Everything that is wrong in Portreath is the fault of Gwel an Mor – or so we are led to believe.

The streets of Portreath are covered in poo. The beach is empty. The town is being over-developed and it’s over-crowded.

Over-crowded? How strange then that the man who owns the surf shop says there is a decreasing number of visitors and it’s the terrible weather that’s driving them away.

It was also a complaint that owners were using Airbnb and that was a problem. Now that has ceased, and that is a problem.

Scott Treloar, who gave himself the nickname of "El Presidente of Cornwall" and has lived in his van on the opposite hillside from Gwel an Mor for three decades, says: "People up there don't spend their money in the village.”

How odd, because we are also told that Gwel an Mor visitors are overcrowding the roads and causing parking issues.

El Presidente also thought it a good idea to tell a national newspaper website: “We haven't got the infrastructure here for more building and second homes – the sewage treatment plant gets overloaded. There's been a number of times when poo has been running down the street."

READ MORE: Cornwall's problems summed up in one coastal village

That’s sure to bring the tourists back! Presidente Treloar might choose to turn his guns on the water companies who are currently pouring millions of tons of untreated sewage to the seas around England.

Here’s the bottom line, if you’ll excuse the poo-related pun.

Gwel an Mor have asked for planning permission from Cornwall Council to demolish ten lodges and build nine modern ones in their place, as well as build an additional ten lodges. A nice boost for tourism one would have thought. The Portreath Parish Council don’t like this and many of the wildly inaccurate arguments outlined above seem to have influenced the councillors.

This may be one of the finest examples of Nimbyism seen in England for quite some time.

The objectors also can’t resist pointing out that the park is owned by an American company.

Well, it’s worth noting that this American company, run from an HQ in England, employs 110 local men and women and here’s some of the other benefits we bring to the area. So, if Gwel an Mor is such a blight on Portreath, let’s take a closer look at our modest contribution to the area:

• To date we have created 121 jobs – all employees are paid more than the Living Wage and all employees live in Cornwall, supporting their families and contributing to the local economy.

• We work closely with local schools, colleges and organisations to bring people from all walks of life into work including the Cornwall Rural Community Charity Group; work coach placements for adults with higher needs, work experience placements from Truro and Penwith College; supporting people with disabilities through intensive personalised employment support into the workplace.

• We spend £1.3million with local suppliers, tradespeople and companies – this excludes our council tax and business rates which contributes to the local Parish Council Annual Budget.

• 66% of all our food and drink purchases are Cornish.

Impact on the environment

• By introducing plastic-free lodge kitchen amenities, we have seen a reduction of 95% on our carbon footprint and 96% reduction in single use plastics.

• By introducing a new concentrated soap and body wash concept encased in non-toxic dissolvable and biodegradable film we are reducing single-used plastics from in-room amenities by 1.82 tons and reducing the weight of transport and shipping by 10.2 tons per annum.

• By introducing toxin free cleaning products from a closed loop system, we are reducing the equivalent of 18,462 litres of potentially damaging chemicals from going into the local atmosphere/ sewage.

• We have a conservation plan which includes Eco hives (unharvested bee hives) sustained by the wild flower fields on site. Two acres of dedicated fields for reptile conservation with fully established breeding colonies of three different species of the six species in the UK.

• Introduction of a shuttle service during peak season for guests at Gwel an Mor, reducing the number of cars in the village and the demand for car park spaces. So far around 125-150 visitors per week have used this service.

• Implementing a conservation management plan in partnership with the Woodland Trust Ancient Woodland Department and the Bat conservation Trust, to re-establish the native flora and fauna by removing invasive species of planting, such as Laurel and Rhododendron, to benefit our Ancient woodland on site.

Educational and social benefits

• Our Feadon Farm Wildlife Centre, is visited annually by 30 local schools as well as local wildlife clubs, passing on the knowledge of our conservation and wildlife activities to the younger generation and encouraging them to create wildlife improving areas at home. For example, during the breeding season we hosted native breed workshops and sent out 700 bird boxes to families in the local area.

• We have installed a sensory play park – open to the local community, acknowledging the need for a place for families to be able to play together when one or more of the family members may have sensory needs or indeed be in a wheelchair. This helps families be together, whereas in other play parks, this is not catered for. This has been welcomed by the local community and guests alike.

It is also worth mentioning that we had several meetings with the local council where we shared our plans and asked for their help in distributing funds to local charities and good causes.

Gwel an Mor has been accepted on the next cohort of companies who will be working towards BCorp accreditation. A clear commitment from the company to positively impact all stakeholders – team, communities, guests and our planet.


The main drivers of the Cornish economy are agriculture and tourism. Gwel an Mor, whose UK head office is based in England, is part of a nationwide plan investing millions in the UK tourism industry.

If you want to blame us for anything, blame us for wanting to boost local tourism and giving holidaymakers a quality experience in top class accommodation. If there are losers, we don’t see any.

Cove UK

A subsidiary of American-owned Cove Communities that owns and runs Gwel an Mor