Cornwall has interesting small towns. One of the best is Fowey (pronounced Foy), which marches up steep hills like a miniature San Francisco. There has been a settlement where Fowey is since the Iron Age. Its streets are so twisting and narrow that it seems more Italian than English. This and its scenic splendor make it a cruise ship stop. The ginormous one in its especially deep harbor when Ruth & I were in Fowey seemed as large as the town.
Travelers in impressive numbers have discovered Fowey and sit on benches eating ice cream and watching boats of every description and size scuttle about. Eventually, most of these visitors board a boat. We, for example, rode the Bodinnick Ferry in search of the home of Fowey’s most famous resident. On the other side of Caffa Mill Pill we had lunch at the Old Ferry Inn, a hillside English pub, before hitting the trail around Pont Pill.
It’s easy to appreciate Fowey’s diversity of architecture that dates mainly from medieval times to the present. Its history is told with a decidedly local thrust in the old-fashioned museum in its Tudor-looking town hall. For example, I read here that Fowey’s most famous architect, Silvanus Trevail, shot himself in the loo on a train as it entered the Brownsqueen Tunnel near Bodmin Road after much success designing churches. There was a display about medieval toilets called garderobes in this museum and lots about sailing. There was also a lot about its most famous citizen. This museum and very traditional St. Fimbarrus church were about the only regular attractions other than the town itself.
Seeing Fowey required a lot of walking, some of which became serious hiking. By late afternoon Ruth had enough, so I had to go to the head of wonderfully named Readymoney Cove by myself to see St Catherine’s Castle. Actually I saw castle/fortification ruins on a rocky headland very close to but high above a crowded beach. This beach didn’t surprise me since Fowey is part of what’s called the Cornish Riviera, which has the mildest weather in Great Britain.
Fowey has an impressive history. Since before the start of the Roman Empire until the 13th century, foreign ships regularly entered Fowey’s harbor to trade for Cornish tin. St Catherine’s Castle was built in 1540 by Henry VIII. Fowey was a departure point for American forces on D-Day. Its most famous citizen, author Daphne du Maurier, died here in 1989 after living in the area for more than 60 years.