Sunday, 22nd March 2015 (Day 7, week 11)
We took a walk in the sunshine, near Coverack this afternoon. We parked at Roskilly’s and were just setting off when Mr RR suggested we get an ice cream to eat along the way. So we did! It was scrumptious!
Target: 1000 miles in one year (20 miles a week)
Achieved so far: 246.3 miles (target 220 miles)
Achieved this week: 22.6 miles
Circular walk from Roskilly’s at Tregellast Barton Farm, St Keverne, via Dean Point, Lowland Point and Trevalsoe (4.4 miles)
Slurping on our ice creams as we go, we climb the hill away from Roskilly’s and towards Dean Quarry. Walking uphill, licking ice cream and breathing are not conducive to also taking photos, so although the views are stunning and the lambs in the field very cute – no pictures till the ice cream is all gone!
With Falmouth Bay in sight as we reach the top of the hill we turn right and then left, and follow the path down over the steep slope beside the Dean Quarry. The quarry is not the prettiest site, but has been an important industry in the past. It was mothballed in 2006 but has recently been purchased, and there are plans, amid much local opposition, to reopen it as a ‘super-quarry’ producing rock for the planned Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon Project.
The rock from this quarry is called Grabbo, dense and durable, and quarried here since the 1890s to be used for roads and coastal defences. Until 2005 the rock was taken via conveyor belt to the jetties at Dean Point and loaded onto waiting ships at high tide.
At the bottom of the hill, we turn left away from the quarry and follow the coast path around to Lowland Point.
Just off shore is Manacles Reef, where hundreds of ships have been wrecked, including the liner Mohegan whose 106 passengers drowned here in 1898 and are buried in nearby St Keverne churchyard.
There is evidence of human activity on Lowland Point back as far as 2,500 BC with prehistoric and medieval field systems and saltworks. The area is now owned by the National Trust.
The ground here is always wet, we’ve been here in high Summer when there’s been no rain for weeks and still been ankle deep in mud. Water drains down from the surrounding hills and lies in pools and bogs on this flat, low lying land (hence Lowland Point!). It rarely dries out and in places the stagnant pools look like huge bowls of green, algae soup. Some have more signs of life than others, with what seem to be water irises beginning to emerge.
The shore itself is rocky with large boulders and slabs of rock. In places the low cliff edges have been badly eroded and there are signs of land slips all along the way.
Usually, around this time Mr RR scrambles down and scours the shore for driftwood, this being a good source, due to its inaccessibility, to those looking to use it to light barbecues or log burners. Today he limits himself to just one piece, spotted as we walk by.
We continue along the coast path, skipping through mud and climbing over stony stiles. Sometimes we can take stepping stone paths thoughtfully laid over the worst of the wetland.
The surrounding land is covered for the most part with gorse bushes which have been burnt off, a method of controlling the gorse and also encouraging new growth. The black shrubs look almost surreal in the landscape. There are also primroses and plenty of daffodils which, apparently grow from seed in the wild.
Shortly after reaching the road into Coverack, we turn right uphill through dense ancient woodland with oak trees and hawthorn trees and littered with lichen covered rocks.
Eventually we emerge from the woods into open uncultivated fields surrounded by hedgerows and stop a while to watch the birds. We’ve already seen wrens, blue tits, robins and blackbirds.
Now we watch a meadow pipit, long tailed tits, dunnock and a buzzard. And a little further on we spot a pair of thrushes feeding in an open field. They have boldly speckled breasts and upright stance and we’re doubtful that they are song thrushes. A quick look at the RSPB handbook at home tells us that they are, in fact, mistle thrushes. Although their population has fallen by 45% since 1969, they are widespread in Britain but this is the first sighting for us.
A few more fields and stiles, past a farmyard and the pretty hamlet of Trevalsoe with its thatched cottages, before turning back onto the road towards Roskilly’s.
Associated artwork for Ricketyrambler by Andrew Major: