A new coastal community for Cornwall
On a spectacular bay in North Cornwall lies a small harbour with a rich industrial past. While the fisherman’s quay still buzzes with boats, much of the site has lain empty since local industry fell silent.
Deeply inspired by the stories this landscape could tell, our approach has been to reveal tantalising glimpses of the site’s past – while creating a vibrant new community for the future.
The working harbour and fisherman’s quay remain at the heart of the new community, with new houses and commercial units set around generous new public spaces. Here the quay’s past is recalled through gentle references to the coal heaps and railway lines that left their imprint on the land.
Our design is defined by a Cornish palette of local granite and cast iron, with concrete and weathered timber furniture and patinated copper adding highlights. Each material tells a different story - Copper was mined nearby, before being smelted by the Cornish Copper Company at Ventonleague – and then exported out via Hayle quay.
Smelting copper generated large quantities of slag, which was cast into heavy, jet-black blocks called ‘Scoria’. Tough and durable, Scoria was given away to Cornish Copper Company employees and soon became part of the local architectural vernacular –both in local houses and the harbour walls.
Given the sublime setting of St Ives’ Bay, our planting approach is rooted in the estuarine landscape. We will be harnessing the local micro-climate to invite local flora and fauna back into the heart of the scheme. New habitats will be created, along with spaces for residents to grow food.
A lush sub-tropical garden set within a former industrial yard will be a particular highlight. This sheltered oasis will offer a botanical explosion of scent and colour, offering respite from the sea wind and rolling sea haar. The garden will showcase a collection of plants from around the world - Chinese rice-paper plants (Tetrapanaxpapyrifer) will rub shoulders with the leathery leaves of the Giant Leopard (Ligularia tussilaginea ‘Gigantea’), while the feathery fronds of tree ferns (Dicksonia Antarctica) will lend an exotic air.
It’s an exciting project and a genuine privilege to be part of the team turning a new chapter in Hayle’s story.