An Insider’s Guide to Cornwall: St Austell & Fowey

An Insider's Guide to Cornwall

Nestled on the southern coast of Cornwall, you’ll find the historic and beautiful areas of Fowey and St Austell. Home to some of the county’s most dramatic coastlines and breathtaking vistas, the area is steeped in history. From 18th-century smugglers to 19th-century clay miners, the area’s rich and vibrant past is still evident today. 

One of the county’s biggest towns, St Austell was the home of the china clay industry.  Surrounded by a dramatic landscape and close to some wonderful beaches, the town is a great holiday hub. The adjacent area of Fowey served as inspiration for Daphne Du Maurier’s classic novel ‘Rebecca’. Her love of swimming amidst the coves on the western edge of the town chiefly inspired the setting of the gothic romance tale.

The coastline features smuggler’s passages, countless coves and wild beaches. Inland, the landscape takes on a fantastical quality. With the ‘Cornish Alps’ (lunar-like sharp peaks created by the local china clay industry) and impossibly vibrant turquoise lakes, it can feel like you’re on another planet! The Fowey and St Austell area is rich in history, having been a hub for smuggling, mining and plenty of artists – including Leo Walmsley, Mabel Lucie Attwell and Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch (aka Q).

Read on to find out our recommendations and learn more about Fowey and St Austell as well as the neighbouring area.

Ethy Park, Lerryn

A mature woodland packed with oak, ash and beech trees; this beautiful spot is said to have inspired the classic tale ‘Wind in the Willows’. Located along a creek of the River Fowey, Ethy Park is one of the UK’s best locations to see ancient trees.

Just three miles from Lostwithiel, the woodland features plenty of winding paths for walkers to follow. There’s a popular circular walk that you can take at low tide, which takes you alongside the River Lerryn and lets you discover St Winnow Church. Managed by the National Trust and the Forestry Commission, the ancient woodland is a tranquil place to visit all year round.

Ethy Park: Grid Reference – SX 124 566 – Postcode: PL22 0PT

Hallane Cove, Black Head

Hallane is one of the most picturesque coves in Cornwall. Accessed via steep, stone steps the cove is surrounded by high cliffs known as ‘The Vans’ – lending the area a dramatic look.

Peppered with rock pools, Hallane Cove is rugged and wild, flanked by stones, boulders and a waterfall. Popular with swimmers, divers and snorkellers, intrepid explorers can also scramble across the foreshore to Polgwyn at low tide. Not a spot for the faint of heart, you need to walk through the hamlet of Trenarren and weave your way through a steep woodland path in order to reach the cove.

Hallane Cove: SX 03351 48730 – Postcode: PL26 6BH

Carclaze Pit Loop, St Austell

Part of the Clay Trail, Carclaze is a wild area of heathland, dotted with ruins, dams and peaks. This trail forms a loop, taking you high above St Austell and offering views across to Gribbin Head and Fowey harbour over the headland.

Along this trail, you can see the remains of the Great Carclaze china clay mine as well as the surreal waters of Baal Pit. The Carn Grey rocks can also be seen along the trail. Great for walkers and cyclists alike, this breath-taking trail gives a unique insight into how the china clay industry shaped the natural landscape.

Carclaze Pit Loop: Grid Reference: SX 01189 52886 – Postcode: PL25 5QH

Luxulyan Water Wheel, Near Ponts Mill

Part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Luxulyan Valley is home to the ruins of an old water wheel. Over 30 feet in diameter, the granite ruins are based under the disused Treffrey Viaduct and are nothing short of spectacular.

In years gone by, the water wheel was used to pull mining carts up the hill at Carmears Wood and to power a mill – the remains of which can still be seen nearby. There’s more to see here than ruins – the valley is lined with ancient alder trees and mature woodlands. Surrounded by more than 40 species of fern, fauna and flora, the valley is identified as an important geological and geomorphological site.

Luxulyan Water Wheel: Grid Reference: SX 04929 56830 – Postcode: PL24 2SU

Adventure on Your Own Terms

If you’re craving the freedom to roam with the comforts of home, then there’s no better way to adventure than in a motorhome. You can explore the Fowey and St Austell area at your own pace, taking in the sights and the sounds of the area at your leisure.

Whether you want to take in the picture-perfect shoreline of Little Lantic beach, stroll around the 13th century Restormel Castle or want to explore the numerous smuggler’s caves that dot the coast, hiring a motorhome will give you the opportunity to do things on your own terms.

We’ve got a number of fantastic motorhomes and campervans available to hire – including a cosy VW campervan and a Roller Team motorhome that’s perfect for Winter adventure. If you’re looking to take a motorhome holiday in Cornwall – you need to call us.

As one of the county’s leading motorhome hire companies, we pride ourselves on offering our customers a five-star experience, with friendly customer service and well-appointed vehicles. Our base in Liskeard also means we’re ideally situated for anyone looking to kickstart their Cornish adventure in style.

Book Now

If you’re planning a Cornish adventure in 2021 or beyond, get ahead of the crowds and book your holiday now. You can call us on 07986 073469 or 01579 364087, to book your motorhome holiday now. For your convenience, you can also visit our contact page to send us an email. Alternatively, you can view our vehicles on our website and book online 24/7.

Happy Touring!