The Loe (Cornish: An Logh), also known as Loe Pool, is the largest natural freshwater lake (50 hectares (120 acres)) in Cornwall, United Kingdom. The earliest recorded appearance of this simple name form was in 1337, when it was called “La Loo”, but is mentioned as ‘the lake’ in 1302.
Situated between Porthleven and Gunwalloe and downstream of Helston, it is separated from Mount’s Bay by the shingle bank of Loe Bar. Both the Loe (including the southern arm known as Carminowe Creek) and Loe Bar are situated within the Penrose Estate, which is administered by the National Trust, and are designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest by Natural England.
It is within the Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is considered a classic Geological Conservation Review Site. The South West Coast Path, which follows the coast of south-west England from Somerset to Dorset passes over Loe Bar.
A well-maintained footpath runs around the perimeter of the lake (a distance of around seven miles), taking in the great bar itself, as well as Carminowe Creek, Loe Marsh – a great silted area where trees grow out of the mud in a fashion that is strangely reminiscent of a mangrove swamp – and Degibna Wood, where huge numbers of Cormorants can often be seen nesting in trees by the water’s edge. Look out for a well-placed hide shortly after Helston Lodge, with its picturesque boathouse, from where you may well spot Widgeon, Teal, Pochard, Mallard, Tufted Duck, Coot and Shoveler.