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Steps on the coast path leading past flowering blackthorn blossom
Steep steps on the coast path leading past flowering blackthorn blossom | © National Trust Images / Liz Abdey

Medieval mills & a ruined Victorian factory walk near Lizard Point

Discover medieval mills and the ruins of the once prosperous Victorian polished stoneware factory tucked behind the cove, on this walk down to the sea through the picturesque Poltesco valley.

Total steps: 7

Total steps: 7

Start point

Poltesco car park, grid ref: SW725157

Step 1

Start this walk from the car park at Poltesco.

Step 2

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.

Step 3

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.

Step 4

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

Step 5

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.

Step 6

Walk down onto the pebbly beach, and take the path inland beside the stream.

Three ponies graze on grass near some ruins next to the beach
Ponies grazing near Poltesco beach | © National Trust Images / Antonia Gray

Step 7

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.

End point

Poltesco car park, grid ref: SW725157

Trail map

Map of mills, fishing and serpentine walk at Lizard Point
Map of mills, fishing and serpentine walk at Lizard Point | © Crown copyright and database rights 2013 Ordnance Survey

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Get in touch

The Lizard, near Helston, Cornwall, TR12 7NT

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