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From Bodinnick a footpath runs high above the still green waters of Pont Pill, crosses the creek on a footbridge at Pont, then round to Polruan. This popular walk was reopened in 1960 when we rebuilt the decayed footbridge.
Pont Pill is a silent, private place where old boats go to die. Sudden gaps in the scrub and trees along the northern bank reveal the steep hillside opposite which was grazed almost as far as Polruan until fairly recently, but is now reverting to woodland.
Down on the shore a slipway in an inlet marks the site of the old Port Isolation Hospital, last used c.1912, where visiting seamen suffering from infectious diseases were taken to recuperate. The writer Leo Walmsley lived in a disused army hut here in the 1930s and again in the ‘50s and wrote about it in ‘Love in the Sun’ and ‘Paradise Creek’.
The path to Pont is cut wide to encourage wildflowers. You will find sheltered banks and borders plump and luxuriant with bluebells, ramsons, stitchwort, red campion, primroses, herb robert and the glossy leaves of hartstongue fern.
In the days when waterways were the main thoroughfares of life, Pont was an important river quay serving a wide area of scattered farms and hamlets. Sailing barges came up on a rising tide to unload coal, fertiliser, limestone, timber and roadstone and to load fresh produce from the farms of Lanteglos parish.
There are limekilns on the northern and southern banks, as well as stores on the water’s edge; the malt house and fertiliser stores and now converted into houses.
There are three National Trust holiday cottages at Pont; Pont Pill Farmhouse, which dates from the early 18th century and was a pub called The Ship for many years as well as a farm, is divided into two cottages. The third is Pont Creek Cottage which was a stable or cattle-shed, with a loft above that still features a row of pigeon holes.