The Cornish Pilgrimage
The Cornish Pilgrimage
Pentewan to King Harry Ferry
This section interacts with the Roseland coast and Route 3; cyclists need to follow the latter exclusively to avoid the steep coast around Veryan Bay. Setting off from Pentewan walkers take a left turn by the campsite where the coast path to Mevagissey provides a good warm up for the day ahead. It is less than 2 miles but the steep climb to the top of the village gets the lungs working and cameras clicking too, as it rewards participants with panoramic views of St Austell Bay.
Descending to the harbour, Mevagissey immediately enthrals its visitors with the sight of bobbing of fishing boats and bustling activity around the quay. In the summer season the busy waterside pubs and fish restaurants breathe life into this picturesque little port which is a paragon of Cornish Village life. Although Tourism provides good revenue it was of course fishing that founded its earlier fortunes and the port has been recognised as a key centre for the industry since the first pier was built in the 15th century.
Another steep climb leaves Mevagissey behind where views of the harbour still linger in the memory banks as the journey descends to Port Mellon. The lovely harbour is a place of sanctuary and the pub opposite has a charming appeal. From here Route 3 forms the journey to Caerhays Castle as it follows a winding course often frequented by equestrians who enjoy the quiet rural lanes above the sea. As the road descends to Caerhays, walkers can use the footpath across the castle grounds to reach Porthluny Cove – a popular suntrap with tearoom and toilets. From here climb the hill and join the coast path on the left by the woods which makes a pleasant journey to the diminutive hamlet of Portholland. The peaceful rolling beauty of the water makes this an alluring spot for bathers, but sadly there is little else here; the church is now one of the few residential properties and so it is important to ensure that you have a water supply for the more exacting coast walk that lies ahead. Continuing along the coast path allows an opportunity to capture the raw beauty of Veryan Bay culminating with a picturesque postcard view of Portloe – a fitting reward at the end of a demanding journey.
Leaving the coast path at the village, walkers will pass the Lugger hotel, Ship Inn and post office/shop. From here continue uphill to Veryan using the Cornish Way – Route 3. The landscape is predominantly rural but with a sense of uniqueness on nearing Veryan where the intriguing thatched roundhouses form the entrance of the village; the story dictates they were built in this fashion to leave no corner for the Devil to hide as he loitered with intent to capture young maids. Poor maids – village life must have been perilous in those olden times! Yet the village minus the Devil looks quite appealing with both shop and idyllic pub with a beautiful park below the church. Bearing left at The New Inn Route 3 follows the road to Pendower; from here the signs lead to the main road. Turn left and walk carefully along the A3078 towards St Mawes for half a mile; then turn right to follow the route to Philleigh. It winds round the hills for a couple of miles and then joins a footpath across the pastures to Philleigh where there is a farm shop and the Roseland Inn. There are no other facilities between here and King Harry Ferry and the best option for a night stopover is at St Mawes (4 miles). First follow the B3289 from the King Harry junction and then take the waterside track from St Just-in-Roseland to St Mawes Castle. At St Mawes there is a ferry service to Falmouth until early evening which provides at least another place to visit or even spend the night. History leaves an indelible mark on both places particularly in the presence of the two castles guarding Carrick Roads. They were built by Henry V111 in 1543 to protect the coast from the French; both were actually besieged by Oliver Cromwell during his war against the Crown. St. Mawes Castle is the best point to start the return journey to King Harry for the Fal crossing. The waterside trail crosses the fields to St Just-in-Roseland where the picturesque church and sheltered bays add to the serenity of the beautiful St Just Creek. Turning left at the end of the B3289, descend to King Harry Ferry which runs a regular service across the Fal to Trelissick Gardens.