Polkerris shown within Cornwall
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Police||Devon and Cornwall|
|EU Parliament||South West England|
|UK Parliament||South East Cornwall|
The village is part of the Rashleigh estate which is commemorated in the name of the pub, 'Rashleigh Inn'. The village essentially consists of a single steeply sloping road down to the harbour and beach, with side lanes soon stopping as they reach the steep walls of the narrow cove. Parking is very limited. There is a small sandy beach, with a curved harbour wall.
The original translation of the place name is obscure. However, the presence of a number of Napoleonic era cannons embedded in the harbour wall, muzzle first, does lend credence to one possible meaning 'Fortified Cove'.
Polkerris is on the east side of St Austell Bay, two miles west of Fowey and three miles east of St Austell. Fishing, mainly for mackerel, was the mainstay of the village's economy from the 17th century until the collapse of mackerel stocks in the late 19th century due to overfishing. From the 1950s tourism became significant in the summer. Today, the village has restaurants, water sports and some accommodation.
Polkerris is situated on the South West Coast Path, which follows the coast of south west England from Somerset to Dorset. The path follows the cliff tops from nearby Polmear, goes through the village, and onwards to Fowey via Gribben Head.
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution established a lifeboat station in 1859. William Rashleigh provided a large donation of cash, land for the boathouse, and building materials. Volunteer crews for the lifeboat came from Polkerris, Par and Fowey. It was closed in 1922 when a lifeboat was stationed at Fowey for the first time. The boathouse has since been used as a café.
The Rashleigh Inn was the setting for the 1972 film Doomwatch, a spin-off of the BBC TV series of the same name. The location of the film is wrongly described as Polperro but the harbour and interior of the pub are clearly seen. This has been confirmed by the existing landlord Jon Spode. Some residents of Polkerris also took part in the film as extras.
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