Cornwall’s largest natural lake is one of the most beautiful and picturesque nature reserves in the South West. Loe Pool, just along the coastline from Porthleven and not too far from Helston, is a hotspot for walkers, nature lovers and fans of myth and legend.
The name Loe is derived from the Cornish ‘logh’, which is a deep water inlet, and in this case it was once a tidal arm of the nearby sea but it became blocked over the years. These days it’s a deep pool all by itself and that means that Loe Bar, which is at the end of Porthleven Beach, is one of the focal points at this natural attraction as the sand and shingle bar cuts the pool off from the oceans.
It all makes for a pretty dramatic sight with the magnificent scenery surrounding the pool. Plus, there are some wonderfully wooded areas dotting its shores, so a walk over three or four hours around the perimeter is certainly recommended.
Loe Pool has been owned and managed by the National Trust since 1974, with both the trust and the Loe Pool Forum working hard over the years to stem a worrying decline in water quality due to changes in ecology and algal blooms. But they’ve been winning the fight as on the right sunny day, the pool looks magical. You can spot plenty of wildlife here, including wild birds, trout and even some busy otters.
Don’t go swimming in Loe Pool as there’s a local legend that says it ‘takes someone every seven years’. Actually, there’s a grain of truth to the myth as quite a few people have drowned in the water over the years and it’s deemed officially dangerous to swim in due to the long, thick weeds that grow in its depths.
The area once took the lives of more than 100 men, women and children as the HMS Anson sank at Loe Bar during a rough storm in 1807. A white cross commemorating the tragedy overlooks Loe Pool.
Myths abound at Loe Pool about buried treasure, the devil, dragons and local demon, Jan Tregeagle. Probably the modest famous is about King Arthur, however, as some believe it was in this pool that he abandoned his sword Excalibur. Perhaps you will see the famous mythical sword shimmering in the depths when you visit Cornwall’s largest natural lake and take in all that glorious nature, tranquil waters and local legends.