Downriver to Falmouth

Reefers on the River Fal

Downriver to Falmouth


Truro owes its relative importance to its location where the Rivers Kenwyn and Allen meet to form the Truro River.

You would think therefore that the confluence of these rivers would be where the city’s focal point would be, but you would be wrong – and the reason is because the main A39 trunk road cuts right through where Truro‘s port once was, which is a great shame in my view.

For anybody wishing to take a river trip down to Falmouth, this means that you need to use the pedestrian underpass that links Lemon Quay with the Town Quay and where Enterprise Boats have a ticket office.

Before I go any further, I think it’s best to point out that the river at this point is tidal and the boat frequently has to launch from Malpas which is a couple of miles downriver. There’s no need to worry about that though as a bus transports customers down there from the ticket office.

Enterprise Boats is a well run company with up to six sailings a day in the summer. The journey to Falmouth takes around an hour and a half, but it’s best to check the website for all the latest information, where there’s a phone number to make doubly sure that you’re not making a wasted journey.

The Truro River near the Town Quay

If the tide doesn’t allow for a Town Quay departure then you haven’t really missed very much, but at Malpas the Tresillian River joins the Truro River and the wooded river banks offer a much nicer vista.

Where the Truro River and River Fal meet further downstream, the watercourse takes on the name of the latter, which seems somewhat strange to me. I’m sure there’s a reason for these things, but if you look at a map, the Truro River seems to have more of a presence than the Fal, and the Tresillian River seems to have the most impact of all.

If you follow my reckoning, perhaps Falmouth should be renamed Tresillianmouth – but then again, perhaps not.

No matter what I think the river should be called, The Fal is crossed by the King Harry Ferry, which lies about half way between Truro and Falmouth at Trelissick, where the National Trust looks after a lovely garden that overlooks the river.

The ferry connects the western side of the Fal with the Roseland Peninsula on the eastern side.

As you head towards Falmouth the river becomes wider and deeper, and Reefers (refrigerated cargo ships) are often moored up here because of the seasonal shipments that they carry.

The River Fal comes under the jurisdiction of the Port of Truro, and it isn’t until it meets Carrick Roads that it becomes regulated by the commissioners of Falmouth Harbour.

The journey has stops at Trelissick and St Mawes as well as Falmouth, and it’s definitely worth considering buying a hop on-hop off ticket which covers you for the whole day (or longer).

It goes without saying of course that this trip can be done in reverse.

King Harry Ferry
King Harry Ferry
Trelissick House
Trelissick House

You can view the Truro River and River Fal Flickr photo album here


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