The Cornish Pilgrimage
The Cornish Pilgrimage
St. Kew Inn
Camelford to Padstow
Steeped in history, ancient lore and legend, this attractive town is situated on the edge of Bodmin Moor by the River Camel just 6 miles from the rugged North Cornwall coast and depending where you stay defines the beginning of today’s journey. While Route 3, the alternative for cyclists, continues to take in the scenic expanse of Bodmin Moor, (accessible from Roughter Road) the designated Pilgrim Route follows a course along country lanes to the quieter reaches of north Cornwall. Heading south beyond the town, turn right at the brown sign post marked ‘Bowood Hotel’ and cross the A39. After passing a garage take the first left at the next junction (the St Juliot Well campsite is close by). This road leads to Bowood Hotel and then descends to Trewalder. Away from the Atlantic Highway (A39) the journey enjoys a rural ambience as the narrow lanes continue to St Teath.
At St Teath you are little more than 4 miles from the coast and it is possible to reach the fishing villages of Port Gaverne and ‘Doc Martin’s’ Port Isaac via the B3314; later a signposted lane spurs off to these destinations. The coast path from Port Isaac provides a more enduring challenge to Padstow and is only accessible on foot. There are two coast paths to the idyllic Port Quin and an easier walk to the holiday village of Polzeath along Daymer Bay. Set in spectacular location this route offers diversity of landscape where green headlands and yellow gorse collide with the view of turquoise sea to provide elemental colours of sublime perfection. It is everything a walker dreams of!
The village route is formed from minor roads/lanes and therefore accommodates cyclists too; from St Teath it continues to Pendoggett and a further 1.5 miles St Kew. Although St Minver turns away to the right before reaching St. Kew, a worthwhile descent to the village will expose you to a charming traditional inn dating back to the 15th century when it first housed the masons who built the church during a 10 year period. As ale was a vital part of their diet the masons brewed their own whilst in residence. They left after the church was built and it is thought that the pub was officially licensed around 1495.
Continuing the pilgrimage the road tumbles along the countryside for another 3 miles to St Minver – a more significant landmark in this enormously popular parish. The church at St Minver is dedicated to Saint Menefreda, one of 24 children of Brychan who came here from Wales in the 5th century. Situated at the crossroads is the 18th century Fourways Inn, which in addition to selling Cornish Ale, also provides en suite accommodation and has a restaurant too. It would be a perfect stop along this section of the pilgrimage though another 3 miles will also have its rewards. Rock has a few restaurants and pubs, but more significantly, after a short ferry crossing (£1.50 per head) is Padstow. The busy town offers many facilities and is in close proximity to the beach and harbour. Better still, there are two great pilgrim trails which will cross middle Cornwall to the south coast and the picturesque Roseland countryside.