Sunday 25th April 2010
Approximately 12 miles including 10 miles on South West Coast Path
Because we had a slightly shorter walk today we'd ordered a later breakfast at Landrivik Farm and over breakfast we discovered that the other guests staying (a woman from London with a visiting male friend from New Zealand) had also been in the Shipwright's Arms last night. There had been rain in the night and we left Landrivick Farm in drizzle, but it was dry almost all day and the sun came out during the afternoon. We decided to walk back down to Helford Village rather than asking for a lift and we used the same route we'd taken last night. We stopped off for provisions at the very well stocked Post Office and General Stores, and reached the landing stage at 10.20am. We dutifully opened the board to attract the ferryman's attention and wondered how long we would have to wait. It wasn't that long, but the ferryman explained that it was slightly longer than usual because it was only just past low tide (at 10am) and so he had had to row out to the ferry at the other side. It was touch and go whether we would be able to land in the main ferry, or whether we would have to transfer to the rowing boat again, but the ferry landed fine at Helford Passage.
We followed the South West Coast Path from Helford Passage, past Polgwidden Cove (from where the Americans departed for the D-Day landings) and Durgan (which appears to be pretty much owned by the National Trust) with the gardens of Trebah and Glendurgan a short distance above us.
We rounded Toll Point, at the end of the Helford River, then passed through the wooded area at Mawnan Glebe and rounded Rosemullion Head. The 'back end' of Falmouth came into view, plus several ships, presumably waiting to get into Falmouth Docks at high tide. We stopped for lunch at a little cove (Gatamala Cove?) close to a wooded valley and the wild and cultivated flowers were spectacular everywhere. There was a very brief shower but then the sun came out.
We'd thought of stopping for ice creams at Maenporth, but we prefer 'local' ice cream and couldn't see any, so we kept going, round Pennance Point - with a monument to Falmouth's home guard - to Swanpool. Swanpool is quite built up and the name probably comes from 'swamp-pool' not 'swan-pool'. There is a nature reserve on the lake to the inland side of the bar, but the activities of the Falmouth Model Boat Club were more in evidence than those of the wildlife. However we had some very pleasant ice cream. We followed the path from Swanpool and emerged onto the promenade at Gyllyngvase Beach, passing big hotels and apartment blocks. We turned right on the road to Pendennis Point (with Pendennis Castle above us). By the time we had reached Pendennis Point, complete with car park, my knees were beginning to complain that they had done too much road walking, so I was pleased to round the point and discover that the return leg to Falmouth was largely on paths.
We walked past the docks and back towards the town centre. The Grove Hotel was easy to find, opposite the National Maritime Museum. They were doing some renovation work to the hotel, but we had a nice family room with a view of the harbour.
After having a bath, we went out to explore. The area opposite, close to the National Maritime Museum, was a bit trendy and parts of Falmouth are distinctly down at heel. However we had a pleasant walk down to the Prince of Wales Pier, where the St Mawes ferry leaves from, then a lovely meal at Clarks Restaurant.