Carleon Cove

  • Carleon Cove serpentine works
    © Cornwall Beaches
  • Carleon Cove / Poltesco
    © Cornwall Beaches
  • Carleon Cove serpentine works and pilchard fishing
    © Cornwall Beaches
  • Balance rocks at Carleon Cove
    © Cornwall Beaches
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    At the foot of Poltesco Valley lies the rocky little Carleon Cove. The National Trust owned beach and valley are now deserted with a few ruined remains, this was once a hive of activity. First Carleon was home to a busy pilchard fishery and later a serpentine works. 

     Like many coves around the Cornish coast between the 16th and 19th century pilchards were fished from Carleon. These days all that remains of the cove's fishing heyday is the circular dry stone tower which housed the capstan used for hauling the boats up the beach. 

     As the pilchard industry waned serpentine took its place. The Lizard Peninsula is home to large deposits of the mineral and a factory was built in Carleon Cove to process and polish the stones so it could be used in jewellery. The remains of the factory are quite extensive which is unsurprising as at the time there were only two such factories in the world. Whilst only the warehouse building is still standing the foundations of the factory complex including the wheel pit can be seen.

    Carleon Cove is a great place to spend an afternoon exploring. Not only is there the industrial heritage but the beach and valley are of interest to geologists and naturalists.

    Also known as:


    Type of beach


    Lifeguard service

    No lifeguard cover

    Dogs friendly beach?

    Dogs allowed all year

    dog friendly beaches »

    OS grid ref.

    SW 7287 1572




    National Trust car park in Poltesco. Walk down to the cove.