North Helford countryside walk, Cornwall

Bosveal, Mawnan Smith, Falmouth, Cornwall TR11 5JR

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This beautiful coastline has had an interesting military past © National Trust/ Mary Cobill

This beautiful coastline has had an interesting military past

Wild thyme in the verdant flower-rich meadows near Rosemullion Head © Cliff Henry / National Trust

Wild thyme in the verdant flower-rich meadows near Rosemullion Head

Enjoy wonderful elevated views from these National Trust holiday cottages © John Millar

Enjoy wonderful elevated views from these National Trust holiday cottages

Route overview

Running east of the valleys of the National Trust’s Glendurgan Garden, and next to the delightful Helford River, is a mixture of woodland and cliff-top, wildflower-rich fields, all interspersed with walks of varying lengths.

Route details

See this step-by-step route marked on a map

Route of the North Helford countryside walk in Cornwall
  • Directions
  • Route
  • Bus stop
  • Parking
  • Toilet
  • Viewpoint

Start: Bosveal car park, grid ref: SW775275

  1. Leave Bosveal car park, going downhill on the footpath. Continue on the footpath past a small lodge house on the left, but cut through at the next opportunity onto the lane.

  2. When the lane bends sharp round to the right, go over the stile to the left. Follow the footpath next to the coast, crossing Porth Saxon beach, with two boat-houses and a pillbox (partially covered by ivy), and ending up on Porthallack beach, with one boat-house. During the Second World War the Helford River was the base for operations against German-occupied Europe.

  3. From Porthallack beach take the path running up the valley, away from the water.

    Show/HideNare Point

    Nare Point marks the entrance on the other side of the river with its 1950s naval tracking station (now a volunteer coastguard lookout point). During the Second World War there was a decoy site to draw bombers away from nearby Falmouth.

    This beautiful coastline has had an interesting military past © National Trust/ Mary Cobill
  4. At the top of the path, enter the church car park and follow the path to the right of the church leading into the Holm oak woods. In these woods, go left, climbing up a wooden staircase and follow the footpath beside the coast all the way to Rosemullion Head. Mawnan Church appears to stand guard over the Helford River entrance. It was built in the 13th century within a prehistoric earthwork. The steep woodland below was planted with evergreen holm oaks, creating a dark, unusual experience today.

    Show/HideRosemullion Head

    Fantastic flower-rich meadows managed and maintained by our tenant farmers result in wild thyme (pictured), heathers, orchids, dog violets and sea campion growing here. From Rosemullion Head there are panoramic views across Falmouth Bay, with Henry VIII's castles at Pendennis and St Mawes marking the entrance to the harbour.

    Wild thyme in the verdant flower-rich meadows near Rosemullion Head © Cliff Henry / National Trust
  5. After walking around the headland and climbing up a steep hill, go over a stile and keep to the upper of two paths. After a short distance, turn left over another stile and head up the field to join a farm track running past Rosemullion Farm.

  6. Where the farm track joins the road, turn right and continue to the T-junction. Here, turn left into Mawnan Smith village.

  7. When the road comes to Carwinion Garden entrance, ignore this and take the rough track on the left just beyond the main drive.

  8. This track will lead you to a fork, take the lower-left fork going round a bend down past Carwinion Garden and into the woodland valley.

  9. At the bottom of the valley, where it joins a large field, turn right and follow the path past a line of old oak trees. Then enter Bosloe Garden through firstly a five-bar gate, then a kissing gate. Continue straight ahead up the gravel path.

    Show/HideBosloe House

    Chatham cottage was considerably enlarged from 1880 to become Bosloe, the holiday home of various families. Today it continues to provide all-year breaks as National Trust holiday apartments with magnificent, elevated views between pine trees to the Helford River.

    Enjoy wonderful elevated views from these National Trust holiday cottages © John Millar
  10. When this path reaches a gate onto the lane, cross over (with care) and turn right. This, in turn, will lead back to the car park.

End: Bosveal car park, grid ref: SW775275

  • Trail: Walking
  • Grade: Easy
  • Distance: 4.5 miles (7km)
  • Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • OS Map: Landranger 204, Explorer 103
  • Terrain:

    Allow about 2.5 hours for this walk including stopping to admire the views. Paths are gravel and grass, with some narrow stretches over uneven terrain with stiles. There are some steep climbs and a 0.3 mile (0.5km) of walking along a road. Dogs welcome. Please keep on lead where livestock are present. No dog bins, so please take dog litter home.

  • How to get here:

    By foot: Follow road out of Mawnan Smith village towards Glendurgan, Trebah and Helford Passage. Turn left at crossroads to walk down lane signposted 'Durgan, Bosveal and Bosloe'

    By bike: Roads hazardous for cyclists due to narrow width and poor visibility

    By bus: First 35, Falmouth to Helston, passes nearby Glendurgan Garden

    By train: Penmere 4 miles (6.4km); First 35 Falmouth to Helston is the connecting bus service

    By boat/ferry: Visitor moorings and some anchorage for visiting boats - no facilities for leaving boats at Durgan. Seasonal ferry operates from Helford Village (on Lizard south side of Helford River) to Helford Passage on the north side

    By car: 4 miles (6.4km) south-west of Falmouth, 0.5 mile (0.8km) south-west of Mawnan Smith, on road to Helford Passage, signposted left out of Mawnan Smith village toward 'Durgan, Bosveal and Bosloe' on a white fingerpost sign

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