Peacefully set, down a private track, away from roads, right on the riverbank, here you can measure the time by the tides. Contemplate the groups of wading wildfowl bustling about on the beach opposite, as they feed and rest, searching out the finest spots for stalking small fish swimming along the channel; when all at once they flock and take off to the sky over the river with wings dipping and lifting as one; they are a magnificent sight. The bright kingfishers darting to and fro from the banks, the egrets pacing the stream, the lapwings, sand pipers, herons, all living so close by, it is as though they were the ‘hens in your own back garden’. The calling of the curlews and the gentle lapping of the river against the jetty and harbour at high tide are the background sounds here. An occasional passing boat going down river from Gweek, or carefully coming up the creek, makes a beautiful picture.
The centuries old quay, lime kiln and barn from which the dwellings have gradually evolved give Bishops Quay a captivating, romantic, history that slowly and generously gives up its secrets. Seventy plu years in the same family, there are fascinating stories aplenty. Books, boats, and beautiful paintings, truly comfortable furniture, new and antique, with river views from every window, this is a place you won’t want to stray far from.
Thinking about outings and necessary provisions – Deliveries can be arranged from local shops and super markets. Mawgan Stores, just five minutes away, is bursting with fresh, local and seasonal produce from local fruit and veg, to artisan bread and chocolate, and of course a range of Cornish Gins. Local pubs and restaurants within a few minutes drive have top class chefs who serve delicious local food, so no need to travel far. The closest is the Ship Inn in Mawgan, walkable if you are a little bit energetic!
The fabulous beaches nearby are Gunwalloe, Poldhu, Kennack Sands, Mullion Cove, Loe Bar, Kynance Cove, Porthleven, Coverack, none more than twenty minutes drive away. Cliff walks all along the Coast Path invigorate and thrill with spectacular sea views.
Because a seafaring family has lived in these rooms for so long, nautical artefacts abound. A naval sword, a ship’s wheel, clock and barometer, all set the scene. The bookshelves offer many local titles, gorgeous hardback volumes, and a wide choice of novels and magazines, children’s books and local leaflets. There’s an old sea chest filled with an assortment of well-kept board games. Smart TV and iPhone dock to enjoy with the Bose radio/cd player.
Outside, various attractive brightly painted craft are waiting to set off on adventures. Kayaks, canoes, a motor bass boat (we’ll just ask you to pay for the fuel), a fine 9’ wooden traditional rowing dinghy, ‘Swallow’ the sailing dinghy with her smart blue sails. The crabbing lines just need some bacon bait tied for much fun on the jetty, with handy buckets for the ‘catch’. Bouyancy aids are are hanging up ready in every size to keep you safe. All swimming and boating here is ‘At Your Own Risk’. Some guests bring their own small boats which can be launched from the slipway although there is such a choice already here you may decide against towing one down.
Many chairs and benches are placed around on the balcony, patio and in the charming waterfront private garden give you a perch to watch wildlife, the changing tides, the fishing boats returning from their day at sea. The sun stays longest on the balcony, often till late in the evening during June and July especially. Afternoon tea and supper, spontaneous barbeques are always happy events. So rain or shine there’s much to occupy and entertain.
Usefully, there is flexibility to the number of rooms you can take. This means that couples can happily stay, as so many do, in the main part of the house while families and groups of friends can spread out further by taking the large extra bedroom suite that leads off the kitchen. This airy studio room has its own ensuite bathroom, TV, desk, generous library with a strong maritime theme as well as modern fiction, balcony, door to the quay, chest and wardrobes. The living accommodation is all on the first and second floor; the ground floor rooms below are used for boating equipment and storage.
Kate Kirby, the owner, lives alongside the house, not overlooking. Kate is pleased to help but remain discreet. The family business is also small boat commercial fishing; there is one vessel, the New Harmony, fishing from Helford now and landing into Falmouth, but sometimes coming up to the quay on spring tides. Bishops Quay is ‘dog friendly’, so your well-behaved chums are welcome. There are two neutered English Springer spaniels living here now, Boris and Morris, both very friendly and well mannered. Walkies up the lane (1/4 a mile) and around the quay are easy and safe. There is a hose ready for any muddy paws and a warm downstairs storeroom where dogs can stay to dry off or be left while you go out.
Hopefully everything has been thought of, after letting the house for holidays over 29 years, but do tell if there is anything further you need or would like to know. I look forward to meeting you here very soon!