Poldark Filming Locations in Cornwall: Series 1 and 2

It’s not long now until Series 2 of Poldark hits our TV screens, bringing Winston Graham’s popular saga back into the forefront of our minds and making everyone long for a Cornish holiday (preferably with Aidan Turner, a.k.a. Ross Poldark, to feed us a cream tea).

Whilst a few of the filming locations fell outside Cornwall, I’m going to ignore those anomalies and focus on the gorgeous Cornish settings used to bring these local novels to life once again.

Bodmin Moor

Both St. Breward and Minions village were used for their stark landscapes. This created the perfect mood for Ross Poldark’s family home, Nampara, and for the views between Nampara and Ross’ cousin’s estate. The crossroads in Minions ramped up the cinematic quality of these scenes, as did the rising sun at St. Breward as the backdrop to a duel.

The mythical Beast of Bodmin Moor has yet to make a cameo appearance on our screens, but there’s still time. Until he or she does, you’ll have to make do with Poldark broodily riding his horse through the scenery.

Poldark location for mining on edge of cliff with engine houses by water
Botallack brings all the atmosphere. Credit: Nilfanion, via Wikimedia Commons (commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Nilfanion).

Botallack

This mining area, clinging onto the edge of the coast, has appeared in countless local paintings and souvenirs. It’s one of the most identifiable industrial sites in Cornwall and mining has been documented here since the 16th century, with copper, tin and even arsenic sourced from the ground.

Restored by the National Trust, the Levant Mine was the perfect stand-in for Tressider’s Rolling Mill. ¬†Read about a South West Coastal Path walk in this area here. The Independent also has a great article on the real-life miners alive in Poldark’s time.

Charlestown

This Grade II listed harbour is easy to find and you can spend a good hour or two walking around. You’ll recognise the maritime setting from Series 1, and it’ll also appear in Series 2, doing its best impression of Truro at the time. Regardless of filming schedules, there will usually be one or two big ships in the harbour, and there’s plenty to see, including workshop buildings, a museum, and a pub.

Anyone interested in epic war films might recognise Charlestown from the film The Eagle Has Landed, where it stood in for the WWII-era Channel Islands; Donald Sutherland’s mercenary Irishman, Liam Devlin, was thrown through the front window of the pub during an argument. The Eagle Has Landed was also filmed at Rock, just across from Padstow.

North Cornwall beach for surfing and TV filming locations such as Poldark with breaking waves
Not a bad view for a camera crew, eh?

Constantine Bay

This forthcoming Series 2 location won’t come as a surprise to anyone who knows the area – it’s a very photogenic stretch of beach, backed by sand dunes and layer upon layer of marram grass. Fun fact: my dad accidentally lost his wedding ring in the sea here, so bonus points to anyone who finds it.

Just along the sand is the equally inviting Treyarnon (no wedding ring here, though). Download a series of Cornish Poldark walks, including one in this area, from iWalk Cornwall, and see more of the coastline.

The Prideaux-Brune Estate

Stepper Point, on the estate, was used for some all-important horse-drawn entrances and exits during filming; it’s right on the clifftop and marks the beginning of the Camel Estuary. The Prideaux family have owned this land for centuries and there are many original features at Prideaux Place, an attraction in its own right. Look out for the Elizabethan front door (it’s so vast, you really can’t miss it) which still has its original key.

Winston Graham, author of the Poldark books, was a great friend of the Prideaux-Brune family and actually included their grand estate in one of his later books, sending lead character Ross Poldark to dinner here. Find some of Graham’s novels in the Prideaux Place library, as seen on a tour of the house when it’s open to the public from May-October and on select Easter dates.

Beach near Porthcurno used in Poldark with dramatic rocks near Minack Theatre
Pedn Vounder is ready for its close-up. Credit: Tom Goskar (flickr.com/photos/chough).

Porthcurno and Pedn Vounder Beach

Soon to be making its Poldark debut, Porthcurno is already popular with dramatic types, as it sits beside the famous Minack Theatre. Scenes were shot here back in September 2015 for Series 2, when lead characters Ross and Demelza were spotted on the sand.

Pedn Vounder, which is a short walk from Porthcurno at low tide, is more secluded than its popular neighbour (no cafe, no toilets), and can be seen from the Minack. However, its seclusion can attract nudists, so don’t say I didn’t warn you…

St. Agnes Head and Wheal Owles Mine

Welcome to Poldark’s Nampara Valley. Winston Graham spent a lot of time in St. Agnes (and lived in nearby Perranporth from the age of 17), so it’s fitting that the adaptation should focus on this area. The part leading from Beacon Drive was used in the closing episode of Series 1.

Wheal Owles Mine (pronounced ‘alls’, not ‘owls’) has been part of Cornish mining history for well over 200 years. It stood in for Poldark’s business, Wheal Leisure, in the programme. Sadly the location¬† faced real-life drama in 1893, when a tragic mining accident saw 20 men drowned as they broke into a flooded and disused section of the mine. As a result, Wheal Owles never opened again.

BBC Drama series Poldark opening credits with beach and lone figure
Even the opening titles are gripping. Credit: BBC/Vimeo.

Other Poldark Filming Locations

  • Church Cove, Gunwalloe – perfect for a spot of late night smuggling.
  • Holywell Bay – another one to spot in Series 2.
  • Kynance Cove – also used to film Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None.
  • Lizard Point – the best place to get your ship wrecked.
  • Penberth, close to Sennen Cove – Ross rides his horse along the sand here.
  • Porthcothan Beach – Nampara Cove awaits.
  • Porthgwarra – where the pilchards were brought in, Series 1. Oh, and Poldark went swimming with no clothes on.
  • Port Quin – not far from Port Isaac (a.k.a. the land of Doc Martin…). See it in Series 2.

If you want more Cornish inspiration, find out my recommendations for seeing the best of North Cornwall.

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