Shipwrecks and romance in 18th Century Cornwall

A returning hero?

Poldark rode back onto our screens in 2015 and proved as much of a hit as the previous BBC version had in the 1970’s.

In this series, Aidan Turner plays the lead character, Ross Poldark, and Eleanor Tomlinson his wife, Demelza. Former lead in the 1970’s series, Robin Ellis makes an appearance as the county judge. However, is the lure the characters or the amazing Cornish landscape and tales it tells that draws us in?

Aidan Turner as Poldark

A tale of Cornwall

When Author Winston Graham first penned his novels he spent time studying the Cornish archives. Revealing letters from Cornish land owners and families, he based his stories on authentic 17th century events.

A tale of class, hardship and romance evolved with intriguing plots, smuggling, tin mines and dashing horseback rides thrown into the mix.

All this is set amongst some stunning Cornish scenery. The wild moors of Bodmin echo what’s in the characters’ hearts whilst the crashing waves and sun setting over rugged cliffs entice us into a Cornwall that has changed little over the centuries.

Poldark crew on set

Botallack Mine

Botallack Mine

Charlestown Harbour

Charlestown harbour


boats on Poldark set

On set in Porthgwarra

If you visit St Just today, you can see the remnants of engine houses sunk low on the cliff faces. The tall ships and lobster pots on show when Demelza visits Truro can be seen at Charlestown harbour, an original 17th century port used to transport China Clay from the Cornish mines.

Head to St Breward on Bodmin Moor and you may find Nampara House and the cottages belonging to the villagers or even the one belonging to Dwight Enys.

St Agnes doubles as St Ann’s Village. Wheal Coates engine house dominates the coast path and the whole area is designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to the prevalence of mine shafts and engine houses.

The village winds down to the coves and the headland represents Nampara Valley. Filming also took place across the cliff tops here as well as near Padstow. Nampara Cove can be found at Porthcothan.

The Penzance Peninsula was particularly noted for mining. Levant Mine at Pendeen doubles as Tressiders Rolling Mill and the whole of the coastline from Levant to Botallack was used for many of the cliff scenes with engine houses.

The smuggling scene in series one took place at Church Cove Gunwalloe and Ross’ famous bathing scene took place at Porthgwarra. The Cornish coastline is dotted with coves and quiet sandy bays and undoubtedly were haunts for smugglers of old.

Poldark filming locations

  • Lellizzick cliffs and The Camel Estuary, near Padstow – the opening credits.
  • St Breward, Bodmin – Ross Poldark’s home, Dwight Enys’ cottage and those of the villagers.
  • Porthcothan – Nampara Cove.
  • The coastline from Botallack to Levant – cliff scenes with engine houses.
  • Levant Mill – Tressiders Rolling Mill.
  • Holywell Bay – where Dwight Enys and Caroline Penvenen race across the sand on horseback.
  • St Agnes – the Engine House on the cliffs and St Ann’s Village. St Agnes Head is Nampara Valley.
  • Charlestown – represents the harbour and Truro.
  • Church Cove Gunwalloe, The Lizard – smuggling scenes.
  • Porthgwarra – famous for where Ross takes a dip in the water.

sea and engine houses

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