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Thursday, 3 September 2015

Walk 140 Polperro to Fowey (Cornwall)

Walk 140 Polperro to Fowey (Cornwall)

(Second leg of English coastal walk – Broadstairs to Lands End)

Map: L/R 201 and 204
Distance: 10 miles or 15 km approx
Difficulty: moderate, demanding in parts
Terrain: coastal and cliff path
Access: Parking at both ends
Public transport: It is possible to get buses between the two towns but it involves changing and it is time consuming. Suggest Traveline website to fit in with where you are staying.

Take the path out of Polperro to the coastal path some parts of which are demanding. I found lots of dog walkers to start with. If they are under control fine and if on a lead where any other animals are likely to be around also fine. However, I had an altercation with the owner of a yappy dog who decided I was a miserable old b.....d for not letting his loose dog jump up and attack my lunch. His wife restrained him.

The walk continues with great views of Lantivet Bay and Pencarrow Head. Sharp craggy rocks, sandy coves and crystal blue sea dominate.

The first major settlement is Polruan. The National Coastwatch Institution on the outskirts is supported by voluntary contributions. Also look out for St Saviour's Chapel ruins – it was built in the 9th century and is preserved by English Heritage. The harbour at Polruan is a haven for small boats – it has a history of being a small fishing village and is situated on the edge of the River Fowey estuary. (NB to save embarrassment with the locals Fowey is pronounced 'Foy'.) Blockhouse forts were built across the river in the 14th century and a chain was strung across to prevent enemy ships from entering and was lowered for friendly ones. More recently the author Daphne Du Maurier was a resident of Polruan and a Daphne Du Maurier festival is held every year in nearby Fowey.

Follow the narrow hilly streets down to catch the ferry that regularly goes across to Fowey.

Fowey was once a staging post on the Saint's Way, the pilgrim route through Cornwall linking Ireland with Compostela in Spain. Yet another 'suspect' legend (see Looe Island) says that Jospeh of Aramathea visited here with the child Jesus. Apparently Joseph was a tin merchant with interests in the town. Fowey is one of Cornwall's oldest and most important ports. It was strongly associated with the china clay trade but today it is more recognised as a yachting centre.

Top photo: A view across Polruan to Fowey. Lower: St Saviour's Chapel

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