, a Chinese take-away. Real Cornish Pasties from the Horse and Jockey Bakery (we believe these are the best in Cornwall) and then there is Nauti but Ice where visitors can sit and watch the fishing boats whilst consuming a variety of ice creams and other mouth watering treats.

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