Argal – my unlikely haven

For a long time I have had a strange fascination with Argal reservoir.  I know that with so much natural beauty so near by this might seem a strange choice as one of my favourite places for a walk.  But I go there often and for a number of reasons.


As I live within 10 minutes drive of this artificial lake it makes an ideal place for me to grab some fresh air and take a quick stroll.  A perambulation of the water’s edge takes me roughly 40 mins and that’s with my camera!

Although it is very well used by dog-walkers, fishermen and runners I always find it a peaceful place to visit and I love looking for the different resident and visiting birdlife.  I am no great birdy and often have no idea what I am looking at but I know I have seen two dancing Great Crested Grebe and a pair of grumpy looking Shoveler already this year!


However I think that part of the reason I love it there is that I feel a strong family connection to this place too. For hundreds of years, literally, my family lived in the far west of Cornwall.  I have traced my ancestors in a direct line back to 1550 and part of the reason that I was able to do that so easily was that all my family were farmers.  They hardly moved from the Zennor area in several generations.  But everything changed for them quite suddenly in the mid 19th century.  They were tenants and their farms were put up for sale.  Together three brothers packed up their families and everything they owned and together they moved to farms in the Mabe area.

One of those brothers was my great-great-grandfather. One of those farms was at Argal.


So you see when I walk around the outside of that great man-made lake I look down into the water and imagine the drowned hedges, trees and fields below the surface.  I know of course there is nothing down there but some well-fed carp and a muddy bottom but in my minds eye I can see my ancestors at work and the cattle grazing.


To my rather over active imagination there is a drowned world of ghosts down there.

For more family stories try: Rock Solid Love or My Grumpy Grandpa & his Shires or perhaps My Grandmother & Rope Walk, Falmouth


7 thoughts on “Argal – my unlikely haven

  1. Chez l'abeille February 3, 2017 / 9:30 am

    One of my great something grandparents was Argal-Watts. Never quite found out if Argal was linked but we have been in mid Cornwall for centuries too!

    Liked by 1 person

    • esdale77 February 3, 2017 / 9:35 am

      I know I have read somewhere that Argal was originally the name of a small village and that it’s name came from an old surname . . .


  2. Do you know which farms they lived at in Zennor? And their family names? There may be some connection with the Stevens family as, to quote Alison Symons who wrote ‘Tremedda Days’, “old Zennor families found husbands and wives in or near their own parish, resulting in the majority being related in one way or another”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • esdale77 July 6, 2017 / 2:37 pm

      They were all Dale like myself, the farmed at Tregarthen and Hallesveor I believe. An uncle called John Dale was a bible christen minister and used the little ruin chapel near Tregarthen. Does that ring any bells?


    • esdale77 July 6, 2017 / 2:46 pm

      There is an entry about John Dale of Tregarthen been in buried in 1877 but that’s all I believe. . .


  3. Yes, I found the John Dale entry for 1877. There’s also an entry for May 1877 about the funeral of William Dale’s 3 year old daughter, then one in July 1892 about the auction of Tregarthen and other local farms.

    Liked by 1 person

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