Explore the Rivers Fal and Helford

Experience the Natural and Cultural History of Cornwalls Rivers Fal, Helford, and Near Coast.  



The Estuary of the River Fal is known as the Carrick Roads (Dowr Carrek in Cornish, meaning rock anchor), and is cited as the Worlds 3rd Largest Natural Harbour.  This waterway was formed at the end of the last ice age, when melting ice caused sea-levels to rise and form a Ria (drowned valley).  The River Fal is Navigable from Falmouth to Truro, and there are many picturesque creeks between.  Wildlife is abundant along the River, with many species of Birds, including Curlews, Oyster Catchers, Little Egrets, Ospreys, and even a Pelican.  Bottle-nosed Dolphins and Seals also frequent the Carrick Roads.

The River Helford is also a Ria, and both rivers are Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSI), Special Areas of Conservation, and Cornwall area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The Natural Heritage of the area has also affected it's Cultural History.  In the 1800's Falmouth was a very busy port,  with Sailing Ships arriving and departing on international voyages.   In 1836 Charles Darwin arrived in Falmouth on board the HMS Beagle, following the voyage which resulted in him writing 'the Origin of Species'.  Darwin also sent many samples back to the UK on board Falmouth Packet Ships.  Plant Hunters also explored the world in search of exotic species, and there are several Gardens sited along the Rivers, which were populated in this way, (including Trebah, Glendurgan, Trelissick and Tregothnan.

For centuries, the Native Oyster (Ostrea edulis) has been harvested using sail boats or rowed punts. A bylaw has banned the use of motors, ensuring that these traditional methods are maintained, making Fal Oysters a sustainable and famous delicacy.

From the areas industrial mining heritage, to its picturesque beauty which has inspired famous Authors,  the rivers Fal and Helford have a wealth of Natural and Cultural Heritage to explore.




Prince of Wales Pier, Falmouth


Salty Sea Dogs are Welcome