Rock, Cornwall

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Rock Sailing Club and the estuary.jpg
Rock Sailing Club and the estuary looking west
Rock is located in Cornwall
Location within Cornwall
Population1,203 2011 Census
OS grid referenceSW933757
Civil parish
Unitary authority
Ceremonial county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtPL27
Dialling code01208
PoliceDevon and Cornwall
AmbulanceSouth Western
EU ParliamentSouth West England
UK Parliament
List of places
50°32′37″N 4°55′06″W / 50.5437°N 4.9182°W / 50.5437; -4.9182Coordinates: 50°32′37″N 4°55′06″W / 50.5437°N 4.9182°W / 50.5437; -4.9182
The ferry vessel Black Tor II approaching Rock from Padstow

Rock (Cornish: Pennmeyn)[1] is a coastal fishing village in Cornwall, England, United Kingdom.[2] It is opposite Padstow on the north-east bank of the River Camel estuary. The village is in the civil parish of St Minver Lowlands[3] about 4 miles (6.4 km) north-west of Wadebridge.[4][5]


The original name recorded in 1303 was Penmayn, Cornish for the end or head of stones. An alternative, Blaketorre, Black Tor, is found in 1337. This had become Black Rock by the 18th century and was subsequently shortened to Rock.[6] The name of the ferry that operates between Rock and Padstow recalls the old place name.


The main residential area is set back from the coast along the road from Pityme and St Minver. To the northeast, Rock is contiguous with the settlements of Splatt and Pityme. Stoptide is a southern extension of Rock. Rock is best known for its estuary frontage. To the northwest, the road runs beside the estuary as a cul de sac giving access to the ferry boarding point and an intertidal beach backed by sand dunes which at low water extend for two miles past Brea Hill to Daymer Bay.[4][5] To the south is the small coastal settlement of Porthilly with St Michael's Church situated on the bank of Porthilly Cove.

Rock Dunes[edit]

Rock Dunes, sand dunes to the west of the village on the banks of the River Camel, are designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest for their flora and geology. These include various vegetation found in these embryo dunes as well as various types of slate.[7]


Rock is popular with holidaymakers and in 1881 the hotel was enlarged, a new sea-wall built and a bathing house erected on the beach. In the same year Silvanus Trevail designed and built two large villas. It is now a well-established centre for water sports including dinghy racing, waterskiing, windsurfing, and sailing. Rock Sailing Club's headquarters, in a converted warehouse on a wharf, is a local landmark. Rock has Cornwall's highest proportion of second homes in the county.[8]

The Black Tor Ferry operates across the river to the town of Padstow, and this is a major source of tourist traffic through Rock. The early 21st century has seen extensive building work and increased prosperity for Rock, there a large number of holiday homes, as well as a number of retail outlets. Rock is also home to Sharp's Brewery, a real ale brewery established as an independent in the mid 1990s, but taken over by Molson Coors in 2011 to secure the Doom Bar bitter brand.[9]

Rock has been referred to as 'Britain's Saint-Tropez'[10] and the 'Kensington of Cornwall'[11] due to its popularity with affluent holidaymakers. The Daily Telegraph has also called it Chelsea-on-Sea and stated that David Cameron's favourite beer is brewed there.[12]

Affluent visitors such as Mohamed Al-Fayed and Jay Kay of Jamiroquai often arrive by helicopter.[13]


  1. ^ Place-names in the Standard Written Form (SWF) Archived 2013-05-15 at the Wayback Machine : List of place-names agreed by the MAGA Signage Panel Archived 2013-05-15 at the Wayback Machine. Cornish Language Partnership.
  2. ^ "Must see fishing villages in Cornwall". Travel Daily News. Archived from the original on 7 September 2012. Retrieved 13 May 2015. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  3. ^ Cornwall Council online mapping Archived 2010-05-05 at the Wayback Machine; Retrieved June 2010
  4. ^ a b Ordnance Survey: Landranger map sheet 200 Newquay & Bodmin ISBN 978-0-319-22938-5
  5. ^ a b Ordnance Survey: Explorer map (scale 1:25000); Sheet 106 Newquay & Padstow ISBN 978-0-319-24016-8
  6. ^ Weatherhill, Craig (2005). Place Names in Cornwall and Scilly. Launceston: Wessex Books. ISBN 1-903035-25-2.
  7. ^ "Rock Dunes" (PDF). Natural England. 5 November 1986. Retrieved 25 October 2011.
  8. ^ "Councillors vote in favour of second home planning permit". BBC News. British Broadcasting Corporation. 27 February 2013. Retrieved 28 February 2013.
  9. ^ McCann, John (2 February 2011). "'Sharp' Practice by Molson Coors". CAMRA press release. Archived from the original on 29 July 2012. Retrieved 29 April 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  10. ^ The Guardian, Gareth McClean's 'Watch This'
  11. ^ Tyzack, Anna (2007-10-12). "The Kensington of Cornwall". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2012-05-07.
  12. ^ James Kirkup (5 December 2014). "Has Nigel Farage had one too many?". Daily telegraph. Retrieved 5 December 2014.
  13. ^ McGhie, Caroline (2007-06-23). "Rock on". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 2010-05-22.

External links[edit]