Lanhydrock Respryn ramble
This circular walk from Respryn car park takes in fantastic scenery along the River Fowey and through semi-natural ancient woodland on the National Trust's Lanhydrock estate.
Go for a stroll around the estate, rich in history and wildlife
It may be damp and dreary but a visit to Lanhydrock will put some colour back into your day. Catch the autumn trees in all their finery and enjoy a walk around the parkland. The shop is open and the cafe's log burner is a great place to sit down next to and enjoy a cuppa. Grade of walk: Trainer (all rounder); Type of walk: 'Waterside Walks', 'Flora & Fauna' ‘Autumn colour’
Respryn car park, grid ref: SX099636
Take the track and footbridge next to the car park entrance, then turn left over Respryn Bridge. Turn right through the kissing gate and follow either of the two footpaths down the river.
Bridge and railway
The River Fowey rises near Brown Willy on Bodmin Moor and flows for 30 miles (48km) before reaching the sea. The river crossing here has long been important and 'res', in Cornish means ford. The first bridge was mentioned in 1300 and the current bridge dates from the 15th century, with later additions. The main railway line which runs alongside this walk links London to Penzance and was constructed by the Cornwall Railway in 1859. For a short while, until the station now called Bodmin Parkway was opened, passengers for Bodmin had to use a small halt here at Respryn.
As the two paths meet, continue down to the river and admire the magnificent old oak trees. Look out for dippers, wagtails and the more elusive kingfishers and otters enjoying the River Fowey. At dusk you can see Daubentons bats hawking over the water-catching insects.
Lichen encrusted ancient oaks
There are lots of fine old trees at Lanhydrock. On this walk there are some particularly impressive oak trees along the way, some of which are more than 400 years old. As you leave the small woodland, sandwiched between the Fowey river and railway line, there's a great example on your right, but the best are within the meadow. If you look closely you'll see that the oaks are covered in many species of lichens - all the clean fresh air from the Atlantic in western Cornwall helps the lichens to thrive as they are extremely sensitive to air pollution.
Cross the wooden footbridge, Kathleen Bridge, that was rebuilt in 1992 by the Royal Engineers. Its predecessor was swept away by floods.
The woods contain a complex mix of banks and ditches which are the remains of tin streaming dating from the late 1600s. Tin streams are formed by the erosion and accumulation of tin-rich rocks in the bottom of river valleys. After their formation, layers of sand, gravel and peat settled on top. The tinners removed the formations by hand, forming the banks and ditches you can see today. To extract the tin they diverted a stream of water so that the lighter sands and silts were washed away leaving behind the heavier gravels containing tin-rich rocks.
You're now in Higginsmoor Wood which is semi-natural ancient woodland. The area was previously used for tin streaming, one of the earliest forms of tin mining. You can still see where the water was channelled to allow workers to extract the tin. Turn right up the hill.
Walking up the hill you'll see hornbeams either side of the path. These look very similar to beech trees but have a sinewy appearance to their trunks and their leaves are smaller and more serrated.
Go through the first red gate and turn right along Newton Lane.
At the end of Newton Lane you'll find yourself at the bottom of the Beech Avenue, which leads to Lanhydrock House through spectacular organic parkland. Turn right down the hill. This stretch is fantastic for wild garlic which flowers between April and June.
As you near the end of the road you will see horse chestnut trees on your left, a family favourite for conkers in September and October. Cross the road, heading through the red gates onto Station Drive. Walk past the building, Station Lodge, and take the track to the right. Go over the wooden footbridge back into Respryn car park.
Ways you can help
We hope that you really enjoyed this one-mile walk. We look after some of the most spectacular areas of countryside for the enjoyment of all. We need your support to help us continue our work to cherish the countryside and provide access to our beautiful and refreshing landscapes. To find out more about how you too can help our work as a volunteer, member or donor please visit our homepage.
Respryn car park, grid ref: SX099636
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