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About Hayle  |  Weather  |  Gallery

The town of Hayle began its existence in the early 18th century and grew to become a very important port and industrial centre in the West Country. Exporting of tin, copper smelting, high pressure steam engines, manufacture of iron and boat building, all helped to make it a very prosperous place. Today, however, these industries have all but faded and the river has silted up, but it remains a very interesting town. For the holiday maker there are long sandy beaches, holiday parks, hotels and other accommodation. For the walker, there are lots of places to explore and for the bird watchers, the tidal flats of the estuary have now become a protected area.


There are 3 miles of sandy beaches between the Hayle river and the Red river at Gwithian. At the Hayle end it is mostly backed by dunes and holiday parks while towards the Gwithian end the dunes give way to cliffs. An altogether fabulous stretch of beach.

The South West Coastal Path follows the line of the dunes all the way to the Towans, where you then turn the corner and continue down past the north quay, over the bridge and into town. A good walk is to start at the Copperhouse end of town, walk up the lane through Phillack village and where the lane ends at the hotel connect to the coastal path. Walk towards the Towans and continue as above, then instead of crossing the bridge into town, go straight ahead along the King George Memorial Walk at the side of Copperhouse Pool and back to where you started.

The Estuary, all the way from Copperhouse to Lelant Saltings, is an invaluable feeding ground for migratory birds and in spring and autumn bird watchers come from far a field to observe. Many rare species have been seen here and the huge numbers collated is quite surprising for such a small estuary, though there are good reasons for this. The mild winters in Cornwall, the shelter from storms, and the lack of predators all contribute.

As far back as the Bronze Age (1500-2000 BC), well before the town of Hayle, (Heyl) in old Cornish, came into being the river area was used by Irish and Breton shipping trading for tin. As this metal was used for the making of bronze tools and weapons, the activity went on into the Iron Age. 

After the 1st century AD, during the Roman occupation, it seems that shipping was able to approach almost to St.Erth bridge, from where overland carriage to St. Michaels Mount, (another tin - trading place), was possible.
When the Romans left in the early 5th century, they were followed by the Christian missionaries from Brittany and Ireland who built many of the churches. The Irish appear to have been the more successful at this as the names St.Ia, St.Uny and others suggest, but there is evidence that Breton missionaries were here in the 4th century.

In the time of the Norman conquest the area around Gwithian had become the chief settlement.


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