There are very few places that can be found in the United
Kingdom that have retained their original character and charm in the way
that the tiny fishing village of Mousehole has.
Mousehole (pronounced "Mowzel") is one of Cornwall's
most picturesque hamlets; a stunning collection of yellow-lichened houses,
built from the local finely grained Lamorna granite, huddled together
around the inner edge of the harbour - protected from the force of the
sea coming across Mounts Bay by two sturdy breakwaters.
Mousehole is a very attractive tourist destination.
A small and very safe beach is located in a sheltered part of the harbour
which is popular with families, particularly those with small children-
an ideal location for family days out, with safe bathing, quite literally
at your feet.
St Clement's Isle - a small rocky islet once the home
to an ancient hermit lies just offshore of the harbour wall. A few hundred
yards along the coast from the village lies a huge cave which - so some
people say - gives rise to the name of the village (Mouse Hole!).
Car parking in the village is extremely limited with very
narrow roads. Visitors to Mousehole are advised to park on the outskirts
of the village and to walk in.
Dylan Thomas (1930) described Mousehole as '
the loveliest village in England', a title that remains true to the
Mousehole developed around its harbour (and of course
the fishing fleet that sustained it) appearing in the record books as
an important fishing port from as early as 1266, in fact, part of the
south quay originates from 1390 - possibly the oldest pier in Cornwall.
The fishing industry has declined drastically over the last 100 years,
but a few fishing boats maintain the long heritage and tradition of a
working harbour, whilst the majority of vessels now lying at anchor are
Pentreath, or Dorothy Pentreath (baptised 1692, died December
1777) was reputedly the last fluent native speaker of the Cornish language.
Many accounts claim that she was the last person who spoke
only Cornish, whilst others (probably based on the works of
Daines Barrington), maintain that she could not speak a word of English
until the age of twenty. Whether or not this is correct, Cornish was her
As you walk towards the harbour from the car park, you
will pass the house where she lived - marked by a plaque. A memorial to
her is to be found in the churchyard in nearby Paul - a small village
just above Mousehole.
During the winter months, sturdy wooden beams are used
to close the harbour entrance, keeping the force of the sea at bay and
protecting the village.
In the past, villagers have suffered from the effects of
winter storms - one of these events is commemorated annually shortly before
Christmas on "Tom Bawcock's Eve" where a monstrous fish pie is
baked and consumed by the patrons of the Inn on the quayside. This event,
which becomes a major village party, attracts visitors from both the surrounding
district and from all over the world.