Portloe comes from the Cornish Porth Logh, meaning “cove pool”. At the beginning of the twentieth century there were more than fifty boats working here, but now only three remain. As along the much of the coast on this side of the country, smuggling played an important role in the village. French brandy was the main contraband, brought ashore by fishermen and hidden in cellars and other sneaky places. The steep-sided valley helped Portloe escape modern development, leaving most buildings little different from when they were built.