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
Today I would be saying goodbye to Devon and entering Cornwall on the next leg of the SWCP. I parked at Crafthole, outside of the wonderfully named Finnygook Inn. I caught then caught the bus back to Plymouth.
I begin walking from Cremyll, a small village that sits across the short of water known as The Narrows separating the village form the hustle and bustle of Plymouth. I walk around the delightful Estate of Mount Edgcumbe, passing a lovely Orangery and a host of follies. The path stays in woodland for the next couple of miles, which is a relief as the sun is quite strong. I enter Cawsand Bay and head for the small village of Kingsland and its winding narrow streets. I head out towards Penlee point and catch my last glimpse of Plymouth as I head West.
I can see my next objective quite easily, as Rame Head is a distinctive landmark for miles around, capped with the small ruined medieval chapel of St. Michael’s. Rame Head offers a grand view both up and down the coast and featured in the recent film Mr Turner. In fact Turner did paint some of the scenery hereabouts. At Tregantle I reach the MOD firing ranges. I heard gun fire for the last couple of miles and as I suspected a red flag was firing, this meant a small diversion up the B3247 road for a few miles. I took the opportunity while a passing a ‘greasy-spoon’ van in a lay-by to myself a burger and enjoy the view back towards Plymouth, which seemed really close. The path soon dropped down the grassy cliffs to Finnygook Lane and Port Wrinkle.
The walk took about 5.5 hours.
Distance today = 13 miles
Total distance = 472.5 miles