If there is one thing that Cornwall does well, it is hide it’s industrial past. The desolate mining landscapes of 200 years ago have been largely reclaimed by nature.
Many have become unlikely havens for wildlife and recreation.
One of my favourite short walks takes in such a landscape. Although these days you have to look hard to find any sign of its industrious history. Scott’s Quay lies on the Helford River roughly a mile from the village of Constantine, close to Falmouth. It was built in the early 1800s by Charles Scott.
Scott was a wealthy landowner who lived at the manor of Trewadreva and owned a number of mines and quarries in the area. He saw an opportunity to move large quantities of minerals and stone via a system of merchant schooners on the river. So he built himself a quay.
A hard road was constructed from Constantine village down the hill to the quay. At the time it was built it was much wider than you see today. Horses and carts trundled up and down this track delivering the heavy loads of minerals for sale and bringing back goods such as coal, timber, salt, lime and any other materials which were needed for the local farming and industries as well as the community.
Today’s Wildlife Haven
This peaceful place was once a hive of industry and activity. Now all that you hear are the cries of birds and the splash of fish in the slowly retreating tide.
The quay fell into disrepair in the 19th century due to it falling out of use after the arrival of the railways to the region. Thankfully it was restored in the 1930s by Mrs Hext of Trebah. She arranged for the derelict quay to be rebuilt, put in place the public right of way and built the stone stiles along the route. All this so that local people could enjoy the wildlife and the river.
These days Scott’s Quay is one of the very few places that still allows free public access to the Helford river.
On the quay you will find a small board with some local history information. And a note of welcome from the present owners, the Pugh family of Goongillings Farm.
This family came to Goongillings in 1954 and have kindly continued Mrs Hext’s plan of keeping this spot unspoilt and open for the community to enjoy.
There are some excellent walks in and around Constantine village well worth exploring and more permissive paths through the woods near Scotts Quay have recently been opened to the public.