On holiday with Ross Poldark (1)

We visited Cornwall on family holidays in every year between 1987-2012. Sometimes, the largest town, Penzance, can be really wet, wet, wet:

Overall, though, Cornwall can be a magical place:

The west of Cornwall, of course, is where the TV series “Poldark” is set.   Here is the cast without their TV make-up:

It was only in our last year in Cornwall that I realised that, on several occasions, we had visited one of the main filming locations for this popular TV series without even knowing it.
The site which we knew is near a ex-tin mining village called Botallack. First of all, this map shows where Cornwall is situated in England (although the native Cornish, it must be said, do not consider themselves to be English). The orange arrow points to the car-park for the National Trust site at Botallack:

The orange arrow, on all three maps, remember, is pointing to the car-park for the National Trust property where filming takes place. Here it is on a slightly more detailed level:

And here is the largest scale of all, where you can see just how convenient it is for filming, as both of the roads going north are dead ends, and the entrance road in the south can easily be blocked off from the public.

You’d never think that every household in the country is forced to pay the BBC an annual sum of £154.50 if they want to watch TV in this country. And that’s not watching BBC television. It’s to watch any channel at all. Hopefully,  my foreign friends will now realise that we English don’t get our TV for free.

And if the BBC programmes are good, then so should they be with an annual income in 2019 of £4,889,000,000. Incidentally, none of the roads that have to be blocked are a public right of way, so there are no legal problems:

This is the view looking away from the car park. There are lots and lots of shattered buildings, as if the demolition company one day got a better offer and just cleared off in the middle of the job:

Up near the car park is the most modern structure, a set of nineteenth century metal winding gear:

Outside the museum type building which acts as a tourist centre, there were two scarecrows, or at least, we took them to be scarecrows, rather than peasants starved by Sir George Warleggan:

As you walk down towards the mine, the first thing you see is one of the area’s two or three large stone chimneys and a ruined building. Beyond that is the mighty Atlantic Ocean and ultimately, America. Almost invisible, gannets pass by ceaselessly:

And then there is a welcoming bench, from which you can see most of the best attractions. It’s good for mother and daughter:

And for two dear friends:

Next time, we’ll take a closer look at the attractions that have made Botallack one of the hidden treasures of West Penrith, as this area is more properly called.


Filed under Cornwall, Film & TV, History, Humour, Personal

16 responses to “On holiday with Ross Poldark (1)

  1. This brings back memories of my first honeymoon in St Just

  2. I have never heard of this area before and the TV series doesn’t air here, so thank you for this post, John.
    I do always learn when I come here!

  3. How wonderful to be be able to see all that from here. My father always claim some part of Cornish heritage. I knew there was a BBC licence fee but I did not not think was still levied.

    • Lots of Australians are of Cornish stock. When the tin and copper mines began to fail, large numbers of Cornish miners and their families set off for the copper boom in Australia, the lead mines in the USA and even Argentina and, I’m fairly sure, Chile, to use their skills in the local mines. When they left Cornwall, the last building they ever saw was the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel in St Just, the last town before Land’s End. If you follow the link in my previous reply, you will find a picture of it and an explanation.

      Cornish emigration across the world is at:

  4. I enjoyed the original Poldark but not the recent remake.

    • I don’t remember the old Poldark hardly at all, but lots of people on Amazon have complained about the modern version. It seems to boil down to……
      “They’ve merged the episodes all together into 3 hour chunks rather than individual hour long episodes… a ridiculous amount of scenes just squarely cut out, which you can obviously see are cut as it suddenly jumps from one scene to another abruptly…
      “……..it’s to make it Politically Correct….. I have an old VHS version and there’s a bit where Poldark is angry and goes on about a member of Parliament being more concerned with the lives of Black Slaves than the English working class and of course, that’s cut out too! ”

      Perhaps the solution would be to provide us with a full version of the original Poldark , warts and all, and then we could choose.
      The modern version was OK but more for the scenery than the action. Having said that, George Warleggan was a splendid “Dastardly” figure.

      • Old Poldark was on TV recently on some channel or another. At 40 years old it hadn’t worn well. I watched a couple of episodes and then gave it up. Warleggan was played by Ralph Bates, a fine actor who died tragically young.

        In 1985 I won a Times Newspaper quiz for a 5 star weekend in Cahors in France and flew First Class BA. I sat next to Robin Ellis (old Poldark) on the plane. That is the only time that I have ever met a celebrity.

  5. It’s a beautifully part of the world with a lot of history. If they scrapped the tv licence fee I’d be able to go!

    • How can they possibly justify the nation’s paying annually £4,889,000,000 to this group of smug, self satisfied people, a great many of whom are related to other people already in the organisation. Let’s have no BBC licence fee and the free channels that the rest of the world has!

  6. Beautiful place, I have read about it in books. Here too we have to pay the cable TV operators a certain sum every month depending on the channels we subscribe to.

    • I’m glad that you enjoyed the beauty of western Cornwall, although you always need a little sunshine to see it at its best.
      Cable TV can be expensive, but it does give an alternative to the five main channels we have, which do not always provide particularly varied programmes.

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