Large village and dramatic cove

Mullion Parish Council


Mullion is the largest village on the Lizard and has shops, inns, cafes and restaurants, craft shops and art galleries. The nearest town is Helston approximately five miles to the north. The best route is down the A3083 from Helston and following the B3296 to the village. In the centre of the village, the 15th century church of St. Mellanus is renowned for its richly-carved oak bench-ends depicting biblical scenes, including that of Jonah and the Whale. The parish also includes Mullion Island, a uninhabited island approximately half a mile offshore from Mullion Cove. The island is home to large colonies of sea birds and is owned by the National Trust. The population of the village was 2,114 at the 2011 census.

The main village of Mullion is situated in the north of the parish, approximately 200 feet above sea level and about one mile inland of the coast which is to its west. The village sits at the end of two river valleys which run south-west from the village, descending steeply to meet the sea at Polurrian Cove and Mullion Cove. North of the village is a third river valley descending west to east and meeting the sea at Poldhu Cove. This river defines the boundary between Mullion and the neighbouring parish of Gunwalloe. South of the village is Predannack Downs, it is part of the Lizard National Nature Reserve. In the centre of the downs lies the World War Two, Predannack Airfield, currently a satellite of nearby RNAS Culdrose. The coastline along the edge of the downs between Kynance Cove and Mullion Cove consists of high dramatic sheer cliffs.

Mullion Cove has a pretty working harbour, protected from the winter gales that rage across Mount's Bay by two stout sea walls. The harbour was completed in 1895 and financed by Lord Robartes of Lanhydrock as a recompense to the fishermen for several disastrous pilchard seasons. You can still see the old pilchard cellar and net store. There are plenty of smuggling tales too. In 1801, the King's Pardon was offered to any smuggler giving information on the Mullion musket men involved in a gunfight with the crew of HM Gun Vessel 'Hecate'.

Talc was quarried in Soapy Cove in the south of the parish during the 18th century. The talc, occurs as a vein in the serpentine, and forms an irregular scar heading from the shore inland. It was used for early porcelain production.

The cove had a lifeboat station from 1867-1909, and with good reason: in the six years up to 1873 there were 9 shipwrecks under Mullion cliffs along a 1.5 mile stretch of coastline. Inland are the remains of Wheal Unity copper mine, which operated from the early 18th century to 1919. A large copper boulder from the mine is in the Natural History Museum, London.

In 1928 the harbour, island, and fish cellars were bought from Viscount Clifden by Montague Meyer. By 1944 the harbour required extensive maintenance and repair. In 1945, twelve acres including the harbour and island were given by the Meyer family to the National Trust, which took on necessary repairs. The Trust still has ownership, control and responsibility for maintenance. In 1978 cracks appeared at the end of the pier and between December 1978 and February 1979 the vertical seaward end was rebuilt with serpentine and granite so that it looked as it did when originally built. Further storm damage continued to occur and additional reconstruction was undertaken. In the 1990's the raised concrete walkway leading to the south pier was rebuilt and rock armour added to the internal corner. The west pier also suffered considerable damage to the external wall and the parapet required expenditure all costing several hundred thousand pounds. By 2003 the National Trust was considering the future prospect of the two Listed Harbour Piers. An independent report was commissioned in 2004 and reported in 2006. The prospects for the next 100 years did not look good. In 2011 there was further storm damage to both piers requiring Listed Building Planning permission to introduce concrete to the structure. Both the piers at Mullion Harbour were severely damaged again during a series of winter storms in 2013–14. These storms produced winds and high seas with waves not seen on the coast before in the lifetime of those living in Cornwall. They badly affected the west coast of the Lizard Peninsula resulting in severe and costly damage at Mullion, Porthleven and elsewhere. Repairs and renovations were carried out through most of 2014 and continued until Easter 2015. In 2016 the National Trust reported that since 1945 it has spent more than £2 million repairing the breakwaters. When this programme becomes unsustainable the Trust may move to managed retreat, removing the breakwaters, or allowing them to collapse, whilst trying to consolidate the inner walls. Eventually the harbour will revert back to its original state as a cove on a storm lashed coast.

Nearby Poldhu Cove is an ideal and easily accessible family beach with the Poldhu Beach Cafe. In December 1901, on the cliffs above Poldhu, Guglielmo Marconi conducted his famous experiment in trans-Atlantic radio communications, now the site of the Marconi Visitors Centre. The beach at Polurrian, popular with surfers, is approached by an attractive walk along the cliffs or through a valley, and is well worth the effort.

Notable Residents

Privateer James Erisey (1555-1601) was born at Erisey House near Mullion: he accompanied Francis Drake on three occasions.

Stephen Halden Beattie VC (1908 – 1975 in Mullion) Captain Beattie was awarded his VC being the captain of HMS 'Campbeltown' which was used to ram and destroy the dock gates in Saint-Nazaire to prevent its use by the German battleship, 'Tirpitz'.

Andrew Henry George (born 1958 in Mullion) is a British Liberal Democrat politician. He was MP for St. Ives from 1997 to 2015.

Ernest Herbert Pitcher, VC, (1888 in Mullion – 1946) petty officer in the Royal Navy.

Squadron Leader Geoffrey Wellum DFC (1921–2018), British Battle of Britain fighter pilot and author who retired to Mullion in the mid 1980's


Mullion Feast Day is held in November.


Poldhu Beach Cafe

Colroger Deli


The Old Inn

The Mounts Bay Inn

Lizard Village       Kynance Cove       Lizard Peninsula       Porthleven       Mullion Gallery

Marconi Visitors Centre       The Coastal Footpath