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Cadgwith (Cornwall)

Cadgwith shown within Cornwall
OS grid reference SW7214
Shire county Cornwall
Region South West
Constituent country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Police Devon and Cornwall
Fire Cornwall
Ambulance South Western
European Parliament South West England
List of places: UKEnglandCornwall

Coordinates: 49°59'N 5°11'W? / ?49.98, -5.18

Cadgwith (Cornish: Porthkaswydh) is a picturesque village and fishing port in Cornwall, United Kingdom, situated on the Lizard Peninsula between The Lizard and Coverack.

Established in mediaeval times as a collection of fishing cellars in a sheltered south-east facing coastal valley with a shingle cove to subsidise local farmers' livelihoods by fishing. Cadgwith was originally called Caswyth or Porthcaswyth which is thought to be derived from the Cornish word for 'a thicket'; probably because the valley was densely wooded. From the 16th Century, the village became inhabited, with fishing as the main occupation. Subsequently buildings were established as homes, lofts, capstan houses, and cellars constructed of local stone or cob walls, and thatched or slated roofs; which were built along the beach and up the sides of the valley leading to Cadgwith's characteristic Cornish fishing village appearance.


Cadgwith is divided into two beaches by a promontory called The Todden. On the north-east side is a larger beach made mostly of shingle with a shallow slope, variously referred to by locals as Cadgwith Cove, Big Beach, The Cove, Fishing Beach, or the Working Cove; all the fishermen work from this beach. The other smaller beach on the south-west side has a mixture of sand and large boulders and is called Little Cove or Little Beach; which is used as the swimming beach by locals and holiday-makers. Cadgwith is sheltered from most prevailing winds that are mainly south-westerly or westerly but easterly or south-easterly winds can frequently produce rough seas and swells. The Todden provides a good view of the beaches and the village with its maximum height about 9m above sea level. The Todden has a natural passage within it which connects both beaches. Pointing seaward from The Todden are two rocks called The Island and The Mare. At low tide the beaches are connected by a strip between the Todden and The Island. During stormy weather waves can completely break over The Island. The sea has eroded large areas of The Todden and access to the promotory by a narrow pathway has been preserved by sea wall defences funded by Kerrier District Council, Cornwall County Council, and The Tham Trust. Rough seas can reach the low-lying buildings and homes which can be a stimulating experience for those living nearby.


[edit] Fishing

Cadgwith owes its existence to the fishing industry. Pilchard fishing occurred until the 1950s using large seine boats and seine nets, which was a system used to enclose the large shoals of pilchards, and coordinated by the use of lookouts from the cove's two headlands. In 1904, a record 1,798,000 pilchards were landed over four days. Due to overfishing and climate changes pilchards are no longer found in large enough numbers to sustain pilchard fishing in Cadgwith, instead crab and lobster fishing occurs. Brown edible crabs, spider crabs, lobsters, sharks, monkfish, and conger eel are regularly landed with most being sold abroad through fish merchants but some being sold locally by the Cadgwith Fish Seller fishmongers, the café, public house, and seafood snack shop.

[edit] Wrecks

The Lizard Peninsula has a treacherous coastline due to a combination of submerged rocks and weather factors (gales, storms, or fog). There are numerous wrecks on the rocks off Lizard Point known as The Stags, and The Manacles which lie near Coverack, and there are a number of other rocks off the coast of Cadgwith known as The Craggan and The Boa. Diving onto the wrecks is quite popular.

[edit] Lifeboat

Lifeboat services throughout the United Kingdom are run as a charity and manned by volunteers under the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. Cadgwith lifeboat was manned by local fishermen between 1867 and 1963 as a benevolent service to all seafarers especially due to the treacherous local waters. In 1961 the service was transferred to a new lifeboat station at Kilcobben Cove, situated approximately halfway along the coast between The Lizard and Cadgwith and more sheltered from the prevailing winds. The Lizard and Cadgwith lifeboats were merged and known as the Lizard-Cadgwith lifeboat between 1961 and 1987 and subsequently called the Lizard Lifeboat. Cadgwith Lifeboats

Four of the Cadgwith lifeboats were rowing, the fifth, the Guide of Dunkirk, was powered.

The Lifeboat came to Cadgwith in 1867.

The first was Western Commercial Traveller. She was 33ft long and 8ft 1in wide. She had a crew of thirteen and was rowed by ten oars. She cost £290 and was built by Woolfe and Shadwell.

In 1878, the Western Commercial Traveller was renamed Joseph Armstrong after the late Chief Superintendent of the locomotive and carriage developments of the Great Western Railway.

A new lifeboat, also named Joseph Armstrong, came on station in June 1887. She was 37ft long and 8ft wide. With twelve Oars and fifteen crew, she cost £454 and was built by Forrest Limehouse.

In 1898the new lifeboat Minnie Moon arrived in Cadgwith. She holds the record for the greatest number of lives saved from one rescue. 227 lives were saved from the SS Suevic on March 17/18 1907. She was 39ftblong and 9ft 6in wide, with twelve oars and fifteen crew. She cost £798 and was built at Thames Ironworks Blackwall.

The Herbert Sturmey arrived on station in 1932. 37ft long and 9ft 3in wide twelve oars and fifteen crew. She cost £2000 and was built by Summers and Payne of Cowes.

The last Cadgwith lifeboat was the Guide of Dunkirk so called as the money was raised by the Girl Guides of the Empire. Originally destined for the Cromer Station, she took part in the Dunkirk evacuations. She sustained bullet holes and other damage. She was 35ft long and 9ft 6in wide. She was the only Cadgwith Lifeboat to have an engine, and had a crew of seven. She cost £5523 and was built by Rowhedge Ironworks.

Thanks to Jocelyn Fletcher for this information.


[edit] Tourism

Tourism is the major source of income in the village nowadays, due to the decline in the fishing industry, and many of the houses are let as holiday accommodation. Cadgwith has always been popular as a holiday destination, especially during the summer when there are numerous local events: gig racing days, summer barbecues, a regatta, Morris dancing, music bands, and regular singing by the Cadgwith Singers in the public house. The South West Coast Path traverses through the village and the Cadgwith Cove Inn, local café, seafood snack shop, and the local general store are regularly used as places to stop over and gain refreshment. There is also a wet fish shop run by a local fisherman who provides wonderfully fresh fish with recipes. The Cadgwith Cove Inn is thought to be over 400 years old. Along the coast path walking towards The Lizard is an interesting feature known as The Devil's Frying Pan, a cave whose roof collapsed leaving it's entrance as a bridge and a small boulder filled bay which is seen to 'boil' during rough weather.

[edit] External links

(Source: Wikipedia)
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