No wonder it is a film and TV location. Charlestown’s mixture of Georgian buildings and charming fishermen’s cottages is like stepping back in time. It’s the perfect setting for stories invented by Winston Graham in his Poldark series. Also, other period dramas, including C. S. Forester’s Hornblower books, and Mansfield Park, by Jane Austen.

As soon as I looked across the picturesque harbour and basin which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, I was entranced. The tall sailing ships reclining elegantly in the water are awe-inspiring.

The port was constructed at the end of the 18th century by Sir Charles Rashleigh, where the place name derives. It was originally called West Polmear. Coincidentally, Mr Word Loft and I lunched at the Rashleigh Inn at Polkerris a few miles away before going there.

Lights are strung around the area where the vessels are moored; an enchanting modern-day touch beside the boats’ intricate and historical rigging.

A sailing barge, the Lady Daphne, took my eye. I imagined the russet sails unfurled, glorious and billowing in the wind atop the waves. 2023 is her centenary year. She was part of the China Clay industry in her heyday but sadly lost her skipper in 1928 when the craft survived being shipwrecked near the Isles of Scilly. Happy 100th birthday Lady Daphne!

Charlestown Beach runs to the left of the harbour. We admired views over the quay wall, before browsing in the teeny gift shop selling locally made wares and then heading over the footbridge. The rusting design looks ancient with its rope handrails but was only built in 1971 to allow pedestrians to cross over the lock gates. Very handy!

The inner harbour was full of activity, with boat trips on a rib, and on the afternoon we spent there, there were a few swimmers. The South West Coast path picks up from here and leads hikers to Crinnis Cliff Battery and beyond, but we only explored as far as the bijou shingle beach on the right. A grass-topped rock formation close to the coast creates drama as the surf swirls around it.

I had been amused by several doves cooing and roosting here and there, so was pleased to read a sign explaining the flock had been released for a film over twenty years ago. They’ve stayed ever since, except these days they live in two rather grand dovecotes.

And in a dream scenario, I would make Charlestown my home too.

Best wishes,
Sue. X

PS. I forgot to mention the crafts and antique outlets at the top of town which are very tempting.