Frenchman's Creek circular walk

Walking trail

Frenchman's Creek was made famous by Daphne Du Maurier's classic and it's not hard to see why she was so inspired to write about this hidden part of the Helford River. This circular walk around Frenchman's Creek offers a taste of village life, wooded valleys and sheltered creeks. In the spring and early summer the flowers through the woodlands are at their best however this is a walk that can be enjoyed all year round.



Helford Village public car park


The walk starts on the road from the car park, follow the road downhill into the village. Helford Village represents a classic English coastal idyll; with thatched cottages, boathouses and historic features. Take the bridge over the creek and past the old classic red phone box. As you head up toward the village shop the view opens up out over the Helford River and towards Carrick Roads beyond. Continue along the road down towards the Shipwrights Arms pub.

The view over the footbridge in Helford Village


From the pub, busy in the summer with children crabbing off the slip and often equally so in the winter with couples enjoying the retreat from the Cornish mist and rain, take the small road behind Poppygale cottage, after about 50 yards take the footpath on the right that leads down to Penarvon Cove.

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The chapel in the woods at Pengwedhen


From Penarvon Cove head up hill up the road. At the top of the road follow the track to the right over the cattle grid and you will be rewarded with stunning views all across The Helford. Continue along the track until you get to the bottom of the hill where you can either go left taking the slightly shorter top path through Frenchman's Creek or right following the creekside route. The creekside route offers the possible site or Egrets and an old ship buried in the mud, the top route offers far reaching views up the river towards Gweek. Both routes join together a little further along the route.

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View west up the Helford River from Frenchman's creek


The walk through Frenchman's towards Within Quay is the chief attraction of this route. In the spring daffodils and vast carpets of wild garlic cover the woodland floor. At the end of the path as the creek narrows, head up the long hill back towards the road.

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A section of creekside path at Frenchman's creek


Cross the road and enter the yard at Kestle Barton. Continue through the yard past the buildings and through the gate into the field where the path continues down into the woodland. Cross over the bridge in the woods and turn left following the muddy track back into Helford Village.

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The gardens at Kestle Barton, part of the Frenchmans circular walk


Helford Village public car park

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Frenchman's Creek circular walk


Terrain is mixed, from roads to coastal and woodland footpaths. Paths can be uneven in places and there are steps and steep sections in some places.

Frenchman's Creek circular walk

How to get here

Helford Village public car park, Helford, Manaccan, Cornwall. TR12 6JX
By road

From Helston take the road towards St Kevern. Take the roads signposted to Manaccan and Helford. As you decend into the village you will encounter some sharp turns, the car park is on the right hand side signposted towards the Helford River Sailing Club. 

By ferry

The ferry accross the Helford River runs between April and October from Helford Passage. 

Frenchman's Creek circular walk

Facilities and access

  • Public House with toilets on route
  • At Kestle Barton there is a small self service snack facility (open seasonally)
  • Parking at Helford Village public car park (not NT)