Port Gaverne came to being in the nineteenth century, as a working port where slate from the nearby quarry was loaded onto ferries. The narrow streets used to be filled with carts going backwards and forwards, and soon it welcomed a roaring sardine and pilchard trade too, making it one of the busiest and most lucrative ports in North Cornwall. In 1893, a railway was built that was far more efficient for the transportation of slate, and Port Gaverne started to slow down. With Port Isaac’s large harbour and breakwater, the fisherman preferred it to Port Gaverne, and the hamlet returned to a sleepy seaside spot that feels as though it’s just you and the sea. In the summer, while the streets of Port Isaac are flooded with coach trips and summer holiday traffic, Port Gaverne basks in peace and quiet. Its residents and visitors are left to enjoy the beach, coastal footpaths and the two eateries – the Port Gaverne Hotel and Pilchard’s. Port Gaverne’s dog friendly beach is a small one, but wait for the tide to go out and you’ll be rewarded with sand between your toes, rockpools to search through and caves to discover. For those with a taste for adrenalin, this sheltered cove offers some excellent guided coasteering too – get hold of Cornish Rock Tors who will guide you along cliffs and through the water. They also offer wild swimming sessions, kayaking, and stand up paddle-boarding, as well as plenty other land-based activities – so if it’s an active holiday you’re after then look no further.
Head east out of the village along the coastal footpath, and on a clear day enjoy the views up the coast to Tintagel. If you’ve got your walking gear on, continue along the coast and seek out Tregardock beach – with a waterfall, great surf and hardly a soul on it, this beach will leave you feeling as though you’ve been the first to discover it. Head west, to the next village, and discover the set of Doc Martin’s hometown, Portwenn. Find the school, the harbour and the cobbled streets as though you’ll bump into Martin Clunes himself around the next corner . Although it’s rumoured that the show has completed it’s filming now, Clunes hasn’t been shy to profess his love for the village, so our bet is that he’ll be back! Continue down the coast to arrive at Rock, with it’s reputation as a millionaire’s playground for a totally different landscape and atmosphere. Enjoy dining at yet another of Nathan Outlaw’s restaurants, or hop on the ferry across the Doom Bar estuary to Padstow. From Rick Stein to Paul Ainsworth, Padstow is spoilt for eateries, and is also a great place to spend a day come rain or shine. Hire bikes and cycle the picturesque Camel Trail, our enjoy the local shops and galleries filled with local crafts and produce.
Port Gaverne is the perfect escape to the seaside and countryside. With amenities nearby, award-winning food and drink at your doorstep and stunning scenery, this little cove makes the perfect base to explore North Cornwall; and whatever the weather, there’s plenty to discover.