25/06/2018 Walking the Helford River

It's not all about beaches on the Lizard Peninsular - for those who love a stroll or something a little more challenging, there are walks galore to try. From the rugged coastal path to wandering through the picturesque fishing villages. This month we focus on the Helford river.

Our lovely riverside cottage is right on the water, and from here you can explore the inlets and woodlands that follow this ancient water way. If you are looking for a circular walk you could do is one from the Helford to Dennis Head, a 4.6 miles or 7.4 km walk rated moderate in difficulty - don the walking boots and lets get going!

You’ll explore the historic villages of Helford as well as Mannacan and St Anthony with views across the the river and Gillian Creek. So idyllic, it’s just like stepping back in time. There are little sheltered beaches where you’ll want to stop and rest a while, dip your toes or even take the plunge and swim.

This is just an overview, for a more accurate route and tips please head to iWalk Cornwall.

We start at the carpark, first we pass by the footbridge and head to the footpath signed for ‘Halvose’, this takes us through the woodland and out into a field. The area around here is famed for smugglers! Goods such as brandy, tobacco and lace were imported from France and stored at Customs House. In 1840, 130 kegs of brandy were pinched for the black market. The perpetrators did leave 3 kegs though to pay for the damage!

Whatever the season this is a magical place, but this time of year especially the spring flowers give way to summer blooms an it's breathtaking. We cross over fields and stiles down the hill and towards a church. The Mannacan church dates back to Norman times, the name meaning 'monk’s church', it is thought there might have been a Celtic monastery here.

Next we head to St Anthony, across the road and down a public bridleway. At Creed church, we have a Cornish first, sadly eclipsed by a Prussian discovery. in 1791 the vicar of the church, William Gregor discovered a new metal which he named Menachite after Mannacan where it was found. Four years later a Prussian chemist also discovered the metal, and he called it titanium. It sounded more impressive being linked to a Greek god - so his name stuck. The Christening bowl is made of titanium in the church to commemorate the discovery.

Onward to Higher Roscaddon, down a footpath and through the valley. We come out at Gillian Creek. A ferry runs here in summer or you could paddle across at low tide to Halamana if you wanted too. Here we walk through a kissing gate.

The Helford creeks are havens for all sorts of wildlife, even seahorses! Before we continue our walk you can detour to Headland Loop to see a beautiful view. The smell of elderflower fills the air, ideal for making cordial or wine, they are at their peak in June.

We climb through valleys decked in bluebells at Spring time - it is suggested that we have more than half the world's bluebells in England! As we wind down the valley through paths and gates you come to a little beach. Cross the stream and you’ll see a sign for Bosahen Estate. Walking down here is a great place to gather wild garlic. Foraging is all the rage, who doesn’t like free food! This path takes us to another little beach with a hut. Keep following the path and we come back to our starting point.

After all that exertion, how about a pint in a beautiful Cornish pub? The Ferryboat Inn at the Helford Passage dates back to the 16th century and is right by the ferry which still runs today. This mode of transport has been here since the middle ages, back in those days the driver was on the boat and the horse swam behind!

A lovely walk in a stunning location. If historic churches, wooded valleys, quiet streams and idyllic beaches are your kind of thing, then this walk is for you.

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