cornwall in colours: orange

Sunset from Trencrom Hill

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A Walk to Hell’s Mouth

A Walk to Hell’s Mouth

It is a walk I have yearned to do for some time now, but summer is not the best time to do it as the car parks around the Cornish coastline are very crowded. As part of my son’s recuperation he is doing a lot of walking and occasionally I join him, though my fitness levels leave a lot to be desired. After a 6 mile walk last week around the Penrose estate and Loe Bar near Helston, this week we decided to give the Godrevy to Hell’s Mouth walk a go. Around 5 miles this walk took us around 2½ hours. My destination was the Hell’s Mouth Café where I knew I could get a coffee and a slab of cake. The boy was not convinced it existed as we tramped along the headlands as in truth, no signs of civilisation could be seen other than the urbanisation of Poole, Camborne and Redruth in the distance and the backdrop of Carn Brea.

Godrevy lighthouse

We drove to the furthest car park in a field close to the Godrevy lighthouse. The field parking areas are only open until the end of October.

Lookout point above Mutton Cove

From there we headed up hill to the viewing point overlooking Mutton Cove where seals can often be seen. We continued along the coastal path with farmland on our right and the sea on our left and surrounded by natural beauty and stillness.

Godrevy Lighthouse and lookout over Mutton Cove

The entire St Ives bay is behind, sea sparkling in the sun, tiny figures dotting the wide expanse of  Hayle Towans beaches as the tide retreats and in the distance the dark hump of Trencrom Hill and the beaches of Porth Kidney, Carbis Bay, Porthminster Beach and the tiny Porthgwidden beach of St Ives. It is hard to imagine that once this bay would have been full of sailing coasters taking Cornish slate and copper to Wales and returning with coal. Or Irish vessels laden with pork, linen and  butter. There would be all sorts of exotic food and objects from Africa and South America and the Dutch East Indies. A busy, noisy and all so different scene from today.

Mutton Cove with Grey Seals, honestly there are a few in the water!
Grey seal on a rock

The coastal path bends right to follow the edge of the cliff closely as you leave St Ives Bay with views east along the north Cornwall coastline to Portreath, Newquay and Trevose Head.

A gate leads through to “The Knavocks” an area of heathland where you can wander off the main path to explore the vegetation. Shetland ponies graze here to help keep the more vigorous plants in check, but we didn’t come across any. At the Trig Point you can just about catch a glimpse of the top of St Michael’s Mount on the other coast.

“The Knavocks” heathland and view of the coastal path which runs along the top

Coves and caves are woven into the cliffs and now and then you catch a glimpse of pale sandy beaches, turquoise water and the occasional seal lying on a rock. You can almost visualise the pirates and smugglers of the day dragging their haul into these secret stores.

Castle Giver Cove (R) and Fishing Cove (L)

The views from along the path here are stunning. Still no sight of a café though.

North Cliffs and Hell’s Mouth

Now you have to cross over two granite stiles at either end of a farmer’s field, thankfully empty of cows, and a stony path continues along the cliff top edged with wild blackberries and sloe berries at this time of year.

Turn left through a pair of granite gate posts to follow the coastal path which eventually drops down as it reaches the dramatic rocky inlet at Hell’s Mouth, a group of steep cliff faces some 300ft tall. Here you can watch seabirds swoop and dive around the cliffs and offshore rocks. But don’t stand too close to the edge! It is a long way down!

We made our way across the road to the Hell’s Mouth café for a sit down and coffee and cake. Sadly no carrot cake, which I have been dreaming of for several years, but a substantial slab of raspberry ripple for me and hearty apple cake for him did the trick whilst we watched black clouds scudding across the sky towards us. A brief shower saw us hastily moving indoors clutching our cake and after the rain moved out to sea we felt re-energised enough to make the return trip and burn off all those calories.

Looking back after the rain
New path leading away from Godrevy Point

This time we continued round onto Godrevy Point, the closest you can get to the lighthouse unless you go by boat, and where once more the view is that of St Ives Bay.

The slate and stony path leads downwards and climbing over a final low stone stile we reached the meadows and car park with the sound of dozens of noisy oystercatchers on the rocks below echoing in our ears.

Oystercatchers

If you like a walk, long or short, then please visit Jo for her regular strolls in the UK and the Algarve and maybe you would like to join in too. She’s very welcoming.

Loe Bar Circular Trail through Penrose Estate

Loe Bar Circular Trail through Penrose Estate

I’m not fond of a walk where you have to return the same way. I’m the same with driving, often seeking a different road back from where we’ve been. It’s not always possible of course, but the Penrose estate near Porthleven and Helston provides several circular routes within the park, including one which leads to the coast around Loe Pool which is separated from the sea by a sand bar named Loe Bar. There you will find an all year round dog walking beach because it is far to dangerous to swim there. My last visit was with the OH a few months ago when we had to turn round and walk back the same way as he suffers from vertigo and cannot cope being near the cliff edge.

No such problem with my son though, and he was happy to continue along the South West coastal path and then up the lane back to the car park on Penrose Hill.

As you exit the wooded trail through Bar Walk Plantation you get your first view of the open expanse of Mount’s Bay which stretches from the Lizard Point to Gwennap Head.

Several years ago I attempted to walk on this part of the South West coastal path, but it was so close to the edge I gave up. Now, due to cliff erosion, the path has been recreated further inland and it is much wider and safer. Altogether a lovely walk and with some stunning views up and down the coastline, south towards the Lizard and north to Rinsey Head.

Perched precariously on the cliffs to the east of Trewavas Head are the two engine houses that form the remains of Wheal Trewavas mine.

Leaving the coastal path behind we turned right uphill on Cooper’s Lane where there is another small National Trust car park at Highburrow where you can follow an inland bridle path which leads you through the estate and past the overgrown mine shafts of Wheal Rose back to the Penrose Hill car park.

We continued along the lane which was clothed in Traveller’s Joy and wild blackberries then turning right onto Shrubberies hill we soon reached the car. Total walk is around 5 miles and there is a small café at the Stables on the estate where we stopped for a panini and a coffee. If you continue into Porthleven itself you will find plenty of eateries and galleries.

If you like a walk, long or short, then please visit Jo for her regular strolls in the UK and the Algarve and maybe you would like to join in too. She’s very welcoming.

In My Garden: Summer’s End

In My Garden: Summer’s End

The monthly update on my garden went somewhat awry due to a family emergency in early July which meant my being away from home for most of the month. Arriving back in early August with the invalid in tow I found that the slugs and snails had once again decimated the few vegetables that I had growing (dwarf beans, broad beans, courgettes), bindweed had clambered over everything on the shady side and everything else had shot up! Luckily the OH had been good and fed and watered the tomatoes which have been a roaring success this year although I had far too many plants due to a ‘Manager’s offer‘ of 6 plugs for a £1 in late April. I bought 6 ‘Gardener’s Delight’ and 6 ‘Sweet Million’ both of which have produced tons of fruit and are so sweet that I often picked them to eat straight from the vine. I also have several basil plants, most coming to an end now and seven chilli plants of various varieties and colours and heat. All in the conservatory.

Raised / vegetable beds: Currently these are a mixture of vegetables, strawberries, herbs and edible flowers.  Not edible are the sweet peas and poppies! Though perhaps you could use the poppy seeds. Continue reading “In My Garden: Summer’s End”