2022: Here We Go
When I sat down in December and started the planning process for rambles throughout January and February 2022, I knew I wanted the first ramble of the New Year to be a goodun. I also knew it needed to be a route I'd done before to ensure we started the rambling season smoothly and with a route I knew I could do without spending too much time looking at a map on my phone - mainly so I could spend as much time chatting with my wonderful ramblers as possible.
The route I decided upon was Penrose to Porthleven, a six-mile beauty that took 26 of us through the shaded woodlands of Penrose, along the expansive views of The Loe, before hitting the picturesque seascape of Porthleven.
As always, I experienced butterflies which were a mixture of anxiety and excitement as I made my way to Penrose. Before every ramble, there is always an air of worry as to whether it will go well. But as always, as soon as I park up at the starting point and see the smiling faces of my ramblers coming towards me, those feelings of worry fly away as I immerse myself in chitchat and rundowns of what to expect on a ramble to those new to Cornish Ramblings.
The Route: Penrose to Porthleven, 6-miles
This particular walk is an absolute beauty and one I knew would be popular. Without fail, when I sent around the newsletter in December with details for January walks, this ramble booked up to maximum capacity within a few hours. In fact, I ended up booking a few extras because I couldn't say no to anyone!
The reason I like this walk is because of the variety you get with each step you take. On this route, you can expect to see woodland, a lake, the beach and a bustling harbour village all within only a few miles.
Penrose and The Loe
Starting at Penrose National Trust car park, we made our way down to Penrose Stables, a contemporary apartment in an 18th-century stable block on the Penrose estate. Here you will find The Stables Cafe (open every day between Easter and the end of October, and at weekends during the winter) which is a great place to start if you are in need of facilities or to grab a quick coffee and slice of cake before starting your walk.
Penrose Estate is popular for walkers, runners, cyclists and horseriders, with its woodland tracks and views of the largest lake in Cornwall, The Loe. With its shaded trees and rich farmland, there are many paths you can pick from to explore, and it is not surprising why it is a popular attraction for many outdoor adventurers.
As you meander through the wooded trails, you will eventually make your way along a pathway that opens up to reveal the spectacular view of The Loe. Don't forget to keep an eye out on the hidden rope swings and green gyms that are a clever distraction for the younger ones (or childish ramblers!) as you wander through the parkland.
The Loe is Cornwall's largest freshwater lake, with Loe Bar Beach cleverly cutting off the stream acting as a barrier from the lake to the sea. It really is a magnificent view that I often stop and stare at for a while. It received many oo's and ahh's from my ramblers too!
Although this view is a beauty, if you are to head down to the beach please be warned that it is not a recommended swim spot. Yes, this beach is great to walk across and I highly recommend exploring this area on foot carefully. But, this particular coastal bar has earned its negative rep through its treacherously steep banks, powerful tides and incredibly brutal waves. It is also rumoured that King Arthur met his demise at this very setting, and you will find many historical shipwrecks have been connected to this dangerous area.
After taking in The Loe, the next leg of this ramble took us along the coast and on to Porthleven. This particular route has been graded by iWalk Cornwall as easy to moderate. There are a handful of sections where you will find your breathing elevate, and one of these is when zig-zagging your way up to the coastal path which takes you along to Porthleven.
When you get your breath back and continue towards Porthleven, you will be treated to endless blue views to the left of you. The expansive sea keeps you company the entire way and takes your mind off the little incline that momentarily took your breath away.
As you reach Porthleven you will dip down from the coast path and find yourself in a small National Trust car park. I took the group along the road and within a few moments, we were winding our way through the streets of Porthleven village. Porthleven Beach is roughly the halfway point of this six-mile route, and a perfect place to stop and have a drink and snack.
The steps - also known as the Blue Buoy Steps - to get onto the beach are quite steep so, be careful when navigating your way down. You can get to the beach an easier way if you carry on walking towards the village.
Porthleven Beach is a south west-facing beach and has approximately three miles of sand. When the tide is out you can walk along to Loe Bar and the Penrose Estate. Just keep an eye on those tides! Again, swimming is not advised because of the strong undercurrents, but it is a popular spot for experienced surfers.
Porthleven Beach is dog friendly, except between 1st July and 31st August when a seasonal dog ban is in place between the hours of 10am to 6pm. Again, be careful when letting your dogs go in the water - although they may be strong swimmers, these dangerous waters could sweep your beloveds away so please don't take your eyes off of them.
Porthleven Harbour and Pier
After we had refuelled and the dogs had run around to release some energy, we packed up (leaving no trace of course) and made our way back up those steep steps. You can walk along the beach towards the pier, but I chose to go back up the steps as there would have been a little rock clambering if we were to go back along the sand.
When on a ramble, I try to ensure everyone gets to see their surroundings without having to rush. Although I like to get a march on where we can, I also like to take our time and give my ramblers the opportunity to take a look around. One area I knew I wanted to take the group was along the pier - an iconic area of Porthleven that you will often see photographed when the weather is bad and the waves are engulfing the granite. Porthleven Pier separates the beach from the harbour and sits in front of the Porthleven Institue and clock tower.
The harbour is the most southerly port in Great Britain and was once used to export china stone, china clay and granite. You will find a smorgasbord of restaurants, cafes, chippy's and pubs along the harbour and at various times of the year, you will also find a lively indoor and outdoor market located around the harbour, featuring a range of independent vendors selling anything from gourmet food and drink, to clothing, jewellery, and art.
Porthleven Food Festival
Personally, one of the main attractions to Porthleven is their iconic food festival. Porthleven Food Festival is an award-winning, community-led event where you can discover a multitude of national and international food stalls and street food. There is an array of entertainment during the day and night and is suitable for all.
This year, the Porthleven Food Festival is taking place from April 22-24 and you can find out what's on here: Porthleven Food Fest
The Final Leg
Once we had explored Porthleven Harbour and treated ourselves to a hot drink and cinnamon bun, the last part of the ramble took us through the streets of Porthleven, up a fairly steep hill behind the village where we could view Porthleven from above, and back along the coastal path with the sea to our right. The coastal path we used to walk into Porthleven was along the bottom part of this route, whereas the return route took us along the higher coastal path, where we could look down and see chunks of where we had come.
The great part about the return route is that you can still see the sea, but are also surrounded by luscious green fields. The path is fairly flat and although it is a track, it is quite smooth so you can really get a march on whilst still being able to look out at the views around you.
Eventually, you will reach a fork in the path and on turning left, will say goodbye to the sea and carry on across muddy tracks until you finally reach a road which takes you straight back into the car park.
The smiles on everyone's flushed faces as we piled into the car park really was the cherry on a deliciously iced caked. Out of the 26 ramblers, about three quarters were new to Cornish Ramblings and I was happy to hear everyone say how much they enjoyed their first ramble, and that they will be booking onto more. I was also pleased to see a few ramblers swapping contact details which always brings me joy.
One of the reasons I started Cornish Ramblings was to create a community of likeminded people - seeing my ramblers create friendships whilst out walking as part of Cornish Ramblings, and hearing how they've been out on walks together, or are planning walks outside of my walking group, always makes me smile and further assure me that Cornish Ramblings is bringing people together and getting more and of you outdoors - there really is no better feeling.
Keep your eyes peeled for our next adventure, where I will be sharing a blog on our Pendeen ramble!
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