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The River Fowey is one of Cornwall's most beautiful attractions and the main view from our hotel in Fowey, Cornwall. So here are a few interesting facts about this spectacular river, delving into the history of its origins and some of the favourite spots along the way:

The River Fowey



  • The river began to develop into its current state at the end of the ice age, around 12,000 years ago. As the ice melted, the water levels rose over 120 feet and drowned the river valley and surrounding areas. Once the swell had subsided, the river and estuary we know today was formed.

  • The river originates at Bodmin Moor, not far from the highest point in Cornwall, Brown Willy, and several miles, after growing over many years. It then becomes an estuary at Lostwithiel, transporting the yachts back out of Cornish waters.

  • Some 6000 years ago, the people of Fowey began to clear the surrounding forests near the river to allow for farming and saw the beginning of the thriving town that we know and love today, with both cattle and crop plentiful.

  • The 1900s saw the dredging of the river, allowing yachts and boats into port - this allowed trades and exports to take place. Today the Royal Fowey Regatta week can see up to 2,400 yachts in a single week, which makes up just under a quarter of all the 7,000 yachts that visit the town throughout the year. This has led to Fowey becoming a port for the exportation of China clay.

  • Fowey has had a lifeboat based on the river since 1856. Back then, the lifeboat was merely a small rowing boat. Today, however, the boat is far more advanced. Named Maurice and Joyce Hardy, the boat is manned entirely by volunteers. The present station was opened in 1997 and is home to the Trent class all-weather lifeboat.

  • The river crosses two Spots of Scientific Interest along the flowing waters; one being Bodmin Moor and the other just next to Golitha Falls, which is a National Nature Reserve, both havens for nature lovers.


Come and visit the fabulous Fowey River, a perfectly picturesque location all year round! With plenty to do, from walks to dipping into our heated swimming pool, Fowey has all you need for a relaxing retreat in the Cornish countryside.

Image credit: Edmund Shaw

Tagged under: Fowey   Nature