About Rame Cornwall
The Rame Peninsula is bounded by the sea to the south, Plymouth Sound to the east and St John’s Lake to the north.
The twin villages of Cawsand and Kingsand lie on the western shore of Cawsand Bay. The bay is flanked to the south by the wooded slopes of Penlee whilst on the northern side is the more open parkland of Mount Edgcumbe.
The area is steeped in history and has developed over the past 300 years largely due to its proximity to the naval merchant dockyards of Plymouth.
Fishing on a grand scale came to Cawsand Bay in the mid 16th century when pilchard fishing was at its height. Evidence of the historic pichard palaces can be seen in several locations. After centuries of successful fishing, the industry went into decline at the beginning of the 20th Century. There now remain only a handful of sustainable fisherman on the Peninsula.
Fishing was not the only local enterprise which went through a cycle of ‘boom and bust’. Consequently smuggling, or free-trading, as it was known was rife and Cawsand, with Plymouth on its doorstep, was ideally situated to benefit.
By 1840 due to the laws passed by the French government, smuggling, at least on the scale which had previously existed, virtually ceased.
Proximity to Plymouth was to have other consequences for the Rame Peninsula. Its geographical location overlooking the seaward approaches is of great strategic significance and there are fortifications dating from the 15th to the 20th centuries.. Among those remaining are the 18th century redoubts at Maker, the Garretts in Cawsand, Palmerstonian forts at Picklecombe, Cawsand Polhawn and Tregantle and the early 20th century big gun emplacements at Maker, Penlee and Tregonhawke.
Today the beach at Cawsand presents a vastly different scene to that of yesteryear.* One hundred years ago it was a hive of industry with pilot and fishing boats, sailing barges, nets and crab pots, even washer-women, hanging their washing out to dry. Men, horses and donkeys would be at work on the Bound where the Coastguard boathouse was situated and where a blacksmith and stone-mason had their workshops. In 2010 the old fish palace that once housed a boat-builder and a fishermen’s store is now part of a hotel and the fishing boats and barges have given way to catamarans and kayaks and the fishermen by tourists and holidaymakers. A place of work has become a place of recreation.
The Rame Peninsula is bounded by the South West Coast Path, few sections of which can offer more varied scenic beauty. From the broad expanse of beach along Whitsand Bay, around the rugged cliffs of Rame Head and Penlee Point, then passing through the vernacular architecture of a Cornish fishing village and finally to wend its way through the ordered landscapes and gardens of Mount Edgcumbe with views overlooking Plymouth Sound and finally arriving at Cremyll.
(source: Tony Carne)