Cotehele Quay

View of the River Tamar from Cotehele Quay

The historic Cotehele Quay on the banks of the River Tamar was once a busy working quay where goods were shipped to and from Plymouth. Today it is a place for all to enjoy, a starting point to explore the wider Cotehele estate and where the Victorian Tamar sailing barge ‘Shamrock’ can be seen awaiting further conservation work.

In this article:


Cotehele's historic quay

In the 19th century, as local industries boomed, Cotehele Quay bustled with vessels loading and unloading cargo. Crowded paddle steamers travelled upriver from Plymouth to see the blossoming orchards for which the area was farmed and small boats carried market-gardening produce for sale at Devonport Market.

Visiting the Quay

The Pay and Display machine at the car park on Cotehele Quay

Parking at the Quay

The pay and display car park on the quay is open from dawn to dusk. National Trust members can park for free by scanning their membership card at the parking machine. Sorry, we don't allow overnight camping or parking within any of our car parks.

Picnic bench Hidcote

Picnics welcome

You're welcome to enjoy a picnic on the quayside or in the picnic area, but please take any litter away with you. Sorry, but we do not permit the use of barbeques anywhere on the Cotehele estate, this includes the Quay and within our car parks.

Very high tide at the quay boathouse at Cotehele, Cornwall

Cotehele Quay is liable to flooding at high tide

At very high and spring tides the quay and car park are liable to flooding and become inaccessible. Please be aware of tide times and notices at the quay


Cotehele Quay: a starting point for an adventure

From Cotehele Quay you can start to explore the many miles of footpaths around the Cotehele estate. The 1,300 acre estate includes woodlands and fields, industrial ruins, flora, fauna and working farm buildings. You can find out more about the wider estate here.

Our favourite walks

Canoe, kayak and paddleboard from Cotehele Quay

Canoe, kayak and paddleboard owners can launch from the slipways on the quay, so long as you carry the equipment from the car park having used the pay and display machine. If the quay is busy and there is nowhere to park within the quay car park, please turn around and try again at a time when it is quieter. For small vessels such as canoes, kayaks and paddleboards, a charge of £2 per vessel is payable for use of the slipway. This can be paid by coins at the car park machine at Cotehele Quay. 

For those with larger boats on a trailer, we ask you to book in advance for use of our slipway. To do this please email or call 01579 351346. For larger boats on a trailer the cost is £10 and we ask for cars and trailers to be parked in the overflow car park in our main car park. We will turn away any boats and trailers that arrive on the quay without pre-booking.

Before you head out on the water, we recommend that you check the tide times for Cotehele Quay.

If your looking to get out onto the river but don't own a canoe, Canoe Tamar host regular canoe trips setting off from the quay, heading towards Calstock and into the wilds of the upper tidal limits.

Fishing at Cotehele

We do not allow fishing on Cotehele Quay unless permission has been given. We do however welcome those who wish to fish to use Bohetherick Quay nearby. Please follow government guidance on rod fishing byelaws and licences and remember to take any rubbish home with you.

The bank breached at the new intertidal habitat at Cotehele Quay

Working with and for nature: creating new habitat at Cotehele quay

We’re creating a wildlife rich intertidal habitat in the field below the woodland path by Cotehele Quay.


Discover Shamrock

Shamrock is the only fully-restored ketch-rigged Tamar sailing barge in the world. She was built in Plymouth in 1899 to carry cargo on the river. She now spends her retirement on Cotehele Quay. You can read about her history and see loads of photos on her blog here.