From The Neolithic To The Sea: A Journey From The Past To The Present

Polpeor Cove

49° 57' 33.5" N, 5° 12' 24.5" W

  • History
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Polpeor Cove is located on Lizard Point, close to the village of Lizard, Cornwall.

The cove is a popular tourist destination due to the sea caves and its location next to Lizard Point. It is surrounded by high cliffs and is home to the abandoned RNLI lifeboat station. Although the cove has a small beach, the waters are extremely dangerous to swimmers.

Polpeor Cove was used by fishermen. They used to haul up their boats above the high tide mark and off load their catch of pilchards. These were then gutted, salted and stored in the fish cellars located in the cove, until they could be sold.

The RNLI built a lifeboat station above the cove in 1859. It was a long and drawn out procedure to launch the lifeboat, especially in adverse weather.

In 1885, a second lifeboat station was built, just above the high water level to house a larger boat.

The final lifeboat station was built in 1914. It has a slipway built directly into the building, making it quicker to launch the lifeboat. A recovery system was used to haul the lifeboat back into the boat house. First ropes were places around a natural rock pillar in the sea in order to turn the stern of the boat towards land. A giant wheel at the rear of the station was then used to winch the boat back up the slipway.

The lifeboat station was closed then abandoned in 1961. Today it is used for storage by the local fishermen.