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The River Fal flows through Cornwall rising on the Goss Moor between St. Columb and St Austell and reaching the English Channel at Falmouth. On or near the banks of the Fal are the castles of Pendennis and St Mawes as well as Trelissick GardenThe River Fal separates the Roseland peninsula from the rest of Cornwall. Like most of its kind on the south coast of Cornwall and Devon, the Fal estuary is a classic or drowned river valley.
The origin and meaning of the name of the river are unknown. The earliest occurrences of the name are in documents of 969 and 1049 AD. Falmouth, a town which was known by another name until the 17th century, is named after the River Fal.
The river mouth and Falmouth harbour (ideal for its size and depth of water) served as an anchorage in the immediate years after the Second World War for scores of laid-up Royal Navy vessels (including battleships, carriers, and cruisers) awaiting sale for scrap.
The catchment of the Fal is predominantly Devonian slates, shales and grits, with Granite in the upper reaches. Land use is mainly agricultural with some woodland.
Tributaries of the River Fal include the River Truro, River Kennal, River Penryn and River Carnon.
Several tidal creeks discharge into the River Fal including Mylor Creek, Pill Creek, Penpol Creek and Restronguet Creek.
The river is crossed by the historic and scenic King Harry Ferry, a vehicular chain ferry that links the villages of Feock and Philleigh approximately equidistant between Truro and Falmouth.
The River Fal suffered a severe, high profile pollution accident in February 1992, when a nearby tin mine was flooded. The river turned red and an extensive cleaning-up operation was needed to decontaminate the water.
During times of reduced global trade ships are mothballed in the estuary of the River.
The River Fal is accessible for kayaking. It is also a decent spot for fallying, a sport derived from the river Fal.