Wednesday, 29th April 2015 (Day 3, week 17)
Aiming to walk 1000 miles in a year
Total so far: 322.1 miles (5.8 miles this week)
We didn’t know there was a reservoir near Newquay until we found this walk (iWalkCornwall.co.uk).
A fishing competition was in progress so there were loads of guys and girls around the lake preparing to spend the day fiddling with maggots and things. Who knew they needed so much kit to fish with? They had their own wheel barrows to get their stuff from the car to the lakeside and then they had tents and chairs and picnic stuff and some even had special seats which actually went into the water so that when they had their waders on they could sit down in the water without getting wet! How cool is that!! And then of course they had enormous fishing rods and yards and yards of fishing line. I’ll tell you it’s a complicated business this fishing!
That’s all about fishing!
Porth Reservoir circular (5.8 miles)
Managed by South West Lakes Trust, this reservoir is a course fishery with a dam built in 1960. The reservoir contains about 500 million litres of water supplying the Newquay area and is a designated bird sanctuary.
Apart from one great crested grebe, we didn’t see any birds of note – probably due to all the humans with fishing rods hanging around, but apparently green woodpeckers and herons are commonly seen here.
So we walked along the footpath beside the reservoir for a while, saying good morning to fishermen here and there, and then we left them to it and turned uphill. Much of this walk is on quiet country roads or permissive footpaths and it’s onto one of these that we turn to head through Fir Hill Wood, which provides cover for roe deer – excellent cover as we didn’t see any of these either!
My very useful information sheet tells me that the roe deer is unusual because its fertilised eggs contain a built in egg-timer. The eggs don’t develop into embryos straight away but go into suspended animation until it’s time for the mother to become properly pregnant. Then the timer goes off (driiiiiing!) and a chemical message is sent out to promote implantation – this ensures the young are born in early summer when there’s lots of food about. Isn’t nature amazing?
Onward….we walk along the lane through the woods eventually reaching the ruins of Fir Hill Manor – built in the 1850s but left to go to ruin since 1960 as the heir to the estate never accepted that he was the heir resulting in a 40 year legal impasse. The heir died in 2011 and the estate has now been sold.
Further along and we enter the churchyard of St Colan Church dating from 1360 and replacing the original from 1250. The church is dedicated to a Welsh saint (Collen or Colanus) who settled in Cornwall before moving on to Brittany. The church was restored between 1876 and 1887 by the local Hoblyn family (originally of Fir Hill Estate). It’s a large, beautifully overgrown churchyard with a war memorial and a celtic cross. We take a look inside where there are some lovely stained glass windows, and lots of very dark woodwork.
Leaving the church behind we continue along the road surrounded by pretty hedgerow and country views. Cow parsley is in flower and there are red campion, wild garlic, bluebells and lesser stitchwort.
Soon we turn downhill towards the little hamlet of Tregoose where we take the footbridge over the ford.
Now its uphill for quite a while, with some views of the reservoir below us and some lovely young sessile oak trees providing an opportunity for a photo stop.
At the top of the hill we stop for a breather before turning down the lane and through a gate to Nanswhyden – meaning Valley of the Trees. This is open plan farmland and sheep and cows are roaming freely – fortunately taking no notice at all of us.
Our route takes us through farmyards and along muddy tracks and eventually we enter fields full of sheep and their lambs. As they see us coming the adults start baaing loudly calling their babies to them and they all go gambolling away – but right in the middle of this hasty retreat the young decide its feed time and nothing is going to convince them otherwise so the mum’s stand nervously watching us while the lambs feed.
This pair decided to race us to the next field – they won!
Finally we are back onto a road and make our way downhill and up again to the reservoir where we eat a sandwich looking out over the water.
Associated artwork for Ricketyrambler by Mr RR:
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