Menabilly to Fowey
Caerloggas Downs is in the
heart of the clay country in Cornwall. The site has been
restored as heathland by English China Clay (Imerys)
It is situated between the villages of Stenalees and Penwithick, on the outskirts of St Austell, and the entrance is just outside Stenalees on the road which goes to St Austell.
There is a car park 20 yards from the main road, or you can drive all the way to the summit (265 ft above sea level) if you are not feeling energetic.
From the car park, there is a choice of directions to take. If you take the left track, you skirt the north side of the downs, and when you can go no further, make for the summit on another track. If you take the middle (fenced) track, it goes straight to the summit.
The view from the top is
truly spectacular! A good idea is to take a map,
binoculars, and compass with you and see if you can work
out which is Rocks clayworks, Trebal, Wheal Martin, etc,
or where the Eden project is situated.
You can also see all the little clay villages, and the sea in St Austell bay.
There are seats at the top, and some stones have been left standing in a circle. Some bright spark will come along in 200,000 years time and decide that an ancient civilisation left them there, as they point to magnetic north, or the summer solstace!
The day we went there, there was a gale blowing at the top, but it was a long enough walk to blow out the cobwebs on a winters afternoon.
A working clay pit with an old dryer chimney in the foreground
From Mawgan Porth, on the north Cornish coast, take the B3276 which runs along the coast towards Padstow. About 3 miles from Mawgan Porth, turn left up a lane marked "Pentire farm and Park Head". 100 yards further is a small, free National trust car park.
There is a map on the kissing gate at the beginning of the walk. From this gate, cross a field and turn left at the next kissing gate, then follow the track through several fields until you reach the coastal footpath. You may need wellies here if the weather has been wet, and please keep dogs on the lead, as there are sheep in the fields and on the cliff top.
Turn North, towards Padstow, and follow the coastal path until you reach Park Head. The views of the north Cornwall coast are fantastic from here, and you may see a seal out in the bay.
Climb down to the little rocky inlet of Porth Meor. This beach is not suitable for swimming, but great for exploring rock pools when the tide is out, or collecting shells from the shale beach.
The path turns inland from here, as you walk along the side of a stream which has recently been cleaned out to provide a more diverse habitat for marsh plants and creatures. There is a large reed bed which may attract reed warblers in summer. A pair of buzzards feed from the numerous rabbits on the south facing fields opposite.
At the end of the valley, climb up a steep field and pass below Pentire farmhouse to a gate. Through the gate is the lane which takes you back to your car again.
More walks nearby:-
From the car park in Mawgan Porth,
walk up the steep hill towards Newquay, and take the public
footpath which starts just above
Bre Pen farm, on the Newquay side of Mawgan Porth, to Beacon Cove. Then turn North along the coastal footpath, and walk back around Bre Pen headland to Mawgan Porth. Sit in the garden of the Merrymore Inn with half of lager to recover!.
Carnewas. This was called Bedruthan steps for as long as I can remember, but for some reason it is now called Carnewas. It is about 2 miles from Mawgan Porth on the B3276 towards Padstow. Park in the large National trust car park and walk down to the beach if you wish. Swimming here is at your own risk as there is no life guard in attendance. If you walk on along the coast, you come to Park Head.
View from Watergate to the Headland, Newquay
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This is an easy walk for nature lovers at any time of the year. It is not accessible at high tide however. Walking boots are advisable, but wellies may be needed in wet weather. also a great place for letting the dogs have a run.
Take the road towards Newquay from the Trenace boating lake roundabout. About 300 yards along there is a turning to the left, and there you will find a small free car park, on the bank of the river Gannel.
From the car park, walk along the bank of the river, towards the sea. You can't see the sea from here unless the tide is in, but there are several boats laid up here in winter.
For the bird watcher, there are usually large flocks of Gulls,Terns, Godwits and Dunlin to be seen wading in the estuary. You may see a pair of Buzzards overhead, and one summer I saw a rare Little Egret fishing in the river.
Half a mile downriver, there is a wooden bridge which crosses the Gannel. There are more boats moored here in the winter months.
After crossing the bridge,
cross the sand towards the cliff downriver. Climb the
cliff and you will find a map of the walks. You have a
choice of routes to take now. You can strike out across
the cliff until you get to Crantock beach.
When the tide is out, it is a long walk to get to the sea where you can see Pentire Headland.
Alternatively, you can
turn left and cross the field along a well marked path.
This take you to a lane which leads to Lower Trevithick.
Cross the bridge and again you have another choice of
routes. For a longer walk, you can veer right and go to
Trevemper bridge, or you can go left, and follow the
shore line back towards Trenance.
This can be a little muddy, as you are walking along the tidal estuary at times. The path takes you past a hulk of a boat, and then to a concrete bridge which crosses the Gannel again. You will now be back on the road which will take you back to the car park.
On the A3082 road from Par to
Fowey, turn off to Polkerris and Menabilly beach. The road ends
at a private car park, and this is the start of the walk.
From the car park, go down the lane to the farm, where you are asked to pay 40p to park. The lane past the farm is often muddy, even in summer, but it can be negotiated in walking boots. The lane continues on into a deep cut. This part of the lane was completely grown over for many years, but it has been cleared now and it goes down to Menabilly beach.
Go through the gate where you can go right, up to the Daymark on Gribben head, and then on to Polkerris, or left towards Menabilly beach. Walk across the top of the beach to the wall or dam which holds back a lake. You can walk over the wall and cross the stepping stones over the little stream from the lake where once again you have a choice of directions.
Going to the right you climb up through Lankelly woods to the coastal footpath. The path crosses several fields, and looking down to the rocks at low tide you can see black back gulls, common gulls, terns, cormorants, ducks and even a heron. The path drops down to a little cove, and then to Coombe Haven, a favourite beach for the locals. Rising again you have spectacular views of Fowey river and Polruan. At the top of Fowey is the Allday Fields monument which is the start of the walk back to the car.
There are two lanes which go down through Covington wood to Readymoney beach. You can walk on into Fowey along Readymoney road and Esplanade Road. The foot passenger ferry to Polruan is here, and it is well worth a trip across the river to Polruan if you have time.
To return to you car, make your
way back to Alldays Fields. Cross the field along a well worn
footpath, then along a lane past a farm. At the end of this lane
is a car park for Coombe Haven.
Turn left and follow another lane to a field. Turn left and follow the border of the field to another lane which goes back down to Menabilly again.
Return to the car park by the same path as you came down. It takes about an hour to walk to Fowey, and another hour to walk back again.
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