Total Pageviews

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Walk 145 Falmouth to Helford Passage (Cornwall)

Walk 145 Falmouth to Helford Passage (Cornwall)

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

Map: L/R 204
Distance: about 11 miles or 18km
Difficulty: Moderate
Terrain: coastal paths and pavement
Access: Parking at both ends.
Public transport: Rail and bus links in Falmouth. A bus (No 35) goes to and from Falmouth to Helford Passage every hour during weekdays.

The walk starts in Falmouth where the coastal path winds its way round, initially through the docks, to Pendennis Point.

Falmouth is a pleasant enough place to look around and to enjoy including some rather expensive fish and chips at one of Rick Stein's outlets. The town was opened up as a holiday resort with the arrival of the railway in 1863. Near the modern harbour-side is a pyramid called the Killigrew Monument. The Killigrew family were a local wealthy family in the 18th century who decided they wanted to provide a beautiful embellishment to the harbour.

In the town, look out for the attractive facade of St George's Arcade which was built in 1912 and was once one of the largest cinemas in the UK. Another impressive building is The Passmore Edwards Free Library which was built by the said man, a newspaper owner and philanthropist, in the early 20th century. It is one of the 24 libraries built as a result of his bequests. A number of round the world yachting attempts have started or ended in Falmouth including those of Sir Francis Chichester and Dame Ellen McArthur. Further back in time, news of the victory of the Battle of Trafalgar and the death of Nelson were brought ashore here.

Just before Pendennis Point is a castle built by Henry V111 and strengthened by Elizabeth 1. It saw action in the civil war, ironically, from the landward side. 900 men were besieged in the castle for 6 months who then forced to give it up to the Roundheads. It is now a museum and discovery centre owned by English Heritage.

The Pendennis Castle Road has its own claim to fame. Motorcycle races were staged here between 1931 and 1937 and were the first to be held on public roads in mainland Britain.

Continue the walk around Pendennis Point and on to Gyllyngvase Beach and then to Swanpool Beach. Behind the latter beach is a small lake with high salt content that gives the place its name. It is one of a few places that a type of moss animal, the Trembling Sea Mat, is able to survive. A mineral mine once extended under the lagoon.

After another mile or so there is another attractive beach at Maenporth. Although it is sandy the name means 'rocky cove' or 'stone cove'. There was once a chemical works at Maenporth.

The walk around Rosemullion Head was very windy even though it was much calmer a little bit further inland. The spring is a good time to walk here when bluebells, gorse and purple orchids are growing. Look out for a notice on the path which warns visitors to watch out for oil beetles and not step on them as they are part of a conservation project. They are called oil beetles because they release poisonous oily deposits when disturbed – these can cause blistering and painful swelling. So don't pick them up and be careful where you sit especially if wearing shorts!

Along the south facing coast is Durgan Beach, an attractive place known for its boating. It was the home port of Captain Vancouver who explored North America in the 1790s. The area is owned by the National Trust and this includes the old school which is adjacent to the beach. This building can be rented from the trust and looks an idyllic place to stay.

A bit further along is the frontage of Trebah Gardens and its small beach. These gardens created by James Fox are open to the public.

Continue to Helford Passage with its many boats, including the ferry which feature on the next walk.

Photos show: Durgan Beach with the old school building; Rosemullion Point; Oil beetles notice.

No comments:

Post a Comment