Newquay (/ˈnjuːki/ NEW-kee; Cornish: Tewynblustri) is a town in
the south west of England, in the United Kingdom. It is a civil
parish, seaside resort, regional centre for aerospace industries and a
fishing port on the
North Atlantic coast of Cornwall, approximately 12
miles (19 km) north of
Truro and 20 miles (32 km) west of
The town is bounded to the west by the
River Gannel and its associated
salt marsh, and to the east by the Porth Valley.
Newquay has been
expanding inland (south) since the former fishing village of New Quay
began to grow in the second half of the nineteenth century.
In 2001, the census recorded a permanent population of 19,562,
increasing to 20,342 at the 2011 census. Recent estimates suggest
that the total for the wider
Newquay area would rise to 27,862 by 2018
and 30,341 in 2019. 
1.1 Prehistoric period
1.2 Medieval period
1.3 Modern period
4.1 Town trail
5.1 Second World War
6 Hospital and emergency services
8 Sport and leisure
9 Notable people associated with Newquay
Newquay in films
12 See also
14 External links
There are some pre-historic burial mounds and an embankment on the
area now known as The Barrowfields, 400 m (440 yd) from
Trevelgue. There were once up to fifteen barrows, but now only a few
remain. Excavations here have revealed charred cooking pots and a
coarse pottery burial urn containing remains of a Bronze Age
chieftain, who was buried here up to 3,500 years ago.
In 1987, evidence of a
Bronze Age village was found at Trethellan
Farm, a site that overlooks the River Gannel.
The first signs of settlement in the
Newquay region consist of a late
Iron Age hill fort/industrial centre which exploited the nearby
abundant resources (including deposits of iron) and the superior
natural defences provided by Trevelgue Head. It is claimed that
occupation of the site was continuous from the 3rd century BC to the
5th or 6th century AD (a Dark Ages house was later built on the
The curve of the headland around what is now
natural protection from bad weather and a small fishing village grew
up in the area. When the village was first occupied is unknown but it
is not mentioned in the
Domesday Book although a local house (now a
bar known as "Treninnick Tavern") is included. By the 15th century,
the village was called "Towan Blystra"—-"Towan" means sand hill/dune
in Cornish, "Blystra" meaning blown-—but the anchorage was exposed
to winds from the north east and in 1439 the local burgesses applied
to Edmund Lacey,
Bishop of Exeter
Bishop of Exeter for leave and funds to build a "New
quay" from which the town derives its current name.
A 1904 image showing the
Great Western Railway
Great Western Railway terminating at Newquay
Harbour (top); the area in 2006 (bottom).
The first national British census of 1801 recorded around 1,300
inhabitants in the settlement (enumerated as a village under St Columb
Minor parish). The construction of the current harbour started in
Newquay parish was created in 1882.
A mansion called the Tower was built for the Molesworth family in
1835: it included a castellated tower and a private chapel as they
were devout Roman Catholics. The Tower later became the golf club
house. After the arrival of passenger trains in 1876, the former
fishing village started to grow. Several major hotels were built
around the turn of the 19th century, including the Victoria in East
Street, the Atlantic and the Headland. The three churches were also
built soon after 1901. The arms of the urban district council of
Newquay were Or on a saltire Azure four herrings respectant
Growth of the town eastwards soon reached the area around the railway
station: Station Road became Cliff Road around 1930, and the houses
beyond, along Narrowcliff, were also converted into hotels.
Narrowcliff was first known as Narrowcliff Promenade, and then
Narrowcliff Road. On some pre-war maps it is spelt Narrowcliffe.
At the time of the
First World War
First World War the last buildings at the edge of
the town were a little further along present-day Narrowcliff,
including the Hotel Edgecumbe. Post-war development saw new houses and
streets built in the Chester Road area, accompanied by ribbon
development along the country lane which led to St Columb Minor, some
2 miles (3 km) away. This thoroughfare was modernised and named
Henver Road, also some time in the 1930s. Development continued in
this direction until the Second World War, by which time much of
Henver Road had houses on both sides, with considerable infilling also
taking place between there and the sea.
It was not until the early 1950s that the last houses were built along
Henver Road itself: after that, there was a virtually continuous
building line on both sides of the main road from the other side of St
Columb Minor right into the town centre. The Doublestiles estate to
the north of Henver Road was also built in the early 1950s, as the
name of Coronation Way indicates, and further development continued
beyond, becoming the Lewarne Estate and extending the built up area to
the edges of Porth.
Other areas also developed in the period between the wars were Pentire
(known for a time as West Newquay) and the Trenance Valley. Other
streets dating from the 1920s included St Thomas Road, which provided
the approach to the town's new cottage hospital at its far end, to be
followed by others in the same area near the station, such as Pargolla
Up to the early 20th century, the small fishing port was famous for
pilchards and there is a "Huer's Hut" above the harbour from which a
huer would cry "Hevva!" to call out the fishing fleet when pilchard
shoals were spotted. The town's present insignia includes four
pilchards, while its motto Ro An Mor is Cornish for 'from the sea'.
The real pilchards now only survive in limited stocks, but a small
number of boats still catch the local edible crabs and lobsters.
More recent development has been on a larger scale: until the late
1960s a passenger arriving by train would not have seen a building by
the line (with the exception of Trencreek village) until the Trenance
Viaduct was reached. Today, the urban area starts a good 1.5 miles
(2 km) inland from the viaduct. Other growth areas have been on
the fringes of
St Columb Minor
St Columb Minor and also towards the Gannel. More
development beyond Treninnick, south of the Trenance Valley, has taken
the urban area out as far as Lane, where more building is now under
way. The Trennnick/Treloggan development, mainly in the 1970s and
1980s, included not merely housing but also an industrial estate and
several large commercial outlets, including a major supermarket and a
cash and carry warehouse.
In 2012, the first phase of Surfbury began to be built (as local
people have called it after the similar Poundbury). It is a Duchy of
Cornwall planned development at Tregunnel Hill with 174 homes.
More plans include further substantial development inland which has
now begun, and construction on a large site known as Nansledan is now
apparent along the Quintrell Road. Plans were approved for the
development of 800 homes at Nansledan in December 2013. The Nansledan
plan now includes more than 4,000 homes, shops, a supermarket, church
and primary school.
Places like Trencreek, Porth and
St Columb Minor
St Columb Minor have long since
become suburbs of Newquay: it is now quite possible that by the 2030s,
should present development trends continue, the eastern edge of the
town could encompass Quintrell Downs, 3 miles (5 km) from the
In April 2012 the
Aerohub enterprise zone for aerospace businesses was
set up at
Cornwall Airport. In September 2014, the UK's Homes
and Communities Agency and the European Regional Development Fund
agreed to fund the construction of a £6 million
Newquay is now a contender for obtaining a licence to operate as a
Spaceport, in competition with sites in Scotland and Wales, and a
decision had been expected in the summer of 2017. However, the
additional general election in June 2017 has delayed the necessary
legislation, and although a Bill is passing through Parliament, Royal
Assent now seems unlikely before 2018. The bid is being supported by
Cornwall Council and
Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise
Partnership. The proposal also includes the related facilities offered
by the Cornish space tracking station at Goonhilly.
St Columb Minor, Newquay
Newquay St. Michael's, a large Anglican church in the Cornish style
designed by Sir Ninian Comper, was built in 1911. There is a fine rood
screen; the churchmanship is High. The church was destroyed by an
arson attack on 29 June 1993, but has since been reopened (rededicated
in 1996). Most of
Newquay was in earlier times part of the parish of
St Columb Minor. A chapel of ease already existed before 1911 but the
growth in population meant that it was no longer adequate. Arthur
Mee in his
Cornwall (King's England) describes the perpetual light
maintained in the church as a memorial to the men of
Newquay who died
in the First World War. The stained glass windows and rood screen are
also described: the main themes are St Michael, the three other
archangels, and Jesus Christ and Mary the Blessed Virgin.
The Roman Catholic Church of the Holy Trinity is earlier, having been
built in 1903: until 1985 it was dependent on monks from
then became part of the Diocese of Plymouth. There have also been
Wesleyan and Bible Christian chapels in the town, the Wesleyan being a
fine (picturesque) building of 1904.
As with the rest of the
British Isles and South West England, Newquay
experiences a maritime climate with cool summers and mild winters. The
Met Office weather station is St. Mawgan/
about 3.5 miles to the north east of the town centre. Temperature
extremes in the area since 1960 vary from 31.3 °C
(88.3 °F) in June 1976 and August 1995 down to
−9.0 °C (15.8 °F) during January 1987.
Climate data for
St Mawgan 103m asl, 1971-2000,
Record high °C (°F)
Average high °C (°F)
Average low °C (°F)
Record low °C (°F)
Average precipitation mm (inches)
Mean monthly sunshine hours
Source #1: Met Office
Source #2: Royal Dutch Meteorological Institute Source #3: Newquay
The bedrock underlying
Newquay is the
Devonian age Meadfoot Group, a
succession of interbedded mudstones, siltstones and sandstones, with
occasional beds of limestone.
Quaternary age deposits of blown sand
cover the bedrock in the western part of the town. Some mineralisation
associated with the Cornubian granite batholith that intrudes into
much of the peninsular is found in the western part of the town near
Fistral Beach, in the form of lodes of lead and silver minerals.
Newquay has been a major tourist destination for more than a century,
principally on account of its coastline and nine long and accessible
sandy beaches, including Fistral. Around 22,000 people live in
Newquay, but the population can increase to 100,000 or more in the
Newquay has a large stock of holiday accommodation.
Established in sections throughout the 20th century, Trenance Leisure
Gardens are sited in a wooded, formerly marshy valley on the quieter
edge of Newquay, stretching down to the Gannel Estuary. From the
Edwardian era it provided recreation for tourists with walks, tennis
courts and a bowling green, all still popular today. In the gardens,
which are spanned by the arches of the stone railway viaduct, visitors
have long been able to enjoy a stroll through the beautiful Trenance
Gardens with their mature trees and heritage cottages, leading to the
boating lake. This was dug during the depression of the 1930s as a
work creation scheme. In the late 1960s, further enterprises were
established by the council, including mini-golf, a swimming pool, the
"Little Western" miniature railway and
Newquay Zoo, which opened in
Newquay was also known for the "Run to the Sun" event, which took
place for many years during the public holiday on the last weekend in
May at Trevelgue Holiday Park. People visited the town in Volkswagen
camper vans, Beetles and other custom cars. The last RTTS took place
The 630 mi (1,014 km)
South West Coast Path
South West Coast Path runs through the
Newquay Discovery Trail is made up of 14 Cornish slate discs, each
1 metre (39 inches) in diameter, sunk into the ground at strategic
points around the town. Each of the discs features a series of
'conundrum' words carved by sculptor Peter Martin. The trail starts in
the centre of town at the Killacourt.
Newquay has one higher education campus,
Cornwall College Newquay,
which is a member of the Combined Universities in Cornwall
Partnership. It offers foundation degree courses in Zoological
Conservation, Marine Aquaculture, Animal Science and Wildlife
Education and Media. Appropriately, the campus is alongside Newquay
Zoo in the Trenance Valley. There are also two secondary schools:
Newquay Tretherras is a state-funded academy with specialist
Technology College status, and
Treviglas College is a specialist
Business and Enterprise College.
Second World War
Among many schools evacuated to
School), 240 boys and 20 masters of
Gresham's School were evacuated to
the town from Holt, Norfolk, during the Second World War, between June
1940 and March 1944. Gresham's occupied the Bay Hotel and the
Between 1940 and 1944, the Royal Air Force used hotels in Newquay
as a Ground school for aircrew Initial Training Wings (No 7, No 8, and
No 40). Recruits were taught basic flying theory and service
protocols, and were sorted into their likely future RAF trades, such
as Pilots, Observers, Navigators, Wireless operators, and air gunners.
The training took place in the Highbury Hotel and men were billeted in
Several of the large hotels in
Newquay were requisitioned as
convalescent hospitals for the Army, Air Force, and Royal Navy. These
were the Atlantic Hotel, the Headland Hotel, the Hotel Victoria, and
the St Rumons (now called the Esplanade).
Hospital and emergency services
Newquay Lifeboat Station
Cornwall Constabulary maintains a substantial police station
in Tolcarne Road, and the Major Crime Investigation Team for Cornwall
works from there. The modern day-staffed fire station in Tregunnel
Hill is run by
Cornwall County Fire Brigade, and is the home of one of
the two aerial ladder platforms based in Cornwall. Ambulance cover is
provided by the
South Western Ambulance Service
South Western Ambulance Service NHS Trust from an
Ambulance Station in St Thomas Road.
Newquay Hospital is also at
the end of St Thomas Road, and is a local hospital catering for both
in- and outpatients. The nearest general hospital is in Truro.
Proposals in recent years for the
Newquay Growth Area, east of the
present town, have included a new and larger hospital.
Newquay also has a 14 personnel coastguard rescue team based at
Treloggan Industrial Park and an RNLI lifeboat station based in the
Newquay railway station
Newquay railway station
Newquay railway station is the terminus of the Atlantic Coast Line
from Par. The railway was originally built as a mineral line in the
1840s to provide a link with the harbour. A passenger service followed
on 20 June 1876, and from then on the town developed quickly as a
resort. The station is close to the beaches on the east side of the
Newquay handles intercity trains throughout the summer, which include
a daily service to and from London in July and August and also further
through trains to London, the Midlands and North on Saturdays and
Sundays between May and September. It is the only branch line terminus
in Britain still handling scheduled intercity trains.
Two of the three former platforms were taken out of use in 1987, but
Network Rail had planned to restore one of the disused platforms
to improve capacity. However, the latest draft Route Utilisation Study
for the Great Western routes, published in September 2009, makes
no mention of this. Instead it favours a restored crossing place (a
short section of double track where trains can pass) at St Columb
Road. This will depend on the progress with developing a proposed
eco-town in the
China clay area, much of which lies near the line.
A local user group has been campaigning for the line to be upgraded,
not merely with at least one additional platform to be provided at
Newquay, but also for passenger trains to run from St Dennis Junction
(near St Columb Road) to Burngullow, on the Cornish Main Line west of
St Austell. This would require the restoration of several miles of
track, and also the improvement of a
China clay line which still
operates between Parkandillack and Burngullow. This route was proposed
in 1987 as a possible replacement for the line to Par, much of which
could then have been closed. However, although the British Railways
Board obtained the necessary legal powers, the plan was not carried
The goods line which developed into the
Railway was opened in 1846 from inland clay mines to the harbour,
worked by horses. Parts of the old line from the present station to
the harbour are still in existence: the most obvious section is a
broad footpath from opposite the station in Cliff Road to East Street,
known locally as the "tram track", and complete with a very
railway-style overbridge. From East Street, the line continued towards
the harbour along the present-day Manor Road.
The last trains ran through to
Harbour in about 1924, but
general goods traffic continued to reach
Newquay railway station
Newquay railway station until
1964. The goods yard then closed as part of much wider changes on
British Railways. However, the passenger station and its approaches
were enlarged more than once, with additional carriage sidings being
Newquay in the 1930s. The originally wooden viaduct just
outside the station, which crosses the Trenance Valley, was rebuilt in
1874 to allow locomotives to run over the structure and then again
after World War II to carry double track, which extended until 1964
for approximately 1 mile to Tolcarn Junction. The line is now single
throughout again, but the width of the viaduct is still obvious.
Tolcarn Junction itself was the point where a second passenger route
diverged from the Par line between 1906 and 1963. This branch ran to
Chacewater, west of Truro, via
Perranporth and St Agnes, and provided
through trains to
Truro and Falmouth.
The surviving branch line from Par, which includes other
viaducts—mainly in the Luxulyan Valley—and also numerous level
crossings, still brings many visitors each year from the junction at
Par (on the Cornish Main Line) to Newquay. From the 1890s until 1947
the branch was owned by the Great Western Railway, then becoming part
of British Railways Western Region until the late 1980s, when it was
transferred to the Provincial sector of BR. This sector was renamed
Regional Railways at the start of the 1990s.
After BR passenger services were franchised in 1996 and 1997, the line
was operated by Wales & West (originally South Wales & West)
from October 1996. Wales & West was a franchise owned by Prism
Rail, but Prism did not stay the course: it was taken over by National
Express in early 2001 and the Wales & West franchise was then
divided, its South West of
England area becoming Wessex Trains. This
situation lasted until April 2006, when the Wessex franchise was
absorbed by the new Greater Western franchise, which is operated by
Great Western Railway.
Newquay provides links to many other parts of the
United Kingdom. It is an HM Customs port, because it also handles
increasing numbers of foreign flights, both scheduled and chartered.
Newquay (NQY) is the principal airport for Cornwall, although there
are several minor airfields elsewhere in the county.
Newquay Civil Airport (as it was formerly known) used the
runway and other facilities of RAF St Mawgan, but in December 2008 the
Ministry of Defence handed over most of the site to the recently
Cornwall Airport Limited. The first stage of the conversion
into a fully commercial airport was completed in 2011, although
further substantial development is planned. The handover, which
was due to take place at the end of 2008, was delayed for almost three
weeks because of problems in obtaining the essential Civil Aviation
Authority licence, which was withheld until further work had been
Newquay Bus Station
There are regular bus services from
Newquay to many parts of Cornwall,
including the neighbouring urban centres of
St Austell as
well as Fowey, St Columb Major, Padstow,
Perranporth and Wadebridge.
The principal operator is First Kernow, while the town is also served
National Express coaches. The bus station is in Manor Road, which
runs parallel to the shopping area in Bank Street. A scheme to upgrade
and improve the bus station with the additions of a new enclosed
waiting area and accessible facilities began in late February 2018.
Sport and leisure
Newquay has two
Non-League football clubs
Newquay F.C. who play at
Mount Wise Stadium and
Godolphin Atlantic F.C.
Godolphin Atlantic F.C. who play at Godolphin
Newquay Hornets rugby club play at
Newquay Sports Centre.
Newquay have a successful, four team cricket club based at the
SportsCentre. Their 1st XI currently compete in Cornwall's County One,
and at the start of the century were a major power in regional
cricket, winning the ECB
Cornwall Premier League in 2003, boasting
star players such as Ryan Driver, Tim Walton and Barry Purchase.
Newquay's academy in the past 15 years has produced 4 full Cornwall
players - Rob Harrison, Neil Ivamy, Joe Crane and Adam Cocking, in
addition to numerous County youth representatives. They have youth
teams from age ranges Under 9 - Under 19. In 2016 their overseas
professional was former Zimbabwean test match batsman Mark Vermeulen.
In 2017 the teams all competed well in their respective Divisions, and
have now gone down the route of not having a professional, instead
investing in improving the ground, coaching and infrastructure.
Newquay is a prime destination for touring cricket sides and the club
specialise in hosting touring teams.
Newquay also plays host to the
Newquay Road Runners who are based from
the sports centre.
Fistral Beach showing the beach bar setup ready for the 2010
The resort is widely regarded as the surf capital of the UK.
Newquay is a centre for the surf industry in Britain, with many
surf stores, board manufacturers and hire shops in the town.
At the centre of Newquay's surfing status is
Fistral Beach which has a
reputation as one of the best beach breaks in Cornwall. Fistral is
capable of producing powerful, hollow waves and holding a good sized
Fistral Beach has been host to international surfing competitions for
around 20 years now. The annual
Boardmasters Festival takes place at
Fistral beach, with a music festival taking place at Watergate Bay.
Newquay is also home to the reef known as the Cribbar. With waves
breaking at up to 20 feet (6 m), the
Cribbar was until recently
rarely surfed as it requires no wind and huge swell to break. It was
first surfed in September 1965 by Rodney Sumpter Bob Head and Jack
Lydgate then again in 1966 by Pete Russell,
Ric Friar and Johnny
McElroy and American Jack Lydgate. The recent explosion in
interest in surfing large waves has seen it surfed more frequently by
South African born Chris Bertish, who during a succession of huge
clean swells in 2004 surfed the biggest wave ever seen there.
Towan, Great Western and Tolcarne beaches nearer the town and nearby
Watergate Bay also provide high quality breaks.
Newquay, harbour, Atlantic Hotel and headland from Tolcarne Beach
Notable people associated with Newquay
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William Golding, author of Lord of the Flies, was born in Newquay
Alexander Lodge (1881–1938) was an English inventor who did early
work and held some patents on the spark plug.
Ruarri Joseph lives in the
Richard Long, 4th Viscount Long lived at The Island, a house on a rock
linked to the mainland by a private suspension bridge
Former Sheffield Wednesday and Celtic footballer Chris Morris was born
Singer-songwriter James Morrison grew up in the
Newquay area: he
attended Treviglas College
Neil Halstead currently resides in the area
Phillip Schofield attended
Newquay Tretherras School
John Coulson Tregarthen, naturalist and novelist, lived in Newquay
Sir David Willcocks
Sir David Willcocks the choral conductor, organist, and composer was
born here in 1919
Nicholas Charles Williams
Nicholas Charles Williams is based in Newquay
Richard David James
Richard David James (Aphex Twin) resides in Newquay
Charlotte Mary Matheson
Charlotte Mary Matheson live at Porth Veor
Newquay is twinned with
Dinard in Brittany, France.
Newquay in films
Headland Hotel next to
Fistral Beach has been used in several
films, including Wild Things (1998) and The Witches (1990).
The Beatles filmed part of the Magical Mystery Tour film in Newquay.
Scenes were filmed at the Atlantic Hotel and Towan Beach.
Blue Juice (1995)
List of topics related to Cornwall
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Wikimedia Commons has media related to Newquay.
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Newquay.
Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article
Newquay Community Profile
Newquay Tourism website
Newquay Town Council
Newquay at Curlie (based on DMOZ)
Ceremonial county of Cornwall
Council of the Isles of Scilly
St Columb Major
St Just in Penwith
See also: List of civil parishes in Cornwall
Population of major settlements
Places of interest
Outline of Cornwall
Index of Cornwall-related articles
Civil parishes of
St Austell and
Grampound with Creed
St Austell Bay
St Columb Major
St Michael Caerhays
Tywardreath and Par