Much as we love the new BBC Poldark series we also adore the original novels and the amazing places that inspired them. We have found the top real Cornish places that inspired Winston Graham to write the famous books. Without which we wouldn’t have Aidan Turner on our screens on a Sunday night. Unthinkable.
This tiny hamlet between Newquay and Bodmin gave its name to one of the most famous characters in Cornish literature. Since the publication of the books it has become a popular girls name and people regularly visit the hamlet to have their photo taken by the village sign.
This town on the wild north coast is closely connected with Winston Graham and the Poldark novels. He lived here for more than 30 years and wrote the Poldark books in a wooden beach bungalow tucked in the sand dunes – with vast sea views it’s easy to see where he got his inspiration. Although the bungalow has long since burned down, there is a memorial bench on the site which is a great spot for Poldark fans to visit. To find the bench walk out onto the beach at low tide and head towards the cliff steps on the right-hand side. Climb up the steps and follow the path – the bench is in a little hollow so keep your eyes peeled. It has fantastic views out over the beach and sea so is the perfect place for a pasty picnic and an afternoon read of one of his famous novels.
In the coastal area of St Levan, Ross takes his morning swim as his maid Demelza spies on him. This is also where crew filmed the landing of a pilchard catch, once vital to the local economy and Cornish diet. There’s a small café very near the cove. Open in the summer, it’s a lovely little spot to soak in the atmosphere.
Just a few miles down the coast from Perranporth is St Agnes – named by Winston Graham as ‘Poldark Country’. Full of mining heritage, quirky shops, traditional pubs and blustery coastal walks it is well worth a visit. Head down to Chapel Porth for a walk on the beach and a tasty lunch at the little café or park up at St Agnes Head near the coastguard hut and walk along the coastpath towards the famous mine of Wheal Coates perched right on the edge of the cliff.
Standing in for the city of Truro in the Poldark series, Charlestown (near St Austell’s original Grade II listed harbour) has original tall ships and is used in fishmonger and fishing scenes.
Wild open moorlands double for the rugged lands between Ross and Francis’ estates.
Quiet. Unchanged. Hidden. You can see why this Elizabethan manor house inspired Winston Graham to invent the Poldark estate of Trenwith. Tucked away in a quiet valley near Newquay, discover it for yourself and spend a day exploring this National Trust treasure as you step back in time. Peek out from the minstrel’s gallery, play Elizabethan games in the garden and feel the weight of chain mail and armour in the Great Hall.
CHURCH COVE, GUNWALLOE
One of the most dramatic scenes of the series takes place on this pretty beach – Church Cove.
Warleggan was once the most remote village in Cornwall – a collection of just 11 houses, a church and a chapel. Besides giving its name to the most powerful family in Poldark, the Warleggans, it is also famous for having an eccentric vicar. The Reverend Densham arrived in Warleggan in 1931 and soon fell out with his congregation. Despite an empty church day after day, he continued his sermons and filled the church with cardboard cutouts of his parishioners. He remained vicar for 22 years until his lonely death on the staircase of the vicarage where he lay for two days before being discovered.
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