Perched on its own little piece of headland, high above the small settlement of Port Quin below, you’ll find Doyden Castle. The gothic style structure can be seen from miles away along this wild stretch of coastline, and is even visible from across the other side of the bay.
Doyden Castle: A History
Doyden Castle was built at some point during the 1830s by a wealthy businessman. He created the small fort as a Bacchic palace, where he and his friends would be able to do as they pleased, away from the prying eyes of the rest of the world.
Samuel Symons was the name of the businessman from Wadebridge, and his tastes were for gambling, drinking and all-around ‘bon-viveur’ (fancy way of saying he enjoyed the finer things in life). From the very outset, he intended his castle to be a gothic-style fortress for parties.
After all, the ‘castle’ is built in a style that is more reminiscent of a truncated folly rather than a real life castle. The inside of the building comprises of three floors. The top two floors were built to accommodate guests and parties, while the lower underground part was constructed to serve as a wine cellar.
Visit Doyden and the Coastal Path
Today, the folly is owned and managed by the National Trust. Much like many of the small cottages in the nearby villages, it has been turned into a holiday let. If you’d like to stay, then you can rent out the entire fortress from the National Trust (though it would probably be best not to party as much as Symons and his friends while renting the property!)
During the filming for some of the scenes of popular TV show Doc Martin, Doyden Castle was used as ‘Pentire Castle’. The majority of the ITV production is filmed just along the coastline, in the charming 14th-Century fishing village of Port Isaac and the village is most definitely worth a look around. Doyden Castle was also used during the film of some scenes of the 1975 BBC drama, Poldark (as the home of Dr. Enys).
The small yet quaint hamlet of Port Quin overlooks the sea and is nestled in its own little cove. It’s approximately a ten-minute walk from Castle Doyden and is well worth a visit, if only to sit on its pebbled beach and watch the waves rolling in.
At the beginning of the 19th Century, the small village of Port Quin was once home to as many as 90 people. Tragically, mere decades later, the small settlement became known as ‘the village that died’. During one particularly stormy evening, many of the men in the village drowned while fishing. Unable to continue living in the village without a source of income, their widows and children abandoned the village, leaving it to the elements.
It wasn’t until much later that people returned, and the once abandoned homes were transformed into holiday lets. In the nearby car park, you’ll find a small van serving a selection of cakes, coffees and cool refreshments. There is no phone signal here, making Port Quin a perfect escape from the reality of everyday life (even if it’s just for a few hours!)