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Cornwall Map

Difficult to believe now that Port Gaverne was once a busy harbour where broad sailing ketches, wide enough to stay upright on the beach between tides, were loaded with slates from the nearby Delabole Quarry, returning with coal and limestone. There was even some shipbuilding here at its height.

Nowadays the only reminder is the rough quay cut into the rocks on the east side and a few converted buildings, including two large pilchard cellars and a lime kiln.

What it does still have is a safe sandy beach, plenty of rock pools to explore, some fine cliff walking - and some wonderful sunsets.

The Quay

At first sight the old slate quay at Port Gaverne is a bit strange as there does not appear to be any connection between the quay and the road.

Whilst it is quite possible that whatever connected the two has got washed away, as soon as you walk to the far end of the quay, it becomes apparent that the main route on to the quay was at the seaward end.

Here a track has been cut through the cliffs, bridges over a cave and then swings round to meet the current road to Delabole by the Headlands Hotel.

Delebole was, of course the source of the slates, and is a very impressive hole in the ground; well worth visiting.

The bridge was recently replaced, and there is a very fine plaque commemorating the event.

The Incline

View in Google Earth

Over on the west side of the valley is a very strange path that runs along the top of the hill, and then turns and runs sharply down hill. It reminds me very strongly of an inclined plane.

I am sure I read somewhere of a tramway from Delabole to Port Gaverne, but I've no idea where as I cannot find the reference.

It seems to be on the wrong side of the valley to be connected to the slate quay, and might perhaps be something to do with the lime kiln, Who knows?