During winter, it is easy to get stuck in a rut. You know what I mean don’t you: watching TV every night, staring out of the window as the grey clouds sweep over, burying yourself in work; everything seems such an effort. Well, I decided to help you pull yourself out of hibernation by creating a list of my very favourite Cornish walks. So, pull that wet-weather gear on and brave the wind and cold with these fabulous walks. And if you need any further motivating, many of them have pubs, and all will offer something including blustery beaches, romantic ruins, coastlines and pretty villages. Cornwall, is after all, a perfect place for exploring.
1. Cadgwith to Kuggar 6 miles
A great walk for families and dog owners. The walk kicks off in the pretty fishing village of Cagdwith where you can take in the fishing fleet and shingle cove. Head up out of the cove along the South West Cast Path (signposted) in a northerly direction towards Kuggar. On the way across the rugged and wind-blown cliffs (keep an eye on children), you will pass the National Trust’s Old Serpentine Works. Here you can detour down to the cove for a bracing paddle (we skipped this bit).
Having rejoined the path, keep walking until it intersects a small road. Along this path, there are some spectacular views, and we have also seen wild ponies pushing through the undergrowth. At the road, you can turn right and walk down to a café, or left and walk up the hill into Kuggar where there is a public house.
Return to Cadgwith by the same route.
2. Lerryn Riverbank 3.5 miles
This riverbank and woodland walk offers lovely views along its length right from the onset. Park at the public carpark in Lerryn and cross the riverbank by the medieval bridge. Turn left and follow the lane which runs parallel to the river bank; it is almost impossible to get lost. Keep walking until you reach the river Fowey. Here, for the more energetic of you, the track continues on to Winnow Point where there is the pretty St. Winnow Church which is set in such a unique location on the river banks.
Return to Lerryn (at it’s public house) via the same route, or strike out across the fields along a signed public footpath.
3. Bodinnick, Polruan and Fowey. 6 miles
This walk takes in wonderful countryside including wooded creeks and stunning coves, but is across some challenging terrain. There is something for everyone including a wealth of history, opportunities for refreshments, nature, and ferry rides.
Pick up the public footpath 300 metres up Hall Terrace on the right-hand side coming out of Bodinnick. Follow this tree-line path for approximately 2 miles to the footbridge across the Fowey. Pause to take in the historic buildings and picturesque lagoon. Join the road and head east for about 500 metres where you can pick up the public footpath. Follow this through the woods for approximately 2 miles until it deposits you in the centre of Polruan.
From here take the ferry across to Fowey, where you make be tempted to take an afternoon tea or a stronger refreshment. From Fowey, follow the main street north towards the Fowey-Bodinnick ferry home.
4. St Keverne and Porthallow. 5 miles
The village of St Keverne benefits from being slightly off the tourist radar. Set back from the coast, it has a rather nice public house from which to start or end your walk. This walk takes in some scenic wooded valleys which lead to the shingle cove of Porthoustock.
From the church in the centre of St Keverne, take the signed footpath for about 1.5 miles to Porthoustock. From here, follow the South West Coastal Path northwards over the cliffs to Porthallow where one can relax and refuel in the cove-front pub.
Return via the same route, or blaze a trail via on of the southerly lanes, all of which a narrow but are fairly safe for walking.
5. Pentire Headland Circular, Pentire, North Cornwall. 3.5 miles
Park at the Pentireglaze Car Park and start out by taking the trail leaving the northern edge of the carpark. After 100 metres, you will meet up with the Southwest Coast Path. Turn left here and follow the path along a counter-clockwise route of the headland.
Take a detour over to The Rumps to take in the rugged sea and cliff views.
Keep following the path up the slow incline to the wonderful 360-degree views from the top of Pentire Point. Pause a while to contemplate the plaque commemorating Laurence Binyon’s poem ‘For the Fallen’ (reproduced below).
Continue following the path along to one of my favourite beaches, Polzeath Beach (don’t let the locals catch you pronouncing it incorrectly). Dabble your feet for a while.
From Polzeath beach, pick up the path where you left it and make your way along the edge of the small valley back to a tarmacked road. Here, you need to turn left, and then left again to get you back to your starting point. What an amazing walk!
6. Porthcurno to Logan Rock. 2 miles
Porthcurno beach epitomizes what many locals regard as a ‘real’ Cornish beach; beautiful sand surrounded by rocky outcrops. Legend has it that its very name came from the old Cornish “cove of horns”. Just up on the western side of the beach is the famous Minack theatre which I can highly recommend.
Start your route from the Porthcurno National Trust car park. Pick up the coast path just before you get down to the beach; we are turning right and heading east. Below, you will pass Pedn Vounder Beach with its impossible clear waters (on a sunny day), which is only accessible by a steep scramble. Continue on towards Logan Rock where you can have another climb if you feel the need.
At this point, our walk ends…but, if you are feeling good, continue on to Penbeth Cove, you will not be disappointed – I promise you!
Return to the carpark by the same route.
7. Men-an-Tol: History and Mystery. 2 miles + detours
This is an amazing walk through several historic sites. Pay attention to the directions as, being fairly featureless, it is easy to get lost up here. We find it useful to follow our route with Google’s aerial view.
Park at the small carpark on unmarked road at Grid Ref: SW 41871 34413, just east of a village called Morvah – honest, this will be work the map-work!
From the car park, pass through the gate and walk up the track until you see a signpost on your right pointing you towards the Men-an-Tol Bronze Age monuments. Take this track. Parents, this is a great opportunity to get the children involved at guessing what these stones were used for.
Continue past the stones until you get to a cross-roads in the trail. Turn left and follow the trail up to the Venton Bebibell Holy Well (which is quite honestly, fairly missable!) Continue onwards until you intersect another trail heading east.
Follow this and in ten minutes you should arrive at the impressive Boskednan Stone Circle. Continue past the stones where you will shortly join a dirt track. Turn right and stay on this for only a few minutes; you are aiming for the ruined mine working with the tall chimney.
From the mine, head north west back along a fairly well-worn path towards the previously visited cross-roads.
Return to the car park from here.
A Poem – For the Fallen
BY LAURENCE BINYON
With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.
Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.
They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England’s foam.
But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;
As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.