A walk from Falmouth to the enchanted Helford River
At Dolvean House we are lucky to be just a stone’s throw away from Gyllyngvase Beach and the South West Coastal footpath. So we often recommend to our guests a good walk is to or from the Helford Passage. On Monday bank holiday, we found ourselves with an afternoon free to do just that. The weather was just perfect, warm and sunny and our visitors to the local beaches were certainly taking advantage of it.
As we set off we look back on the imposing structure of Pendennis Castle guarding the River Fal. Built in the early 1540s, the castle was one of many new defences along the south coast. They were Part of Henry VIII’s rather controversial actions to help protect against possible attack from the combined forces of Spain, France and even the Pope. With Falmouth Bay and Gyllyngvase beach in the foreground makes an impressive picture.
The path leads us on via Swanpool and on up passing the Falmouth Golf Club. Within an hour of setting out we reach Maenporth Beach, Falmouth’s fourth large beach. We march on towards Bream Cove at the foot of Meudon Hotel Gardens were I once worked. Also Nansidwell near to the village of Mawnan Smith and then on up to Rosemullion Headland. From there is a great view point to the mouth of the Helford River and back to Falmouth. Although there was a heavy heat haze that day especially out towards the horizon there is often much bird life to be spotted.
The path takes us on through Mawnan Woods which was a welcome place to cool off out of the sun. You come up and out of the woods and are greeted by a fantastic view looking right up the length of the Helford river.
A little bit of Helford history
We pass Bosloe House, built in 1880 and once owned by Lord Rendlesham. The house is now owned by the National Trust and used as much sought after holiday apartments. We eventually come down to the little fishing cove of Durgan. A very pretty little hamlet much of which was once owned by Alfred Fox in 1823. The Fox family also established and owned Glendurgan gardens. Now owned by the National Trust you can access and explore the gardens from behind the village and well worth the time out to do so.
Just a short distance more we come to Polgwidden Cove and the beach owned by Trebah Gardens. In 1944 a military road was built from Helford Passage in just a few days to enable the US 29th infantry Division whom embarked on the assault landing on Omaha Beach, Normandy during the D Day landings of the II world war. Stretching up the valley behind lie Trebah Gardens. A 26 arce sub-tropical ravine garden. A paradise for any gardener and a popular garden where sometimes Renate works as a garden guide.
Finally, along the old military road over the final hill and the very welcome sight. The Helford Passage and to mark the end of our 4 hour walk with an even more welcome pint of local beer at the Ferry Boat Inn.
Duration: Approximately 4 hours
Easy walking with a few hills, can be muddy in the winter or wet weather.
Return via Bus route No 35 hourly during the weekdays.