We spent the majority of our holiday in or around Helford, on the south coast of Cornwall around five miles from Falmouth. We stumbled on the river and surrounding area entirely by accident on the way back from Glendurgan Garden. We drove down a steep lane to check out a pub that we had been recommended and I think we were all a bit stunned at how picturesque the village that came into view was.
Helford itself is a small village straddling both sides of a little creek which winds down to the Helford river. Just across the river is the settlement of Helford Point which is reachable by car but also by way of a tiny pedestrian ferry which happily embarks near the excellent Ferryboat Inn in Helford Point and the Shipwright Arms in Helford itself.
Helford is pretty much perfect, not too chocolate box twee and really quiet. It’s pretty, quaint and unspoilt. The village is full of adorable whitewashed cottages, many of which are thatched, and I would take any single one of them as a holiday home. Sigh.
The village looks quite different according to whether the tide is in or out.
On our second visit we took a four mile walk along the South West Coast Path around the headland to St Anthony-in-Meneage, in the neighbouring creek. This was a bit of a family milestone for us really, being the first sizeable walk we’ve done with the kids. Richard and I both love hiking and it’s great that the boys are now at the age where they can come on a decent length walk and keep up with us (or run ahead, really). Evan whinged, but only a tiny bit, and Arthur was just brilliant.
Our walk took us mostly through sun dappled, beautiful ancient woods. You can just see Arthur at the end of this path – he looks absolutely tiny.
We were accorded the odd sneaky peak of the river and the beautiful little coves sitting below us.
Near to the headland we turned inwards and walked across open fields, descending into the tiny hamlet of St Anthony for an ice cream.
Rather than walk back the way we came we made a circular route along Gillan Creek which was absolutely stunning with the tide out.
The next day we hired a little motor boat which was fun. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t that great, not cold really but a bit drizzly. It wasn’t quite as miserable as it looks in the photo…
We meandered in an out of the many creek entrances and saw old boats, shipwrecks and lots of oyster beds. We stopped for a picnic lunch on one of the little coves we’d spotted on our walk the day before.
This is the entrance to Frenchman’s Creek, where Daphne du Maurier set her novel of the same name.
Between Kynance Cove and the Helford River there really was no need for us to go anywhere else. There was plenty enough to keep us occupied for a whole week. I think next time we’ll rent a cottage in Helford or Durgan and perhaps hire a motor boat for the week and explore around the river and headland some more. The area is entirely free from the crowds that are usually an integral part of a Cornish holiday in August and it felt like our little secret. I’m sure we’ll return and find other parts of the county we love, but I think the Helford river will always hold a special place for us as our favourite Cornish spot.