Harbour Information

You are viewing the expanded version of this Harbour, for faster browsing
use the regular version here

Mevagissey Harbour, and useful anchorages in St Austells and Mevagissey Bays

Your Comments: 8 Read or add your comments

Courtesy Flag

Flag, Red Ensign


Safe Distance off Victoria Pier: 50:16'.2N 004:46'.80W


Admiralty 147, 148, SC5602

Rules & Regulations

5 Knts Outer Harbour and Approach, 3 Knts Inner Harbour.


Inner Harbour Dries, Dangerous to approach in onshore winds, Harbour Berths exposed in Easterly Gales, Black Rock off North Quay.

Tidal Data Times & Range

HW Dover -0600 MHWS 5.5m MHWN 4.4m MLWN 2.2m MLWS 0.8m   (links)

This site is designed for slower, roaming broadband connections, like you would get at sea, so it needs JavaScript enabled to expand the text.

General Description

Mevagissey Harbour Master  tel 01726 843305 VHF #14   

Mevagissey Harbour as does the whole Bay Area offers good protection in the prevailing westerly weather. It is rather exposed in easterlies, and even gets quite a surge in the outer harbour in these conditions. In strong onshore conditions entry would be dangerous, and a Fowey would be the better bet. (Ed Note -  they suffered considerably here during the winter of 2017/18 with storm Emma causing parts of the outer sea walls and various buildings to be damaged)  

Mevagissey is a picturesque Cornish fishing village, with plenty of tourists in season and it still operates a significant fishing fleet with over 60 registered fishing vessels, mostly under 10 m in length. Types of fishing include trawling, wreck netting, potting, long lining, and hand lining for mackerel. In summer months some of these boats take out angling trips.

Megavissey is unusual in that the harbour has the status of a registered charity. There are two distinct areas to the harbour the outer harbour which in most places has plenty of water for yachts at all tides, and the inner drying harbour which is barred to visitors. The harbour authorities can accommodate a few yachts, but the berths are on the inside of Victoria Pier, and tidal walls are not particularly topside friendly. It needs to be remembered that this is a working harbour.

In settled westerly weather the town is well worth a visit, but if there is a chance of easterlies it is best to move. Ashore the town can provide all the day-to-day facilities required.
Mevagissey website can be found at



Pilotage details: Straightforward enough, Gwineas Rock lies to the SSE and

..... strangers are advised to pass East of it, although with a large-scale chart one will find an inshore passage. With the white lighthouse (Fl(2)10s 12M) on the end of Victoria Pier bearing west, make your approach, this will keep you clear of the unmarked Black Rock that lies to the NNE of the North Pier.

Enter between the Piers, but be aware that the edge of the North Pier has concrete foundations that cover at half tide and it is marked on the corner by pole with a green conical top mark. (See chart and photo gallery)

Berthing, Mooring & Anchoring

In settled weather it is possible to anchor off the harbour, clear

..... of the entrance. Indeed during busy periods and offshore winds, sometimes boats are berthed on the outside of Victoria Pier. No anchoring is allowed inside the harbour.

The outer harbour has plenty of water even at low spring tides and visitors normally berth on the inside of the outer end of Victoria Pier, as shown on the chart. Good fendering will be essential, and a fender board useful. (The harbour office can provide) There are two trots of cylindrical visitors mooring buoys for fore & aft mooring inside the outer harbour close to both the North Pier and the South Pier The harbourmaster keeps listening watch on VHF channel 16, with working on channel 14, from 9 AM to 9 PM during the summer months. Telephone 01726 843305. His office is in the white building on the North Pier. Check with the harbour authorities before leaving your boat unattended in this location, as they may need to shift you. If you can take the ground there is normally space on the small beach to the East of the West Quay but you would need to contact the HM about mooring/anchoring there as there is a general ban on anchoring inside the harbour.
Harbour charges (2022) of £20 for an overnight stay, either alongside or on the visitors mooring buoy. Short stays up to 2 hours are free.

Visitors are not allowed to enter the inner drying harbour.

Useful anchorages in the area.......

Mevagissey and St Austell Bays are well sheltered from westerly weather, and if on passage westwards, can provide respite while waiting for a favourable wind. There are a few tiny harbours where one can anchor off, and mission it ashore in the dinghy to pick up some supplies. If approaching from the East once the southerly Cardinal buoy guarding Cannis Rock is astern, there are no hazards to navigation more than a couple of cables from the shore. Depths shelve gently, and there are no fierce tidal streams to contend with. Some useful anchorages are described below:


Tucked around the Western side of Gribbin Head, one will find this tiny hamlet, complete with stone pier. Once a busy fishing harbour dealing with catching and curing pilchards today it consists of a cluster of houses with a cafe and a pub.

This Anchorage is open to the westerly and southerly quadrant, but could provide some shelter in an easterly. Anchor South West of the stone pier to suit draft. The tiny bay does dry out completely, but small boat able to take the ground may be able to dry out behind the harbour wall.


The drying private commercial harbour is now closed, and was never really an option for leisure vessels anyway.


Charlestown a former china clay port will be found approximately 2 miles south-west of Par. It is now privately owned by Charlestown Harbour, the inner basin being the home port to its working fleet of square rigged sailing ships. These ships have been used in many films and TV series including the Onedin Line and Hornblower. It has become a bit of a magnet for traditional and classic sailing vessels, and it is well worth having a look around. They cannot offer short stays due to operation of the lock The harbour is entered by a lock that can operate one hour either side of high water, only by prior arrangement. The harbour authorities are on 01726 70241/67526, or VHF channel 14.  Entries should never be attempted if the wind is in the East, the small outer harbour becomes a cauldron.

Having said all that they do have a very attractive harbour and it would be worth a visit from Mevagissey or Fowey by bus. They have a website with their attractions at :- 


In settled weather the best alternative for yachtsmen is anchor East of the piers in depths to suit draft, and dinghy it ashore to explore this fascinating place. The mouth of the harbour dries completely at low water springs, but with sufficient water landing is possible at the slip well clear of the lock gates. The village of Charlestown has an impressive Shipwreck and Heritage centre, there is also a cafe, post office/store, and some pubs and restaurants.

Gorran Haven

Gorran Haven is well sheltered in westerly winds, has drying small boat harbour and gently shelving beach. If coming from the north be mindful of Gwineas Rocks... a passage is available between the rocks and the mainland if you have a decent chart, otherwise pass them on the outside and then turn in to Gorran Haven. In settled weather bilge keelers could dry out on the beach but in view of Conrad's comment below it would be unkind to offend the local HM by doing so.

Ashore you will find a narrow street of old cottages, a post office/general stores that sells just about everything, some cafes and a pub. There is a coastal path from the beach up to Dodman Point for the energetic.


Unfortunately, Mevagissey is not really set up for yachts. At the time of writing freshwater was only available in cans, either from a tap by the harbour office or another on the West Quay.  They can no longer supply diesel to visiting boats. Calor and camping gas don't seem to be available. The nearest place for petrol in cans is a mile away at Pentewan.

They do have showers and toilets for visiting yachtsmen and include that in the £20 berthing fee.

There is a traditional boatyard with some chandlery on the East Quay.

The town itself has a Lloyds bank with cashpoint, some small shops, and several cafes and restaurants. Most day-to-day provisioning can be obtained, but obviously this is not the place for a major stock up.

Buses run to St Austell which has a railway connection, and there are regular ferries to Fowey

More Info


Mevagissey (Cornish: Lannvorek) is a village and fishing port situated six miles south of St Austell in Cornwall, England, UK. In recent years tourism has passed fishing as the dominant industry in the village.

The village nestles in a small valley near the centre of east-facing Mevagissey Bay. The inner and outer harbours are busy with a mixture of pleasure vessels and working fishing boats, the remains of a once major industry. The old centre consists of very narrow, picturesque streets with a wide choice of places to eat and shops aimed at the tourist trade. The outer, newer parts are mostly residential and built on the steep slopes of the surrounding hillsides.

Early history and name
The first recorded mention of Mevagissey dates from 1313 (when it was known as Porthhilly), although there is evidence of settlement dating back to the Bronze Age. Towards the end of the 17th Century, Porthhilly merged with the hamlet of Lamoreck to make the new village. It was named after two Irish saints, St Meva and St Issey (the "g" comes from hag, the Cornish word for "and"). At this time the main sources of income for the village were pilchard fishing and smuggling and the village had at least ten inns, of which two (the Fountain and the Ship) still remain.

Andrew Pears, the founder of Pears' Soap was born in the village in 1768 and set up a barber shop here until he moved to London in 1789.

Mevagissey had a power station built in 1895, powered by pilchard oil, which provided electricity for the lighthouse and surrounding streets. Local sources claim that it was the first town in the country to have electric street lighting.

Mevagissey Harbour
The first Act of Parliament allowing the new port to be built was passed in 1774. The inner harbour, consiting of the current East and West Quays was constructed from this time. An outer harbour was added in 1888, but seriously damaged in a blizzard in 1891. The outer walls were rebuilt by 1897. The harbour was given charitable trust status in 1988.

There are currently 63 registered fishing vessels in the harbour worked by 69 fishermen. The harbour also offers tourist fishing trips and there is a regular summer passenger ferry to Fowey.

Each year at the end of June, Mevagissey celebrates Feast Week, a week of family fun, music, floral dances through the streets and finally at the end of the week the carnival and fantastic firework display.

A small park in Mevagissey is popularly known as "Hitler's Walk". It was named for a district councillor in the 1930s who was nicknamed after the Nazi leader for his officious habit of walking up and down checking on the boats moored in the harbour.

The writer Susan Cooper based two of her books ('Over Sea, Under Stone' and 'Greenwitch') from her awarded 'The Dark Is Rising' series in Mevagissey where she used to holiday as a child. In the books she just changed the name to Trewissick. Mevagissey House is the vicarage from the first book 'Over Sea Under Stone' where Jane first meets the mysterious Mr Hastings.

The Wurzels wrote a song called "Mevagissey".


Charlestown is approximately 2 miles (3.2km) from St Austell town centre, and whereas other villages within the area have seen much development during the 20th century, Charlestown has remained relatively unchanged within this development of St Austell.

There are deposits of china clay in the area. Particles of mica quartz in the sea near Charlestown give it a turquoise-blue colour. The same colour is imparted to flooded china clay quarries.

Charlestown harbour is used by several local fisherman. The harbour itself and two (pebble) beaches (one on either side of the harbour entrance) are owned by Square Sail, a company which owns and sails a small fleet of tall ships, including Kaskelot. One or two of these can often be found at anchor in the harbour, and are frequently open for tours during the summer months. The best-known tall ship to regularly visit the port was the Maria Asumpta - first launched in 1858 and was the world's oldest working square rigger. The Maria Asumpta was very popular with tourists and locals alike. In May 1995 she ran aground and broke up on the North Cornish coast, like so many before her, with the loss of three of her sixteen crew.

Charlestown is a popular tourist destination. Attractions are the architecture, the sea, and the Charlestown Shipwreck, Rescue and Heritage Centre.

Charlestown harbour has several times been disguised as other historic ports, such as Bristol Harbour, for film and television productions. For example, it has starred in Poldark, an adaptation of Jane Austen's Persuasion and films such as the 1993 version of The Three Musketeers. The sequence set in Alderney in the film The Eagle Has Landed was filmed in and around the harbour and the adjacent beach. The famous Heart Of The Ocean necklace from the 1997 film Titanic resides at the town's National Shipwreck Museum. Charlestown Rowing Club is based in the village. On September 25, 2008, Tim Burton filmed a part of his new movie Alice in Wonderland there.

Charlestown grew out of a small fishing village called West Polmear. It was developed in the Georgian era (specifically from 1791 to 1798) as a new town, and named after local landowner Charles Rashleigh who had a hand in its design. It was built to facilitate the export of china clay from the region's quarries and, to a limited extent, still serves that purpose today. In 1790 the settlement was known as West Polmear and had a population of 9, which increased to 3,184 by 1911.

Gorran Haven

Gorran Haven is a small fishing village situated about 12 miles from St Austell, and 2 miles from Mevagissey, Cornwall, UK. It is well known for its sandy beaches (especially the nearby Vault Beach, popular with nudists) stunning scenery and popularity with holiday makers and divers during the summer period.

Author Colin Wilson has been a resident in Gorran Haven for many years and well known photographer/musician Rory O'Brien (lead guitarist of RoFl) was also born and raised in the village.

The geologist Charles William Peach worked here for a time, and there is now a plaque to his memory in the village. His son Ben Peach was born while the family lived here.

It is a very picturesque village well worth a visit.

The text on this HISTORY page is covered by the following licence

Eating, Drinking & Entertainment

For the child at heart, who dream of being an engine driver, the World of Model Railway Exhibition is close to the harbour and has over 2000 models and various working exhibits. Link to website below:


If beautiful gardens are more your thing, the famous Lost Gardens of Helligan can be reached by foot, about a mile away. Link to website below:


For those of us more interested in a pint and a pasty the town can provide... indeed far more sophisticated fare is available, see the links below:

https://www.eatoutcornwall.com/restaurants/mevagissey/               Eating out

http://www.beerintheevening.com/pubs/results.shtml/el/Mevagissey%3BCornwall/   Pubs


Your Ratings & Comments

Mevagissey Facilities
Written by Mark Turner | 24th Jul 2022
In July 2022 the shower and toilet at the Harbour Master’s office were out of service. The public toilets in the village (50p) are locked between early evening and early morning.
Update April 2022
Written by Don Thomson 3 | 21st Apr 2022
No changes necessary
Written by Don Thomson 3 | 6th Apr 2021
I reviewed these notes in April of 2021. The price has changed at Mevagissey but little else. Please note Conrad's comment below re beaching at Gorran Haven
Goran Haven Beach
Written by Conrad ryle | 1st Aug 2018
The beach is small and very crowded in summer. Not really appropriate for bilge keelers, and the harbour master, a nice guy, would be quite put out. But anchoring outside is easy and the trip to the beach, where you should leave your tender to the east of the local moorings, is pleasant. The walk towards Dodman point takes you to Vault beach, a lovely place.
1 of 1 people found this helpful
Written by Don Thomson | 30th Apr 2018
You may find evidence of storm damage here in the early summer but otherwise there doesn't seem to be much change here.
1 of 1 people found this helpful
Update Spring 2016
Written by dononshytalk | 4th May 2016
These notes were reviewed by Don in May 2016. There are, now, more visitors buoys in Mevagissey but their price remains unaltered. Note that they can no longer bunker leisure yachts with diesel. Charlestown has changed ownership but basically remains the same.
2 of 2 people found this helpful
Update 2014
Written by dononshytalk | 17th Mar 2014
Reviewed 2014 - harbour dues now £14 per night
1 of 1 people found this helpful
Update 2013
Written by dononshytalk | 30th Jan 2013
The Mevagissey harbour notes were updated by Don T on the 30th January 2013. The only change was the price of mooring in the harbour.
3 of 3 people found this helpful
© visitMyHarbour.com | website design created by Black Culm Ltd