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Introducing Padstow

From The 2011 Padstow Area and Camel Estuary Guide:

When the ancient Cornish settled in the area many centuries ago they chose the site for Padstow with great care and foresight. Nestling in a narrow gulley on the western side of the River Camel estuary, the town is sheltered from the prevailing winds and the air is generally soft and balmy.

Moving down the hill the buildings huddle closer together until they crowd around the harbour. There you'll find a great mixture of houses, quays, boat slips, inns, cafes and restaurants, gift and craft shops, holiday cottages and food shops, banks and the like. None of this was planned; it just evolved as the years moved on. No architect could have designed the magic of Padstow. It is just the result of years of adaptation to change, of getting the best out of local materials and then using the buildings and the surrounding environment to meet the needs of a working and friendly harbour town.

Of course, time and tide wait for no one - though in Padstow time does seem to wait just a little longer than elsewhere. Here, everything moves a little slower. The traffic moves slowly because it has no other option and it's no good the people who live here rushing because their lives are governed by the tides, the seasons of the year and the farming calendar. Visitors soon notice that Padstonians instinctively know that rushing about doesn't do anyone any good. Some would like the whole world to slow down but they know this cannot be. So instead they invite visitors to rest awhile, to savour the joy of the day, to slow down - even if it's only for a few days.

The harbour is undoubtedly the strongest attraction in the town and visitors find themselves drawn to it like a magnet. Fishing and pleasure craft rock side-by-side on their moorings, children fish for crabs from the harbour wall, quayside inns and cafes overlook the calm water. There are seats all around the harbour and because there's always something going on and it's such a restful and interesting place it's a favourite spot for both locals and visitors.

While you're here please try to set aside some time to share in our heritage. Our museum may not be large but it does contain many of our historic treasures and artefacts. The church too reflects the life, past and present, of our seafaring town - a warm welcome awaits you at its services as it does in the town's Methodist Chapel and Catholic Church.

But the town and its harbour is just the first step in getting to know the area. Walk or cycle the Camel Trail toward Wadebridge, take a stroll along the estuary footpath toward one of several sandy beaches or take the ferry across the river to Rock. While there you have to visit the lovely church of St Enodoc where the famous poet Sir John Betjeman is buried. There are several beautiful villages and outstanding beaches just down the coast. Trevone Bay, Harlyn Bay, Contantine Bay and Treyarnon Bay all have village amenities as well as superb surfing beaches. Nearby St Merryn also has a selection of shops, restaurants and two pubs. The parishes of St Eval, St Ervan, St Issey and Little Petherick are also well worth visiting.

There's something for everyone and for all tastes in Padstow and the surrounding area; we hope you enjoy your stay and that you will come back again soon. Just remember to slow down!

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