If you wish to know more about the fascinating story of Port Navas and its Quay, we recommend the "History of Port Navas" by Peggy and Douglas Shepherd. You will see from the front cover (click here) how central the Quay is to Port Navas and how beautiful it looked prior to 2005. The book is available on line - google Landfall Publications.
Port Navas Quay and the privately owned approach road to it was built to carry granite from the Constantine area which was then exported to other parts of the UK and abroad. We can see granite that was shipped from Port Navas in a number of famous landmarks – Nelson’s Column and Tower Bridge for example.
However by the late 19Cy Cornish granite was being undercut in price by imports. Granite exports dropped off dramatically and by 1900 had virtually finished from Port Navas. However in turn the Quay then took on a new life as an attractive place to sit , walk and contemplate the pristine beauty of Port Navas Creek. Generations of residents have enjoyed access to the Quay and as of right. It has also been a haven for painters and ramblers.
In the 1950’s it was owned for a few years by the Vinnicombe Brothers who started up a scrap metal business there. This was followed by their application to build a café and have car parking on the Quay. Cornwall County Council gave them permission which after two public enquiries was revoked. The owners received ( in today’s money) £210,000 in compensation. Local ratepayers paid a heavy price for the conduct of both Kerrier and Cornwall County Councils over the issue. The Quay was then bought by the Duchy of Cornwall who promised Villagers that it would be kept for the peaceful and quiet enjoyment of the village and for visitors (see letter from the then Secretary of the Duchy on the matter.)
The Quay is a listed site (Grade II) with a number of interesting artefacts as well as being of historic construction. These include a number of ‘scappled’ granite blocks and an unusual rebated hole on the front centre of the Quay – now roughly concealed and driven over ! Few such Quays remain which are other than car parks or have been otherwise ruined by industrial/commercial development. When the then Minister of Local Government banned commercial development and car parking on the Quay the local press reported matters widely. You can read articles from 1960 on this website (below) about the Minister’s aim of protecting the Quay. He made the point at the time that so much of Cornwall had been spoilt by commercialisation and that he would not allow that to happen on Port Navas Quay.
The Oyster Farm ( now an Oyster Unit/Factory) was managed/leased by the Hodges family for over ninety years until 2004 - either as managers on behalf of Macfisheries Limited or as direct lessees of the Duchy of Cornwall. Since the Quay’s purchase by the Duchy in the early 1960’s the Hodges family kept the Quay in good order and did not use it, in line with ministerial Orders, for commercial purposes. Residents indeed took the Quay to their hearts and bought and placed seats on the Quay with plaques commemorating the event – in the late 1960’s.
Since 2005 the Quay surface has become steadily degraded and turned into an industrial environment. Access is not forbidden but given the condition of the surface, metal pallets everywhere and general detritus – many people feel it is unsafe. So de facto, access is being curtailed . The whole area is in an Area of Outstanding Beauty (AONB).
If you have views on Port Navas Quay please email us ( following the house rules on emailing in ‘Contact Us’). If you are concerned about damage to this listed site or other related matters please contact some ( or as many as you are able to) names on the ‘Have your Say’section of the website.
(c) PORT NAVAS QUAY PRESERVATION LIMITED 2009