Polzeath (/pəlˈzɛθ/;Cornish: Polsegh, meaning dry creek) is a small seaside resort in the civil parish of St Minver[1] in Cornwall, England, United Kingdom. It is approximately 6 miles (9.7 km) north west of Wadebridge on the Atlantic coast.[2]


The Beach at Polzeath
Location within Cornwall
Population1,449 (2001 Census, includes Trebetherick)
OS grid referenceSW937788
Unitary authority
Ceremonial county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtPL27
Dialling code01208
PoliceDevon and Cornwall
AmbulanceSouth Western
EU ParliamentSouth West England
UK Parliament

Polzeath has a sandy beach and is popular with holiday-makers and surfers. The beach is 1,500 feet (460 m) wide and extends 1,200 feet (370 m) from the seafront at low water; however, most of the sand is submerged at high water.[2] At exceptionally high spring tides the sea floods the car park at the top of the beach.

Polzeath beach is patrolled by lifeguards during the summer and is described on the RNLI website as : ... a wide, flat beach with some shelter from winds, it sees good quality surf and is quite often extremely crowded.[3]

Dolphins may sometimes be spotted in the bay and the coastline north of Polzeath is a good area for seeing many types of birds including corn buntings and puffins.[4]

The main street runs along the seafront and has a parade of shops catering for holidaymakers and residents. There are pubs, cafés, restaurants, a caravan site and several camping sites in the immediate area. The road rises up steep hills at both ends of the seafront; towards the village of Trebetherick to the southwest and New Polzeath to the northeast.[2]

The South West Coast Path runs from Daymer Bay in the South through Polzeath and up to Pentire Head in the North.[5]


In 1911 a Methodist chapel was built on the road towards Trebetherick at Chapel Corner. The original building was demolished in 1932 when the village street was widened. A new village hall was opened on 15 April 1933.[6]

A stream rises near St Minver 2 miles (3.2 km) to the south. Before reaching Polzeath, it is joined by a tributary which rises north of Pityme. Shilla Mill at the edge of Polzeath, stands at the confluence of the streams.[2] Built around 1590 it ceased working as a mill in 1885 and was converted into a house.

Until 1934 the main street through the village crossed the stream by means of a ford. A footbridge was provided for pedestrians which was sometimes washed away by winter storms. In 1934 the road bridge was built.

The winter storms of 2014 changed the topography of the beach and there is now a sand bar across the beach.[7][8]


Tourism developed in the 19th and 20th centuries to be the most significant part of the local economy.[9] UK Prime minister David Cameron and his wife holidayed there from 2010 to 2015.[10]

Literary associations

Polzeath was a favourite haunt of the poet laureate, Sir John Betjeman, and is celebrated in some of his verse.[11] Another poet, Laurence Binyon, wrote the Remembrance Day ode For the Fallen in 1914 while sitting on The Rumps, Polzeath or "Polseath" as it was called, during World War I.

In the first of Enid Blyton's Famous Five novels, the eponymous children express disappointment that their holiday will not, as usual, be spent at Polzeath.[12] The author Joolz Denby lived in a caravan in Polzeath for a year while researching her novel Borrowed Light, published in 2006.

The cartoonist Posy Simmonds created a fictitious place in Cornwall called "Tresoddit". When the BBC made the short film Tresoddit for Easter in 1991, it was filmed in and around Polzeath.

See also


  1. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 27 September 2013. Retrieved 1 May 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Cornwall Council online mapping. Retrieved June 2010
  2. Ordnance Survey: Landranger map sheet 200 Newquay & Bodmin ISBN 978-0-319-22938-5
  3. "RNLI - Royal National Lifeboat Institution - Saving Lives at Sea". Archived from the original on 28 November 2010. Retrieved 2 June 2010. RNLI Lifeguards, Polzeath. Retrieved June 2010
  4. RSPB website; Pentire and Rumps Point. Retrieved June 2010
  5. "Pentirely Superb - Print walk - South West Coast Path". www.southwestcoastpath.org.uk. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  6. Drew, Alan (1993). The Charm of North Cornwall. Ticehurst: Triskele Publications. p. 36. ISBN 978-0-9520627-0-7.
  7. "RNLI lifeguards at Polzeath beach rescue 32 in one hour – BBC News". bbc.co.uk. 2015. Retrieved 29 August 2015.
  8. "Lifeguards rescue 32 people from rip current at Cornwall beach | UK news | The Guardian". theguardian.com. 2015. Retrieved 29 August 2015.
  9. Bennett, W. J. (1 January 1952). "A CENTURY OF CHANGE ON THE COAST OF CORNWALL: Seaborne Trade, Fishing and the Tourist Industry in the Mid-19th and 20th Centuries". Geography. 37 (4): 214–224. JSTOR 40564889.
  10. Elgot, Jessica (2015). "Without a paddle: Camerons go surfing in water polluted with diluted sewage | Politics | The Guardian". theguardian.com. Retrieved 29 August 2015.
  11. "Polzeath Cornwall". ourcornwall.co.uk. 2015. Retrieved 30 August 2015.
  12. Blyton, Enid (1942). Five on a Treasure Island. ISBN 9781844569595.
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