Penkestle Cottage in Helford
A lovely old village in southern Cornwall, Helford was once a busy port until the Helford River silted up. Readers of Daphne DuMaurier's classic novel, 'Frenchman's Creek' will be familiar with Helford's reputation for smuggling. Du Maurier spent her own honeymoon here, and was inspired by the romance of the port's smuggling past to create her only romance novel.
A wooded trail from the top of the village leads along the coast to the original 'Frenchman's Creek'.


It is hard to imagine the quiet waterside village of Helford was once a bustling port, with smugglers, fishermen, and trading ships docking here. So busy was trade from the European continent that a customs house was set up by the harbour. The formation of Loe Bar meant that Gweek was a better port, and activity at Helford died away. When the Cornish tin mining industry collapsed, many miners emigrated from Helford, with quite a large number sailing to the new mining areas of Australia.

Near the mouth of the Helford is the medieval church of St Anthony-in-Meneage, outside Gillan harbour. The church is said to have been built by Normans shipwrecked by a dreadful storm, and dates to at least 1170. In Pengwedhen Wood is a small chapel built in 1930 and dedicated to St Francis.

The village pub is the Shipwrights Arms, which was built as a farm, and was then transformed into an inn with rooms, and then into a traditional pub. Other interesting historic buildings include Rosemullion, a pretty thatched cottage, dating to at least 1660. Another is Penkestle, near the footbridge at the head of the village, which dates to the 18th century and is the only house in Helford from that period with stone chimneys.

A seasonal ferry carries foot passengers across the river mouth to Helford Passage. Helford is very well placed for several of the most famous of Cornwall's many attractive gardens. Just 2 miles away is Trebah Garden, with Glendurgan Garden only slightly further. The busy port of Falmouth, with historic Pendennis Castle, is only 5 miles away.