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Pictures of Charlestown

in the county of Cornwall

About Charlestown

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This lovely little port hugs the rugged south Cornish coast overlooking picturesque St. Austell Bay. There has long been a settlement in the area, but the village did not develop until the late 18th century when it was expanded by Charles Rashleigh, a local mine owner. The area had seen an explosion in the mining industry and Rashleigh though it necessary to build a harbour for the shipment of copper and the china clay hauled from the mines at St. Austell. He instructed John Smeaton, builder of the Eddystone lighthouse, to design and build the port and in 1791 work began to both the port and pier. Later the work was extended to include a basin cut out of solid rock, thus ensuring safety for the fishing fleet.

Charlestown soon became busy, the harbourside bustled with coasters discharging coal from which black dust rose, mingling with the white dust of the china clay. Today, this lovely Georgian town is no less busy, its harbourside often thronged with visitors gazing at vessel's moored there, some are gaily painted fishing boats and sometimes there are handsome "tall-ships" to be seen.

The local inn, The Rashleigh Arms is named for Charles Rashleigh, the man who did so much to expand the area, and behind the old dock the Charlestown Shipwreck and Heritage Museum, tells the story of Charles Rashleigh and the history of the region.

Visitors will find this a gorgeous place, its harbour still operates as a working harbour with an active fishing fleet and at low tide this is flanked by attractive sand and shingle beaches.

In the town visitors will find plenty of pleasant inns, restaurants, cafe's, a variety of excellent holiday accommodation and a fine selection of shops.

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