16. South West Coast Path (South Cornwall)

158. Helford to Coverack

Tuesday 31st October 2017

Halloween as demonstrated by the decorations at the Jacobs Ladder pub, Falmouth from which I drove last night to the Paris Hotel in Coverack.

Took a taxi from the Paris Hotel to the car park at Helford (GR759261). A very nice day, very still, a little chilly but nothing special and a bit overcast. Set off on the path alongside the car park. Actually went a little wrong as should have been on the woodland path a little higher than the track down to the sailing club. Soon reached a road (GR762261) and turned right uphill. As the road turned right took a signposted track off to the left downhill towards the estuary.

Helford River (GR762261)

The track passed a few houses and then became a woodland path alongside the estuary. This is a pleasant woodland walk which looks like it could be quite muddy at times, just the occasional up and down to avoid cliff falls.

Bosahan Cove (GR773262)
Bosahan Cove (GR773262)

Reached Bosahan Cove (GR773262), a pleasant little cove with good views across the river, part of the Bosahan Estate. Climbed up through the woods and then down to the next cove (Ponsence Cove) (GR777261). The path climbed steeply up through the woods again from the cove and at the top flattened out through the woods round The Gew (GR780262) to reach the sea coast and open fields. Clear views here again back to Falmouth and beyond the immediate head at Falmouth and to Dodman Point (?). The forward view was rather obscured by Dennis Head and off to the right was St Anthony.

Porthbean Cove from Dennis Head (GR788256)

Reached a kissing gate and fingerpost (GR786257) above Gillan Creek and continued straight ahead to Dennis Head (GR788256). The path out to the head was enclosed by hedges but once out on the head there are views forward to Parbean Cove and Nare Point. Turned round and retraced footsteps back to the kissing gate and fingerpost and set off down towards Gillan Creek.

Gillan Creek (GR787252)

At Gillan Creek took the very small ferry across at the cost of £5 (short trip but very worthwhile in avoiding the alternative walk round, stepping stones or wading).

St Anthony and ferry from Gillan side of Gillan Creek (GR782254)

After getting off the ferry climbed up behind the white house, followed a footpath up to a signpost to follow the path round to the road at Gillan (GR784252). Took a path that climbed up beside the water and then went up and down to Gillan Cove.

Gillan Cove (GR787252)

Walked across the back of the beach and at the end of the beach took the path off into The Herra National Trust. A steep climb out of the cove followed, some of it on stone steps, and then reached the clifftop at the sea rather than the estuary for the first time this morning.

Nare Point (GR799249)

The path descended fairly gently through the usual woodland down to a small wooden footbridge across a stream and entered National Trust Nare Point. Soon walking on a low-level and level track to Nare Point Coastwatch point (GR800251).

Porthallow (GR797233)

The path started as a proper exposed cliff edge path and then went across some open fields. The rest of the way into Porthallow (GR797232) was rather up and down between hedges. Quite muddy and looks like it would be very hard work in wet weather.

Porthallow weather stone (GR797232)
Boats at Porthallow (GR797232)

Porthallow is the halfway point for the South West Coast Path so it felt like quite an achievement to make twinned with some trepidation that the harder work of North Cornwall looms ever closer.

South West Coast Path halfway marker at Porthallow (GR797232)

Went into the Five Pilchards for lunch of beer and warm roast beef sandwich.

Five Pilchards, Porthallow (GR797232)
Five Pilchards, Porthallow (GR797232)

Climbed up the road out of Porthallow to the entrance to the Fat Apples Café (GR798227). The path went down the driveway to the café and crossed what would have been the farmyard. A grassy path was followed for a few yards and then turned left and almost immediately right to walk on a path alongside an orchard. Reached a road at a road junction and carried on straight ahead along the road (GR801224).

Followed the road down to a road junction and turned left. After a few hundred yards and on a sharp left bend (GR803220) took a footpath off to the right which went down a field. Just before the bottom of the field turned left through the hedge and reached a very intricate stile [I have started to take these stiles very seriously – they can be massive and look like leg breakers].

Cornish stone stile (pinterest.co.uk)

A rather strangely located barbecue table gave a welcome rest with good views down to Porthoustock. Down the field to reach the road at a very pretty set of houses at Porthoustock (GR805219). Porthoustock is a very small place but there seems to be quite a bit of activity with some quarrying going on, a rather large concrete block of a building [apparently a storage silo for quarried aggregate] and a strange boat offshore.

Porthoustock (GR805219)

Whilst it is good to reach villages like Porthoustock it invariably involves a steep climb out of it. This was no exception following the road steeply out of the village. At the road junction turned left and continued uphill past a white house. A few yards on there was a stone stile off to the right (GR805216). Climbed three fields and three massive stiles to regain the road and turn right. Walked into Rosenithon where a signpost announced the diversion of the coast path so carried on along the road. Decided to take the route across the fields rather than the diversion back to the coast path, so at a road junction turned left towards Tregellast. At the next junction carried on straight ahead towards Roskillys (GR794207). Roskillys is a restaurant café that was closed, to the disappointment of a number of prospective customers, and a dairy farm that is a visitor centre for locally-famous Roskilly’s ice-cream.

A few hundred yards past Roskillys took a footpath off to the left signposted Coverack (GR792205). Crossed the fields to reach a road at Trevalsoe (GR791200) and turned right. As the road went to the right took a path straight ahead through some woodland. Reached the houses at Boscarnon and continued through the houses to reach a small road (GR787198). As the road bends sharply right climbed a stile to the left to follow a muddy path.  At a particularly muddy area turned left in an area of rather strange large boulders covered in moss.

Mossy boulder path (GR786194)

At last the sea could be seen again and then quite suddenly so could Coverack. The path wandered on downhill crossing small fields and muddy areas and then over a real monster of a stile.  Eventually after a lot of hard work reached the proper coast path at some houses (GR285190) on the outskirts of Coverack. The only consolation for this apparent mistake in striking out across the muddy fields was that I met other walkers who had a similarly muddy experience following the coast path.

Coverack (GR783187)

Walked through the village along the seawall where there was plenty of evidence of repair work being done after the famous floods earlier in the year. Reached the Paris Hotel that sits on the promontory.

Coverack harbour (GR783182)
Paris Hotel, Coverack (GR785181)

This was a strange day’s coastal walking. The first bit was estuary, Helford River and Gillan Creek, then a bit of genuine coast walking to Porthallow, then the inland bit as the official path goes inland from Porthallow to Porthoustock and finally the inland diversion along lanes and across muddy fields.

Days from Chepstow         158

Miles today                          11.4

Miles from Chepstow    1974.6


2 thoughts on “158. Helford to Coverack

  1. It’s a shame that a significant section of this path is away from the coast. I loved Coverack and stayed in the Paris Hotel too. There were some destructive floods in the village there recently, and I hope the place has recovered.


    1. Just updated this post with photos and map. Coverack has not fully recovered from the floods, places were closed and work ongoing. I might have had the same room as you in the Paris Hotel as the sea was right outside my window just as it was for you (see next post when I have done it).


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