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#2 Back in Time

With the latest news announcing lockdown numero dos, I feel like I have suddenly been flung backwards in time by eight months, into a surreal world where I haven’t a clue what’s going on out there. Although I feel better prepared for a second lockdown (never did I think I’d have to be prepared for a lockdown!) there is a part of me that wonders, will this ever end and go back to how it once was?

After several weeks in lockdown at the beginning of the year, I went through every emotion possible. One minute I was happy and glad to have time to myself, the next a snivelling mess missing the simplicities of popping to a coffee shop with a friend. Once lockdown eased, I was overjoyed to be back organising Cornish Ramblings rambles with you all and the last four months have almost felt ‘normal’ again. We have been on many an adventure since July and in this latest blog series, I want to look back at these rambles and give you a little snapshot of our adventures so far.

Although I have had to make the disappointing decision to postpone all of our upcoming walks during November until further notice, I am hopeful that December will pull its socks up and we shall be reunited once more for a ramble before 2021 arrives. Until then, keep reading for a look back in time at our wonderful rambling adventures throughout August.


August 2020

Chapel Porth to St. Agnes – Sunday 2 August 2020

If there is one ramble you can guarantee I will take the group on at least once a year, it will be the route from Chapel Porth to St. Agnes. And the main reason why is simply, because it is my favourite! I get asked all the time which walk in Cornwall is top of my list, and although I struggle to answer because I am besotted with every corner of the county, I always know my answer will be Chapel Porth to St. Agnes. As soon as my boots hit that section of the Cornish coast, I breathe a sigh of relief knowing I have miles of spectacular coastline to look forward to.

Parking at Chapel Porth can be tricky as it is a small car park which fills up quickly, so I always make sure to get there nice and early. The plus side of starting this walk early in the morning means you have more of the day to enjoy, especially once you get to Trevaunance Cove at St. Agnes. Here is the perfect pitstop for refuelling, finding a bench or sitting on the beach if the tide is out, and watching the world go by for a while.

This route really does leave you breathless; not just because of the slight clambers to the top of the coast path, but mainly because of those magnificent views which await you. The entire first half of this walk takes you along the coast and although the second half brings you a little inland, you will be rewarded with the return of the coast at the end as you make your way back to the car park.

Don’t forget to pop to the café for refreshments and if you’ve yet to try out their famous hedgehog ice cream, be sure to add this to your to-do list!

You can follow this route using the iWalk Cornwall app.

You can read about the adventures from our Chapel Porth ramble back in January 2020 here; Anyone for a Hedgehog?

Penrose to Porthleven – Saturday 8 August 2020

A particular favourite of mine and one that never disappoints is the Penrose to Porthleven walk. It’s a fairly straightforward route which isn’t too demanding, but it really does have everything you could desire within its 6-miles. Starting off you will be thrust into the leafy woodland of the Penrose Estate. Following the stony tracks, it suddenly opens up to the glorious Loe Pool; the largest freshwater lake in Cornwall. Here, you will find a half mile shingle beach which divides the freshwater lake from the sea.

Following the track around, you will make your way up the steepest part of the route to the coastal path which takes you along to Porthleven. Porthleven, a town and fishing port on the west coast of Cornwall, is home to one of the most picturesque harbours. Because the harbour faces south west it experiences some of the strongest winds, hence why the sea walls are so gigantic. Whenever storms hit Cornwall, you can guarantee Porthleven will be on the hit list as photographers flock to this town to get the best shot of the waves crashing up and over the sea walls.

Once you have paddled in the sea, visited the pier and meandered through the town, you will make your way along the pavements where you can pick up the track and almost walk back the way you came, until you reach a junction signposted 'Stables inland route.' It is a gentle finish to the end, taking you through fields and farmland until you end up back at Penrose National Trust car park.

You can follow this route using the iWalk Cornwall app.

Cape Cornwall to Levant – Saturday 15 August 2020

Time for another yellow sock adventure; this time we headed to Cape Cornwall for a moderate 5.5mile walk. Cape Cornwall (Kilgoodh Ust, meaning "goose back of St Just" in Cornish) is a small headland on the west side of Cornwall, and is owned by the National Trust. Did you know that a cape is the point of land where two bodies of water meet, and that Cape Cornwall is the only cape in Cornwall? In fact, there are only two capes in the whole of the UK - the second being all the way up in Scotland!

This particular route took us from the Cape Cornwall National Trust car park, up onto the coast path where our first stop was Kenidjack Valley. According to iWalk Cornwall, the stream through Kenidjack Valley once powered around 50 waterwheels. At the end of the valley, there are three tidal pools located on the rock platforms of Porth Ledden, which were created by miners using explosives.

Another point of interest this route takes you to is Botallack Head. Here you can attempt to catch your breath, but I doubt you’ll find it easy when you get a glimpse of the views unfolding in front of you. Along this rugged expanse of coastline you will spy two beautiful engine houses perched precariously on the cliff ledges; these two fine engine houses formed part of the Crown mines and are two of the most recognisable mining landmarks in Cornwall. You’ll also be interested to know that the Cornish name for Botallack Head is Lae Maen Veor, which roughly translated means ‘great stone ledge.’

The next leg of this walk takes you to Levant mine, which reportedly had over 60 miles of tunnels beneath the Atlantic and is also home to an actual working (restored) beam engine. Levant mine is one of the most ancient hard-rock tin and copper mining areas in Cornwall and according to the National Trust, in Levants first 20 years of business, £170,000 was made from mining copper.

You’ll soak up an abundance of rich Cornish mining heritage as you make your way along this route, and no doubt be left in complete awe by the time you make your way back to your vehicle. If the café is open, be sure to treat yourself to a Roskilly's ice cream!

You can follow this route using the iWalk Cornwall app.

Gwennap Pit to Carn Marth – Sunday 23 August 2020

Not only is this a fantastic walk, it is also one I look upon fondly as I spent many days walking up and down Carn Marth with the dogs when I was younger. It was also where I spent the majority of my days during lockdown when I needed a good walk and can safely say, it helped keep me sane during those unsettled weeks.

One of the most exciting sections of this route is Gwennap Pit. As you make your way up the grassy steps, get ready to pick your jaw up off the floor as it opens up to a 12-tiered amphitheater. This historical site is the spot in which English cleric, theologian and evangelist, John Wesley, once described as “the most magnificent spectacle this side of heaven.”

The amphitheater can fit up to 1500 people and it is said if you were to walk around every single ring from top to bottom and back up again, you will walk an exact mile – have you tried it yet?

Once you have spent enough time racing each other around the Pit, the next leg of the walk will take you up to one of my favourite places to sit and think; Carn Marth (Karn Margh). Carn Marth is essentially a really big hill. Standing at approximately 771ft high, it is known for its large quarry at the top which is popular to fishermen and those who choose to go for a dip (I wouldn’t recommend it though as quarries can be dangerous). On a clear day, you will be treated to panoramic shots of St. Agnes Beacon, Falmouth, the reservoir at Stithians and even Roughtor and Brown Willy; the highest hill in Cornwall all the way over on Bodmin Moor. Impressive right?

The second part of this walk will take you down the other side of Carn Marth, along lanes and tracks, across a stone 'coffin' stile and through a field where eventually, it will bring you back around to Gwennap Church.

You can follow this route using the iWalk Cornwall app.

Holywell to Crantock - Saturday 29 August 2020

The final ramble of August was a goodun. A fairly easy 5miler which takes in the sandy beaches of Crantock and Porth Joke, as well as the ever-popular poppy fields at West Pentire. You will be left impressed by the spectacular coastal views as you make your way from Holywell beach, up and over the sand dunes and onto the coastal path towards The Kelsey’s.

The Kelsey’s consists of three enclosures, also known as fields! As you make your way to Kelsey Head, keep an eye out for seals, Choughs and Fulmars; a grey and white bird related to the Albatross.

The next stop along this route is Crantock beach, a long stretch of golden sand which sits at the mouth of the Gannel estuary. This beach is a popular destination for those who enjoy sea swimming, surfing and snorkelling. Carrying along the coast path you will eventually reach a headland called West Pentire. Did you know that in Cornish, Pen means head and Tir means land? West Pentire is also home to some extraordinary wildflowers and during the early summer months, people will flock from far and wide to witness the explosion of red caused by the fields of poppies which overlook Polly Joke beach. It really is an enthralling spectacle and one I look forward to seeing each year.

You can follow this route using the iWalk Cornwall app.


Be sure to keep an eye out for part three of this blog series where I share a snapshot of our rambles during September and October; coming soon.

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