Traditional family sandy beach resort
Porthtowan derives its Cornish name from its most obvious feature its sandy beaches and dunes (towans). It owes its present day character to its popularity as a local seaside resort in Victorian and Edwardian times when the local populous from Redruth and the surrounding areas flocked here, particularly on bank holidays. Today's conveniently placed shops and tourist amenities have their roots in this period when a handful of bathing machines served the adventurous swimmers of the day, most people then being content merely to take tea after a walk on the cliffs. The cliff walks are still splendid, but there is now much more to Porthtowan than just tea rooms! Overlooking Porthtowan are the remains of Wheal Towan, one of Cornwall's most celebrated 18th century copper mines and scene of a fortune amassed by Ralph Allen Daniell of Trelissick, "guinea a minute" Daniell his reputed income night and day.
Porthtowan is on Cornwall's north Atlantic coast about one and a half miles west of St. Agnes and two and a half miles north of Redruth, it is accessed from a lane off the B3285. The village is popular with surfers and industrial archaeologists; former mine stacks and engine houses dot the landscape.
Porthtowan's history is associated with mining and one of its most prominent buildings is a former engine house converted for residential use. Wheal Towan was one of Cornwall's most prolific 18th century copper mines. Allen's Corn Mill operated at Porthtowan between 1752 and 1816.
In 1897 the wreck of the 'Rose of Devon' left a lasting scar on the locality, bodies of dead sailors being buried in the cemetery at nearby Mount Hawke where a Cornish cross now marks the sad event.
One local folk tale tells of a voice from the sea. "The hour is come but not the man." A ghostly figure spotted at the top of a nearby hill, in response to the call, rushed down and vanished beneath the waves. Mount Hawke is the country cousin to Porthtowan eleven miles inland. Founded on fishing, mining and farming, and once, local centre for rope making, the village has become popular in the last twenty years Several lovely wooded walks are possible from here. The Coastal Footpath also has amazing views in this area.
A huge leatherback turtle was washed up in the beach here in 1988. It is now in St Agnes museum.
Porthtowan has more recently become well known as a surfing resort and the surf club building can be found directly on the Blue Flag beach.
Tropical Pressure Festival - mid July
Porthtowan Beach Cafe
The Victory Inn
Portreath Redruth St. Agnes The Coastal Footpath Cornwall's Beaches