Mills, fishing and serpentine walk

Walking trail

Take a walk down to the sea through the picturesque Poltesco valley, exploring this hidden gem and its fascinating history.

Take a look at fascinating historic remains from a bygone age

Discover medieval mills and the ruins of the once prosperous Victorian polished stoneware factory tucked behind the cove. Grade of walk: Trainer (all rounder); Type of walk: 'Waterside Walks', 'Historical Footsteps'.

The sign at Poltesco from the SW Coast Path


Map route for mills, fishing and serpentine walk


Poltesco car park, grid ref: SW725157


Start in the car park at Poltesco.

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Walk out of the yard and up the lane for 55yd (50m). Turn left at the junction and walk over the bridge. Beside the stream stands the 200-year-old Poltesco Mill, which is on the site of an older medieval mill. This manorial corn mill is one of very few mills left in Cornwall that have survived intact. The water wheel was cast in 1901 in Helston.

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Return to the car park and walk through the gate at the far end, up the track and through the woods. The slopes here were orchards in previous centuries and until the 1980s were dominated by huge elm trees. The larger elm trees were killed by Dutch elm disease but there are some small surviving elms here today.

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At the South West Coast Path turn right. Briefly stop to climb the rocky knoll known as the Todden, from where there are good views across Kennack Bay to Black Head.


Keep going down the coast path, bearing left to arrive in Carleon Cove. The round, roofless, building housed a capstan, a man powered winch used for hauling boats up the beach. Pilchard cellars were based here until the 1800s.


Walk down onto the pebbly beach, and take the path inland beside the stream. The ruined buildings here are the remains of the Victorian serpentine factory, which made ornate polished stoneware, including mantelpieces and vases. This was once a bustling and noisy place, employing 20 men, with workshops, showrooms, a forge, boiler house and water wheel. Flat bottomed barges ferried goods out from the quay to waiting ships. Look out for a slab of serpentine scored by massive stone cutting saws more than a century ago.


Walk inland through the ruins and cross the footbridge, walking up steps of serpentine that were cut in the factory. Turn right at the top and pass Carleon House. From there follow the drive to return to the car park.

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Poltesco car park, grid ref: SW725157

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Mills, fishing and serpentine walk


There are some relatively steep rocky sections of coast path on this walk. The route also crosses a pebbly beach.

Dogs are welcome.

Mills, fishing and serpentine walk

Contact us

Mills, fishing and serpentine walk

How to get here

Poltesco, Ruan Minor, Helston, Cornwall, TR12 7LR
By train

Redruth, 20 miles (32km), then Western Greyhound 534 to Helston and 537 to Ruan Minor, then 10 minute walk.

By road

A3083, Helston to Lizard Road. Shortly after passing Lizard Cider Barn on right turn left towards Ruan Minor. After 1.5 miles (2.4km) enter 30mph area and turn left at crossroads, signed Kuggar.

Follow down over bridge and take 2nd right after bridge (signed weak bridge). Follow narrow lane, ignoring all side roads, until it ends in a small car park within the old farmyard.

By bus

Western Greyhound 537 to Ruan Minor, then 10 minute walk.

Mills, fishing and serpentine walk

Facilities and access

  • Dogs are welcome