Great Walks

There are so many great walks in the far west. I'll offer you a few ideas here, but look for the walks section on our blog thecornishwanderer. I'll gradually build a library of favourites there. Don't try to just follow these notes, take an OS Explorer with you.

Carn Bosavern, a short walk in St Just

A carn is a local term for a tor, a granite outcrop on the top of a hill.

Carn Bosavern overlooks the town of St Just and offers a magnificent view that many passing through our town will miss.

Walk up Fore Street past The Star (take any excuse to pop in) and further on where the road swings left look for granite steps going straight on with a little public garden to the left.

Follow the path on up, there's a little zig zag, then it goes between houses and becomes a lane.

Carry on right to the top of the lane and follow the path around to the right after the last house, then over a low hedge. You're now on top of the carn.

We often take a bottle up here for sundowners.

The short route back follows the hedge until a stile into a field, turn immediate right and follow the lanes back into town.

For a longer route take a left at the double stile and head across the field to the next hamlet of Bosavern (where there's a good farm shop). In the hamlet your path goes between the houses on a slight right, and then over a stile into fields.

Almost immediately take another slight right into the higher field and follow the path across it and another field to a stile in the top right corner that takes you to a lane up through Carallack into St Just.

Allow 40 minutes for the longer version, 25 minutes for the short.

Cape Cornwall

Any walk that includes Cape Cornwall is a good one in my book. I think it's my favourite spot in the world, but I'm happy to keep challenging it. Here's one Polly and I often do.

Set out from St Just Market Square (perhaps buying a pasty from the butchers for the walk) and pass the church. Follow the steep path behind the church down to New Road and walk down the road passing the rugby club on your left. The estate on the right is built on land where Holmans once had a foundry that produced all sorts of mining equipment, and also Barbara Hepworth's early cast sculptures.

Cross over the main road to continue with the Nancherrow Stream on your left.

A couple of hundred meters after the tarmac stops, and after the logging depot, there's the choice of heading straight on or uphill to your right. Taking the uphill path leads to what I think is the best view of the Cape and there'll be several paths back down to the valley floor.

The valley is fascinating for its flora as well as the remains of many mine workings before you get to Porthledden Cove.

It's possible, but hard, to cross the boulder strewn cove. Alternatively back track to the two cottages and there's a path to the right taking you to the other side of the valley, usually passing a couple of friendly donkeys.

At the top of the climb take the path to the right and soon you'll have the Cape in sight again.

At the National Trust car park if Stacey's blue croust hut is open have an ice cream or cake, and if it's warm the cove to the south of the Cape is good for swimming.

The short route back is up the road, but ideally head instead along the coast to the south up a steep and rocky lane to Carn Gloose where you'll have yet more great views of the Cape and down to Lands End.

Stay on the path for another descent and you'll be in the lovely Cot Valley and the quiet road then winds back uphill to St Just. Look for the wonderful gardens, and then the lamas and emus!

The shortest route is around 45 minutes, the longest 90 minutes.

Gurnard's Head and Bosigran

A circular with a great pub.

What can be better than good exercise in the sea air, and a pub lunch? This walk certainly delivers both, as well as ancient field systems, far reaching views, and mine workings.

I suggest that you start at Carn Galver mine where there's a small parking area near the climbing club. It's on the B3306 St Just to St Ives road just after Rosemergy where you can get a great cream tea.

Head down one of the paths towards the sea and then climb up to the highest point called Bosigran Castle (most likely an ancient hill fort). There are wonderful views and often intrepid climbers scaling the cliffs.

Amanda and I got married here a few (OK, quite a few) years ago.

You'll need to find a path heading east (so you have the sea on your left) and soon you'll start seeing the remains of field systems that probably date from as far back as 1400 BC.

You may hear said that this area contains some of the oldest remains of man's building anywhere on the planet.

The first cove you'll pass is Porthmeor Cove. From the west side look over at the interesting lighting flashes of granite breaking through the slate across from you.

Gurnard's Head will then come into view as a little peninsula vaguely resembling the fish it's named after. On the headland there are the remains of ancient hut circles and a more recent coastguard lookout station. There's just its concrete base left now, but standing there you can imagine what an exciting place it must have been.

Just to the east, and hard to clamber down to, is Treen Cove. There is a small sandy tidal beach that's almost always empty.

Alternatively head up the lane that will take you to the hamlet of Treen, and the Gurnard's Head Hotel – a fine place to stop for lunch. It's worth booking, the number is 01736 796 928.

Leave the hotel and head west on the road for a couple of hundred meters, be careful, it's not busy but it is narrow. Soon there's a stile with footpath sign that'll take you through a field with a standing stone. There's no significance to this one, it's just for the cows to scratch on.

The walking is around three hours – the pub could make a big difference to that!

A little further along when the path starts climbing again pause to look around the old mine workings to your right. 30 or so people once worked here and it's easy to see the tin extraction process with the aid of the signs.

Pass through the quite lovely Bosigran Farm, and hopefully you'll see their organically farmed Belted Galloway cattle.

Your starting point will be another half mile or so ahead of you.