Porth Navas

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Porth Navas
Port Navas Creek on the Helford River
Grid reference: SW751277
Location: 50°6’27"N, 5°8’44"W
Postcode: TR11
Local Government
Council: Cornwall

Porth Navas is a small village in Cornwall. The village was called "Cove" until the 19th century when it was developed as a granite port.

The village stands at the head of a short creek running off the main limb which runs north from the Helford River and is to be found between Mawnan Smith and Constantine.

Porth Navas is within the 'Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty', as is almost a third of the county.


From the Middle Ages until the 19th century the creek functioned as an access to the sea for neighbouring farms, whose boundaries all extended to the water at this point.

In the 19th century, with the local abundance of good quality granite, Cove was developed as a port to export this booming building material.[1] The name 'Port Navas' came into general use at this time. A track was built along the north bank of the creek with a retaining wall, and a quay with cranes was constructed for wharfs alongside. This opened for trade in 1830, and was later supplemented by a second quay further down the creek, offering deeper water. In its heyday, Port Navas bustled as a commercial port. Significant London projects included granite for Tower Bridge.

Cheaper granite from Norway, coupled with the emergence of concrete led to its decline. Coasting vessels continued to transport coal and chalk until the 1930s. Other industries included oyster farming, which has taken place since 1829.[2]

Today, maps name the village 'Porth Navas', though 'Port Navas' is still used.

Culture and community

House in Porth Navas with two painted statues

It is now mainly a residential and leisure area, with moorings for small craft, and pontoons at a club sited on the upper quay. The creek dries at low tide. A Methodist Chapel has recently been converted into a private house. There is a village hall that has been reinstated to its community role, and has regular activities.

Porth Navas's popularity depends on its beauty as part of the Helford River, and the present return of the lower quay for commercial use in connection with the oyster fishery aroused some disquiet.


  • The Port Navas Regatta, in August. The regatta was first held in August 1914, then annually from 1921 until the Second World War. It was revived in the 1960s and has continued as an annual event since then.

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Porth Navas)


  • Shepperd: Douglas and Peggy: 'The Story of Port Navas' (Landfall Press, 1994)