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Torpoint — Cornwall, England

Torpoint was an 18th century naval base and ferry point, which later developed into a town by the early 19th century. The first Torpoint ferry was started in 1791 to facilitate travel from Cornwall to England.

Three chain ferries exist today for passengers and vehicles, with the journey to Plymouth being about seven to ten minutes. The historic use of the chain ferry dates back to 1831 when one of the foremost civil engineers of the time, James Meadows Rendel, introduced the first Torpoint chain ferry, using a self-propelled platform with a pair of vertical chain wheels in the middle of the vessel to pull on fixed chains connected between the river banks. The same technology with some modern innovations is still used today.

Although Torpoint did not have a harbor, the Old Ballast Pond was erected by French prisoners of war circa 1783 to shelter ballast barges within its massive walls. The restoration of this ancient monument has been developed to offer a secure berthing for boats to guard against the British weather. Today this area which is steeped in nautical history is known as Torpoint Yacht Harbor where frequent races can be viewed during the yachting season.

The establishment of the Royal Navy's main training facility, HMS Raleigh, the initial entry training establishment for all junior ratings entering the Royal Navy and the Royal Naval Reserve, is situated to the west of Torpoint. To the north the Yonderberry naval fuel depot, whose 28 tanks erected in 1920, which appears dominant on maps, is actually very well landscaped by embankments and trees and is barely noticeable from the town.

There are several wonderful tourist attractions in Torpoint, the most impressive being Mount Edgcumbe House which is considered one of the most beautiful historic sights in Cornwall and Antony Woodland Garden. Just north of Torpoint, Anthony Gardens will delight you with 100 acres of gardens and natural woodland bordering the Lynher Estuary. Here you will find extensive woodland and riverside walks, numerous wild flowers, magnolias, a huge variety of camellias and birds. Mount Edgcumbe House is the former home of Earls of Mount Edgcumbe. The restored Tudor home and gardens consists of 865 acres of Country Park overlooking Plymouth Sound. Miraculously the walls of the red stone Tudor House survived being hit by a bomb in 1941 and was restored by the 6th Earl in 1958 and has been beautifully furnished by family possessions. The magnificent gardens are formal gardens including Italian, French, English, American and New Zealand sections in addition to the historic buildings.

For a change of venue take the historic Cremyll to Kingsand Walking Trail which is an easy, nearly level walk with views of Plymouth, The Sound and The South Hams and goes through Kingsand & Cawsand, two lovely quiet villages, as well as having beautiful views of Rame Head and its chapel.

Where is Torpoint?

Torpoint is located in east Cornwall on the A374 between Looe and Plymouth. The nearest populated areas include Saltash to the north and Plymouth to the east.

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