Sunday 24 February 2013

Wild Walking #2 : Gulval to Trevaylor

Via Rosemorran Farm, Boscobba, Trevaylor woods and Gear.

Enjoy wonderful views to Mount's Bay and the magical Trevaylor woods.

45 minutes there / 45 minutes back (non-stop at a steady pace).
Medium difficulty (muddy when wet – Wellington or walking boots essential).

Use our map, or find the route at

1. From Gulval church take School Lane, which runs past The Coldstreamer Inn. After about 5o yards, look out for the footpath sign on the right, next to Trevean Farmhouse.

2. The tree-lined footpath will lead to open fields where the track should be clear to see. When entering the fourth field, aim for the top left-hand corner.

3. Here, a narrow flight of stone steps leads down to the road. Cross the road to the thatched cottage. This is a sharp corner, so please take proper care when crossing.

4. Walk into the farm and pass the house on the left. The footpath sign points left through the garden, but there's a slightly less intrusive way a little further on.

5. Head down the field and walk right along the bottom edge. You'll reach an orchard, where you head down towards the river.

6. Cross the bridge and the lane, take the path up the hill and follow it as it turns left at the top. Follow this path until you reach the road.

7. Here you'll see the white gate marked Rosemorran Farm with its impressive gate post pillars. Go through the metal gate to the side and walk up through the field. Take a moment to look back and enjoy the impressive views over Mount's Bay.

8. Head for the building and you will find the stile that brings you into the road. Take a peek at the fairytale-like Rosemorran Farm building on your right. After a few yards, the footpath picks up again on the left.

9. Head across the open field, then over the stile and continue along the path by the woods on the right. This brings you up to the group of properties named Polkington. Wend your way through these lanes until you reach Boscobba. Take the footpath that heads off to the left, next to the converted barns.

10. This footpath takes you down into the valley and Trevaylor woods. The hillside is strangely bare, due to the clearance of diseased rhododendron bushes. Signs and fences keep walkers clear of areas where the stumps have been poisoned.

11. Now you're plunged into the woods. The flat woodland floor and densely packed trees make an attractive scene as you look ahead. In places, the deep river channel creates dramatic topography, where rope swings dangle from overhanging trees. The path evaporates here, but following the river will keep you on track.

12. Eventually you're led out of the woods, over a stile and through two open fields. Once across the second field and over the stile, bear left down the path towards the river again. Cross the footbridge and follow the river. The path disappears once more, and the going is likely to be boggy, but persevere and you'll soon be heading up into a clearing and out of the woods. The path leads you to the road, Gear Hill to be precise.

13. The next stretch of the walk is by road, but the traffic here is minimal. Make your way up the hill and bear left at the top. From here the route is a straight, downward tramp past Gear Farm and on to Trevaylor hamlet.

14. At Trevaylor, pop into the farm shop at Fox Farm for fresh seasonal fruit, vegetables and locally made preserves. Push your coins through the slot in the inner door.

15. After a few hundred yards you'll spy the footpath leading through the hedge on the left. Skirt around the perimeter of the field and find the stile in the right-hand hedge. Cross a further two fields, always bearing downhill, until you re-enter Trevaylor Woods, and make your way down to the river. As you're entering the woods from the other side, you'll need to cross the river by the stone footbridge. Presently, there is a fallen tree barring the way, so make your way around to the left and back, until you find the stile that will take you out of the woods.

16. Continue upwards across four fields until you reach the road and the entrance to Rosemorran Farm that you first encountered at point (7).

17. Now retrace your steps back to Gulval and make sure you treat yourself to well-earned pint at The Coldstreamer.

Words © Dee and Gerard Ivall. Images © Nik Strangelove

Tuesday 19 February 2013

When the wind blows

Our nation's perpetual preoccupation with the elements is heightened in coastal towns where we stare incoming weather systems in the face. And for those that make their living on the sea, the art of gauging the forces of nature is an obsession born of a vital need rather than idle curiosity.

Today, we look to modern technology for our weather predications, and weathervanes are little more than an attractive flourish to tower, turret and spire, but they do serve to remind us of how nature's wild ways have, and always will be, a force to be reckoned with, here at the ocean's brink.

Two notable weathervanes proudly crown Newlyn's principal buildings: the beautifully detailed galleon atop the Fishermen's Mission and the golden cockerel of St Peter's church.

Words © Dee and Gerard Ivall. Images © Nik Strangelove

Monday 4 February 2013

Wild Walking #1 : Penzance to Madron

Via Castle Horneck, Rosehill, Boscathnoe and Trengwainton.

30 minutes there / 30 minutes back (non-stop at a steady pace).
Easy (but muddy when wet – Wellington or walking boots essential).

Use our map, or find the route at

First, make your way from Penzance town up Alverton Road to the A30. At the roundabout take the St. Just turning (A3071), and then take the first lane off on the right. This is the start of the walk.

 1. Follow this lane past Millennium Woods on your right (feel free to explore the woods, but be aware of disused mine shafts).

2. Cross the field that is currently abloom with daffodils. Note the enormous monkey puzzle tree ahead of you.

3. You'll reach a small road, when you'll notice the Castle Horneck Youth Hostel on your left.

4. Turn left and continue up until the white gate, and take the narrow path to the right that leads down to the Larriggan river and Rosehill.

5. Cross the bridge and continue uphill. Here, you'll hit the narrow road leading to Rosehill Farm.

6. Turn left through the farm. Rosehill is a working farm so please keep to the path.


7. Continue past the house and barn and go through the wide gate at the end. Remember to close the gate and keep dogs on a lead as there are sheep in the field ahead.

8. Take the farm track uphill, but keep your eyes peeled for a break in the hedge on your left, about half way up the track.

9. Duck through the hedge and continue forward through the field.

10. In the top right-hand corner of the field you'll see another gap in the gorse hedge. It looks a bit like an oversized rabbit burrow.

11. Enter and wind your way through the undergrowth until you find the stile. Now you'll see the way ahead is clear over the fields.

12. Keep to the left-hand track across the fields.

13. This track will eventually join a path that runs alongside a small wood next to Boscathnoe Reservoir.

14. This path will take you up to the main road. Take a moment to climb through the gap in the wall on the right to find a clear view of the reservoir.

15. Back at the road, turn right. Over the hedge on the right you'll see the mangrove swamp-like trees in the water, and over the hedge on the left you'll glimpse the tree ferns of Trengwainton Gardens.

16. When you reach the junction, bear left along the road signposted 'Madron 1/2 mile'. You'll pass the entrance of Trengwainton Gardens and the lodge buildings on the left. The Gardens are open from 17th February until 3rd November this year and closed on Fridays and Saturdays.

17. This road carries on up the hill and will bring you to Madron. Once there, take your time to explore the village; the lovely old buildings, the 14th Century church, and ancient wishing well. The sign on the pub door promises us that it will be reopening in Spring 2013.

18. For the return journey take the clearly signposted lane to the right of the church.

19. This lane turns into a field – stick to the left and follow the hedge down, go over the stile and through into the next field, which you go straight across, and then cross the following field too.

20. Now you'll hit Boscathnoe Lane. Cross the road and pass through Luthergwearne Farm.

21. Follow the track across a further four fields until you reach the stile you crossed at point 10. And the rest is history, in reverse of course.

As no walk is complete without a rewarding pint, when you get back to the A30, why not wander down Alverton Road and drop into The Pirate Inn.

Words © Dee and Gerard Ivall. Images © Nik Strangelove

Wild Walking : Introduction

A series of posts highlighting local footpaths.

Walk #1 in the series, Penzance to Madron, will be posted shortly.

Within the conurbation of Penzance and Newlyn, it's easy to live and be blinkered to the countryside that surrounds us, inland as well as coastal.

And as we increasingly rely on Google instead of Ordinance Survey for our mapping, the wonderful world of public footpaths is hidden from us, and unless you're a daily dog walker, these historical routes could remain unknown.

Fresh air, uplifting views, discovery of new lands, spying wildlife and exercise are the undeniable benefits of 'wild walking'. Getting wet, getting stuck in mud, getting snagged by brambles, getting lost – well these things are just the fun of the affair.

This is why we're posting a series of local off-road paths we've unearthed, so that they don't get forgotten. If we dare to break out of the confines of the great A30, who knows what we'll find?

Our inspiration is a little book entitled 'Walks in West Cornwall: Penzance and St. Ives', produced by The West Cornwall Footpaths Preservation Society in 1962, which we picked up at the Lost and Found Cafe shop recently. 

To help with more up-to-date guidance we're utilising the excellent, and free, online mapping website provided by Ordinance Survey, where you can find and print any UK map, footpaths and all. 

Thanks also to the suggestions we've had from local people, which will certainly be featured as the series continues.

Words © Dee and Gerard Ivall. Images © Nik Strangelove

Saturday 2 February 2013

Fine Folk #9

Miss Jones
Penzance's finest feature: The vintage shops.

Words © Dee and Gerard Ivall. Images © Nik Strangelove