Such beautiful sand at Padstow when the tide is out. Nowadays boats are able to enter the harbour - but it hasn't always been that way according to Cornish folklore.
To quote from the late 1800s.
The port of Padstow has a good natural harbour, as far as rocks are concerned, but it gets chocked up with drifting sands as to be nearly useless.
It was once deep water for the largest vessel and was under the care of a merry maid, most would call her a mermaid. But, whatever her description, boats could travel safely to the harbour.
All was well at Padstow until a man bought a new gun! Some say the man was a Tristram Bird others that it was Tom Yeo. But, whoever, the new gun was aimed at a seal. Tragically though it was the mermaid who was shot. She dived for a moment; but re-appearing, raised her right arm, and vowed that henceforth the harbour should be desolate.
The picture below shows Tristram Bird with his gun and the mermaid.
According to the many legends, following the mermaid's death there was a terrible gale. When the water subsided a Doom Bar or Bar of Doom was situated at the estuary entrance.
Since records began, in the nineteenth century, there have been over 600 wrecks, beachings and capsizes due to the Doom Bar - and, of course, the mermaid's curse.
The photo below is from 1911 when the French ship Angele was wrecked on the Doom Bar.
Today the estuary is regularly dredged and the Doom Bar has moved - see comparisons between 1825 and 2010 - charts by Worm That Turned.
Most boats can now reach the harbour at Padstow safely.
There is still lots of sand about, when the tide is out, as can be seen in the photo below.
For other Padstow posts please visit:
Padstow, Cornwall on a Sunshine Winter's Day
Padstow, Cornwall: Ghosts, Cornish Pasties, Fish & Chips And More