Thursday, 2nd April 2015 (Day 4, week 13)
The first abandoned walk of the year! We gave up on the book which I’m not even going to name here as its now in the bin.
Target: 1000 miles in one year (20 miles a day)
Achieved so far: 264.8 miles (Target 260 miles)
Achieved this week: 13.8 miles
Mawnan Smith circular via Durgan – but not Port Navas (5.5 miles)
We begin in the pretty village of Mawnan Smith and walk south, towards Carwinion Gardens. Here we have a problem as we are told to ignore the first public footpath sign and take the second. Alas, despite walking out of the village for some way, we can’t find the second signpost. So we about turn, walk back towards the village and into some woodland beside Carwinion Gardens – obviously the correct path. The woodland is enchanting, the path descends through a valley alongside a brook, which runs through the neighbouring, now neglected estate.
The Estate is currently in the hands of the National Trust, to whom it passed in 2013 under an agreement made in 1969, on the death of its owner. The house had been in the Rogers family since 1792 when the local vicar at the time, John Rogers moved in. The more recent occupants spent many years restoring the gardens and tackling the derelict valley, introducing a nationally important collection of bamboo and many other specimens.
We are struck by the numbers of tree ferns taking advantage of the shelter provided by the high sided valley which runs down to the beach at Porth Sawson on the Helford River.
We linger a while on the beach, watching for birds. We can hear them singing away in the woods, but apart from a dunnock there are none to be seen. Still, the views across the river are worth looking at – we can see the footpath along the Helford that we walked recently from Dennis Head.
Leaving the pebbly beach we follow the coast path towards the mouth of the river, across fields with Bosloe House ahead.
This property was originally known as Chatham Cottage but was extended in 1880 to become Bosloe. It’s now also owned by the National Trust and has been converted to apartments which are let out for holidays.
Our path leads us down into the tiny hamlet of Durgan – guess what? Also owned by the National Trust, with access to neighbouring National Trust Glendurgan Gardens – not one of our favourites but worth a visit if you haven’t seen it – if only to enjoy the walk down to the little beach.
The coast path leads us onwards past Trebah Gardens – not owned by the National Trust (!) – and then uphill along a concrete path which was used for access to Trebah Beach by the US troops prior to the D-Day landings. This military road eventually loses itself in a very muddy field and we are directed to cross the field to a junction. Unfortunately, on the way across we are stopped by a farmer in his landrover, wanting to know which map we were following, as there is no right of way across this land. He’s very nice about it and let us carry on to the road although we could have diverted via Helford Passage.
Reaching the road our real troubles begin as the directions in the book are difficult to follow. Instructions which say ‘after a short distance’ are not particularly helpful. What is a short distance to you, may be a long trek for me! Anyway, eventually we find our way to a footpath sign, but are unconvinced that it’s the correct route, sometimes it just feels wrong don’t you think? We flounder around for a few minutes in frustration, eventually deciding to walk back to the road junction and follow the signs to Mawnan Smith, missing out Port Navas and the creek.
It turns out alright in the end because we divert into Trebah Gardens and enjoy a light lunch before heading back via a wooded footpath to the car.
Associated artwork for Ricketyrambler by Andrew Major:
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