Poldark country – a TV based itinerary

For those staying at Old Lanwarnick, who have more than a passing interest in the works of Winston Graham and the most recent TV series, will find that it’s the perfect base from which to explore ‘Poldark Country’.

In order to provide some context and facilitate your exploration, we have created a short list of some of the most iconic locations. It’s time to mount up and head out across moor and beach to seek out those places where Ross and Demelza et. al. had their most dramatic moments!

Church Cove – Gunwalloe

Descending the narrow road to Church Cove, catching a fleeting glimpse of what to expect through the hedge-framed vista of the distant beach and grassy headland, you’ll soon come to appreciate why this particular beach was chosen for several of the earlier episodes. So called because of the lovely medieval church of St Wynwallow that nestles on the landward facing side of the rocky outcrop, it beckons to families on holiday in the summer and wave watchers in the winter months.

Just around the rocky promontory and a relatively short walk away, Poldhu Cove makes for an interesting destination. A haunt for surfers and those who enjoy watching the ever-changing seascape whilst enjoying a hot or cold beverage at the beach side café, it too featured in the series.

Charlestown

An obvious location, Charlestown has often been used as a backdrop to ground scenes in a world that has long since departed. Michael Caine and Robert Duval have graced its harbour walls to be followed more recently by Aidan Turner. Its old-world charm effortlessly plays into our received idea of a busy 18th century trading port embroiled in the unloading of exotic cargoes from around the world. After a walk around, the need to refuel can be satisfied by a trip to one of the many eateries including the Longstore or Rebellion for an authentic Cornish culinary experience with a twist.

Botallack Mine

A stalwart of the Cornish mining industry, Bottallack Mine and its outcrop of buildings stand resolute and implacable along the Tin Coast not far from St. Just. Their dark, forlorn shapes speak of a time when tough Cornish miners headed deep underground in pursuit of the metal that helped drive the industrial revolution.

The abandoned structures, as well as the rich industrial memorialised landscape of the area, provided some of the inspiration for Winston Graham’s series of books, making it an ideal match for the Poldark family mines of Wheal Leisure and Grambler. Head here and immerse yourself in the local history and the spirit captured in Poldark.

Levant Mine

Not far from Bottallack is Levant Mine, also under the curation of the National Trust. Situated at top of the exposed cliffs it forms part of the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site. At its centre is the restored 1840s beam engine powered by that old hardworking propellant – steam.

Bodmin Moor

Picturing the scenes of Ross Poldark galloping across a bare and expansive landscape, means you have imagined Bodmin Moor. As an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, this remote and heather-covered upland granite landscape carries open-access status, which means that members of the public have the right to walk freely within designated areas without having to stick to paths. Tog up and explore – it’s the setting for the exterior of Ross’s cottage (Nampara) as well as the site of the miner’s cottages. And if you’re fancying turning your visit into a literary excursion then there’s always Jamaica Inn to tempt you. Made famous by Daphne du Maurier, it sits high-up, midway between Launceston and Bodmin, just off the A30. You can’t miss it.

St Agnes Head

St Agnes Head is where the iconic engine house of Wheal Coates sits on the cliff edge, making it a first-choice location for filming Poldark. As well as doubling as Nampara Valley, it featured as the narrative and literal cliff-hanger to the first two series. Whilst here venture down to Chapel Porth Beach Cafe for a delicious snack!

Porthcurno and Penberth

Take the B3283, a spur off the A30 at Catchall, which becomes the B3315 and continue further into west Penwith until you descend St Buryan Hill – you’ll recognise it as the road takes a steep dive at this point. Once you’ve accomplished this look out for the first turn on your left, it will take you to Penberth. It’s a delightful spot with a stream, forded by stepping stones, that empties into the sea and a honey and cream granite cobbled slipway. There is a terrace of fisherman’s cottages on one side whilst on the other sit buildings that are used for storing equipment dedicated to hauling a living from the sea. Separating the two and sitting at the top of the slope is a working capstan. The whole inlet has the feel of a place that time has passed by, making it an ideal choice for the setting of Sawle village in Poldark, home to Demelza’s two brothers, Sam and Drake Carne. As such it has featured in many scenes involving Demelza and Doctor Enys.

Further west is the beguiling and one of the most photographed beaches in Cornwall – Porthcurno. Crystal clear turquoise waters roll against the almost white sandy beach giving it an ethereal quality and so suited as the backdrop for the dream sequence in episode two, when Ross and Demelza walk across the beach towards the cliffs of Treryn Dinas. Along with neighbouring Pedn Vounder, Porthcurno features as Nampara Cove.

Holywell Bay

Situated not far from the author’s home is Holywell Bay. Maintained by the National Trust, this expansive golden sandy beach is held in check by grass-tufted sand dunes behind. It is instantly recognisable by the towering twin stacks which lie just out to sea.

This dramatic backdrop captured the Poldark scene scouts’ interest and features as Warleggan’s beach in the second series. It’s where Ross, shirt cast away, emerges from the waves!

Kynance

Situated on the Lizard Point is the amazing Kynance Cove. It was an obvious choice for the filmmakers due to its stunning natural beauty and doubled as Nampara Cove in some scenes.

Bodmin Jail

Not for the faint hearted is the Bodmin Jail experience! Built in 1779 and closed in 1927 it was used during WWI to hold some of Britain’s state papers and records including the Domesday Book. Today you can embark upon a guided tour of the arcane world of this country’s Georgian and Victorian penal system and what awaited those whose crimes were considered felonious enough to deserve the noose.

It was used for filming the incarceration of Jim Carter, Ross’ farmhand, who is thrown into jail when he is caught poaching, but the conditions here are so bad that he dies soon afterwards.

Make a date

Whether you’re a Poldark fan or not, these are some wonderful places to visit when you’re based at Old Lanwarnick. Work out a route to several of them and embark on a delightful Poldark road trip!

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