Rivers and carriageways walk
A simple, scenic walk from Respryn car park, taking in the fantastic scenery along the River Fowey and the old carriageway.
Explore Lanhydrock's expansive estate
Look out for the great variety of trees here, including giant redwood, coastal redwoods, and Douglas fir. Grade of walk: Trainer (all rounder); Type of walk: 'Waterside Walk', 'Historical Footsteps', 'Flora and Fauna'.
Respryn car park, grid ref: SX099636
Leave Respryn car park through the small gate next to the river, in the top right corner of the car park. Follow the track up river, through the grass.
A lost village
Maps from the early 1800s show a settlement around the road junction west of Respryn Bridge, with several dwellings and outbuildings in a hamlet called Respryn. This hamlet looks like it was demolished to make way for a carriage driveway, linking the Respryn area with Bodmin Road Station. When this area was surveyed in 1881, only a single ruined building was left standing. The house, belonging to the poor of the parish, was demolished sometime before 1881 when the lane junction was modified. The present lodge at Respryn was probably built sometime between 1881 and 1907.
Go over the stepping stones and through the kissing gate, still following the river. Every year staff and volunteers from the Lanhydrock estate team clear Himalayan balsam from the river edge. This plant is very invasive, producing hundreds of seeds per plant which suppresses the growth of native species.
Passengers from London
Lord Robartes of Lanhydrock laid out Station Drive in 1864 to join his house to the new railway station at Bodmin Road (now called Bodmin Parkway). Station Drive had to be adapted in the 1880s when a new branch line to Bodmin was constructed, involving the development of impressive embankments and a new bridge across the River Fowey. The Robartes were strong Liberals and entertained at least two Prime Ministers, Mr Gladstone and Lord Rosebery, both of whom may have travelled to Lanhydrock on the train from London.
Enjoy a seat next to the river, looking out for dippers, wagtails, kingfishers and otters.
Ancient oaks and majestic exotic conifers
The first half of this walk takes you through an ancient landscape along the river's edge. Here you'll find gnarled ancient oak trees scattered through the meadow or woodland edge. These are remnants of a wood pasture, where oak trees were used to provide fuel wood or curved timbers for boat-building. The route back to the start of the walk takes you along the old carriage drive created in the mid-19th century to provide direct access from Lanhydrock to Bodmin Parkway railway station. To improve this driveway, Lord Robartes imported trees from western North America, including the Douglas fir.
Go over the narrow wooden footbridge and continue going straight ahead, following the river. This will take you over a few more footbridges. To your left you'll see the ongoing work to remove Rhododendron ponticum and laurel from the area. These invasive plants have grown so wild they take all the light from the other plant species, and prevent views across the river.
Go up the bank and turn left onto Station Drive, the ornamental carriageway created by the Robartes family in 1864. There are fantastic specimens of conifer species along this carriageway, including giant and coastal redwoods, Douglas fir and Monterey pine. Patches of Rhododendron ponticum have been cleared so you can see the ornate displays of primroses, foxgloves, bluebells and green alkanet. A few small rhododendrons have also been planted along the carriageway to replace the Rhododendron ponticum and create a gorgeous mixed colour display of flowers in the spring.
Can you see the thick spongy bark of the giant redwood? This bark protects the tree from forest fires in its native home of North America. As you turn left and onto the footbridge, head back into Respryn car park.
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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