Efford Down has changed little since the Civil War when part of the Royalist Army, under Sir Ralph Hopton, camped here on the eve of a decisive battle at nearby Stratton.
The Battle of Stamford Hill on 16th May, 1643, saw the Cornish army defeat the Parliamentarians despite being outnumbered two to one. This enabled the Royalists to cross the Tamar River into England unhindered, and go on to further victories at Roundway Down near Devises, Lansdown near Bath and eventually the capture of Bristol for the King in August 1643.
Today the Down is an area rich in maritime grassland festooned with plants such as rock sea-lavender, spring squill and Edward thistly, the latter being the only colony in Cornwall.
Bordering the Downs is ‘Efford Down Plantation’, a copse of trees originally planted c. 1820 by Sir Thomas Acland, to protect the Canal Basin from the strong prevailing south westerly winds.
The name Efford is believed to be derived from ‘Ebbingford’, meaning the place where one cold ford the river at ebb tide.