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13 November 2014

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You are in: Cornwall > History > Historic Walks > Looe History Walk

Looe today

Looe History Walk

Take a walk back in time and learn more about the busy town of East Looe. Hear our guided tour which takes in the Guild Hall, Buller Quay, the narrow back streets of the town, the war memorial and much more. See our gallery as well.

The busy Looe bridge joins together East and West Looe. Centuries ago the two were separate towns. They were first mentioned in documents as far back as the 13th century.

The bridge is not the original one built to link east and west. The first one was believed to have been built in 1411.  The current bridge dates back to 1853 and is slightly higher upstream. More recently the bridge was strengthened.

Buller Quay

Buller Quay

Fishing is still an important industry in Looe, with many fishermen basing themselves at the historic Buller Quay. Wherever you walk in East Looe a view of the clocktower is never far away.

This forms part of the historic Guildhall which was believed to have been built at the turn of the 16th century. Today it remains a busy part of the town, with the Tourist Information Centre at the rear of the building.

Further into the town you discover the earliest parts of East Looe. Known locally as the backstreets, the narrow streets are the home of the oldest houses in the town, including Church House opposite the old St Mary's Church.

At the end of the popular Looe Beach is Banjo Pier. It's a great vantage point when the weather is calm. It's been named banjo pier because many believe it's the same shape as the instrument of the same name.

A narrow street

One of the backstreets of Looe

Tourism also remains an important part of the town's economy. The fishing boats regularly leave the harbour with holiday makers trying their hand at the ancient trade. During the summer the narrow streets are full of families. Indeed throughout the year coaches regularly bring tourists into the town.

Looe is also home to The Monkey Sanctuary which cares for former pets whose owners weren't able to look after them.

Another popular attraction in the town is Looe Island, one mile off the south Cornwall coast. Its real name is St George's Island and it's 22.5 acres of outstanding natural beauty, one mile in circumference.

It's unusual for an island, in that it's partly wooded - the island has a surprisingly mild climate. It's normally only accessible by boat, but just sometimes the tide is low enough for people to walk across from the mainland.

Looe Bridge

The bridge in Looe

It's thought that the first signs of human habitation were in pre-history. There's some monastic remains on a hill there, but in recent years two eccentric sisters owned the island - and they willed it to the Cornwall Wildlife Trust on their deaths.

The two sisters were known as Babs and Attie Atkins. Though not rich, they bought the island in 1965 - Attie (whose real name was Evelyn) wrote two books about their life there - 'We Bought an Island' and its sequel 'Tales From our Cornish Island'.

Before the Atkins sisters arrived, the island was better known for being home to smugglers.

last updated: 25/09/2009 at 09:59
created: 02/09/2009

You are in: Cornwall > History > Historic Walks > Looe History Walk

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