Portreath harbour at low tide
Portreath shown within Cornwall
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|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
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|UK Parliament||Camborne and Redruth|
Portreath (Cornish: Porthtreth or Porth Treth) is a civil parish, village and fishing port on the north coast of Cornwall, England, United Kingdom. The village is about three miles (5 km) northwest of Redruth.
The village extends along both sides of a stream valley and is centred around the harbour and beach. West of the harbour entrance and breakwater are two sandy beaches which are popular with holidaymakers and surfers.
Portreath lies within the Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). Almost a third of Cornwall has AONB designation, with the same status and protection as a National Park.
The name Portreath (meaning "sandy cove") was first recorded in 1485. Tin streaming in the valley was recorded from 1602, and the first quay was built in 1713 near Amy's Point, though it was destroyed by the sea before 1749. The village also had a fishing fleet, mainly for pilchards.
In the late 1770s, during the American Revolutionary War, lieutenant-colonel of the North Devon militia, Francis Basset, commanded local miners to fortify the port, which helped counter a Franco-Spanish invasion fleet gathered as part of the European theatre of the war, some of them still standing to this day. In 1786 he built a pier to serve the local tin and coal mines.
In the 19th century, Portreath was, with Devoran on the south coast, one of the main ports for sending the copper ore mined in the Gwennap area to Swansea for smelting. The ships returned with Welsh coal to fire the steam engines used on the mines. The two rectangular basins that today make up the harbour and the long breakwater just below the cliffs were all built for this trade. The peak of this enterprise was around 1840, when some 100,000 tons of copper ore were shipped out each year.
In 1827 Portreath was described as Cornwall's most important port. By 1841 Portreath had become more urban with more middle class inhabitants with the local church being built in 1827, Portreath Hotel (1856), Methodist Chapel (1858), Basset Arms (1878) and the School (1880).
The railways and tramways associated with the minerals trade today form the Mineral Tramways Coast to Coast, a long distance cycleway and footpath extending 15 miles from Portreath to the south coast.
RRH Portreath, on Nancekuke Common to the north of the village, is now a radar station operated by the RAF, but was originally built in 1940 to be the RAF's main fighter airfield in Cornwall during WW2.
Nance Wood, 1 mile to the south east of the village, is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest for its biological characteristics. The woods are one of only 2 sites in Britain to contain Irish spurge (Euphorbia hyberna), a Red Data Book of rare and endangered plant species.
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- Place-names in the Standard Written Form (SWF) : List of place-names agreed by the MAGA Signage Panel. Cornish Language Partnership.
- Ordnance Survey: Landranger map sheet 203 Land's End ISBN 978-0-319-23148-7
- "Cornwall Industrial Settlements Initiative - Portreath". Cornwall County Council, Historic Environment Service. March 2002. Retrieved 2009-07-02.
- "Cornwall Online's Portreath pages". Cornwall Online. Retrieved 2009-07-02.
- "Blossoming of Portreath". Retrieved 1 September 2012.
- Hancock, Peter (2008). The Mining Heritage of Cornwall and West Devon. Wellington, Somerset: Halsgrove. pp. 66–68. ISBN [[Special:BookSources/978-1-84114-733-6|978-1-84114-733-6 [[Category:Articles with invalid ISBNs]]]] Check
- "About Portreath". Retrieved 1 September 2012.
- Sustrans website Retrieved May 2010
- "Nance Wood". Natural England. 1984. Retrieved 3 November 2011.
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