Today was going to be the first day of a three-day trip to walk around the Lizard Peninsula. I was basing myself in the small village of St Keverne, at the Three Tuns Inn. St Keverne is a quiet little village not far from the sea. The village was very prominent in 1898 when 106 poeople onboard the liner Mohegan lost their lives when the ship struck the infamous Manacles reef. Most of the unfortunate victims of the disaster were buried in a mass grave in St Keverne.
The Lizard is not that well served by public transport so I load my moped into the Doblo van. The first port of call was Helford where I dropped the moped off. It was free to park my moped here. I then drove to Coverack, I also found free parking for the Doblo as well in a small local car park with sweeping views up the Lizard coast.
The walking for the first couple of miles was very easy-going. I passed the now disused Dean quarries, which used to quarry for Gabbro. There is still extensive quarrying on this section of the coast, and even though this quarry was now closed other quarries remained in use and would account for two major detours inland to get around them. Upon reaching Godrevy Cove the path headed inland on the first of the detours through the small hamlet of Rosenithon and then back towards the
coast at Porthoustock. The second detour from Porthoustock pointed back inland again for over a mile before I dropped down again to the coast and the small village of Porthallow (pronounced Pr’alla locally). The local pub, The Five Pilchards was still closed, but I was amused to see a sign with an elective range of names associated with the village.
I climb above the cliff-line and continue walking north towards Nare Head over open fields. In the distance I can now make out part of Falmouth. I head inland following the course of the Gillan Creek. At low tide it is/ or was possible to cross the Creek at Low tide, but crossing is now not advised. Anyway, I could not see a way across without getting my feet wet. So it’s a 2.5mile detour to get around the creek. The going is easy and as I round the head of Gillan Creek I continue along a narrow road. The road has suffered some damage with recent floods and is closed to traffic, but not for those on foot. I pass through the small village of St. Anthony-in-Meneage and walk out towards Dennis Head. The view is quite extensive now out across the mouth of the Helford River towards Falmouth. The final two miles into Helford is along the banks of the Helford and through trees. I eventually emerge into the picturesque village of Helford with it’s lovely cottages and thatched roof pub, the Shipwrights Arms. The walk has taken 5 hours. I ride my moped back to Coverack to pick up the van.
Distance today = 13 miles
Total distance = 558.5 miles
Today is a short walk from Falmouth to Helford Passage. As public transport is not readily available I drive to Helford Passage and park my Doblo van in a car park next to the Ferry Boat Inn. I then use my moped to drive back towards Falmouth from where I begin my walk.
Falmouth is a very interesting town, steeped in maritime history and offering a fantastic anchorage for all types of ships. I begin my walk at the pier from which the ferry departs for St Mawes and thence on to Place. I walk through the main high street and down towards the train station and docks. I spot a number of Royal Navy ships alongside the docks and get a fantastic view of a dry dock.
The road goes out towards Pendennis Point, where Pendennis castle sits atop the promontory. The road which encircles the castle was used as a road race track from 1934 – 1936 for motorcycles and light cars. As I round Pendennis point I see the back shore of Falmouth stretching to Swanpool beach. The walking is along a promenade which offers very easy walking. I climb up and walk towards Pennance Point with its Home Guard monument before descending to and walking around the small cove of Maenporth. The remainder of the walk is a delightful stroll through open fields, in which the path rises and falls gently offering excellent views across the Helford River to its southern bank. I pass close to the village of Mawnan and through Durgan before finally arriving at the Ferry Boat Inn at Helford Passage. This delightful walk has taken just 2.75hrs.
Distance today = 10 miles
Total distance = 545.5 miles
It’s a lovely calm and sunny day as I continue on my journey towards Falmouth. I will be walking out onto the Roseland Peninsula that ends at The Carrick Roads, the large flooded ria that gives Falmouth its unique position. Getting to and from Place is difficult using public transport, so I make use of my moped by dropping it off there and then driving around to Portloe.
The first couple of miles of the path is done on high cliffs with slumped highly overgrown slopes. The path follows the inundated coastline around Manare Point, Blouth Point and Nare Point. Nare point used to be known as Penare Point for some reason the “Pe” was dropped. Most of this coastline is owned by the National Trust, which include a number of tenanted farms. I pass some strange underground ventilation structures which I suspect may be World War 2 underground buildings.
After a few steep up and downs I finally descend to Pendower and Carne Beach. There are few people about and I more or less have the beach to myself. After a couple of fairly easy miles of walking I pass a look-out station and get my first good sight of the fishing village of Portscatho. Just before I reach the beach, I find a wooden bench and eat my sandwiches. The weather has held and I have made good time. I climb out of Portscatho and am rewarded with a view all the way to Falmouth, I can see the path falling and rising gently which looks very inviting.
I round Greeb Point, Killigerran and Porthmellin Head before continuing onto Zone Point. From Zone Point I walk a few hundred metres to St Anthony’s Head and enter the Coast artillery fort of St Anthony Battery. Although long since used as a military base, the National Trust has made preserved the defensive structures of the Battery as well as converting some of the buildings into holiday lets. This battery was one of a numberf which guarded the entrance to the Carrick Roads and the port of Falmouth. The battery has a number of visitors and I explore the remnant artillery structures on show. I pass the squat little lighthouse built-in 1834 and head off towards Carricknath Point, passing small tiny coves with people simply paddling, sunbathing or exploring rock pools. I have passed the tip of the Roseland peninsula and am now walking eastwards before dropping down into Place. I can see St. Mawrs just across the water. I pass the 12th century church of St. Anthony and the striking Place House with it large sweeping lawn all the way down to the shoreline. A few hundred metres further on I reach the small jetty for the St Mawrs ferry. It has taken me almost 5 hours to get here.
Distance today = 13.5 miles
Total distance = 535.5 miles
The second day of my two-day trip to Cornwall…….and it was going to be another very hot day. I parked the van just outside of the village of Portloe, at a free car park, which was just a few hundred yards from the coast. I then got on my moped and drove to a lay by on the B3273 just outside of Pentewen.
As I locked my helmet away, I could already feel the heat even though it was only 9:00 in the morning. I set off over fields and picked the SWCP path up. I head out to and rounded Penare Head before dropping down into Mevagissey. Mevagissey is perhaps one of the best and most picturesque Cornish fishing villages, with its multi-coloured houses rising steeply above the harbour. The village was quiet when I passed through, but I saw a number of people taking their breakfast out on their veranda’s. I remember many years ago doing a large jigsaw puzzle of Mevagissey, I was just as impressed then as I was now by this charming village. I passed around a small headland into Portmellon, which is now officially part of Mevagissey.
The path now follows a private drive which leads down to three striking houses at Chapel Point. The walking is very easy here along a low-lying grassy track that bears right before the three houses. In the distance I can see Gorran Haven, my next fishing village. Gorran Haven is another beautiful little village, with very narrow streets, a small beach and the church of St. Just. I continue through narrow streets, sorely tempted by the smell of bacon baps!
I continue around Maenease Point and head south along the high cliffs towards Dodman Point. At Dodman Point I note a large 20ft granite cross, which has been used as a Day Mark. A group of people are engaged in a conversation, they do not acknowledge me so I do not linger. The Point does however, offer a superb vista up and down the coast here. I’m now heading north from Dodman Point
Just after Hemmick Beach I pass through a small group of Highland cattle, although ferocious looking they are indeed a very gentle animal. By the time I reach Porthluney Cove near Caerhays Castle it is has become very hot. I seek some shelter from the sun in a refreshment building in the car park where I purchase an ice cream and top up on fluids. The car park is very busy and is the main car Park for the castle, which was built-in 1808 and designed by John Nash.
The path climbs up above the cliffs again before dropping down to the twin-hamlets of East and West Portholland. The climb up and out of the hamlets is tough, as the afternoon sun is ferocious nad fatigue is starting to set-in. It therefore comes as quite a relief to come into the small village of Portloe. I resist the temptation to partake of an ice-cool cider in the hotel that I pass. But I’ve still got about a mile of walking still to do. The 14 miles takes a leisurely 6hrs. A lovely days walk along a stunning coast.
Distance today = 14.5 miles
Total distance = 522 miles
Today was a very hot day and although I only had a short distance to walk, I had been suffering from a thigh/groin strain which although not very painful, was a persistant dull ache. I had dumped the moped at the free car park at Menabilly near Gribbin Head and then drove the short distance west along the coast to the layby on the B3273 just outside of Pentewan.
I set off along the B3273 into Pentewan and enter the village walking around the small man-made harbour, past the Ship Inn and up Pentewan Hill. The path rises and falls through a number of steep up and downs. I head towards the promontory of Black Head, which is owned by the National Trust and home to an Iron Age fort. From nearby Gerrans Point I have a sweeping vista northwards towards St Austell, which I can see in the distance together with a number of distinctive volcano-like white spoil heaps from the china clay quarries. I drop down into the small village Lower Porthpean and walk along a quiet Porthpean Beach.
I climb up a small hill onto Carrickowel Point home to the ruins of the Crinnis Cliff battery. I had a search through the overgrown wooded area , but little evidence remains of the gun positions, originally built to guard Charlestown. I enter Charlestown, which has a small well-preserved dock and is probably easily recognisable to those who watched the TV series Poldark. I pass by a couple of old sailing ships tied up alongside the wharf and walk past the Shipwreck and Heritage centre. It is getting quite warm now as I head towards Carlyon Bay, with the path walking alongside a golf course.
I soon have to make a large detour inland around the large Imerys industrial site for the drying and milling of China Clay. The detour requires me to follow the main road into Par, where I replenish my water and food stock. A small footpath then leads back to the beach, with a number of signs depicting scenes from the processing of China Clay. I head across the beach at Par Sands, it is very quiet, with few people enjoying the very hot afternoon.
I leave the beach and ascend some steps to join the path which now heads south towards Gribbin Head. I descend steeply to the small fishing village of Polkerris. The small beach is very busy and the pub, the Rashleigh Inn is also busy. It’s very hot now, but I’ve only got a few miles to go now. I climb up steeply through a wood from Polkerris and have an easy walk along the cliff top to Gribbin Head. It has taken about 5.5 hours.
Distance today = 12.5 miles
Total distance = 507.5 miles
This trip to Cornwall was just a single day’s walk. The reason was my football team AFC Telford United were playing Bristol Rovers in Bristol the following day. So to save myself an extra trip up and down the M5 I decided to get a single days walk in, then drive towards Bristol, in fact Burnham-on-Sea, spend the night in a B&B and then drive on to Bristol to watch the game.
I had my moped with me again and I decided to make use of the free car park at Hendersick, near Talland Bay. I drove to Hendersick and dropped off my moped. I then continued around to Menabilly near Gribbin Head and parked up there. I think it was a £1 to park, which was excellent value for Cornwall!
I had the car park to myself at Menabilly, there again it was quite early. I made my down to the path and continued to the large red and white day-mark, often confused with a lighthouse. I bid goodbye to St. Austell Bay and turned North east dropping down to the small sandy beach at Polridmouth. the path rises and falls a number of times before entering woodland. I drop down into the popular town of Fowey, which had not quite roused itself yet. I debate which of the landing stages I need to get the ferry across the River Fowey to Polruan. The notice board is ambiguous, but I see the ferry about 300m away up river. I climb more steps and head further into Fowey. I am the only person on the ferry which takes just a few minutes across to Polruan.
My make my way through Polruan and climb steeply up through the village to get extensive views to the west from where I had come earlier in the morning. The next 4 to 5 miles was quite tough going with many ups and downs, some very steep. I pass a another less conspicuous day-mark and drop down to Lansallos Cove. I continue along the path ascending Raphaels Cliff before dropping down quite steeply into the picturesque and idyllic Cornish village of Polperro. Here the crowds had now begun to come out in force. I find a short cut through the tightly packed houses and join a large procession of people making their way out of the village and on towards Talland Bay. However, before we get to Talland Bay, the path was subject to temporary diversion, which pointed me inland slightly before joining a road leading down to Talland Bay.
By this time, the pulled muscle in my right leg was giving me some pain and discomfort. After Talland Bay I still had a couple of miles to get back to the Car Park at Hendersick. It was with great relief that I eventually arrived at the car park with my moped in it. It had taken me 6 hours to cover the 11 miles which was quite slow, but the time waiting for a ferry at Fowey and my pulled muscle ensured this was going to be a slow walk.
My route back to Gribbin Head on the moped was going to be back via the small vehicle ferry at Boddinick. Tough days walk though.
Distance today = 11 miles
Total distance = 495 miles
Today was quite a short walk as I begin my second day walking along the SWCP in Cornwall. It is a grey overcast and dull day, but quite warm, dry with a stiff breeze, which makes for good walking weather in my view.
I make use of the NT car Park at Hendersick, which is free and a rarity in Cornwall. I then drove my moped along the coast to the small hamlet of Portwrinkle and then began walking west . The coast path here has a series of up and downs, which tested the legs and stamina.
I passed through a hamlet called Downderry. It was the place that 8 years ago myself and my wife rented a small cottage above the sea. We took our small Jack Russell, Scampi with us. The cottage was quite small, but cosy, leaving the windows open at night we could hear the waves crashing on the shore below. One day we were walking along the beach and got talking to another gentleman, as we spoke, out of the corner of my eye I could see that Scampi had cocked his leg and was weeing up the chaps Wellington boots! I was mortified and it was quite difficult keeping the conversation going! The three of us were very happy there and the thoughts of my beautiful little dog, long since departed, were with me.
After Downderry, a cliff fall has meant that the footpath has been diverted across the hillside and onto the road. I continued into Looe and crossed the Looe River which divides this small coastal town. I follow the road west out of the town and come to a sculpture sited on rocks above the river. The bronze sculpture is of Nelson – a distinctive ‘one-eyed’ scarred bull grey seal, who for 25 years made Looe harbour and the surrounding area his home.
The next couple of miles is quite gentle walking as I climb back up above Talland Bay and make my wat slightly inland to the car park at Hendersick.
Distance today = 11.5 miles
Total distance = 484 miles