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The Cornish Guide - Cornwall / Kernow

The Cornish Guide - Cornwall / Kernow

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Polruan Blockhouse

Age group: 8+

Location: MID Cornwall


Contact: nr Fowey, PL23 1PW

GRID REF: 50.3297N 4.63805W


Compared to the blockhouse on the Fowey side of the river, Polruan Blockhouse is still remarkably intact for a building that is around 600 years old. It formed part of the defences to protect the mouth of the River Fowey. The two blockhouses were linked by a 16" thick chain that could be raised whenever the area was under threat - hence the name 'blockhouse'. Some even refer to it as a castle, but technically this is incorrect!


Although the blockhouse has seen many battles, it is well known for it's Hundred Years War privateers. These were effectively 'government approved pirates' and they were known locally as 'Foweys' Gallants'. As this war turned against the English, the residents of Fowey feared they would become a major target for the enemy. Initially, they hired a force of 160 powerul archers, every one equipped with the English Longbow - a formidable weapon of its time (it's still not something you would want to casually stand in front of today either, as they can fire an arrow as far as 350 metres!).


Only the remains of the blockhouse still stand today. There is no roof anymore but the thick stone walls are still well preserved.


If you walk through the blockhouse you will also find an open doorway that opens out onto the river. Some local fisherman say that this is a good spot for fishing, none-the-less it is certainly a lovely spot to watch the world go by.


To get there, simply get the Polruan Ferry across from Fowey, turn right as you leave the small harbour and follow this until you reach the blockhouse.


Note: no admission fee

Fowey 0.5 miles, Polperro 7 miles, Lerryn 7 miles