Another place with a past based upon pilchard fishing and the proceeds of smuggling contraband, Mevagissey today remains a tight knit maze of fishermen's cottages, character pubs and quayside restaurants surrounding a compact and imposing harbour. Whilst very different to tiny Portloe, it is still a delightful town to wander round. Fishermen still land local skate, lobster and plaice in the heart of a village with a classic Cornish feel, surrounded by stunning coastline, lobster pots and images of the sea.
The large double walled harbour full of fishing boats is the centre of town and at the end of the harbour wall you can enjoy fine sunset views out across St Austell Bay to the Gribbin Head Daymark two days walk away.
Highlights for those that want to explore further include the little lifeboat house, the surreal aquarium on the Harbour Wall which holds any oddities the fisherman bring in and a very informative Mevagissey Museum. The museum building was originally built to cover the construction and repair of the town's vessels with timbers "borrowed" from older boats and the spoils of the wreckers. Inland, little alleyways still support some old seafarer’s pubs and these days a handful of excellent fish restaurants, making it a good place to recharge after completing the Roseland Peninsula. As ever those arriving from the trail in the afternoon get the best of the town as the inevitable day tripping crowds start to disappear as you wander in, and normality returns with the sunset. Always lively, June sees a week of festivities at the harbour with gig racing, floral dance's and plenty of local beer.
Lost Gardens of Heligan at Mevagissey
For those on a rest day, two miles inland, and easily walked to from Mevagissey you can access the world-renowned Lost Gardens of Heligan.
Having fallen into disrepair after the great war, the gardens, rescued by Tim Smit (who went on to create the Eden Project), were renovated by a team of volunteers from a jungle of bramble and undergrowth after years of neglect and now boast an amazing array of fauna and flora.
There is a lost valley - a jungle of bamboo and ferns dotted with sculptures, ponds, fairy grottos and wildflower meadows as well as fully restored flower and vegetable gardens including 18th century pineapple pits and the world’s largest Rhododendron bush.