Saltash is known as the Gateway to Cornwall, as it lies just across the River Tamar from Plymouth. Travellers arriving in the county by train will cross the Royal Albert Bridge, Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s famous railway bridge across the river completed in 1859. One of the first sites as you cross the bridge is the colurfully painted Union Inn with its Union Jack painted facade and murals. There is a pleasant shopping high street in the heart of the town.
Nearby 11th century motte-and-bailey Trematon Castle was built in a commanding position over the valley and Trematon Manor is a Georgian house worth a visit. In fact, the villages of Trematon and Burraton are the original settlements of this area. The Crooked Inn at Stoketon Cross is a pub with a difference, hosting an interesting collection of pets.
The lord of Trematon founded the market town of Saltash in the 12th century, at a point where an ancient highway crossed the Tamar estuary by means of a ferry. Saltash achieved borough status around the end of that century. It was the first port to be established on the system of estuaries stretching from Plymouth Sound. Until 1901, Saltash had jurisdiction over all those waters. The town’s strategic position led to its involvement in many important events.
An early Norman church is St Nicholas and St Faith uphill from the ferry crossing. However the main parish church for Saltash is the 15th century St Stephens which is about a mile from the town centre. Sir Francis Drake married a Saltash girl, Mary Newman. Her cottage still exists and is open to visitors.
Saltash is an ideal location for visitors to the Tamar Valley and there are many beautiful views across the river. Canoeing trips on the Tamar are very popular. The town has a local Heritage Trail and also boasts a Leisure Centre. The town is within easy reach of many major attractions in both Cornwall and Devon and is on all the main transport routes by road and rail. Saltash Museum and Local History Centre opened in 2000 and contains a small permanent display about the history and well-known characters of Saltash. A temporary display is mounted during the summer.
A new all-tides pontoon for short-stay moorings sailing and motor boats opened recently. The river is navigable beyond the Tamar bridges and, on some tides, it is possible to sail further up the beautiful river valley, as far as Cotehele and Calstock. Plymouth Sound is full of interest, as are such sites as Mount Edgecumbe, Drake’s Island, the historic Devonport Dockyard, and Torpoint. There is a passenger ferry at Cremyll and a chain car ferry at Torpoint. The historic Saltash Waterside offers a choice of entertainment, cafés, pubs and restaurants.
There is plenty of accommodation in the area, of every sort. In addition, the town has a collection of shops catering for every need. Not too far away are the attractive resorts of Looe and Polperro. And for anyone looking for a little more night life, the bright lights of Plymouth are just across the river.