VISITING THE PORT TOWN OF MEVAGISSEY
PUBLISHED: 17:01 23 May 2014 | UPDATED: 13:22 30 August 2017
Discovers the charming port of Mevagissey in Cornwall and find out what it is like to live in and visit
IAN WILKINSON discovers the charming port of Mevagissey and what it is like to live in and visit, according to the locals...
The tiny port of Mevagissey lies just six miles south of St Austell almost in the centre of Mevagissey Bay. To the north is Black Head and to the south Chapel Point and the coastal scenery is rugged and beautiful. A hamlet was recorded here in 1313 and the towns name is derived from the amalgamation of the names of two Celtic saints, St Meva and St Issey.
The narrow streets and bustling waterfront are full of life and its a real pleasure to sit on the quayside and watch the world go by. There are lots of interesting shops and galleries in the town and a growing number of smart restaurants where you can eat really well. Just a mile out of town is one of the South West's premier visitor attractions the Lost Gardens of Heligan.
The town is still a working fishing harbour and it has a strong community and identity. I spoke to six local people and posed a series of questions about the town, its people and its surroundings.
Chris Gilbertson is Clerk to the Harbour Trustees and has lived in Mevagissey for the past 15 years. 'There's lots to see in the town, including a Marine Aquarium and a Heritage Museum. There is also a good model railway. The town is busy during the evening and there are some good pubs and restaurants. It's fortunate enough to have chocolate-box looks.'As for a good walk, I like to go up Polkirt Hill, then down to Portmellon and around Chapel Point. To relax I like to go to the end of the lighthouse pier and do a bit of fishing. To sum up Mevagissey its still a working fishing port but its fortunate enough to have those chocolate-box looks that attract visitors.'
Paul Catchpole owns the World of Model Railway, a popular attraction. 'It's an interesting town and one of the best ways to see it is to go on an historic walks organised by the Tourist Information Centre. There are also some interesting shops including Dead Eye Jacks Cabin, which sells pirate gear!'They are connected to a historical re-enactment group called the Pirates of St Piran who do a lot of charity work. There are some excellent attractions nearby including the Lost Gardens of Heligan and the Pentewan Cycling trail. Sport fishing is very popular here and people can either fish off the quay or go out on one of the boats.'
Dave Bowman is the proprietor of Mevagissey Shark Angling Centre on the West Wharf. He took over the business around 20 years ago and has been selling fishing tackle and organising fishing trips around the local area ever since.'There's lots to see and do in the village you just have to walk around the streets to get an idea of Mevagissey. Of course there's the Aquarium and the Museum and there are a number of good pubs and restaurants. For walks, the cliff-top paths in either direction are extremely popular. The people here are very friendly.'
Billy Moore was born in Mevagissey and has lived there most of his life. Ex-merchant seaman and fisherman, for the past 30 years he has been landlord of the Fountain Inn, Mevagisseys oldest pub. 'There's always something going on in the harbour but there are lots of other things to do boat trips and angling, nice walks and nice beaches nearby. Its also a superb touring centre to stay in you can be anywhere in Cornwall within an hour. Theres a lovely drive from here to the Roseland Peninsula and the King Harry Ferry and you can be in St Mawes in half an hour. To relax, I like to go fishing or play golf there are three golf courses within a few minutes drive.'
Jenny Bould is the towns Tourist Information Officer and the chairman of the local Chamber of Commerce. 'I moved here over 20 years ago and I wouldn't go back! The double harbour is beautiful and most of the buildings here are Listed so people come for the history. The Museum tells the story of Mevagissey and its people in days gone by. Heligan is also on the doorstep, the Eden Project isn't far away and nor is the China Clay Museum. And in the summer there's the ferry to Fowey. It's a very friendly, community-based place if you give of yourself to the village it will repay tenfold. It's a lovely place to live we're very lucky!'
Malcolm Solomon is the Assistant Harbour master. An ex-fisherman, he has lived in Mevagissey all his life. 'There's a lot to see and do in the town. There's the Museum and the Model Railway and of course the harbour. Mevagissey is gaining a reputation for good food one day it will better Padstow!'For an la carte menu, Roovrays on Fore Street is hard to beat and for simple pub grub the Harbour Tavern is brilliant. For a good walk I'd recommend the coastal path going west through Gorran Haven towards Dodman Point. It's a very friendly village and hasn't changed that much over the years.'