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Review: South West Coast Path

City/Town/Region/Island

Cornwall, United Kingdom

The South West Coast Path - Trip 12

  • By SilverTraveller Rowsie

    117 reviews

    Ribbon Ribbon Ribbon Ribbon

  • July 2020
  • Family including children under 16

17 people found this review helpful

Anyone who has read my previous reviews will know that my son and I (along with other members of the family joining us when they can) are trying to walk the whole of the South West Coast Path. We have taken 11 trips down to the West Country over the last 4 years and I am strongly hoping that I can finish the Path before I get too old and infirm to walk anymore! We should have gone down there earlier this year but because of the Coronavirus Pandemic we had to cancel two trips we had scheduled. But in July this year we set off as a family to do some more walking. In our party this time were myself, my son, Scott, his partner, Pauline and their 15 year old son, Andre. We had booked accommodation through Sykes Holiday Cottages and after a long 7 hour drive from London we arrived at our house which was called Rivendell in Pendra Loweth in the Maen Valley (near Falmouth). I would strongly recommend this holiday home estate, the grounds are beautiful and normally there would be a bar and pool on site but obviously when we went these were still not open (but they were working hard to re-open these shortly with social distancing measures in place). The house had everything we needed and I had a wonderful view of the stream from my bedroom. The only strange thing was that we had been expecting a dish washer, and the cleaners had even left us a supply of dishwasher tablets but despite searching high and low we could not find one! However we had brought our own in the form of my 15 year old grandson so it was no great loss!

Cadgwith – Coverack (8 miles)
On our last visit we had ended our walk in a small fishing village called Cadgwith so Pauline dropped us there again (she had decided not to walk today as she wanted to watch Formula One on TV!) The weather was perfect. Sunny with a lovely breeze. I was so happy to see this wonderful coastline again! It had been far too long! As we set off out of the village we realised that social distancing on the Coastal Path is not as easy as we had expected. The path is very narrow in parts and this meant either us or the people coming towards us having to back into the bracken and nettles to let each other pass! Lots of itchy legs by the end of the day! Walking at this time of year meant that we had numerous wild flowers and lots of colourful heather around us. It was breathtaking! We passed Poltesco where there are the remains of a serpentine works (serpentine is a shiny rock, green with red and white in it, very attractive). It became popular when Queen Victoria ordered a serpentine fireplace for Osborne House in the Isle of Wight in 1846). The Path took us up and down hills and we passed Kennack Sands which is a lovely (but rather crowded) stretch of beach, then we passed the less busy and smaller Lankidden before heading up Chynhalls Cliff. Part of the path here goes onto a “boardwalk” type path over a reed bed. As we reached Coverack we saw the signs for the Terence Coventry Sculpture Park and had a little detour there. Lots of lovely sculptures in a field of cornflowers! Very stunning and very restful as there are benches to sit on. Best of all it is totally free! A nice little respite from the walking. At Coverack we met up with Pauline and she drove us home. It felt so good to be walking the Path again!

Coverack – Porthallow (5 miles)
The next day we drove to Coverack and left the car there as we were all walking today. When we started walking it wasn’t too strenuous as it was fairly flat heathland (it is actually a raised beach so the cliffs are a few hundred yards inland). It was a bit rocky underfoot but quite easy going. We had to pass Dean’s Quarry where they still blast nowadays so you have to keep rigidly to the path and listen out for siren warnings. The offshore rocks near here are The Manacles, the scene of many ship wrecks. When we reached Porthoustock the Path went inland (they are supposedly looking to re-route it nearer the coast in the future) and it became a rather boring up and down route around streets and farm land. Finally we came down into Porthallow and had a cooling drink outside The Five Pilchards pub. The plan had been to get a cab from here back to our car but we couldn’t find a cab available immediately so Scott decided to go back and collect the car! So Pauline, Andre and I had an hour or so in the sunshine with drinks and crisps whilst Scott retraced the whole 5 miles! What a star my son is! We had taken the obligatory photos at the memorial marking the half way point of the South Coast Path. We have now done 315 miles, just another 315 to do!

The next day we took a break from walking and had a day at the local beach. Maenporth beach is small but picturesque and although the water was cold we all had a paddle and a bit of a sunbathe.

Porthallow-Helford (8 miles)
We drove back to Porthallow today and all started the walk. After an hour of cliff top walking Pauline and Andre headed back and Scott and I continued all the way to Helford. This is a beautiful part of the walk. We passed some odd named places Snail’s Creep, Batty’s Point and Nelly’s Cove being some of them. The views from Nare Head and Nare Point were stunning. Being high up we could see the crashing waves below and numerous rocks covered with the local birds. When we arrived at Gillan Creek we had to wade across the inlet (we had timed it to arrive when it was low tide). It was only ankle deep so we took off our walking boots and socks and started to wade across. Ouch! Ouch again! The water covered beds of mussels. These were so sharp that it was like walking on a bed of nails. I was making quite a fuss much to the amusement of people sitting on the far bank! It was not a pleasant part of the walk" However once over the other side we sat to dry our feet outside St Anthony-in-Meneage Church and ate our sandwiches in the sunshine. There is a 15th century German carving of the Last Supper inside the church, well worth a visit. It was then a fairly easy walk through dense woodland to Helford. We now had to get a ferry from Helford to Helford Passage to cross the water again, This was a lot more pleasant than crossing Gillan Creek. A little water ferry took us over for £5 each (masks must be used) and on the other side we met Pauline and Andre who had driven there.

The next day we had another break from walking and this was the only day where we had rain all day. We went to visit Trelissick Gardens. The house wasn’t open and the paths were a one way system but it was very beautiful with a multitude of blue hydrangeas everywhere you looked!

Helford Passage to Falmouth (10 miles)
Our last day of walking and Pauline dropped Scott and I at Helford Passage and we planned to meet up with them later. The walk was very nice with gentle walking through fields and along wooded cliff tops. We passed lots of little coves and there were amazing views across the Fal to St Anthony’s Lighthouse. After about 2 hours of walking we arrived at Maenporth Beach, the one near our accommodation, and we met up with Pauline and Andre there. (Maenporth means ‘stony landing place’) .Supposedly we should have passed the wreck of the Ben Asdale, an Aberdeen trawler that went ashore in a gale in December 1978 but despite looking closely we couldn’t find it! We passed Pennance Point where there is a memorial to Falmouth’s Home Guard. We walked over the sands at Swanpool Beach and then headed across Cliff Road and Castle Drive around Pendennis Castle. As we approached Falmouth we looked down at the huge docks. Very impressive to see the huge cruise liners in dock there. Falmouth is much like every other larger coastal town, a little run down with the usual high street shops.

So we did another 31 miles of the path on this trip (only 292 left to do!)

17 people found this review helpful

This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.

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Other Members' Thoughts - 3 Comment(s)

  • ESW
    about 2 months ago
    It's great to follow your progress.
  • Dinah
    about 2 months ago
    I loved reading about the SW coast path . The family are very fit to gave been able to do all this walking. The half way point is an amazing achievement. Well done to you all and i hope you make your target. The best of luck to you. It's so inspiring thank you for sharing.
  • DRSask
    about 2 months ago
    Another enjoyable read :). Glad to hear you are out on the path again!