Guide to Cornwall's beaches

Carleon Cove

Carleon Cove serpentine works
Carleon Cove / Poltesco
Carleon Cove serpentine works and pilchard fishing
Balance rocks at Carleon Cove

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:

Poltesco

Type of beach

Pebble

Lifeguard service

No lifeguard cover

Dogs friendly beach?

Dogs allowed all year

dog friendly beaches »

OS grid ref.

SW 7287 1572

Facilities

None

Parking

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

Comments