Historical Newquay: in and around town
Want to explore places of historical importance in and around Newquay? We’ve spoken to a local about the places she feels are worth visiting in her hometown.
The Huer’s Hut
Overlooking Newquay’s stretch of stunning beaches from Towan Head, The Huer’s Hut represents the history and heritage of the town’s fishing industry. While this particular building has been there since the mid 1800’s, its history dates back to the 14th century.
The ‘Huer’, for whom this shelter was built, would spot shoals of fish (usually pilchards), and sound his horn, shouting “HEVA HEVA” (“Here they are”). This would let the fishermen in Newquay Harbour know that it was time to launch their boats, and they would be guided to the fish by the Huer.
Because the town was raised on the fishing industry, many believe that Newquay (or Towan Blystra, at that time), owes it’s existence to the Huer and his hut. It’s definitely worth a visit – follow the South West Coast Path from Fistral Beach or Pentire, a breathtaking (but often quite windy) walk on the cliffs of Newquay.
If you want to spot The Huer’s Hut from a different angle, head to Newquay Harbour, a beautiful fishing port steeped in its own rich history.
As well as offering fishing trips and excursions, the brightly-coloured boats also land the fresh crab and lobster that you’re likely to find on your dinner plate at nearby restaurants. Enjoy a meal out in Newquay, or if you don’t fancy sitting in, head to Newquay Fish Festival (usually in September each year) to try some out of doors! This three-day feast offers you everything that’s fresh from the sea, as well as live cookery demonstrations and entertainment.
Fancy catching your own dinner? Newquay Harbour offers a range of boat trips between May and September in which you’ll have the chance, or if you’re looking for something a little more relaxing, sit back and explore tranquil inlets and secret coves on a memorable boat trip. Speedboats trips and diving with sharks are also available for the adrenalin seekers among you!
A modest group of Grade II listed buildings lying in the picturesque Trenance Gardens (Trenance meaning ‘farm in the valley’), there’s nothing quite like this open to the public anywhere else in Cornwall! Dating back to the 18th century, these cottages are among very few properties remaining that predate the passenger railway in 1876, so it’s a real historical gem.
By the 1400s Trenance Cottages belonged to the Arundells of Trerice, who also were residents of Trerice Manor – a National Trust property on the outskirts of Newquay that’s definitely worth a visit! Other residents of the cottages have included a coxswain of Newquay lifeboat and evacuees – come along to the cottages and explore the cottage’s rich history for yourself!
Lovingly restored by local volunteers, funded through charity events and with contributions from the Heritage Lottery Fund, SITA, Cornwall Council, Newquay Council, Co-operative Society and the Pilgrim Trust, the Trenance Cottage restoration was completed this year and has certainly become even more of a tranquil ‘wow’ spot for Newquay, whose community want to continue to promote and engage with its fine heritage.
Numerous activities take place at Trenance Cottages throughout the year, so visit the website if you fancy catching an exciting event. If you need to rest your legs after walking around the boating lake, zoo or park, grab a cream tea or other snacks in the newly refurbished tea rooms. Find the Cottages in Trenance Gardens between the boating lake and the turning into Waterworld, the park and Newquay Zoo.
Owned by the National Trust, this romantic Elizabethan manor is seeing in its 60th anniversary of being open to the public. The house is currently undergoing conservation work – so it’s the perfect time to see the building up close and personal. A personal favourite of the house is the entrance hall (often used for banquets), where you can get close to armour from hundreds of years ago, as well as gazing at the ornate roofs upstairs.
The house itself is surrounded by beautiful gardens with lots to do – take a walk, pierce the silence of the tranquil gardens in the Bowling Green and try your hand at Kayling or Slapcock, or sit back and listen to the curious lilts of Tudor music. Look out for falconry displays, musketry, summer craft activities and a medieval village.
If you’re after a bite to eat, the restaurant offers a selection of wholesome mains and tasty cakes, while the gift shop is the perfect place to buy holiday gifts for your friends and family. The house opens at 11am with last entry to the house at 4.30pm – as it’s National trust, you’ll need to pay if you’re not a member, but it’s definitely worth it!
The Gannel Estuary
The Gannel played a huge role in providing Newquay with trade: A silted estuary, schooners and lighters (barges) were poled or rowed up the river channel on the incoming tide, carrying coal, timber or sand to Trevemper Bridge where it was distributed inland. It was also known as the Gannel Shipyard where many ships were built. In fact, you can still see traces of old boatyards and moorings ! The Gannel was also where pilchard and mackerel boats were moored. Nature lovers should also grab their binoculars and look out for plants, little egrets, fish and even eels!
Find The Gannel Estuary on the outskirts of town on the left of the Gannel Link Road heading towards Mount Wise. Parking is limited but it’s also not too far from town to walk – alternatively park alongside the Boating Lake and walk across.