The River Fal is an enchanting river, with steep densely wooded banks along most of its length. Although not wide, it is very deep in parts allowing large ships to sometimes moor within or navigate to Truro for cargo.
The river itself is managed by the ‘Port of Truro’, and it is a wonder that even after centuries of industry in the local area that it remains unspoilt and wild. The balance between recreation, commercial activity, nature and its fishing activity is perfectly controlled.
At the southern end of the River on it’s western shore is the Trelissick estate (now owned by the National Trust) with its large sweeping lawn leading up from the shore to the beautiful historic house. There is a popular anchorage here from which the views all around are spectacular.
A little further into the river we come across the first sign of commercial fishing activity in the form of a Mussel farm. There are perfect conditions in the river for the growing of some of the best mussels and oysters in the South West.
Just beyond here is the King Harry ferry (a service operating since 1889 and considered to be one of the most beautiful ferry crossings in the world). The ferry crosses the River at the location of an ancient pilgrims way to St Michael’s Mount.
A little further upriver we come across the famous Smugglers cottage at Tolverne, which was an important location at the end of World War 2 where US troups and vehicles were loaded onto invasion vessels. General Eisenhower visited and stayed at the cottage just before the invasion. Opposite Tolverne is the prehistoric settlement of Roundwood, one of the earliest known in the area. The stone quay which can be seen here was once used to load cargos from various industries in the area.
The densely wooded banks display their huge variety of trees all along the river, many of them ancient. The emerald water flows beneath them as it has for millennia.
The Tregothnan estate now appears on the eastern shore. The estate is well known for recently starting to grow tea, and has been home to the same family since 1335. The large family home can be seen clearly on the top of their proud estate.
Here the river divides. The River Fal continues East into the shallow waters of Ruan Creek where it eventually reaches its source many miles inland on Goss Moor. At one time sailing ships could navigate the Ruan as far as the village of Tregony. Leading Northwards is the deeper Truro River which allows navigation all the way to the cathedral city of Truro.
Before reaching Truro the river branches off again at Malpas towards the hamlet of Tresillian. Although the entire river is generally known as the River Fal, it is actually formed from three main branches, the Tresillian river, the Truro river and the River Fal.
Along the full length of the river are further subtle reminders of its history, and wildlife including seals and birds are regularly seen. Any visitor to the River will never forgot what is one of Cornwall’s most beautiful areas.
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