The ancient village of Portscatho lies sheltered on the shore of Gerrans Bay on the south-east coast of Cornwall. The name in Cornish means "Rowing Boat Harbour". An old stone jetty still shelters a few local fishing boats but like so many other once-busy West Country fishing villages, Portscatho now relies for its income on the tourist trade. A fair number of the local cottages are holiday lets and the village shops and the excellent Plume of Feathers pub welcome holiday makers from all destinations.


There is a small beach immediately fronting the village and a larger beach (Porthcurnick) just a short distance around the bay. A small artists' community strives to preserve in paint the beauty of this section of the Cornish coastline. A noteworthy village feature is a memorial plinth set overlooking the harbour and dedicated to the 26,380 servicemen who lost their lives in Burma during WWII.

The village has an old seaman's chapel on Chapel Point where its founder William Billing (a pious Portscatho fisherman) lies buried beneath his own pulpit; but the Parish Church is set atop the hillside in the neighbouring village of Gerrans. Gerrans also has shops, a pub and shares Portscatho's magnificent view out across the bay.

Portscatho is ideally suited to exploring the Roseland Peninsula, a tranquil area of natural beauty set between the River Fal and the sea. A mile or two to the west you will find the St Anthony lighthouse used in the TV series Fraggle Rock. The vantage point above the lighthouse offers a magnificent view of Falmouth Bay and harbour. A little nearer is St Just-in-Roseland, where the ancient church nestles by the waterside surrounded by sub-tropical trees and flowers.

The most picturesque way to approach the Roseland from Truro is to take the King Harry Ferry across the Fal. This has been described as one of the most beautiful ferry crossings on the planet. Incidentally this route will take you past the National Trust gardens at Trellissick, well worth a stop-over. From St Just it is a short car journey to the yachting centre of St Mawes, where a foot ferry will take you across the harbour to Falmouth. A large car park permits you to leave your vehicle close to the harbour.

If you take the land route to the Roseland from Tregony in the north-east you might call at the village of Veryan with its interesting Round Houses. These were built by a missionary for his daughter with the curious thought that the rooms being round would have no corner for the Devil to hide in.

Content by B. Benney

Map of Portscatho


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