Originally named Petroc-stow, Petroc-stowe, or ‘Petrock’s Place‘, after the Welsh missionary Saint Petroc, who landed at Trebetherick around AD500, Padstow (dubbed as Padstein on account of the number of establishments owned by the Stein family) is a quaint fishing village on the north coast of Cornwall at the head of the Camel estuary. In the 16th and 17th centuries Padstow expanded due to the growth of the mining and quarrying industries in the area. Copper ore was shipped to Bristol and slates exported, many from the Delabole slate quarry a few miles inland. During the 19th century the port flourished with the pilchard industry and shipbuilding.
Popular due to the closeness of several wide sandy beaches, the foodie connections and the Camel Trail – a walking and cycle trail along the River Camel to Wadebridge – it does become very crowded in the summer. And spring. And autumn it seems. And we won’t mention the three-day Christmas Fair.
Independent shops, such as craft and gift shops, artists’ studios, bookshops, grocers, newsagents, leather workshops, a home-made fudge shop and bakery cluster around the inner harbour
and with seats around the harbour you could spend several hours simply watching the harbour scene and watch the world pass slowly by.
A ferry takes you across to Rock on the opposite bank and where you can walk along the south coast path to Daymer Beach and Polzeath. Or if you like speed, take a 15 minute ride on a speed boat out to sea.
A sandbank called Doom Bar (also the name of a Cornish ale), blocks the entry to the estuary from the sea and has been the cause of many shipwrecks.
The story goes that there was once a merry mermaid who watched over the vessels that went in and out of Padstow. One day, she was shot by a sailor on a visiting boat. The mermaid’s curse was that the harbour would become desolate from that time on. Shortly after a great storm came, wrecking many of the ships in harbour and throwing up the sandbank.
Everything slows down around Padstow; the traffic because of the sheer volume and the people due to the tide times and the farming seasons. It doesn’t do you any good to hurry in Cornwall.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, The fish and chips from Rick Stein’s takeaway are absolutely delicious. I recommend the Hake.
The header is a stunner. I want to know why the Camel Estuary? Your photos are so beautifully sharp and clear, and I love the collage of details. Your Cornwall is suggesting the source for place names here.
The Camel Estuary is a geological ria, a deep valley that has been drowned by post-glacial rising sea levels. The name comes from the Cornish: Dowr Kammel, meaning crooked river a reference to its winding course. And no, I did not know that, I had to look it up! I do know that Heyle = estuary (Hayle in English, which is the area I live in.
The four number roads in Cornwall surely slows us down, wow what a nightmare. 😉 We went back from St Ives in the dark yesterday …
Padstow looks very nice! Too far away from us in Penzance at the moment though. Have read some enthusiastic reports about Rick Stein.
See you tomorrow. 🙂
Rick Stein in Porthleven too, an easy run from Penzance on the A394. Also a seal sanctuary at Gweek just a few miles further on the Lizard. Looks like it is going to be a sunshine and showers day – again!
It’s perfect at the moment 🌤thanks a lot, we have changed our minds about Newlyn – off to Porthleven! 😀🙋
Well you can always walk into Newlyn in the morning.
We’ll do! 😀
Have only been to Cornwall once before – must remedy that at some point though I think I would go out of season to avoid the traffic and crowds! Delightful set of photos! 🙂
It’s becoming that there is no ‘out of season’. But, yes, definitely avoid school holidays!
I can well imagine! On my only trip to Cornwall we had driven down from my in laws in Somerset with our girls for the day. I remember trying to get out from the bottom of the hill at Port Isaac as dusk was falling. It was so tricky to turn the car round in a tight space and that was well out of season (a cold damp January evening)!
I imagine Port Isaac is tricky any time of the year as the road in is very narrow, like many of these former fishing villages. They were not designed for cars.
So we found out! I was relieved we managed to get out I had to do something like a 7 point turn at one point in the dark!
Oh, no. Driving in the dark is one of the things I dislike the most living here.
Yes I can well understand – on that occasion we drove back to my in laws in Somerset via Bodmin Moor. It was January so dark by about 4pm (something of course we had forgotten about!) very spooky as it was foggy!
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