Smugglers Creek


Architects: Poynton Bradbury Wynter Cole
Engineers: Structural Solutions, Bristol
Highlights: Awarded ‘Frame of the Year’ by The American Timber Framers Guild, Large Cruck frame hand-raise using a Gin Pole

This charming timber frame cottage is built on one of the countless picturesque creeks of the Carrick Roads waterway in Cornwall. It is a section of the River Fal and is the third largest natural harbour in the world and has exceptionally high spring tides. 

To combat high tides, Smugglers Creek was designed with the living area on the first floor, with ground floor boat and wet storage. This practical solution also provided the owner, who is an avid sailor, with easy access to the sea and to the many waterside pubs that can be found in the wooded valley sides of the waterways.

The site had to be accessed down a narrow lane, so the timber for the frame had to be off-loaded at a local farm and transported on-wards with tractor and trailer. It also meant that we had to raise the frame by hand using a Gin Pole, which is a large pole held in place with guy ropes with block and tackle attached to the top to raise heavy loads. Even the central cruck framed truss, which was made from two matching curved timbers and assembled lying flat on the foundations, had to be raised whole by hand.

The first floor direct glazed panoramic windows show off Smugglers Creek’s stunning view across the waterways and even offers a glimpse of sea-going birds such as flocks of wintering Grebes. The frame was voted ‘Frame of the Year’ by the American Timber Frames Guild at its convention in Quebec, Canada.

Photographer: Nigel Rigden

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