Romantic, unspoilt, picturesque, quiet, and full of wildlife, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d stepped back in time in certain places on this enchanting and captivating river.
Boathouses nestle amongst woods that spill over into the water, former bustling quays have morphed into grassy banks that sit serenely on the water’s edge, silent creeks hold secrets of smugglers and tales of derring do and birdlife carries on much the same way it has done for centuries.
There is plenty to explore out on the river from various ‘jumping off points’ depending on what takes your fancy. River trips will take you to on guided tours (really not as bad as it sounds, they are wonderful!) to Frenchman’s Creek and the Duchy Oyster Farm at Port Navas, as well as giving you a detailed history of the area.
Hiring your own boat will give you the freedom to explore for yourself, or simply walking the many footpaths will bring you to some enchanting spots without the need of a lifejacket.
In the summer, the stretch of water from Helford Passage to Helford is populated by moorings, both local boats and those visiting from further afield. Once past the last of the mooring bouys, the magic of the river really reveals itself, splitting to the north up Polwheveral Creek past Scott’s Quay and to the southern side, continuing up all the way to Gweek passing Tremayne Quay and all the tiny creeks of the north of the Lizard.
Not only enjoyable from the water, villages like Durgan (north side), Helford (south side), St Anthony (south side), Port Navas (north side) and Gweek (at the head of the river) have plenty to offer and are well worth a visit. The Ferryboat Inn at Helford Passage is always a welcome place to take a drink on the terrace and watch the world go by, whilst paella nights at the Shipwrights Arms are legendary. The tiny yacht club at Port Navas (PNYC) serves food but bear in mind there are only 6 tables and the whole place can accommodate about 20 diners at maximum!