Outer Harbour

Please take care when walking along the outer harbour and in adverse weather conditions please refrain from walking to the end of the harbour wall.

Charlestown Harbour was designed by John Smeaton and built for Charles Rashleigh. Work on the outer harbour commenced in 1791 and was first mapped in 1795. Two outer breakwater walls were constructed. The interiors of these breakwaters could also be used as quays but most vessels loaded and unloaded in the inner harbour leaving the outer harbour as a shelter and manoeuvring space.

The walls are predominantly granite ashlar and paved with granite blocks. Close to the shoreline the original wall line can be seen to be built of random faced masonry and this has been raised about 1 metre to the present level. The wall was rebuilt along the shoreline after a severe storm in 1892 and has has many other eoairs sfter storm damage over its lifetime. the most recent was extensive repair work done after a SE storm in February 2021.

A parapet wall protects the quay. Steps from the quayside give access to a wall walk. About halfway along the parapet wall is a recess and a granite memorial stone to Thomas Penhall who died in 1867.

At the ends of the quays are the bases of iron capstans used to manoeuvre ships into the outer harbour.

There are two flights of steps down into the harbour and near the Pier House Hotel is a long granite paved ramp which provides an alternative sloping access.

If you look across to the opposite harbour wall you will be able to see a lime kiln, below the Round House (Harbourmaster’s hut). The kiln is built into the slope where the road from the harbour rises to become Quay Road. Lump limestone and culm (a poor quality coal for firing) are likely to have been taken up the slope and loaded into the kiln. Burnt lime would have been dug out from the arched opening at the base of the kiln to be used as fertiliser or lime mortar or wash.

Adjoining the lime kiln is a lean-to building with a small pane sash window and a plank door. It post-dates the abandonment of the lime kiln.

If you have enjoyed your history walk around the village please consider making a small donation to help maintain the trail and the history of Charlestown. Thank you.