Fishermen raise £100,000 in a week in fight to save historic Cornish cove from developers

Chiara Giordano
·3-min read
Cadgwith cove in Cornwall pictured in 2013 (Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
Cadgwith cove in Cornwall pictured in 2013 (Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

A community fundraiser to save three historic buildings in Cornwall’s “last full-time fishing cove” has raised more than £100,000 in just one week.

Cadgwith Fishing Cove Trust is fundraising to save the seventeenth-century buildings, which are now up for sale despite still being used by fishermen in the picturesque cove on the Lizard Peninsula.

The buildings are vital to the eight-strong fishing fleet who use them to store gear, process their catch and run community events, and they are also home to an art gallery and two fresh fish shops.

Cadgwith’s fishermen fear they could be sold to private developers and turned into “yet more second homes and holiday lets” – putting the village’s centuries-old fishing traditions at risk.

The community has been offered first refusal on all of the buildings but they must now raise £300,000 to stop them being listed on the open market.

Watch: Lucky Turtle Released After Having Fish Hook Removed

After raising more than £100,000 in one week, fundraisers have set a new goal of £150,000 to buy one of the buildings outright. They hope to then apply for grants to save the remaining two buildings.

Brett Jose, one of four trustees with the Cadgwith Fishing Cove Trust, said the community had been “overwhelmed” by the public’s show of support.

Luke Pavey/Frank Films
Luke Pavey/Frank Films

The 35-year-old, whose family has lived in the area for several generations, told The Independent: “We are absolutely gobsmacked I guess really is the word.

“We never thought in our wildest dreams that it was going to go so well and the amount of support and donations and messages of support and offers of help and auction bids, we just can’t believe it, it’s overwhelming. The amount of support has shocked the whole village.

“The good thing is on the crowdfunder it’s a lot of people who’ve been here on holiday and who’ve had an experience. There a lot of them and I think anybody who has ever been to Cadgwith wanted to do their little bit just to give something back.”

Mr Jose, a fisherman in the cove, described as Cornwall’s last traditional full-time fishing cove, said engravings on the beams of the buildings were an important piece of the county’s history that marked days over the past 100 years when the fleet had achieved a particularly impressive catch of pilchards.

Luke Pavey/Frank Films
Luke Pavey/Frank Films

Today’s fishermen, who largely catch grey mullet, have continued that tradition.

Mr Jose added: “Without these buildings for the fishermen there wouldn't be any fishing boats on that beach, we can’t run that fleet without having that infrastructure behind us.

“These buildings have been here since the 17th century, they were the original buildings in the cove, and they have always been used for fishing. There were more there that have already been turned into restaurants and cafes.

“If they end up on the open market, that means anyone with the right sort of money can buy them, and that is happening to many other coves around Cornwall.”

Watch: Seals stage a comeback on France's sea coast

Read MoreBrexit fishing deal ‘fell short’ of industry expectations, government admits