On the water again from June 2022

River trips and sailing experiences on the Fal, from Malpas near Truro

From the beginning of June until the end of September, you will once again be able to join us onboard ‘Drifter’, our traditional Dutch sailing barge. Our boat trips on the upper reaches of the Fal are a unique way to discover or explore one of Cornwall’s most beautiful areas.

The Fal is surrounded by areas of outstanding natural beauty and the estuary has become one of the most important marine habitats in Europe. It has sites of special scientific interest and is an area of special marine conservation along with the nearby Helford River.

Did you know that the river reaches 9 miles inland to the city of Truro itself? It is Cornwall’s largest estuary with over 86 miles of shoreline and formed with the melting of the ice caps at the end of the ice age, which flooded the valley that is now the Fal.

Although generally known as the Fal from where it meets the sea at Falmouth to the limit of navigation at Truro, it is a number of rivers flowing and meeting up including Truro, Tresillian, Carnon, Kennal and Penryn rivers. The River Fal itself joins from the east and flows from Goss Moor (St Columb Major), which is the largest continuous wetland complex in southwest Britain.

Part of our tours includes time under sail and there is no better way to experience the river, allowing a special connection to its nature and heritage with its ever-changing winds and flow/ebb of tides. The crew take care of all the sailing, allowing you to relax and absorb the sights and sounds as the sails quietly push us along.

We especially welcome those who have never sailed before. We keep things very relaxed and our barge is very stable with a comfortable seating area. Our trips are family-friendly and we also welcome dogs onboard who seem to always enjoy being on the water.

In two hours we can explore one of the most beautiful parts of the river, and on longer trips choose to anchor for a picnic and explore quieter less visited creeks. We can also sail into one of Europe’s best natural harbours and on towards Falmouth, exploring its shores before returning upriver. The crew are always keen to share their excellent knowledge of the area.

There is a lot to discover here. There are myths/legends, historic estates, strategic world war two locations, traditional fishing industries and ancient pilgrim ways, as well as discrete signs of life and industry on the river from days gone by. There are also locations in or near the river that have been used in film and tv including the recent Poldark.

Despite the surrounding area’s industrial past, the river remains unspoilt with only a handful of pretty cottages along its shores of densely wooded banks meeting a rocky shoreline.

Our trips are not only about the river though, it is also about being onboard an equally beautiful sailing barge with a history and story of its own. Historically, local sailing barges were a familier sight when they were used to transport goods around its shores. Though none of them remain today, we like to think our own barge sails in their spirit of tradition.

We carry from 2 to 6 people, and we welcome couples, families, friends etc. It is recommended to book well in advance as we do get busy. We also offer to move a trip if needed due to the weather being unfavourable. Our trips start at a time to take the best advantage of tides which is typically in the mornings but occasionally in the afternoon.

If you are thinking of joining us on board, please get in touch to schedule your trip.

We look forward to seeing you on-board ‘Drifter’ in 2022. Stay safe and happy travels.