OS Grid ref:- SW 777 287
The pretty village of Mawnan Smith is situated on the northern banks of the Helford estuary and is three miles to the south of the port of Falmouth.
Mawnan Smith developed as a distribution centre for goods and produce for the Lizard Peninsula. The village was used as a staging post for materials to be ferried across the Helford River to the Lizard Peninsula. Four blacksmiths became established in the village by the 1850s, the village name may derive from this fact. By the early twentieth century only one of theseremained. It was operated by blacksmith Billy James followed by his son Dryden and closed on the death of the latter in 1994. The Mawnan Anvil Trust has since restored the premises as a working forge and the site now also includes wood-turning, ceramics, and print-making workshops.
The village boasts a seventeenth century thatched village pub, the Red Lion, restaurant and shops, there is also a working forge and craft centre. The Red Lion (pictured below right) still retains much of its original old world character and serves excellent food and selection of fine wines. Giuseppe's Italian Restaurant also provides delicious food.
The church of St Mawnan & St Stephen in the village dates from thirteenth century, the church stands above the estuary of the Helford River and has stunning views. The building occupies the site of a previous church, the remains of an ancient earthwork have been discovered surrounding the churchyard. Saint Maunanus was a little known Breton monk who was thought to have landed here in the early sixth century. A second church, St Michael's, was built in 1876.
The village is situated near to Maenporth Beach, which has a large expanse of sand at low tide, Falmouth's bustling town centre and harbour is a short distance away. The Parish is a paradise for plant and garden lovers, with the beautiful Trebah Gardens and Glendurgan Garden both lying nearby.
The Owlman, sometimes referred to as the Cornish Owlman, or the Owlman of Mawnan, is a purported owl-like cryptid that was supposedly sighted around mid-1976 in Mawnan Smith. One of the earliest reports goes back to 1926, when the Cornish Echo reported that two boys were chased by what was described as a very large, ferocious bird.
Fifty years later, in 1976, two witnesses described an abnormally large bird resembling a giant owl flying over the tower of the church of St Mawnan. Further sightings were reported two years later, when the witnesses added that the huge bird-like thing was a silvery-grey colour. In 1989, a sighting by two more people described the Owlman as being at least 1.5 metres (5 feet) tall, the next report, from an American tourist in 1995, described sharp claws emanating from the Owlman's huge wings.