Helston an ancient market town, was first granted its
charter in 1201. Two main streets intersect the town and the widest,
Coinagehall Street, was described by John Betjeman as "It
takes a beautiful curve like the Oxford "High" and is well
terminated at either end."
Helston was one of the ancient coinage towns where tin
ingots were assayed and stamped to assess the duty to be paid to the
Duke of Cornwall. During this process a corner or "coign"
was cut off to be assayed for quality.
In early times Helston was a thriving port at the head
of the Cober estuary but from the 13th C onwards, the estuary began
to silt up and a great shingle bank "The Loe Bar" was
formed at the mouth of the estuary making the largest freshwater lake
in Cornwall. The estates round this lake are part owned by The
National Trust and there are delightful walks to be taken in this area.
Helston Folk Museum stands behind the Guildhall and
has an interesting collection ranging from Bronze Age artifacts to
fire engines. Admission is free and it is well worth a visit.
A charming feature of the town are it's Kennels. These
are streams running down either side of Wendron Street, Church Street
and Coinagehall Street. In earlier time these kept the gutters clean
but today only add to the charm of Helston.
The streets are lined with many interesting shops
including a Cornish Book Shop specializing in all things Cornish
including the Cornish Language. Local bakeries abound and the smell
of fresh baked pasties tempt all who pass. Parking is easy and only a
few yards from the shopping area.
At the bottom of the town is Coronation Park complete
with children's play area, boating lake, ducks and swans.
Two miles southwest of the town stands RNAS Culdrose,
the largest helicopter base in Europe. An Air Day is held each year
in July and a public wiewing area is open all year.