After Penmere, any station was going to be a let down, and the plainness of Falmouth Town certainly brought me back down with a bump.
This station opened in 1970, when British Rail noticed that the terminus at Falmouth Docks was in a poor position to serve much of the town. This station, therefore, is the upstart newcomer to the line, a modernity which is reflected in the station architecture. There is a basic waiting shelter on the platform and… that’s it. I do like the “wave” motif on the railings, though.
There was precious little of note in the station itself, so I wandered down to the car park where an elderly couple were harrumphing at the lack of facilities (no toilets). I got the required self-portrait, hindered by the sun facing in completely the wrong direction. I was on a busy road with plenty of passers-by to make me feel like a complete tit.
Job done, I headed into the town centre, just a few minutes walk away from the station, in search of food and rest. I passed the new Maritime Museum building and was tempted to visit, but decided that I wouldn’t have enough time to do it justice.
Falmouth is the largest port in Cornwall and, although it has declined from its heyday, the harbour and docks remain busy with all sorts of craft, ranging from small fishing boats right up to larger ships.
The centre of Falmouth is marked by a typical town square, complete with war memorial. Wandering away from this open space, however, I found myself back in a similar mix of narrow streets to those I found in Looe.
Falmouth is a town that likes its history. For example, did you know Charles Darwin once disembarked from a boat here? I didn’t, but I do now!
I also found a plaque for a “Seamen’s Bethel”, which sounded like fun, but in fact “Bethel” is another word for a chapel, and that’s the last place you want to put seamen.
I wandered a bit more and found myself walking up a steep road that led out of town. It had been cloudy for most of the morning, but by mid-afternoon the clouds had finally dissipated and I was under blue skies and a warm sun.
Reaching the top of the hill, I found a picture postcard view.
By now I was feeling very hungry. I headed back down into the town centre to find something to eat. There were numerous eateries offering local produce: Cornish Pasties (of course), Cornish Ice Cream, and locally caught fish and chips. One of the offerings was Rick Stein’s Fish & Chips on Discovery Quay, which I’m sure is really good and justifies its prices – £7.85 for cod and chips!
Would I go for any of those fine local establishments to get some lunch and coffee? Well…
Sorry, Falmouth, but my adventurous spirit had deserted me, and I plumped for a panini and Costa Coffee in a Russell Tovey commemorative mug. At least it wasn’t Starbucks (note: if Falmouth had a Starbucks, it would have been Starbucks).
I did make up for it afterwards by having some locally produced ice cream, complete with a finger of fudge. I appear to have become one of those annoying people who takes photos of their food, for which I apologise.
So that was Falmouth – it’s a great place and I was saddened that my station visiting schedule meant that I didn’t have much time to see it (I didn’t actually set foot on the famous sandy beaches, for example). A return visit at some point in the future may be on the cards.
It’s also nice to see a place where Earthworm Jim is still very much in vogue:-
Just one more station to go, and a second branch line could be cleared from my to-do list.