Falmouth’s Secret Harbours

Falmouth’s Secret Harbours - The RYA is taking you on a voyage of discovery to the hidden delights of the Fal and Truro rivers

Taking you on a voyage of discovery to the hidden delights of the Fal and Truro rivers

Heading north up the Carrick Road is a voyage to discovering thehidden delights of the Fal and Truro rivers. Unlike many rivers thepassage to the head of navigation at Truro is mostly deep apart from thelast few miles. But you could take a leisurely few days exploring thisarea and still want to come back for more. There are harbours and pubs aplenty, all with a tale to tell and a welcome mooring.

Mylor Creek

Once past Penarrow Point, the entrance toMylor creek hides behind the plethora of small craft moorings. Seasonalred/green lateral marks indicate the west going fairway through themoorings leading to Mylor Yacht Harbour, Mylor Yacht Club andRestronguet Sailing Club. The moorings either side of the fairway aremostly coloured red/green to provide an obvious channel which then turnsSSW to the Yacht Harbour.

Chart point 1. Red and green mooring buoys mark the fairway leading to Mylor Yacht Harbour

Fora time, Mylor was the western most Naval victualling station anddockyard in England, then home to HMS Ganges as well as a centre for theFrench Resistance during the Second World War. Swinging moorings andalongside berths are available to visiting boats.

Chart point 2. Mylor Yacht Harbour

Restronguet Creek

HeadingNorth once more, the entrance to Restronguet Creek lies to the westafter Weir Point. Keep an eye out for North and South Cardinals markingthe Carrick Carlys rock which is just North of the channel. The approachto Restronguet is relatively shallow and needs sufficient rise of tideto get into the deep water in the entrance of the creek which is markedby a host of small craft moorings.

Chart point 3. North & South Cardinals marking Carrick Carlys rock

Themoorings lead NW and the recently re-built Pandora Inn sits on thewestern bank offering a long pontoon which dries at low water, so keepan eye on the tide if you decide to stop for a pint and bite to eat. TheInn dates back to the 13th Century and owes its name to the HMSPandora, the naval ship sent to capture the mutineers from CaptainBligh’s Bounty. The Captain of the Pandora is reputed to have bought theinn after his court-marshal in Cornwall following the grounding &sinking of HMS Pandora on the Great Barrier reef.

Chart point 4. Access to the Pandora Inn pontoon is possible. Current depths can be checked with the Inn.

River Fal

Backin the Carrick Road, lateral buoys head NE and lead to Turnaware Bargreen mark which keeps you clear of the bar stretching out from TunawarePoint. It also marks the start of the 8 knot speed limit and the startof the River Fal.

The deep water channel heads east for acouple of cables before turning north as it passes a row of largevisitor mooring pontoons. For the next two miles large mooring buoys aredotted along the channel providing sheltered mooring for largecommercial vessels who make use of one of Britain’s deepest rivers. Justbefore the King Harry chain ferry there is a pontoon allowing accessfor the ferries and dinghies going to the National Trust TressilickGardens and House.

Chart point 5. King Harry chain ferry

Ship moorings up river

Four cables North the channelturns to the east and the inside of the bend is home to the Smugglersrestaurant and Tea Bar which hosts a visitors pontoon for either shortstay or overnight. One of the Smugglers most famous guests wasEisenhower during the Second World War when he came to address thethousands of American troops camped next to the river preparing for the DDay landings.

Chart point 6. Visitor pontoon at The Smugglers

Towards Malpas

The river turns North once more and asit does, the River Fal branches to the North East and becomes a longshallow creek but we now follow the Truro River as it heads North andpasses a secluded row of visitor pontoons.

A green buoymarks the extent of the shallow Maggoty Bank as the river turns thecorner to the North East where several midstream visitor moorings can befound. The river bends around Woodbury Point and yacht moorings give agood indication of the channel. The village of Malpas comes into viewand there are a few visitors buoys close to the town and also MalpasMarine which may have a berth available for smaller boats. The nameMalpas is said to come from the French ” Le Mal Pas” meaning “thedifficult crossing” as it has been a river crossing place for at least800 years. The Heron Inn, Malpas serves food and drink and is easilyaccessed by dinghy.

Chart point 7. Malpas Marine.

Victoria Quay, east of Malpas with their own private marina

The river divides at Malpas with the Tresillian River headingoff to the north east and the Truro River continuing South West as itrounds Victoria point on the northern bank. Care should be taken whenpassing Malpas to avoid the sandbank in the middle of the river. Oftenthe best water hugs the Northern bank then shifts midstream as you roundVictoria Point. Buoyage then increases as we head towards Truro.

Thechannel winds its way upstream then narrows as it enters the canal likeLighterage Quay and Tidal Barrage with Truro Cathedral in thebackground.

Chart point 8. Tidal Barrage with Truro Cathedral in the background.


TheTidal Barrage is usually open, it may be shut on exceptionally hightides to protect the city, in which case a waiting pontoon is locateddownstream of the barrage.

Once through the barrage,buoys give way to posts marking the channel at close intervals but besure identify the next mark before heading to it. The channel hugs thestarboard then port banks before being punctuated by a Supermarket onthe port side. The river divides and the visitor moorings alongside thequay wall and harbour master office can be seen ahead. Boats stayinghere for any length of time should be capable of taking the ground.

Chart point 9. Truro visitor moorings and harbour office in front of the Cathedral.

Therehas been a settlement in Truro since the 12th Century, and a busy portfor many years as a stannary town where tin was checked and stampedbefore being shipped out. Queen Victoria granted Truro city status by1877, it remains the only city in Cornwall today.

Fact file

Mylor Yacht Harbour
Port of Truro
Pandora Inn
Smugglers and the Tea Bar
Heron Inn

Mylor Yacht Harbour
Ch 37/80 or phone 01326 372121
Malpas Marine
01872 271260
Port of Truro 01872 224231


4.7m MHWS 5.3
MLWS 0.6
Neap 2.3m MHWN 4.2
MLWN 1.9


MHWS 3.5
MHWN 2.4


Plenty of places to anchor along the River Fal and TruroRiver especially if you can take the ground. Stay clear of the channelswhich are frequented by tripper boats, ferries and the occasional bigship. Otherwise make use of the mid-stream visitor moorings which arereasonably priced.


Imray Y58

Click chart to enlarge


Chart Y58 is reproduced with the kind permission of Imray.www.imray.com

Chart copyright UKHO. www.ukho.gov.uk

Words &pictures By Simon & Vicky Jinks, SeaRegs www.searegs.co.uk

© Crown Copyright and/or database rights. Reproduced bypermission of the Controller of Her Majesty’s Stationery Office and theUK Hydrographic Office (www.ukho.gov.uk).

This material is not for resale, redistribution or copying.
Not to be used for navigation.

Many thanks to South West Powerboating for the use of their RIB;  southwest-powerboating.co.uk