top of page
  • Writer's pictureGethin Thomas

Kingsand and Cawsand

Originally published on Blogspot by Gethin Thomas on January 5th 2022

This whole trip revolved around an article entitled, "One of the best pubs in the UK". The Devonport Inn, in Kingsand Cornwall. We wanted to do a day trip on a wet winter's day before any possibility of some sort of winter lockdown. Touch wood we are still free here in England, not so in the rest of Europe or even the rest of the UK. Don't even mention Australia. Insane rules abound everywhere seeming to fly in the face of facts and science.

Take Wales for example, run by a Marxist regime, because here apparently. it is now illegal to have more than 50 people attend a sports event outdoors while 140 people can attend a sports event indoors. You can go to the pub for a drink but you cannot work in your office, because if you go to your place of work you will be fined £60. You can take your laptop to the pub though, and work there.

This is the same regime which had stores all over Wales that sold multiple different things actually cover up non essential items with sheets of plastic during the first lockdown, because they decided at some meeting of civil servants in Cardiff what was essential. Children's clothes were not essential, alcohol was.

Back in October 2020 if you lived in Manchester England, you could drive to Wales and climb up it's highest mountain, Mt. Snowdon. But if you lived in Wales in the next county you could not climb Mt. Snowdon and moving from one county to another was illegal. Manchester was a Covid hotspot.

But I digress,

So we left Devon to go to Cornwall. Devon and Cornwall are the two south westerly counties of England on the pointy bit on the left under Wales. Cornwall is the point and Devon the next slice, which means Devon becomes a great quiz answer for this question. Which is the only English county with two separate coastlines?

Kingsand is only just in Cornwall because it is west of the river Tamar and the Tamar is the border. In fact if we had gone much sooner, like before 1844 we wouldn't have needed to go to Cornwall at all because back then Kingsand was in Devon. No, they haven't moved it, just the border.

Devonport, as the name hints at is a port in Devon east of the Tamar, so the Devonport Inn today is a little misplaced, being neither in Devonport or Devon anymore. It does have a great painted Inn sign though showing, presumably the Devonport Docks, not the Kingsand docks because there aren't any. Stick your foot out of the front door of the Devonport Inn and you're almost paddling in the Atlantic.

But I have got a bit ahead of myself because I wanted the first picture to be of the pub.

First we had to cross the Tamar and this, below, is what greets you if you follow the SatNav which favours roads that are glued to firm objects like bridges. The alternative route is on a road glued to a large boat, The Tor Point Ferry. More on that later.

So as you can see the bridge here went up in 1961 while the one to its left, with the large bow shapes went up much longer ago. Those large bow shapes are the rail bridge designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel and opened in 1859, it only took 102 years to match it with a road bridge. The rail bridge was opened by Prince Albert so they called it The Royal Albert Bridge.

Albert was the good looker the palace imported from Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld as husband for Queen Victoria. They had nine children, which was fast work as he died aged 42. This was handy because there were other royals all over Europe needing wedding partners too.

Don't ask where Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld is because it is way too complicated for me to understand and therefore to try and put into words. If you are fascinated by tiny German Duchies that no longer exist, there's Google, good luck.

Their eldest son, became Edward VII on Victoria's death.

Edward was the heir so what happened to the 8 spares?

Victoria married Crown Prince Frederick, later Frederick III, German Emperor

Princess Alice married Prince Louis, later Ludwig IV, Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine

Alfred, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha married Grand Duchess Marie Alexandrovna of Russia

Princess Helena married Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein

Princess Louise married John Campbell, Marquess of Lorne, later 9th Duke of Argyll

Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn married Princess Louise Margaret of Prussia

Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany married Princess Helena of Waldeck and Pyrmont

Princess Beatrice married Prince Henry of Battenberg

According to Wikipedia they all had issues so my first thought was well some things never change, all today's royals have issues too, and then some. But as it turns out, having issue means they all had children of their own who probably also all ended up marrying their cousins.

The Tamar Bridge was opened by Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. Once a Queen always a Queen, so although she was only Queen because she married the King she remains Queen even after he died and her daughter became Queen too. So that is two Queen Elizabeths at the same time. Only our present Queen was born to it so was the Monarch in her own right.

King George VI died on the night of February 6, 1952. At the moment of his death our present Queen became Queen. Also still hanging around was his mother Queen Mary who was also still Queen. This resulted in an iconic photo taken at his funeral of three Queens in mourning, mother, wife and daughter, a very rare sight.

After all that royal shenanigans here we are finally in Kingsand, which is at least Royal in name, and while not strictly true every day, that sticking your leg out of the front door would mean paddling in the Atlantic, there are almost certainly days when that water crashes over this narrow walkway reaching the front door.

The Devonport Inn in my opinion suffers from a major problem. Some Londoners come here on holiday and comparing it with the pokey dirty city they come from, decide this is the finest place in the world. Then being media types and having copy to fill they churn out articles about the best pub in Britain, based on the last five they went to.

Having read the Best Pub in England article we were sadly disappointed. There was nothing to complain about, it was perfectly nice and so was the food but virtually every pub we have been in in Cornwall and Devon is this level of nice. The warm fire was most welcome.

The view from our table was great, but I certainly would not have called it the Best pub in England. Not living in London, and having travelled further afield than the nearest Motorway Junction, and probably to far more British pubs in more towns and villages in more counties than the average Londoner, it would not be in my top five.

I don't have a deadline for my copy and no one demanding articles, this I do for fun.

So in short it is a problem when you do something very well, but others through their own ignorance, oversell your product, giving a false impression of what to expect, for those still to come.

Kingsand is definitely worth a visit, and if you do go then definitely go to The Devonport Inn and you won't be disappointed, unless you read that article first.

This is a view of Kingsand, or at least the mustard building on the right is Kingsand, because Kingsand and Cawsand are twin villages and those buildings in the distance are in Cawsand. This makes it all the more bizarre that Kingsand used to be in Devon because Cawsand wasn't, so back in 1844 you only had to walk from the pub to the chapel to go from Devon to Cornwall. There is a house in the main street called Devon Corn on which is still visible the old county border marker.

This is a hazard of doing the research after the visit, no picture of it. That means I will have to go back.

The sea is a cruel mistress, apparently, so White Cottage is fast becoming grey as the white paint gives up the ghost and flakes away in the salty winds and spray.

To give up the ghost - If someone gives up the ghost, they stop trying to do something because they no longer believe they can do it successfully. If a machine gives up the ghost, it stops working.

To give up the ghost means to expire or die, or in the case of a mechanical object, to stop working. The phrase give up the ghost may be traced back to the King James Bible, printed in the early 1600s. The term is used in several places in the Bible, including Mark 15:37: “And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost.” The phrase is usually translated in these times as giving up one’s spirit, rather than ghost.

The villages are known for their smuggling and fishing past. Although the known smuggling tunnels have been sealed up, there are still old fish cellars and boat stores along the coast. Parts of the film Mr Turner were filmed in Kingsand, portraying Margate.

Most of the streets in the two villages are difficult or impossible to access by car.

This large artwork in the main street is called Plenty More Fish..? The question mark indicates it is more a piece of environmental activism than it is art. Five Austrian volunteers helped to collect 130 sacks of marine litter from the local beaches in 2014. Some 80% of marine plastic starts out on land. 88-95% of all river-borne plastic comes from just 10 rivers. Eight of them are in Asia: the Yangtze; Indus; Yellow; Hai He; Ganges; Pearl; Amur; Mekong; and two in Africa – the Nile and the Niger.

This begs the question why are the activists in Cornwall and not in Asia or Africa, as it would seem they are just preaching to the converted. I suppose a nice lunch in the "Best pub in England" could be one of the draws.

This is one of the streets that is accessible to cars, but thankfully only in one direction and only with great care.

This street isn't accessible to motor traffic and they have cleverly put up a sign saying as much just at the point where you would discover it isn't. In fact after a large lunch it might be wise to warn against wide pedestrians too. Around that corner it gets seriously narrow. You can shake hands with your neighbours over the road without leaving the comfort of your sofa. Pedestrians meeting other pedestrians have to go into reverse until they find a passing place.

On the plus side, even if you can't get to your house by car there are beautiful views at every turn.

Having followed the SatNav on the way there we decided to cut about thirty minutes off the journey home and ignore it, following the ferry signs instead, and on reaching the other side of the Rame Peninsula overlooking the Tamar is this view of Devonport itself.

On the right is the RFA Tidespring A136. The Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) provides logistical support to the Royal Navy, all over the world. That includes refuelling its warships, at sea. Having launched in 2017, RFA Tidespring is the first of a fleet of four 39,000 tonne Tide-class tankers. On the left is the RFA Tidesurge, which is the second of the fleet of four.

The Tor Point ferry route is currently served by three ferries, built by Ferguson Shipbuilders Ltd at Port Glasgow and named after three rivers in the area: Tamar II, Lynher II and Plym II. Each ferry carries 73 cars and operates using its own set of slipways and parallel chains, with a vehicle weight limit of 18 tonnes (20 tons)

The ferry boats are propelled across the river by pulling themselves on the chains; the chains then sink to the bottom to allow shipping movements in the river. An intensive service is provided, with service frequencies ranging from every 10 minutes (3 ferries in service) at peak times, to half-hourly (1 ferry in service) at night. Services operate 24 hours a day, every day (including throughout Christmas and all other holiday periods), with service frequency never falling below half-hourly.

We travelled back on the Tamar II.

The ferry docks right in the middle of the city of Plymouth. The Hamoaze is an estuarine stretch of the tidal River Tamar, between its confluence with the River Lynher and Plymouth Sound, England.

The name first appears as ryver of Hamose in 1588 and it originally most likely applied just to a creek of the estuary that led up to the manor of Ham, north of the present-day Devonport Dockyard. The name evidently later came to be used for the estuary's main channel.

The Hamoaze flows past Devonport Dockyard, which is one of three major bases of the Royal Navy today. The presence of large numbers of small watercraft is a challenge and hazard to the warships using the naval base and dockyard. Navigation on the waterway is controlled by the Queen's Harbour Master for Plymouth.

In the United Kingdom, a Queen's Harbour Master is a public official with the duty of keeping the port secure for both military and civilian shipping. There are three Queen's Harbour Masters in the UK, one for each of the major naval ports of the UK: the Clyde Dockyard Port of Gareloch and Loch Long in the Firth of Clyde, the Dockyard Port of Portsmouth in Portsmouth, and the Dockyard Port of Plymouth in Plymouth.

The Queen's Harbour Masters have their own flag, consisting of a white-bordered Union Flag with a white circle on it, within which there is a crown and the letters "QHM".

Related Posts

See All


bottom of page