Old port now a large family beach


Pentewan Parish Council


The village of Pentewan four miles south of St. Austell and just off the B3273, was a fishing port until it was improved at the turn of the century for local stone and china clay shipments. The only signs left of the industry are the old quay and harbour, now home for ducks, swans and moorhens. The popular sandy beach with its own camp/caravan site adjoining is ideal for swimming, fishing and other water sports.

Once a busy harbour built by local mine owner Sir Christopher Hawkins in 1826 for shipping china clay. A 500 feet long pier was constructed from the dock basin out to the sea, ships entering and leaving through a channel with a double lock gate 26 feet wide. In 1831 a new pier head was built. The dock basin is now separated from the sea by the beach and is filled with fresh water. Despite not having welcomed a ship for over 60 years, evidence of its industrial past are still scattered around the village. The last trading ship left in 1940. Now, although the water-filled basin remains, Pentewan harbour is entirely cut off from the sea.

China clay was discovered in the mid 18th century, by the chemist William Cookworthy, and by the 1850's, some 7,000 men, women and children were employed in the St. Austell clay district in the extraction, processing, transportation and export of the clay.

The All Saints church, completed in 1821 was also built by Sir Christopher Hawkins as part of his long campaign to improve the village.

Heading inland, the Pentewan Valley Trail is a three mile woodland and riverside cycle path, which follows the bed of an old narrow gauge railway, to the village of London Apprentice. The 19th century railway was built to carry clay and tin for export from the docks and closed when they silted up.

The Pentewan Railway, running between St. Austell and the Pentewan quayside, opened in 1829 and was operated by means of gravitation and horses. In addition to clay, tin was also exported and coal was imported. After 1874 the line was operated by steam locomotives. The operation closed in 1918 as the channel into the harbour at Pentewan silted up and became dry. Today you will find the harbour in Pentewan a home to swans and other birds, its waters held in by a lock gate, separating it from the dry channel that once flowed to the sea.

Nearby Pentewan Sands is a well-equipped camp-site literally beside the sandy, shallow-watered beach and ideal for family holidays.


Pentfest - August. A festival of ale, cider and music organised by the Ship Inn.


Cafes in Pentewan


Pubs in Pentewan

Charlestown       Mevagissey       St. Austell       St. Ewe       Cornwall's Beaches       Cornwall's China Clay Industry

The Clay Trails       The Lost Gardens of Heligan       The Eden Project       The Coastal Footpath