With its stunning coastal landscapes and a rich Celtic heritage that has inspired writers and poets for centuries, it’s no wonder those who travel to Cornwall are mesmerized by this ancient land. Cornwall beckons and enchants adventurers, and this is exactly what happened when 9-time WT traveler Mary Chaffin and her husband, Jim, embarked on our Hiking in Cornwall journey. Each day offered thrilling experiences, with new sights and adventures that left them both in awe. Mary shared some wonderful images of their hikes and explorations with us.
Day 1, May 8
We met our Trip Leaders, Karen and Richard Bell, and the rest of our group at the Bodmin Parkway Railway station. After checking into our hotel, we took a walk around the quaint fishing port town of Padstow, visiting the oldest house, St. Petroc’s Church, and the WWI memorial.
Day 2, May 9
Today we set out on our first hike from Boscastle to Tintagel. There were lots of ups and downs along a narrow path that led us through green pastures blooming with colorful flowers. The wildflowers here were beautiful—gorse, pink and white campion, thrift, and bluebells to name a few.
We saw the Forrabury stitches (strip fields) and dry stone “Jack & Jill” walls during our hike.
After the hike we toured Tintagel Castle (said to be the birthplace of the legendary King Arthur) with a local guide. Later, we drove to Port Isaac where the show Doc Martin was filmed. We took the ferry back to Padstow, where we enjoyed a fabulous dinner at Rick Stein’s Seafood House—a delicious meal!
Day 3, May 10
Today we hiked from Constantine Bay back to Padstow along the Celtic Sea. It was a longer hike, but a beautiful day, with blue skies stretching as far as the eye could see. We viewed the Padstow lifeboat house at Trevose Head from every angle. From here, you could see colonies of sea birds dip and dive off the shore from Mother Ivy’s Bay.
Day 4, May 11
Tracing more of the Celtic Sea, we hiked from Porthcothan Bay to St. Ives with dramatic views from the cliff. A 19th century legend says that a giant Bedruthan used the beach stacks as stepping stones for a shortcut across the bay. You can see them perfectly placed in the sea like a row of dominos. We had lunch at Jamie Oliver’s delicious restaurant, Fifteen, that overlooks Watergate Bay.
After lunch we drove to St. Ives. Karen prepared a delicious picnic of wine and snacks that we enjoyed on our way to see the “Vicar of Dibley” at the beautiful Minack Theatre.
Day 5, May 12
Today started with a tour of the Levant Tin Mine. It was rainy and cold, adding to the mystical feel of our explorations. We had a picnic lunch of Cornish pasties. We then hiked from Sennen to Land’s End—the westernmost point in England.
Day 6, May 13
We hiked from Lamorna Cove to Porthcurno. Richard and Karen got us started by singing “Lamorna,” a popular Cornish folk song. It was a beautiful hike with sweeping views of the coast. We had a picnic lunch at Porthcurno Cove. After lunch we hiked on to Porthcurno, a charming fishing village, and toured the Telegraph Museum highlighting the critical (and highly secretive!) communications operation during WWII.
Day 7, May 14
We stopped in Truro to view the Cathedral on the way to the Lost Gardens of Heligan. From the gardens, we walked to Mevagissy where we enjoyed ice cream before continuing to Fowey (rhymes with Joy!) for the next three nights.
Day 8, May 15
Today, some of us hiked from Polperro to Poluran along the English Channel. Others did a hike from town and a tour of the chapel in Polruan. Our hike was quite misty, giving the hilltops a halo of fog as we walked along the trail. The views were still spectacular.
Day 9, May 16
Today we hiked from Fowey to Polkerris. A highlight was seeing Menabilly—a residence of Daphne DuMaurier and the setting for her book Rebecca. We had lunch in Polkerris, then took the “Saints Way,” a lovely pilgrim’s path used by Christian travelers making their way from Ireland and Wales to Brittany and the European mainland. Then we headed back to Fowey, where we ended with a fantastic dinner before saying farewell to Cornwall and all its wonders.
-Photos and text by 9-time WT Adventurer Mary Chaffin, Hiking in Cornwall.