It is a truth universally acknowledged that a Sunday evening must be in want of a period drama

Poldark locations: the enchanting fishing hamlet of Penberth

Poldark locations: the enchanting fishing hamlet of Penberth

From the moment the opening credits rolled on Poldark it was evident that the Cornish scenery would play a starring role in the BBC adaptation of Winston Graham’s novel. In every episode we are treated to a world of wild moorland, traditional fishing hamlets, white sand coves, granite cliffs and turquoise waters. This is the unsurpassed beauty of Cornwall.

I have explored these coastal idyls to point you in the direction of your favourite Poldark locations and to give you history, mystery and potential activities at each spot. To whet your appetite ahead of the opening episode of Poldark 4, this series of blog posts will start with Penberth Cove.

*** Contains spoilers if you haven’t seen Poldark Series 1, 2 and 3 (you’re safe for Series 4)***

Penberth Cove

In the far west of Cornwall the tiny fishing hamlet of Penberth is used from series two onwards and doubles as the village where such favourites as Rosina, Drake and Sam live. It was also the home of the perfidious Charlie.  

© Rebekah Law-Lund

This is a perfect example of a Cornish fishing cove, complete with stepping stones over a brook, a granite slipway and a small slick of sand at low tide. Penberth was once home to a bustling pilchard industry, although one suspects that the village women who lived here spent their time more industriously than those who stood on the cliffs ad infinitum looking for pilchards in Poldark series 1.

Today it is still a working fishing cove (mainly mackerel, lobster and crab) with around 8 fishing vessels working from the slipway.

The houses are granite cottages which can stand the test of stormy Cornish seas – those closest to the sea have boards to slot in the doorway to prevent storm flooding. You’d be forgiven for thinking that Caroline’s ‘Look Horrace! What beastly little hovels’ is a mite over the top for these quaint and lovely cottages.

Much of the secluded cove is owned by the National Trust. The stepping stones are an entertaining way to cross the river (although sometimes covered when it’s in full flood).

© Rebekah Law-Lund

The little bridge takes you onto the slipway and has one further claim on our affections: Drake Carne washes in the stream beside the bridge before Prudie scares the life out of him with her insinuations!

The black wooden capstan at the top of the slipway is still in working order but a motorised winch is used day-to-day to pull the fishing boats up out of the reach of the tide. The rocks leading down to the sea are granite boulders and are excellent for scrambling although can be slippery (I spent countless happy hours on these as a child). You can swim off the slipway (no lifeguards, take care) but there can be seaweed here to wade through on the way out.

Access to Penberth is via a sharp turn off the B3315. There is limited free parking along the road beside the river. It is a short stroll down the road to the enchanting cove itself.