South Cornwall Walks
The stunning Cornish countryside is a walkers paradise, drawn to this area of outstanding natural beauty by its beautiful coastal paths, clay trails and windswept moors. There's simply no better way to experience this wonderful location than by foot, here are some of our favourite walks.
WALK ONE: KINGS WOOD IN THE PENTEWAN VALLEY
The inland loop of the circuit follows a promoted cycle Route, with consequently good surfaces and generally gentle gradients; the Coast Path has a couple of more noticeable climbs and one descent.
- START/FINISH: Natural Retreats Trewhiddle
- DISTANCE/GRADE: 2.2 miles
- TERRAIN; Wellies may be needed
- CIRCULAR WALK: Yes
Turn right out of Natural Retreats towards Mevagissey and continue to London Apprentice.
1. Immediately after the Kings wood restaurant turn letf and follow the road over the bridge round to the right where you will find a small car park. Walk straight ahead down the metalled road for about 400 meters.
2. At the open area there is a notice board explaining the routes in the wood. There are 3 paths, take the right hand path through the small latched gate. Continue for about 20 minutes on this path, until you reach a large open area, there are seats on the track where you can stop to admire the view.
3. At the clearing the walks bears left up a sharp uneven climb of around 200 meters. The path flattens out and you will cross a small stream, be careful after rain as it can be muddy.
4. Continue along the track and at the top of a sharp rise you will reach a wooden spilt gate, where the path bears left down a medium slope. Take the right fork through the gate, the path rises sharply for about 300 meters, there is an alternate zigzag path to the right if the slope is wet. At the top the track levels out at the upper edge of the wood. After about 200 meters the track is bound by a wall on the right. Follow the wall for about a kilometre passing an information board and through another split gate.
5. The track descends to the left down some wooden steps. Turn left down the track for about 50 meters, then turn right up a track through a wooden split gate and walk up some wooden steps and through another split gate. The track levels out as you enter mixed woodland.
6. Walk along this track until you reach another wooden split gate.
7. At the gate take the track a short distance downhill towards and an open area. The track is used by horses and woodland trust vehicles so may be muddy after rain.There are seats if you need to rest. Follow the wide solid hard surface track downhill until you reach a hairpin bend.
8. At the bend follow the track downhill until you reach a gate which leads on to the car park.
WALK TWO: GORRAN HAVEN WALK
- START/FINISH: Gorran Haven car park
- DISTANCE/GRADE: 6 miles / leisurely
- TERRAIN; Moderate
- CIRCULAR WALK: Yes
1. Turn left onto ‘Canton’ and walk down the hill to the beach. You will pass some toilets and various shops (some only seasonal). Turn left at the Lime Kiln and walk up Church Street where you can then follow the ‘Coast Path’ waymarks and signs along another street on your right.
2. The path takes you over some dramatic cliffs with some wonderful views back to Gorran Haven and Menease Point, with the rocky outcrop known as ‘Gwineas’ or ‘The Gwinges’ out to sea. Before you reach Turbot Point you will pass a Bronze Age Tumulus and the remains of Roman Earthworks.
3. Standing on Turbot Point on a clear day, the views extend along the South Cornish coastline, beyond Rame Head and Plymouth and into South Devon.
4. The Path continues through a short section of National Trust land, known as ‘Bodrugan’s Leap’, and down to a small sheltered bay known as ‘Colona’. This is a private beach owned by the impressive spread of houses in front of you on Chapel Point.
5. Continuing along the Coast Path, you will soon come into Portmellon, with a Pub and a beach. The inland route follows a Public Footpath in from an historic boatyard known as ‘Mitchell’s’ and continues past some wetlands – a good spot for birdwatching!
6. Continue along the footpath, and through two nature reserves separated by an unclassified road. Again, a good location for wildlife with coppiced hazel and oak woodlands and large ponds. The path will then take you through a meadow, over a stile and left up a very steep field which has been planted as a ‘Millenium Woodland’ by the local community.
7. Continuing across a couple more fields and along a rough track you will pass the historic 12th Century St Goran Church.
8. You will be able to stop for more refreshments at the pub or the small shop/post office in Gorran Churchtown.
9. You can then follow the road and public footpaths across fields for the rest of your journey to Gorran Haven, down Bell Hill and Rice Lane, eventually arriving back at the car park.
WALK THREE: MEVAGISSEY CIRCULAR
- START/FINISH: Mevagissey Circular
- DISTANCE/GRADE: 7 miles / leisurely
- TERRAIN; Moderate
- CIRCULAR WALK: Yes
1. The walk starts outside the Harbour Tavern. From here, facing the harbour, turn left. Opposite the slipway at the end of the harbour is an information board giving some details on Mevagissey and its history. At the end of the harbour turn left and follow the cobbled street to the Post Office. At the tarmac road, Church Street, bear right. Keep ahead at the junction then when the road forks keep left on the lower, narrower road. A little way along this road is Mevagissey’s church. As the road bears right around the church and begins to climb, turn left down the narrower lane which soon arrives at the B3273 St Austell- Mevagissey road.
2. Cross this carefully then bear left along the lane signed as a footpath and cycleway to Heligan. This is part of the Cornish Way cycle route. Follow this excellent path along the valley, forking left just after Cheesewarne Farmhouse.
3. Keep along the valley bottom to another fork, at a gate, and bear right here, slightly uphill on the cycle route. Through the gate straight ahead the public footpath leads to the The Lost Gardens of Heligan. Continue uphill, out of the valley, from the top there are excellent views over much of the Heligan estate. The path curves around the head of the valley then forks again.
4. Go left here, over a wooden bridge and still on the cycle route, then continue parallel to the Mevagissey-Gorran Haven road.
5. Shortly after passing some ruined farm buildings (keep specially alert for barn owls here) there is another junction. The path bearing left is another route into Heligan, but for the Coast Path circular bear right to pass underneath the road. The path descends steadily through a quiet wooded landscape towards a valley visible through the trees, eventually reaching the valley floor.
6. This is the Pentewan Valley, cut by the St Austell River on its way to the sea. At the valley floor the path comes parallel to the B3273 St Austell-Mevagissey road. Continue ahead, crossing the road with the cycleway at the nurseries.
7. A little further on, just past the caravan site, the path turns right away from the road and crosses the St Austell River to a junction on the far side. At this point the Cornish Way turns left on its way to St Austell and points north and east.
8. However, a branch of the cycleway goes right, to the sea at Pentewan, and this is the route now followed. Approaching Pentewan the track diverts to the right away from the line of the tramroad, then bears left past a cycle hire business to arrive at a road. At the road turn left for a short diversion into Pentewan village and its pub, refreshments and toilets.
9. To continue, return to the cycle hire and continue along the road (if missing the diversion to the village, turn right at the road after the cycle hire). At the main road turn left, now on the line of the Coast Path for the return to Mevagissey. Leave the road along the footpath next to the entrance to Pentewan Sands Holiday Park.
After skirting the holiday park keep an eye open for a kissing-gate on the left which takes the Coast Path off the hedged path and along a field edge to the cliff top. On the cliffs, the path descends almost at once to the little cove at Portgiskey.
Follow the Coast Path up and round Penare Point. Rounding Penare Point the harbour at Mevagissey comes into view ahead, the regular walls contrasting with the jagged rocks. The Coast Path descends steeply into a narrow valley, climbing out again to the outskirts of Mevagissey. Cross a grassy recreation area then descend on a tarmac path and down steps past cottages on The Cliff, above the harbour. This is among the oldest parts of Mevagissey, with cottages below built into the cliff rock next to the harbour wharves. Nearing the bottom fork left to return to the harbour.