Fan­ci­ful Fowey

Travel writer Sarah Mer­son drags her fam­ily to Fowey for a mag­i­cal win­ter break

Cornwall Life - - HOLIDAYS -

Head­ing off for a few days in Fowey is my idea of bliss, and as we wind our way to the pretty har­bour town, we’re con­stantly teased with glimpses of the al­lur­ing es­tu­ary. It’s late in the day and the sun is sit­ting low in the sky. Among the fish­er­man’s cot­tages, rows of grand Vic­to­rian houses and Ge­or­gian mer­chant houses, which make up the town, is Beaufort House, a stylish abode, tucked away next to Town Quay.

Burst­ing through the front door we rush straight through the house to see what sits on the other side: the es­tu­ary. We’ve en­joyed Corn­wall’s sea views many times be­fore, but, for me, this is dif­fer­ent. Beaufort House sits on the wa­ter’s edge with the ter­race giv­ing pri­vate ac­cess to the es­tu­ary and, when the tide’s out, the beach be­low. The gor­geous gar­den room with soft leather chairs and comfy so­fas pro­vides the per­fect space to while away an hour or two, watch­ing boats bob­bing on the wa­ter and ad­mir­ing the spec­tac­u­lar view across to Pol­ruan vil­lage. Two of the four dou­ble bed­rooms boast the same mes­meris­ing out­look.

We stand on the ter­race oohing and ah­hing at the vivid sun­set, which we’re just in time to en­joy. All too quickly the pink light fades and the es­tu­ary plunges into an inky dark­ness. We spend the rest of the evening en­joy­ing all that Beaufort House has to of­fer in­clud­ing the taste­ful kitchen com­plete with Aga and a wel­come bot­tle of chilled Cham­pagne, and a log-burn­ing fire in the din­ing room.

The next morn­ing we pop out of the gar­den gate di­rectly on to the quay. Wan­der­ing the streets of Fowey, it’s quickly ob­vi­ous that hid­den be­hind the beau­ti­fully painted doors, there are many stylish abodes. Some have been given the glass-box makeover that am­pli­fies the spec­tac­u­lar water­side views.

Al­though, mod­ernised to some ex­tent, Fowey re­tains that ir­re­sistible link with its past, man­i­fested in well-pre­served build­ings that span the cen­turies. The parish church of St Fim­bar­rus, St Cather­ine’s Cas­tle, an old ar­tillery fort or­dered by Henry VIII and now an English Her­itage Site, and the Ship Inn at the bot­tom of Lost­with­iel Street all rep­re­sent dif­fer­ent ages in Corn­wall’s past.

Life in Fowey, is still cen­tred around the es­tu­ary though. It re­mains a work­ing port with boat yards on both sides of the river. Tankers ma­noeu­vre up-stream to the port of Golant, past fer­ries, fish­ing boats and, in sum­mer, nu­mer­ous plea­sure craft.

We jump aboard a foot ferry that zips be­tween Fowey and Pol­ruan. Head­ing on to the

Fowey Hall Walk where the path skirts the es­tu­ary through an­cient oak woods, we’re re­warded with con­stantly chang­ing views of the river and it’s many ro­man­tic creeks and trib­u­taries. At Pont Pill, we hike up­hill to Lan­te­g­los church and down to the spec­tac­u­lar Lan­tic Bay.

With the tide out, we kick about on the white sand and shin­gle beach be­fore trekking back up and join­ing the South West Coast Path lead­ing west­wards back to the lit­tle ferry, which trans­ports us quickly over to Fowey. Hav­ing earnt our sup­per, we head to au­then­tic pizze­ria and bar, Bu­fala, only a few doors away from Beaufort House, and feast on sig­na­ture thin and crispy ro­man-style sour­dough pizza, no­cel­lara olives and bur­rata moz­zarella.

We wake the next morn­ing to the sound of gig row­ers com­pet­ing with seag­ulls and

en­joy a to-go cof­fee from Brown Sugar and head west­wards from Fowey, along the Es­planade and down to Ready­money Cove. We join an­other sec­tion of the coast path to Pol­rid­mouth Cove. The kids and dog hap­pily play on the beach be­fore we cross the board­walk and climb up the hill to the Grib­bin Day­mark, an 84ft tall tower built in 1832 as a day­light nav­i­ga­tion aid for ship­ping. Now owned by the Na­tional Trust, the tower is open on some Sun­days in the sum­mer when vis­i­tors can en­joy the views from the top.

As we head back to Fowey, a rain­bow dips into the choppy es­tu­ary. We spend our last night at Beaufort House en­joy­ing roast chicken and drink­ing in the won­der­ful wa­tery views.

The next morn­ing, I take one last glimpse at the mes­meric es­tu­ary and spot the un­mis­tak­able azure blue and me­tal­lic cop­per of a King­fisher as he darts along the top of the wa­ter be­fore swoop­ing down and emerg­ing with his catch. From his­toric dis­cov­er­ies to wild, win­try walks, and from mes­meris­ing views to the thrill of a King­fisher sight­ing, Fowey and the ever-chang­ing es­tu­ary have truly worked their magic.

‘His­toric dis­cov­er­ies to wild, win­try walks, and from mes­meris­ing views to the thrill of a King­fisher sight­ing, Fowey and the ev­er­chang­ing es­tu­ary have truly worked their magic’

Beaufort House starts from £1515 for a long week­end to £5049 for a week, with a ‘just for two’ 20% re­duc­tion out­side of peak weeks, bank hol­i­days, Christ­mas and New Year. Book at bou­ti­quere­treats.co.uk

Fowey from the wa­ter.

The Grib­bin Day­mark stands at 84ft

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