St Agnes – Holywell and back via Pentile Point

Walk from Holywell via Crantock and Poly Joke beach
Walk from Holywell via Crantock and Poly Joke beach

Last day of the holiday in Cornwall and although it is an even day we went for a walk, as we had been in training all week. The plan was to park up at the Holywell car park then walk in land to West Pentile where this is pub called the Bowgie Inn, then walk back to Holywell beach via the coastal path.

Once parked up at the National Trust car park, free for members and adding to the savings to offset against the membership fee, we walked in land flowing a river and passing through a very extensive camping and caravan park. The we did an acute turning and headed up a hill that once at the top gave a great view of the area with the sea visible of three sides of the square so to speak.

Seals on a rock
Seals on a rock

We descended down from the peak and crossed a road and then the path went through a caravan park which was closed for the season, it had many activities including a fishing lake, and the notice boards promised entertainers, singers and comedians, including once called Jim Gutrench. A gold course followed with the path nicely protected by Cornish walls/mounds. Eventually we descended down into a valley where there was a car park for a beach we would pass later. The way out of the valley was confusing but we eventually hit the right path which lead to a road or track again up the hill till we got to West Pentire, the a the Bowgie Inn beckoned, and what a great find it was.

The Bowgie Inn is in a small village but as we approached we noticed it was quite busy and lots of outside seating, it was clear why when we got there. The view of Crantock Bay is fantastic and the light we we arrived was almost perfect. We stopped for a coffee and a bag of crisps and I took a time lapse sequence. We lingered for a while watching the surfers in the distance the breaks were quite a way out so a couple of them were getting really long run ins.

The path crosses the bottom of the pub garden, which was handy. The next few miles were spectacular, and the photo opportunities many. Eventually we came across Pentire beach which we had passed earlier, and found a spot to have our sandwiches, it was idyllic and the perfect spot to share lunch on our last full day in Cornwall. The sea was a deep blue and breaking in parallel waves onto the beach, and the sky was blue with the occasional passing fluffy cloud.

Walk from Holywell via Crantock and Poly Joke beach
Walk from Holywell via Crantock and Poly Joke beach

The walk back to Holywell bay was quite eventful, first Helen spotted some seals on a rock just off the coast. We watched them for a while and the total count at one point was 12, far out stripping our best tally of the week of two.  A little further on I went to look at whatever the couple were looking at over the cliff it turned out to be a sheep part way down the cliff. It was standing still looking like it could not decide which way to get out, I was not about to try and rescue it because the way out was fairly obvious.

The last mile and a half were down hill and then on the beach. It was tedious walking across the dry sand at the top until we found that the damp sand by the stream that runs down the beach was much easier walking. We were back at the hut at the same time as the owners who had been to The Eden Project as a treat for their wedding anniversary. We had a chat then retired to the hut to tidy up and pack so we could get an early start. We had fish and chips for tea from the chippy opposite the pub, my hake was very  nice and the chips were double cooked so very crispy.

St Agnes – Porthtowan back to to the pub

Walk from Holywell via Crantock and Poly Joke beach
Walk from Holywell via Crantock and Poly Joke beach

We had a plan to walk from Porthtowan back to the pub for a half, but the buses were not convenient either a early start or a late start. Then I remember that there is a museum in St Agnes and the bus stop was near by. So the plan emerged, we would walk up to the museum for the 10:30 opening time then we would have an hour before the 11:30 bus. That mean a leisurely start, we left the house at 10:00.

We walked up through the village which thus far we had only seen from the car. There is the St Agnes Hotel signs that the place was once and important town. Then we cam across the Railway Inn yet more evidence that the place was important. The museum would reveal all.

Walk from Holywell via Crantock and Poly Joke beach
Walk from Holywell via Crantock and Poly Joke beach

We got to the museum just as it opened and a friendly man welcomed us in. The museum is very interesting and very well done. It gives you a great insight into the history of the area right up to current days with a cabinet showing a multi-generation of doctors who have served in the village. We were early for the bus so I bought a paper and we sat at the bust stop and caught up with the news.

Walk through village hill There were quite a few people at the bus stop but when the 315 arrived we were the only ones to get on. I guess the rest were waiting for the 87 to Newquay or Truro. The bus takes a rurtal route and takes a least one detour to visit villages. Eventually we were dropped off near the beach at Porthtowan. We headed straight for the coat path and the hard slog of getting out of the river valley. Just before Porthchapel we came across a bench with a view where we had our sandwiches and did some sea watching. Helen spotted something which we took a while to figure out what it was, but eventually we realised that it was a Sunfish a rare but increasingly more common sighting in Cornwall.

Walk from Holywell via Crantock and Poly Joke beach
Walk from Holywell via Crantock and Poly Joke beach

It was a pretty short walk down to Porthchapel where we had a coffee at the National Trust coffee shack. We headed the beach to enjoy our beverages and the view. I took a timelapse set. We then headed on again up the steep hill towards St Agnes. On out left was the beacomn the man in the museum had explained about and Helen was interested in because of the arrow heads found there and on display, however after the slog up the coast path Heln declined the offer to walk to the top of the beacon.

Near the coat watch car park there the local radio control club were flying gliders, the steady breeze from the sea made it a great location, however I guess mistakes can be costly with the sea and the cliffs. As we left the coat watch I noticed a man on the floor ahead, in my binoculars they were not moving but then he started to get up slowly. I rushed ahead and check that he was OK, he was I think he was just embarassed at having fallen over.

The final mile or two was on familiar territory with great views as the sun dipped lower. Back in the village we used the excuse to book a table to eat to buy a sneaky half. We had had a lovely day in perfect weather.

St Agnes – Walk Holywell to St Agnes

Walk from Holywell via Crantock and Poly Joke beach
Walk from Holywell via Crantock and Poly Joke beach

Day three an odd day so it is a walk day, we had a plan to get a bus to Holywell then walk back to St Agnes, however the best laid plans do not always pan out. We were up early and in time to walk up to the bus stop for the 09:32 bus to Newquay. We set out earlier than necessary according to Google maps, I did that thing I have done many times. When you go for the public transport option in maps it includes the time to walk to the bus stop, I have a habit of taking the time as the bus departure not the start walking time.

Walk from Holywell via Crantock and Poly Joke beach
Walk from Holywell via Crantock and Poly Joke beach

We were very early for the bus so had a 25 minute wait, but it did turn up which is a good start. We needed to stay on the bus for 22 stops and get off at Cubert Crossroads which turned out to be in the middle of nowhere. It was not obvious where the bus stop was but we decided that walking towards a lay by in the direction of Holywell was the best bet, and it did turn out to be a bus stop. We were a bit late for the bus so we gave it 25 minutes before I convinced Helen we should give up on the bus and walk cross country Perranporth and miss out Holywell. We walked a few hundred yards down the road and lo and behold the bus drove past. Helen was not amused in fact she was hopping mad and I was somehow partly to blame (as logistics manager for the walk). Helen soo cheered up when we spotted some Goldcrest in a tree by the road.

The walk to Perranporth was mainly on a road but not much traffic and it made a change to be in the Cornish countryside rather than a cliff path. We turned towards the sea at the Perranporth golf club and eventually hit the beach and headed towards the town. Helen decided she had walked far enough so I waited for the next bus back to St Agnes with her then headed off up the hill and back onto the coast path, which was a bit of a slog.

Walk from Holywell via Crantock and Poly Joke beach
Walk from Holywell via Crantock and Poly Joke beach

I stopped after half and hour and enjoyed my sandwiches on a sheltered bench with a view. The path then headed even higher and passed some fairly significant mine sites and some very interesting geology, wtih layers of dark rock in a mainly lighter quartz or silica rock. There was also lots of mine spoil so much so in fact they appear to have dug a path through it for the coastal path. The route took me around the back of the Perranporth airport where a plane kept taking off and landing not sure if it was flight lessons or flight tours.

Eventually I came to the path that descends steeply into Trevellas Cove, where a sign suggest no walking around the beach to St Agnes. I threw caution to the wind as the tide was far out. It was a bit tedious stepping from rock to rock but it saved another massive up section then another down to get to St Agnes. Helen was wandering on the beach when I got there looking for the seal she had spotted the evening before, it seemed to like looking at the surfers from a safe distance. We had a regular half, well in my case a pint as I had done 10 miles of coastal path, then we headed back to the hut.

St Agnes – Trelissick and the Roseland Peninsula

Portscatho panorama
Portscatho panorama

Day four even number meant a relaxed non: walking day, our initial aim was Trelissick and National Trust property with extensive gardens, then we would see whare the wins took us. We left the house at 10:00 and arrives at Trelissick at 10:30 perfect timing of the house opening times.

We first headed to the house and had a look around, the contents were quite bear and I overheard some mentioning that all of all the content was from when the hose contents were auctioned off. Then we headed to the orchard garden area where there are lots of exotic trees. By then it was coffee and cake time a fruit slice went down nicely.Finally we walked out to the end of the Peninsula with fantastic views of the Fal estuary.

St Mawes harbour
St Mawes harbour

Trelissick is near King Harry’s ferry to the Roseland Peninsula we decided to give it a go and take a look at the isolated finger of land. The ferry saves a 27 mile round trip. To get on the ferry we left Trelissick and turned right, on to a road that steeply descends down to the river level. We did not need to wait to take the switch back and drive onto the ferry, infact we were the penultimate car on board. The cross does not take long, less than 5 minutes I would say. We headed first down to St Mawes the biggest population center on the peninsula.

We ignored the signs to parking instead choosing the signs to the castle which is an English Heritage property. We did not stop at the castle but carried on round to the sea front and were happy to find a space in the harbour car park. We had a sandwich  in one of the seafront establishments, my crab sandwich was generously filled, bit no cheap at £9.95.

Portscatho limpets
Portscatho limpets

Next we headed to St Antony the end of the less popular peninsula, where there is a gun battery from the war which we found out includes a bird hide. We walked out to the bird hide via a walled path, presumably to protect the soldiers. From the hide we the view was of a cliff opposite, which  we thought strange but then we realised that we were probably looking for a Peregrine Falcon, and we did manager to see it dive after prey. After a look around what was left of the gun battery then we drove back up a different road up the peninsula to a village called Portscatho which has a history of artists living there/ It was a quiet place and we had a walk around and a look at the beach.

It was time to head back to the ferry where I took to the opportunity to get a couple of timelapse sequences. The queue for the ferry was pretty short as one was half way across when we arrived. Truro traffic was busy, we went to Waitrose for some salad for tea, and got back to the hut just oafter 18:00 with plenty of time before Back Off started.

St Agnes – Trerice NT and metal detecting

Sea view near St Agnes
Sea view near St Agnes

A high was pushing away a bank of rain overnight but it had not done its job by morning. We decided a more less energetic day was in order, so we would start at a National Trust property called Trerice less that 30 minutes drive. It turned out to be an interesting drive as the satnav insisted on a single track lane for a significant part of the journey.

We arrive just before the house opened which was perfect timing. The house has quite old original bit is a very good state of maintenance. Quite a small house but interesting stuff within. I had to sample the famous lemon meringue pie in the café which went down nicely with an americano. We killed time a little writing postcards, to get that holiday task out of the way and to give the weather front a bit more time to move along.

Portscatho view
Portscatho view

We had a look around Newquay and parked up at Fistal beach to see if there were any surfers out, it was raining and wind swept there were not a lot of surfers out. Then we headed to Crantock beach stopping off at the village shop for some metal detector batteries, then parked up at the beach and headed out with the metal detector.

It took a while to get our hand back in but we did eventually find some stuff including a tent peg, a couple of screws, some tin cans and a few bottle tops, we are not going to get rich. Next we headed to Truro to get some provisions, from the Cornish shop at Waitrose this time beetroot salad and a mushroom salad. Back at the hut we headed down to watch the surfers taking advantage of the last of the summer, then had a half at the pub.

St Agnes – Walk to Chapel Porth and back

Stuff at St Agnes harbour
Stuff at St Agnes harbour

Our first day on holiday so we thought we would be better to go easy to test our legs, although I had been walking a lot this year most of the walks had been flat, the Cornish coastal path is far from that. Our plan was to walk to Chapel Porth and back trying to make a circular route.

We started by walking down the road to the beach but took a left at The Driftwood Spar freehouse. The road was very steep and we eventually came to a twee little mobile home park in which the homes were all like large sheds or chalets. We joined a foot path there and then a track. There is quite a lot of activity at the top above the village of St Agnes, there is a rugby and foot pitch probably because it is the nearest flat piece of land. There was also a lot of building work going on with some new houses being built and others being renovated.

Sea view near St Agnes
Sea view near St Agnes

We find that the foot paths in Cornwall are not that well sign posted and we eventually could not find the path we wanted so we ended up walking along a road but found a convenient bench with a view for a rest. Whilst sat there we saw lots of modern Jaguars drive past the turned towards the sea and the car park near the coast watch hut.

We headed in land too but took a footpath that took us west and closer to the sea. The path became quite steep at loose under foot at one ppoint but we made it to the bottom of the valley where there was a National Trust car park, WC and importantly a small cafe shack where we got a drink and a flapjack to share. We consumed out beverages down on a large rock on the edge of the beach, then we went for a wander to look at the rock pools.

Sea view near St Agnes
Sea view near St Agnes

We headed back keeping to the offical coast path all the way, it was steep exiting the valley but we took a rest halfway up at a tin mine building with a bench next to it. The sandwiches we had made earlier went down a treat, and a view over the sea to go with it.

The final stretch down towards St Agnes was tough on the knees which were out of practice for hill, note to self do the Ridgeway path with all it’s ups and downs to get your knees in trim. Just on the edge of St Agnes we came across a group of 4 just about to launch a small drone with a very sophisticated controller, the strap told me it was Parrot gear. I sat and watched it being lauched then I looked over the bay, next thing I know I heard the bloke flying it saying “It has never done that before” as they all looked over the wall then climbed to look down the cliff. They had lost the drone some how, I did a good job not laughing as I left hem to it and headed down into the village.

Flower closeup
Flower closeup

We stopped at the pub and had a swift half, before heading back to the hut, where I polished off one of the scones that had be on the hut when we arrived, the clotted cream from the fridge went nicely on top followed by some strawberry jam. We lounged about for a bit before heading back to the pub for some more beer and something to eat.

I had a pint and the baked skate wing special which was very nice. We shared are table with another couple who were interested in my map app. After eating we went to look at the sea and there was another man flying a drone, however this one came back to him.

St Agnes – The journey there

St Agnes beach view
St Agnes beach view

September is a traditional late year holiday, and this year unusually the the family get together was not happening so rather than two weeks we are only taking the one. We were off to St Agnes in Cornwall. We have never been there before but we have been further north and further south up the Cornish coat before.

We planned to leave about 08:00 but I was up earlier than anticipated and we got away at 07:30. I had been saving Archers episodes for the journey so we had the hour long special and the 5 following episodes to watch. We weren’t that impressed with the trial episode probably because with the Archers you get to know the characters but this episode was with a jury of unknown characters, even if some of them were familiar actors. We decided taking the A303 because it avoided the M4/M5 junction at Bristol. We were happy with out decision because we got to Killerton National Trust without any traffic issues.

Wheal Coates near St Agnes
Wheal Coates near St Agnes

Killerton is a smallish house and had an exhibition around the craft of weaving and making wool, which has links to the property. We had a look around the house then some lunch in the cafe and made our way on to Cornwall our planned destination Trelissick on the south of Cornwall.

Things however did not go to plan when we got to the A30 there was a sign suggesting that we should take the North road to North Cornwall instead. Helen did not feel that that was the best course of action, and convinced me, so I turned back and got on the A30 which  looked OK with light traffic. We made good headway until we got to the road works for the new dual carriage way across Bodmin, where we  spent 45 minutes in queuing and very slow traffic. It looked like we would nboit be able to take in Trelissick and in fact Helen needed to phone the people and let them know we would be later than anticipated.

Sea view near St Agnes
Sea view near St Agnes

We stopped off in Truro for some provisions, we got some great salads from Waitrose Cornish section. Strangely you have to pay for the Cornish stuff in the Cornish section, we did not know that and at the till we were told we needed to go back and pay for it.

We got to the cottage at about 16:45 it was fairly easy to find, and the owners who live next door were very welcoming. We unpacked and then went for a walk down to the sea, where we found a fish and chip shop as well as a pub that sold real ale. There was no beach to see but the tide was fully in. Everything looked good for an excellent week on holiday.

Holiday centre change from Cornwall to Devon

Holiday change over day, from Cornwall to Croyde in Devon, and from just me and Helen to Helens family and hangers on. We were up early and ready to leave the hut at 09:30 without any trouble at all there was not much to tidy, so we had time for a leisurely breakfast.  Helen prides herself on leaving holiday properties tidily, today was no exception, ensuring the mantle piece items were repositioned where we had found them.

We took the coastal A39 which winds through the Cornish and Devonshire countryside, the sun was shining and the atmosphere pretty crystal clear, so the drive was a pleasure. We passed through quite a few familiar places from holidays past. At Bideford we passed the turn off to Croyde but we had planned a detour to the National Trusts Arlington Court where our first priority was coffee and cake in the Cafe. The gluten free lime and coconut cake went down a treat with a large americano.

Arlington Court was or is home to the Chichester family which are related to Sir Francis Chichester who sailed around the world single handed at a time without GPS. (ed: bloody good book). The house itself is full of shells, stuffed birds and model boats, it seems that they were a family that liked collecting stuff. The last of the house even had a museum wing to store all of it that somehow there was no room for on the house itself. We left Arlington Court at about 13:00, time for a supermarket sweep before our anticipated arrival at the new holiday venue in Croyde at 15:00.

I hadn’t banked on the amount of shopping that would be required at the Braunton Tesco we needed provisions for 7 for a week, almost £300 and a trolley full. The very helpful store manager asked if we had picked one of every item they sold! The shopping took about an hour, we wondered why people bothered doing that every week, we get Tesco to deliver which is far more convenient.

C&T were already at the hut when we arrived and five journeys later I had unpacked the car of luggage and shopping. Everyone was accounted for by 17:00 and we all settled in, some resting on the lawn others taking a stroll on the beach. Dinner would a simple affair preprepared salad stuff from Waitrose. Bring Devon on.

Padstow to Stepper point look out including Padstow to Rock ferry

The next door neighbours have have vacated the property next door and annoyingly have switched off their broadband hub, so we have lost the small internet access point that is the corner of the sofa in the front window of the property. Last full day in Cornwall we fancied a light walk, so Padstow was the obvious choice. Helen was not keen on a boat across the river Camel but a 5 minute drive to Rock  and a ferry, compared to a 30 minute drive to Padstien made the sensible choice the boat. Parking at Rock is an exorbitant £4.50.

The wait for the ferry was short and we boarded with a family, and made the short crossing to Padstow. Feeling lazy and because it looked like it might rain we opted for a coffee before heading out on the coastal path. We nostalgically looked at the flat we rented above the public conveniences quite a few years ago, whilst make use of them.

The path hugs the headland and is relatively flat compared to the walk we had done the day before, and is semi paved with Cornish rock. The sun came out as we got to the point and it seemed like a good place to stop for sandwiches and to lose a layer. Two marmalade sandwiches later we popped round the headland where the wind was blowing and spent ten minutes with the coast lookout volunteer. I always find the coastal lookout people very accommodating, and always make a point of popping in. On a winters day they always have a heater going and it is a welcome break from the constant coastal wind.

The lookout also provided a short cut saving us a big descent and adventure on the coastal path, however it did mean that Helen had to walk through a field of friendly (ed: ???) and inquisitive cows. We were soon heading down hill as luck would have to a Cafe in a set of cottages called “Rest a while Tea Garden” where we stopped for another cup of coffee. A flock of house sparrows were scrounging for food but every time I tried to get a picture some one walked through the garden gate and they flew off, I even tried offering them my sandwich crumbs. (ed: very friendly and good quality food/drinks).

It was not far back to the ferry pickup which had moved closer to where we were because the tide, which had the added benefit of allowing us to walk on the sand directly across the bay. The ferry crossing was smooth enough for Helen to announce that she was enjoying the mode of transport.

We were back at the hut by 15:30 so we went down to the seafront where Helen did some shopping then after a brief walk on the beach we went to the Waterfront bar for a final Cornish beer, Tribute, before moving on to Devon beer next week. Pasta for tea then watched the opening game of the rugby world cup. Tomorrow a new county and another week of holiday.

Port Quin to Port Isaac the high road and the low road

The nearest place to the east of Polzeath is the little hamlet of Port Quin, on a previous holiday we had walked from Port Isaac to Port Quin and back, we had taken the coast path but the overland route back. Today we decided to do the route the other way, more for convenience than anything, there were coffee shops and loos in Port Isaac but Port Quin only had a coffee van and a car park.

The road into Port Quin is very narrow and quite steep in parts, but it is worth the thrill. The port itself is a natural feature, a rocky inlet that stretches a couple of hundred yards in land, apart from a storm in a perfect direction it is hard to imagine that waves of any significance reach the port.  The coastal path starts very steeply between a couple of cottages nestled into the rocks.

The weather was a treat again with blue skies and white fluffy cumulus cloud, perfect seaside photography weather. The coastal path however was far from perfect clinging to every contour and believe me there are lots of them, and for good measure the downward ones are matched equally with stretches of upwards ones, for the whole 3.2 miles. I am not sure if the distance on the signs was measured on a flat map or reflected the true distance a tape measure placed on the ground would have measured, it seemed longer and took more than the hour 3 miles should usually take. (ed: Cornish cliff miles!)

After several rests, one for lunch, we descended the final set of steps to Port Isaac, which is where the ITV series Doc Martin is filmed, it stars Martin Clunes as a doctor, dealing with his patients and getting into lots of moral dilemmas. That all I know about that as I don’t watch it myself. Down in the town itself it started to rain and we were fortunate enough to get a seat in the terrace for a coffee and a packet of crisps, where we nursed them until the rain stopped and the sun came out.

The walk back was quicker and simpler, although the first hill was a long up hill trudge. We took the direct route straight over the top avoiding the undulating coastal path. We also avoided cow fields until the very end, much to Helen’s relief, as she does not feel she can trust cows. (ed: sensible woman!). Back at the car park Fiona’s coffee wagon was still serving coffee and biscuits, I had an Americano and a white chocolate and raspberry shortbread.

They had had trouble at the mill today, so I took the opportunity when we had a mobile signal to check in. The outage was just about cleared by the time I checked in which was good to hear. Back at Polzeath we headed to the beach and enjoyed a well earned pint in the late afternoon sun. We had had an energetic day with great weather, all in all another great holiday day.