The historic small port of Charlestown on the south coast of Cornwall is now focused towards tourism, rather than its historic connections with the export of minerals. Well preserved historic structures provide a wonderful backdrop for visitors and there have been many film productions with period vessels and port scenes from days gone by.

During the winter, early in 2021, unrelenting southerly storms played havoc in the outer harbour with large waves penetrating the structure of one of the historic stone walls, causing a section to collapse into the sea. As a result of muddy quick thinking, this was rapidly repaired in time to enable a full programme of entertainment for summer visitors to enjoy.

While it was only a small section of the wall that had collapsed, there were two significant problems that had to be overcome in order to carry out the repairs. Firstly, access for construction equipment was very difficult. This was overcome by importing large quantities of crushed rock from a neighbouring quarry to build a temporary causeway. This proved to be invaluable and gave a good solid platform for construction. The material was later removed and resold for another use.

The other problem was keeping the waves outside the harbour and away from the works, especially at higher tidal levels. Empty shipping containers were therefore placed in the Harbour entrance and filled up with some of the crushed rock. This simple and practical measure proved highly effective and kept the waves at bay, even when the tide came in. The containers were removed and scrapped at the end of the repair works with the rock recycled.

Now the wall is fully repaired and stronger than ever, with little sign of the intense activity that took place during the winter.

Charlestown Harbour