St Mawes is a large creekside village located across the harbour-mouth from Falmouth. The place is named from the Celtic saint St Maudez, who is also venerated in Brittany. The saint is reputed to have set up a Christian community here back in ancient times and there is still a well dedicated to him in the village.
Once a flourishing fishing port, St Mawes is now quite a sophisticated watering place and is often described as a yachtsman's paradise. The curving old stone quay, ancient white-painted cottages and the many yachts moored off shore create a delightfully nautical atmosphere. The hillside that encircles the harbour boasts many fine houses which indicate that St Mawes is a popular retirement target for the better-off members of society. There are adequate shops and several hotels, pubs and restaurants to tempt the tired or hungry traveller. Just beyond the village, sits St Mawes Castle with its long-silent guns staring across harbour waters at its twin coastal fortress Pendennis Castle. These coastal forts were built back in Tudor times to protect the harbour from Spanish and French invaders. St Mawes Castle is a well-preserved monument to Britain's colourful past and is open to the public most days. It last saw active service during the English Civil War but was forced to surrender quite quickly when the Roundhead forces set up their guns on the high ground overlooking the castle.
During the holiday season, a curious-looking foot-ferry runs across the Percuil River to Place Creek. This gives walkers access to the Roseland Peninsula and to the South West Coast Path. Overlooking Place creek stands the rather magnificent Place House which is not open to the public. There is also a regular foot-ferry across the harbour to Falmouth that operates all the year round.
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