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Explore Fowey

The Fowey Estuary covers approximately 1000 acres, most is within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The Fowey Estuary starts at Lostwithiel where the medieval bridge marks the upper limit of tidal navigation. From here it is 11kms to the river mouth and the river and its shoreline are protected by Fowey Harbour Commissioners.

The estuary is known for its unspoilt beauty, it has a rich maritime history with many iconic buildings and landmarks, most of which have remained unchanged for decades.

Take time to explore the picturesque surroundings of the Fowey and its coastal villages  by discovering some of the delightful local walks or explore the tranquil creeks and wildlife on a river cruise or a hire boat.

Explore Fowey, Polruan and the upper river using our new virtual tour!  Featuring stunning aerial images with interactive hotspots, be inspired to plan your next visit to the Fowey river.
Download our Harbour Guide for all you need to know about your stay at Fowey Harbour.

Upstream Exploring

The Upper Estuary is well worth exploring. Enjoy the peace and tranquility but remember to allow enough time to return downstream to deeper water before the tide leaves you high and dry!

The estuary above Wiseman’s Reach dries at low water so visiting the upper estuary should be done with care having consulted tide tables, charts and local knowledge.

If you don’t have the local knowledge or have a boat, river cruises to Lerryn and Lostwithiel (tidal dependent) can be booked on Fowey Town Quay.

Key Tides for Exploring

As a rule of thumb and depending on the draft of your boat the following high tide heights should get you to your destination!

Golant > 4m
Lerryn > 4.5m
St Winnow > 4.5m
Lostwithiel > 5m

Castles

A pair of ancient blockhouses defended the harbour during medieval times.

Positioned at Fowey and Polruan, the four storey towers were linked by a chain which could be raised across the harbour in the event of an attack. Polruan blockhouse is still accessible but on the Fowey side you can just see the ruin.

The entrance to Fowey Harbour is guarded by St. Catherine’s Castle.  Built in 1542 it was constructed as part of Henry VIII’s chain of harbour defences, which ran along the English Channel coast. During the Second World War the fort became an observation post and detonation point for a controlled minefield, which was laid across the harbour entrance to protect from German invasion.

Today English Heritage manages the castle, admission is free and is open all year round.  It’s well worth a visit to enjoy the panoramic views of the harbour and out to sea.

Polruan

The village of Polruan can be found on the eastern side of the harbour.

Shipbuilding and repair has been an important trade here since medieval times with Polruan’s shipwrights building ships for use in the early tin and wine trades, china clay ships in the midnineteenth century to commercial fishing vessels in the modern day.

Polruan is also the start (or end!) of the Hall Walk, a favourite 4 mile circular walk taking in breath-taking views of Fowey Harbour and through woodland around the tranquil Pont creek.