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Gillan Creek

Tides and tools
Overview





Gillan Creek lies off the southern entrance to the Helford River which enters the sea on England's southwest coast about ten miles northeast of Lizard Point and four miles south-westward of the entrance to the River Fal.

The creek provides good shelter in northwest around to southeast winds. Vessels that can take to the mud will find better if not complete protection by penetrating deep into the creek on the tide. The entrance may be easily identified by its prominent heads and the creek's central danger is marked making the approach straightforward during daylight and at any stage of the tide.



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Keyfacts for Gillan Creek
Facilities
Water available via tapHot food available in the localityPublic house or wine bar in the areaMarked or notable walks in the vicinity of this locationPleasant family beach in the area


Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationRemote or quiet secluded locationAnchoring locationVisitors moorings available, or possibly by club arrangementBeach or shoreline landing from a tenderJetty or a structure to assist landingQuick and easy access from open waterSailing Club baseSet near a village or with a village in the immediate vicinity

Considerations
None listed

Protected sectors

Current wind over the protected quadrants
Minimum depth
3 metres (9.84 feet).

Approaches
4 stars: Straightforward; when unaffected by weather from difficult quadrants or tidal consideration, no overly complex dangers.
Shelter
4 stars: Good; assured night's sleep except from specific quarters.



Last modified
March 29th 2019

Summary

A good location with straightforward access.

Facilities
Water available via tapHot food available in the localityPublic house or wine bar in the areaMarked or notable walks in the vicinity of this locationPleasant family beach in the area


Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationRemote or quiet secluded locationAnchoring locationVisitors moorings available, or possibly by club arrangementBeach or shoreline landing from a tenderJetty or a structure to assist landingQuick and easy access from open waterSailing Club baseSet near a village or with a village in the immediate vicinity

Considerations
None listed



Position and approaches
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Haven position

50° 5.207' N, 005° 5.493' W

This is in about 3 metres and inside and to the southwest of the central Car Croc Rock which is marked by an unlit east cardinal.

What is the initial fix?

The following Gillan Creek Initial Fix will set up a final approach:
50° 5.366' N, 005° 4.890' W
This is on the 10-metre contour about ½ a mile east of Dennis Head and ¼ north of the Pareban Cove anchorage nestled behind Nare Point.


What are the key points of the approach?

Offshore details are available in southwestern England’s coastal overview from Start Point to Lizard Point Route location.


Not what you need?
Click the 'Next' and 'Previous' buttons to progress through neighbouring havens in a coastal 'clockwise' or 'anti-clockwise' sequence. Below are the ten nearest havens to Gillan Creek for your convenience.
Ten nearest havens by straight line charted distance and bearing:
  1. Helford River - 1 miles WNW
  2. Coverack - 2.4 miles S
  3. Falmouth - 2.6 miles NNE
  4. Saint Mawes - 3.2 miles NE
  5. Cadgwith - 4.3 miles SSW
  6. Portscatho - 4.6 miles NE
  7. Mullion Cove & Porth Mellin - 4.9 miles SW
  8. Porthleven Harbour - 5.4 miles W
  9. Kynance Cove - 5.4 miles SW
  10. The River Fal - 6.6 miles N
These havens are ordered by straight line charted distance and bearing, and can be reordered by compass direction or coastal sequence:
  1. Helford River - 1 miles WNW
  2. Coverack - 2.4 miles S
  3. Falmouth - 2.6 miles NNE
  4. Saint Mawes - 3.2 miles NE
  5. Cadgwith - 4.3 miles SSW
  6. Portscatho - 4.6 miles NE
  7. Mullion Cove & Porth Mellin - 4.9 miles SW
  8. Porthleven Harbour - 5.4 miles W
  9. Kynance Cove - 5.4 miles SW
  10. The River Fal - 6.6 miles N
To find locations with the specific attributes you need try:

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Chart
Please use our integrated Navionics chart to appraise the haven and its approaches. Navionics charts feature in premier plotters from B&G, Raymarine, Magellan and are also available on tablets. Open the chart in a larger viewing area by clicking the expand to 'new tab' or the 'full screen' option.

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What's the story here?
Visitin boat off St. Anthony-in-Meneage
Image: Michael Harpur


The hamlet of Gillan is located on the south side of the creek and close inside its entrance. It is fronted by a sand and shingle beach that forms Gillan Harbour with a handful of houses overlooking from the woods above almost adjoining another small hamlet of Flushing. On the northern side of the creek is the more prominent St Anthony-in-Meneage which largely consists of a boatyard focusing on hire boats and an ancient church with some stone houses clustered around it. Located close to the southern entrance to Helford River and being a pretty natural environment it is popular with boat owners and yachtsmen.


Gillan
Image: Michael Harpur


The creek has many seasonal moorings and because the bulk of the creek dries at low tide most of the moorings are concentrated in the deeper waters around the mouth. There is, however, usually ample space to anchor in the mouth of Gillan Creek in about 3.5 metres LAT. It makes for a very good anchorage even in a westerly gale and especially so if the gale is expected to veer from southwest round to northwest where the anchorage outside the entrance offers better protection than the Helford River. It offers no shelter in east winds unless a vessel can proceed on the tide about a mile up the creek and take to the mud when the water is away. The non-drying anchorage of Parbean Cove located, technically just outside Gillan Creek and close inside Nare Point, provides good shelter from southeasterly conditions.


St Anthony-in-Meneage
Image: Michael Harpur


There is no relevant authority for Gillan Creek but 'Sailaway' situated on the shingle foreshore of St Anthony offers deepwater and drying visitor moorings that can accommodate craft up to 13.5 metres LOL. Prior booking is essential Landline+44 1326 231 357, E-mailinfo@stanthony.co.uk, Websitewww.sailawaystanthony.co.uk. They run a ferry service for access to the moorings during high season.


How to get in?
Gillan Creek entered close south of the entrance to the Helford River
Image: Michael Harpur


Convergance Point Use southwestern England’s coastal overview from Start Point to Lizard Point Route location for seaward approaches and Helford River Click to view haven for approaches to the river.

Gillan Creek is situated close within the river entrance on the south side. It is entered between Nare Point and Dennis Head. The low lying Nare Point is readily identified by its Coastwatch station and the distinctive 44 metres high hump of Dennis Head will be obvious for many miles. Nare Point should be given a wide berth at all states of the tide as it has rocky ledges extending 200 metres to seaward.


Yacht in Parbean Cove between Nare and Men-aver points
Image: Michael Harpur


Initial fix location Those approaching Parbean Cove can come south from the initial fix. During fine weather, a boat or two will often be seen lying at anchor in the cove but it is still ideally approached at low tide when its protective circle of drying ledges can be seen. These extend north and northeastward from Men-aver to then circle around to Nare Points. Proceed in through its north-facing opening and anchor over a central patch of mixed soft sand, rocks, and some smaller boulders with 2.2 metres LAT.


'Car Croc' cardinal buoy with the shadow of the rock visible behind at high
water

Image: Michael Harpur


Those proceeding towards Gillan Creek should steer toward the southern corner of Dennis Head until the 'Car Croc' east cardinal buoy is identified. Car Croc is a rock that dries to 0.7 metres and sits almost in the middle of the entrance. It is a large rock and the cardinal is situated about 50 metres to the northeast.

Although the rock may be passed on either side Gillan Creek is best entered to northwest of 'Car Croc' cardinal buoy and southwest of Dennis Head. This avoids an encounter with the large shelf that extends from Men-aver Point and dries to 2.3 metres. Steer a course of midway between the buoy and Head if slightly favouring the 'Car Croc' side. There is a speed restriction of 6 knots throughout Gillan Creek.



Anchor off the southern shore between Car Croc and local moorings
Image: Michael Harpur


Haven location Anchor between Car Croc and the southern shore or a little further in but outside of local moorings where depths of about 3 metres will be found. 100 metres within Car Croc and depths rapidly fall away to about a 1 metre.


Gillan Creek
Image: Michael Harpur


About 300 metres up-creek from Car Croc and the creek dries so this part of the creek is the reserve of shoal-draught craft that can take to the bottom when the tide is away.


The Sailaway Pontoon at St. Anthony-in-Meneage
Image: Michael Harpur



For those who can the harbour has considerable delights and complete protection a particularly attractive location is further into the middle of the creek close to the hamlet of St Anthony.


The southwestern arm of the creek hearding inland
Image: Michael Harpur


Those anchoring out in the bay can take a dinghy on the tide. A particularly enjoyable trek is to row almost up to the head of the densely wooded creek, the woods of which are to the largest part protected by the National Trust.


Why visit here?
It is thought that Gillan Creek takes its name from the Cornish word 'gilenn' meaning a 'nook or creek' that practically describes it.


Gillan Creek at high water
Image: Michael Harpur


Human inhabitation of this part of Cornwall goes back to Neolithic or Late Stone Age period beginning about 4000 BC. Gillan Creek was quickly adopted as flint flakes and pebbles have been discovered here from this early period and a Bronze Age axe that is now on display in Truro Museum. A heavily decorated Bronze Age urn unearthed here is housed in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. It's overlooking Dennis Head takes its name from a corruption of the Cornish dinas meaning 'castle' and it was once home to an Iron Age promontory fort. Finds in and around the headland fort include Iron Age or Romano-British pottery.


St Anthony-in-Meneage parish church
Image: Michael Harpur


Later the village of St. Anthony-in-Meneage became home to one of Cornwall's earliest Christian sites, dating back to the Dark Ages. Its Celtic name was first mentioned in the 10th-century as Lanentennin which is formed from the conjunction of the word lann, the name for a small enclosure built by a Christian religious community and a dedication to St Anthony, 'Anthony's holy place'. St Anthony of Padua was believed to have preached to fishes and was therefore regarded as the Patron Saint of Fishermen. The roots of Celtic religion run deep across this entire district which is known as the Meneage. The name means Monkish-land and it is believed that in the post-Roman period the land was in the possession of a confederacy of small Celtic monasteries.


The church seen from its fronting boatyard
Image: Michael Harpur


It is believed that the Normans erected a church here in the 11th-century. This was probably on the site of the old Celtic Church that would, most likely, have been a simpler wooden construct. Legend has it that the Normans were driven ashore at Gillan Creek by a dreadful storm in 1170. During their trial at sea the knights, expecting they would perish, made a vow to St Anthony that if their lives were spared they would build a church in his honour. This may very well have been true as many a Norman church was built upon such a pledge and parts of the present church standing to overlook the creek today date back to the 13th-century. The present pretty granite tower was a later 14th-century addition.


Sailaway's store was once an 18th-century fish store
Image: Michael Harpur


Since these time the creek has been left behind by time. Some fishing activity took place as traces of medieval oyster beds have been found in the muds of the creek and the remains of two former quay areas along the creekside. The building that Sailaway converted into their boat hire business was an 18th-century fish store. Due to its being off the beaten track and ill-served by roads, it has become a quiet, rural idyll where time seems to stand still.


Yacht in Gillan Creek
Image: Michael Harpur


Gillan Creek is a beautiful creek and best explored by shoal draft boats. Those prepared to push inland will find its inner arm has steep sides that rise sharply and are fringed with trees protected by the National Trust. A short walk from the top of the creek is another pretty tiny village of Manaccan. This may also be visited on foot from the river as the coast path follows Gillan Creek inland. Its 12th-century church is famous for its 250-year-old fig tree that flourishes in its western wall. The village offers an ideal place to pause for refreshment in its pleasant thatched pub, the New Inn.


Gillan Creek is a wonderful location to explore in any type of boat
Image: Michael Harpur


From a boating perspective, this whole area is an unspoilt gem within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). A little oasis of tranquillity if with a distinct lack of amenities and places to eat or drink. But to many, that is its attraction and it shares its beauty most to those who can enjoy it from a boat.


What facilities are available?
Sailaway in St Antony in Maneage has a jetty, freshwater tap and sells ice creams. There is also a general small boat chandlery which also stocks quality sailing and summer wear. New Inn, Manaccan is the nearest walkable pub +44 1326 231301.

The most useful bus for getting around the Lizard is the T2 that runs from Helston to Goonhilly, Coverack and St Keverne, 15 daily Monday to Saturday (two on Sundays only). The T3, twice daily Monday to Saturday, travels from Helston around to Mawgan, Helford, Manaccan, Porthallow, St Keverne and Roskilly’s Farm and Coverack.


With thanks to:
eOceanic


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Please zoom out to see the 'initial fix' for this location.
The above plots are not precise and indicative only.






Helford River and Gillan Creek



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