Lantivet and Lansallos walk
A peaceful walk along the woodland and coast paths with stunning views and historic locations in South East Cornwall. The walk is moderate, and can be strenuous at places with some steep ascent and descent. It's a perfect trail for dog walking.
Lantivet Bay car park, grid ref: SX156517
From the car park take the Lantivet Bay footpath opposite the entrance. Continue downhill along the tunnel path which goes through a gate and out into a field towards the South West Coast Path.
Fork right to drop down to the coast path. (Alternatively take the small path to the left which follows the field hedge to bypass the steep ascent and descent taken by the coast path across this valley.) Joining the coast path from either route turn left to walk around above Palace Cove and Sandheap Point. Carry on along the coast path, descending the steps to the stream at West Coombe.
The National Trust uses Dexter cattle and Dartmoor ponies to graze the path between Pencarrow Head and Lantivet as part of its management programme to restore the coastal grassland. This part of the coast path is rich in plant life as a result: in summer there are banks of tumbling thorn blossom and aromatic gorse, as well as stitchwort, dandelions and campions, while spring sees the grass studded with primroses, dog violets, celandines and bluebells. Look out for swathes of lichen in the thorn bushes: a sign of pure air.
Carry on over the footbridge at West Coombe and follow the coast path a short distance inland, leaving it a moment later to take the footpath on the left above Lansallos Cove. The path climbs gently through the fields and becomes a sunken lane leading to Lansallos Church. For a shorter walk, take the footpath over the footbridge on the left when the main path follows the stream around to the right, and follow it up through the valley to rejoin the longer route at 5.
West Coombe footpath
This was the old path from the village of Lansallos down to the water mill in West Coombe. It was also used by fishermen descending to the cove, and by farmers taking donkey carts down to the beach to collect sand and seaweed to fertilise their fields. The babbling brook which used to power the water mill on the coast runs alongside the path for much of the way. In spring the stream's mossy banks are dotted with celandines and golden saxifrage.
Emerging by the church on the longer route, walk past it to take the footpath over the stile by the gate, on the left, and follow it downhill, travelling straight ahead through three fields, to the stream at the bottom.
Built in 1321 with a wagon roof and a Norman font, the church was dedicated to St Ildierna and was rebuilt in the 15th century. The bench ends are carved with human and animal heads, and there are some very old five-holed stocks. There is just one cracked bell remaining of the three medieval bells, the others having been destroyed by drunken revellers in the 19th century. Historians believe that, in the 10th century, Lansallos was a land-owning church and had a monastery attached.
Crossing the stream, continue ahead (or left, if you have joined from the shorter route before crossing the stream), climbing steeply uphill to a gate dropping gradually downhill again through the field to the road.
For around 20 years in the early 19th century, a copper mine operated in the valley. It was known as Wheal Howell, and sometimes as Wheal Providence. Among the machinery put up for sale when it closed in 1832 was a 60-inch cylinder, indicating that it must have been a mine of some size. Three shafts were known, all of which have been filled in, but it is advisable to stay on the path. In 1825, a smuggling incident, where kegs of brandy found their way to Wheal Howell, resulted in disastrous implications for the miners' output that day.
Navigating the steps in the hedge with care, turn left on the road and walk to the junction to return to Lantivet Bay car park.
The flight of stone steps leading to the road at Trevarder from the path below are known locally as 'Kiss-Me-Arse steps'. Although the origin of the name is unknown, if two people are on the steps at the same time it is not difficult to imagine how it came about.
Lantivet Bay car park, grid ref: SX156517
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