Delabole to Lanteglos

Starting from Delabole quarry, the route goes through Helland Barton woods to Trewalder, and then along the River Allen from Treforda to Lanteglos church. The return route passes the hill forts of Castle Goff and Delinuth Camp, before returning to Delabole via Deli woods.

Vital statistics

  • OS Explorer: 109 (scan QR code on right to order from Amazon)
  • Distance: 5.6 miles/9 km
  • Grade: Moderate
  • Start from: Delabole quarry car park
  • Parking: Quarry car park. In Delabole turn down Pengelly lane (opposite the "Bettle & Chisel" pub) and follow it to the end. Satnav: PL339AZ
  • Recommended footwear: walking boots

Maps for this walk

(dark blue corner = laminated version)

Highlights

  • Delabole Quarry - once the largest man-made pit in the world
  • Pretty woodland at Helland Barton, with bluebells in spring
  • Celtic churchyard at Lanteglos with a collection of ancient crosses
  • Remains of Iron Age hill forts at Castle Goff and Delinuth Camp
  • Winding country lanes and tracks with pleasant views over surrounding countryside
  • Variety of wildlife along the River Allen

Adjoining walks

Directions

  1. Walk back towards Delabole, through the gate of the car park entrance, and turn immediately left down a lane. Follow the lane until you reach a track on the left, leading from the back of the crescent and marked with a public footpath sign.

    Delabole Quarry is over a mile in circumferance and was once the deepest man-made pit in the world. It is England's oldest slate quarry; the first written records of a slate order date from 1314 and slate almost certainly from Delabole has been found in prehistoric settlements on Bodmin Moor. Delabole slate is noted for its uniform colour, durability and imperviousness to rain, making it ideal for roofing. There is a visitor centre (open Mon to Fri 8am - 4:30pm) with some interesting historical photos including the Duke of Windsor (then Prince of Wales), plummeting down the tram line into the quarry! Guided tours of the quarry are available at 2pm daily, Mon-Fri from the start of May to the end of August.

  2. Turn onto the track and follow this around a bend. Continue until you see a kissing gate on the right at a kink in the track.
  3. Go through the kissing gate on the right, and follow the path to an iron kissing gate.
  4. Go through the kissing gate and take the rightmost of the three tracks on the left, leading ahead and signposted to Helland Barton, until you reach a fork in the track.
  5. Follow the track on the left through the gate if open, otherwise go through the waymarked kissing gate between the 2 tracks which joins the track on the other side of the gate. Follow the track until you reach a gate.
  6. Go through the kissing gate next to the gate and follow the track, past a first waymark, to a second waymark at an intersection of paths and tracks.

    The settlement of Helland Barton may have the same as one near Bodmin, but it is for different reasons. Whilst the one at Bodmin is thought to have its origins in the Cornish words hen and lan (meaning "old church"), this one is from the Middle English words meaning "hay land"; it was recorded in 1345 as Haylond.

  7. At the waymark, follow the path straight ahead down through the woods until you reach a pair of granite gateposts.

    There is a spectacular show of bluebells in the woods during the early spring.

    During periods of cold weather, spring flowers, such as bluebells, have already started the process of growth by preparing leaves and flowers in underground bulbs during summer and autumn. They are then able to grow in the cold of winter, or early spring, by using these resources stored in their bulb. Once they have flowered, the leaves die off and the cycle begins again.

    Other species (such as cow parsley or dandelions) require warm weather before they are able to germinate and grow. With the warmer springs induced by climate change, bluebells lose their 'early start' advantage, and can be out-competed.

  8. At the granite gateposts, continue straight ahead down the path until you reach a gate.
  9. Go around the gate at the end of the path and cross the stream. Follow the lawn ahead between the houses to reach a waymark beside a driveway.

    As you might have guessed, Newhall is another settlement with its origins in the English rather than Cornish language, although the concept of "new" is somewhat relative: it was recorded in 1305 spelt Niwalle. There was also a mill here at one time.

  10. Bear right onto the driveway and follow this a few paces to merge onto another track. Follow the track downhill until it ends on a lane.
  11. Turn left onto the lane, towards Trewalder, and follow through Newhall Green to a T-junction.

    The settlement of Trewalder dates from early mediaeval times and was recorded in 1280 as Trewaleder. The name is from the Cornish word gwalader, meaning "lord", which was also used as a personal name.

  12. At the T-junction in Trewalder, turn right. Follow the lane for three-quarters of a mile past Bodulgate Farm until you pass Little Treforda and reach Treforda Farm where there is a public footpath sign.

    The "herringbone" style of walling built with tightly packed alternating diagonal slate courses, is unique to Cornwall's heritage. It is known locally as "Jack and Jill", "Curzy Way" or "Kersey Wave". The latter two names are based on the Cornish word kersy which means "reeds", perhaps referring to a square weave pattern. On a long wall, the herringbone sections are often between "towers" of flat-laid slate (built from the larger and squarer stones) which helped to prevent the wall slumping sideways. Traditionally, hedges (stone boundary walls) were built with whatever was cleared out of the fields, whilst buildings were constructed from stone that was quarried and cut.

  13. Follow the concrete driveway, passing through the yard to the right of the Treforda Farm sign to a pair of gates with a metal gate between.

    Given it begins with Tre-, Treforda may appear to be a name of Cornish origin but in 1304 it was recorded as Atte Ford which is Middle English for "at the ford". The name appears to have been adjusted to sound more Cornish afterwards.

  14. Go through the gate on the right and follow the track to reach a stile.

    Hazelnuts can be found beneath the trees in October and are a favourite with squirrels so you'll need to forage those that haven't already been nibbled. Once harvested, the nuts need to dried before shelling and eating. Wash and dry the nuts first to reduce the chance of them going mouldy. Then lay them out on something where the air can circulate and dry them for 2-4 weeks. An airing cupboard is a good place. You can tell that they are ready when the nuts rattle in their shells. Once shelled, the nuts can be stored in a fridge or even frozen for a couple of years.

  15. Cross the stile and walk parallel to the left hedge of the field to reach a gap in the corner of the wall on the far side.

    If there are sheep in the field and you have a dog, make sure it's securely on its lead (sheep are prone to panic and injuring themselves even if a dog is just being inquisitive). If the sheep start bleeting, this means they are scared and they are liable to panic. If there are pregnant sheep in the field, be particularly sensitive as a scare can cause the lambs to be stillborn. If there are sheep in the field with lambs, avoid approaching them closely, making loud noises or walking between a lamb and its mother, as you may provoke the mother to defend her young. Sheep may look cute but if provoked they can cause serious injury (hence the verb "to ram"). Generally, the best plan is to walk quietly along the hedges and they will move away or ignore you.

  16. Go through the gap in the wall and follow the left hedge of the field to reach a gate and stile in the bottom-left corner.

    Across the fields to your right is the tiny hamlet of Helstone. In the Domesday survey of 1086, Helstone was recorded as having 40 brewers. It's likely some of the demand for their produce was from Camelford, which was a busy market town at the time.

  17. Cross the stile and cross the meadow to a gap in the middle of the far hedge.

    Deer can sometimes be seen in the woods along the river.

    Red and Roe deer are the two truly native species of the six found in the UK and both have pointy, branching (rugose) antlers. The Red deer is the largest of the species and has a characteristic large white V on its backside whereas the Roe deer just has a small white patch.

    The fallow deer was introduced by the Normans and has flat, elk-like (palmate) antlers and an inverted black horseshoe surrounding a white patch on its rear end.

    In the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, three "exotic" Asian species (munjac, sika and chinese water deer) were introduced. These all have quite rounded ears whereas the European species all have pointy "elf-like" ears.

    Roe deer, Fallow deer and Red deer are all present in Cornwall and the populations of all three species has increased substantially over the past decade, possibly by as much as a factor of ten. There are also a small number of munjac deer, but far fewer than in the rest of England.

  18. Go through the gap and cross the field to a gateway with stone stile behind a fence in the top corner of the field.

    The Rivel Allen is a major tributary of the River Camel, joining it just above the estuary near Wadebridge. It was known as the Dowr Alen in Cornish, which is documented as meaning "shining river". There is also a River Allen in Truro, although that one is Dowr Lain in Cornish, so as long as you speak Cornish, you won't get them confused!.

  19. Go through the gate if open or climb the fence and stile otherwise. Cross the field to the stile in the hedge opposite.

    Despite their reputation for being lazy and scavengers, buzzards are formidable predators. Diving on rabbits and small mammals from a slow or hovering flight, or from a perch, they nearly always make the kill on the ground. During their breeding season in spring, buzzards create spectacular aerial displays by soaring high into the air and dropping suddenly towards the ground.

  20. Cross the stiles and footbridge to emerge onto a golf course. Watching out for golf balls, head between the white posts ahead to reach a track.

    Golf developed in The Netherlands during the Middle Ages and was introduced into Scotland towards the end of this period where it evolved to its present form. The word golf is thought to be a Scots alteration of Dutch colf meaning "club". Golf is first documented in Scotland in a 1457 Act of the Scottish Parliament, prohibiting the playing of the games of gowf and futball as these were a distraction from archery practice.

  21. Follow the grassy track uphill to merge onto a stony track. Continue to reach a path on the left just after a pile of gravel and rubble.

    Rabbits were originally from the Iberian peninsula and were brought to Britain by the Normans and kept in captivity as a source of meat and fur. Rabbits are able to survive on virtually any vegetable matter and with relatively few predators, those that escaped multiplied into a sizeable wild population. Given that most farmers' crops met the "virtually any vegetable matter" criterion, in the 1950s, the disease myxomatosis was deliberately introduced to the UK to curb rabbit numbers and they almost became extinct. The few survivors resistant to the disease have since multiplied and the peak population is now estimated at around half the size of the UK human population. Rabbits provide food for foxes, stoats, weasels and birds of prey such as the buzzard.

  22. Turn left and follow the narrow path towards a white waymark to emerge onto a track.
  23. Cross the track and bear left slightly across the golf course (watch out for golfballs from the right) to the waymark at the end of the fence.
  24. From the waymark, follow the path between the fences and over a stile to reach a lane.

    An elm tree has been planted in Lanteglos as part of the Great British Elm Experiment.

    The first epidemic of Dutch elm disease occurred in the 1940s but a more agressive form swept across Britain in the 1970s and wiped out over 25 million elms. However, a small number of trees survived. Cuttings taken from mature trees that appear to have resisted Dutch elm disease for over 60 years have been skillfully micro propagated. The resulting saplings are being distributed to schools, community groups, local authorities and private landowners who have signed up to take part in The Great British Elm Experiment. It is hoped that a significant proportion of these trees will prove resistant to the disease and further cuttings can then be taken to begin re-establishing the elms that were for so long an iconic feature of Britain's landscape.

  25. Turn left on the lane and follow it to a gate on the left, into the churchyard.

    Lanteglos is a tiny settlement in the Allen Valley between Camelford and Delabole. The name Lanteglos is thought to be based on the Cornish words nans (valley) and eglos (church). The relative isolation of the location may indicate this was once a mediaeval monastery. An Anglo-Saxon font discovered in the nearby rectory garden is possibly one of the oldest in England and may further signify an early religious settlement at Lanteglos.

  26. Go through the gate into the churchyard and follow the path ahead, passing the church on your right, to reach the churchyard gate.

    Lanteglos church is, perhaps surprisingly given its proximity to Delabole, Camelford's official parish church. The distance may help to explain why Methodism was particularly popular in Camelford! The church is dedicated to St Julitta, to whom the mediaeval chapel at Tintagel Castle was also dedicated. Lanteglos church was used as the setting for the (aborted) wedding of the main characters in ITV's comedy drama series, Doc Martin.

    The churchyard contains a number of mediaeval wayside crosses rescued from nearby, and an unusual limbed cross that was once mounted on top of an inscribed stone, also in the churchyard. The stone is thought to date from somewhere between the 9th and 11th centuries and reads "Alseth and Generth wrought this family pillar for Aelwyne's soul and for themselves".

  27. Go through the gate onto the lane and turn left. Follow the lane over the bridge until you reach a junction, signposted to Trewalder.

    In early spring, the woodland is carpeted in wild garlic.

    Wild garlic is best harvested in early spring before it flowers and the leaves start to die off. Unlike domestic garlic, the leaves are the useful bit rather than the bulb, so cut/pull off the leaves (don't pull up the plants). The leaves are quite delicate, so you can use quite large quantities in cooking; therefore, harvest it in the kind of quantities that you'd buy salad leaves from the supermarket. There are some lillies that look fairly similar (and some are poisonous) but the smell is the giveaway: if it doesn't smell of garlic/onions, then it's not wild garlic.

  28. Keep right at the junction and follow the lane past Castlegoff Cottage and Castlegoff Farm to a public footpath sign, approximately 50 metres past Castlegoff Farm.
  29. Climb a flight of stone steps and cross a stile into the field. Turn left and follow the left hedge to a pedestrian gate next to a field gate at the top of the field.

    The number of cows in Cornwall has been estimated at around 75,000 so there's a good chance of encountering some in grassy fields. If you are crossing fields in which there are cows:

    • Do not show any threatening behaviour towards calves (approaching them closely, making loud noises or walking between a calf and its mother) as you may provoke the mother to defend her young. Generally the best plan is to walk along the hedges.
    • If cows approach you, do not run away as this will encourage them to chase you. Stand your ground and stretch out your arms to increase your size.
    • Avoid taking dogs into fields with cows, particularly with calves. If you can't avoid it: if cows charge, release the dog from its lead as the dog will outrun the cows and the cows will generally chase the dog rather than you.
  30. Go through the gate and follow the left hedge to a stile in the far hedge, next to a gate.
  31. At this point, you can take a small diversion to the Castle Goff hillfort. To reach this, turn left through the gate and follow the right hedge to the gate in the corner of the field, returning to this point afterwards. To continue the walk, cross the stile and head across the field towards the pylon to reach a waymarked stile on the opposite side.

    The Castle Goff Scheduled Monument is located in a field between Lanteglos and Delabole. Castle Goff is a fine example of a small Iron Age hillfort, with an annexe forming an extra line of defence on the west side. The original earthwork has a diameter of roughly 80 metres and is bounded by a 0.8 metre ditch surrounding an earth rampart some 3.5 metres high. Subsequently, more ramparts were added to the west of the structure but these have been largely lost over time. The small field containing it is open access land, and a permissive footpath connects it to the public footpath.

  32. Cross the stile and head for the semicircular hedge and follow this left to a gate in the corner of the field.

    The semicircular hedge is the remains of the Delinuth Camp hillfort.

    Delinuth Camp is located near the Castle Goff Iron Age hill fort just outside Lanteglos. Delinuth Camp (also known as "The Rounds") was another Iron Age fortification, likely containing a settlement. Much of the rampart and ditch have been destroyed by ploughing but about half a metre of rampart remains with a diameter of about 150 metres.

  33. Cross the stile next to the gate and turn right. Follow the path, passing though two gates, until it emerges onto a track.

    In August, blackberries start to ripen on brambles. Blackberries are closely related to raspberries and technically neither is a berry but an aggregate of many individual tiny fruits, each containing a tiny stone like a miniature cherry. Blackberries are high in vitamin C, K and antioxidants. The seeds, despite being a bit crunchy, contain omega-3 and -6 fatty acids and further enhance blackberries' "superfood" status.

    According to folklore, you should not pick blackberries after Michealmas Day (11th October) as this is when the devil claims them. The basis for this is thought to be the potentially toxic moulds which can develop on the blackberries in the cooler, wetter weather.

  34. Follow the track ahead until it crosses a tarmacked lane.

    To make blackberry wine, combine 2kg blackberries + 4 litres of boiling water in a plastic container with a lid. Once the water has cooled to lukewarm, mash blackberries and add red wine yeast and pectic enzyme (blackberries are high in pectin so this is needed to stop the wine being cloudy). Cover for 4-5 days then strain through muslin.

    Transfer the liquid to a demijohn and add 1kg of sugar. Top up with a little more water to make it up to a gallon. After fermentation, the wine should clear by itself; in the unlikely event that it doesn't, use some finings. Rack off from the sediment and bottle; it's worth allowng the wine a year or two to mature as it massively improves with age. As a variation, you can add 500g of elderberries and increase the sugar content for a more port-like wine.

  35. Turn left onto the lane and follow it past Deli Farm to the bottom of a valley and a short way up the other side, until you reach a flight of steps on the left.

    Deli Farm Charcuterie, based near Delabole, have won a numnber of awards for their produce which includes air-dried Salami, Coppa, Bresaola, Duck Prosciutto, Venison, Smoked Lamb and Pancetta. They have come a long way from their first experimental batch of salami made using an old smoker for a fermentation chamber cobbled together with a CPU fan and a light bulb and an old domestic fridge for an air drying room! Note the Charcuterie is not open to the public and has no onsite shop, but you can buy their meats online or in one of the local farm shops.

  36. Take the footpath to the left and head across the field to a stile on the opposite side.
  37. Cross the stile and head uphill, between the telegraph poles, to a stile.
  38. Cross the stile and head left slightly across the field to a stile in the fence.
  39. Cross the stile and go straight ahead to another stile.
  40. Cross the stile and follow the left hedge to reach a kissing gate in the corner of the field.
  41. Bear left through the kissing gate in the corner of the field. Follow the trail around the quarry until you reach a fork in the path.

    The working of the quarry is described in 1758 as follows: "The whole quarry is about three hundred yards long and one hundred wide: the deepest part from the grass is judged to be forty fathoms. The masses are first raised rough from the rock by wedges driven by sledges of iron, and contain from five to ten, twelve or fourteen feet, superficial square of stone: as soon as this mass is freed by one man, another stone-cutter, with a strong wide chisel and mallet, is ready to cleave it to its proper thin-ness, which is usually about the eighth of an inch; the shivers irregular from two feet long, and one foot wide, downwards, to one foot square and sometimes (though seldom) dividing into such large flakes as to make tables and tomb-stones. In this quarry several parties of men work on separate stages or floors, some twelve fathom from the grass, some twenty, others forty fathom deep, according to the portion of ground belonging to each party; the small shattery stone, not fit for covering houses, serves to shore up the rubbish, to divide the different allotments, and shape the narrow paths up and down the quarry; all the slate is carried with no small danger from the plot where it rises, on men's backs, which are guarded from the weight by a kind of leathern apron, or rather cushion; the carrier disposes his charge of stones in rows side by side, till the area allotted to his partners is full, and then horses are ready to take them off, and carry them by tale to the person that buys them."

  42. Keep right at the fork, along the edge of the quarry, until the path emerges onto a track, beside a waymark.

    The working in 1882 had changed with the advent of the steam engine: "The scene is enlivened by a throng of men busily engaged in various noisy employments, while waggons and horses are everywhere in rapid motion, and steam-engines are lifting with a harsh sound their ponderous arms, and raising loaded trucks from the depths of the pit, or masses of slate of several tons' weight, which are seen slowly ascending guide-chains to stages which overhang the quarry. The quarry is about 260 ft. in depth. Upon the edge of the quarry is the Papete Head, a projecting platform, from which a number of guide-chains are stretched like the shrouds of a ship to the base of the pit. The slate is first loosened by small charges of gunpowder ; it is then torn up by wedges and crowbars, and placed in trucks, which, being attached to a wheel which traverses a guide-chain, are drawn up by the steam-engine some feet above the Papete Head, Movable stages, called hatches or tables, are then run out under the trucks, which, being lowered upon a framework on wheels, are drawn away by horses to the different workshops, where the slate is split into various sizes, according to the purpose it is intended to serve. The water is pumped from the quarry by water-wheels into an adit, and the slate is shipped at the little harbours of Port Gaverne, Port Isaac, and Boscastle, the former being the principal port in the summer, the latter in the winter, as affording the best shelter to the vessels. About 1000 men are employed in these works, who raise on an average 120 tons of slate per day." ("Papete" is thought to be a local abbreviation of "Parapet").

  43. Cross the track to the path between the pieces of slate; follow the path along the fence, back to the car park.

    The layers of slate in the quarry were eloquently described in 1758: "The strata in the following order: the green sod, one foot; a yellow brown clay, two feet; then the rock, dipping inwards into the hill towards the south-west, and preserving that inclination from top to bottom: at first the rock is in a lax shattery state, with short and frequent fissures, the lamina of unequal thickness, and not horizontal: thus the rock continues to the depth of ten or twelve fathom, all which is good for nothing, and entirely to be rid off; then comes in a firmer brown stone, which becomes still browner in the air; this is fit for slating houses, and the largest size for flat pavement never sweating as the cliff slate, which is exposed to the sea air. This is called the top-stone, and continues for ten fathom deep, the stone improving somewhat as you sink, but not at the best till you come to twenty-four fathom deep from the grass; then rises what they call the bottom-stone, of a grey blue colour, and such a close texture, that on the touch it will sound clear, like a piece of metal. The principal horizontal fissures, which divide the strata, run from ten to fifteen feet asunder; they are no more than chinks or joints, and contain no heterogeneous fossil. The stone of this quarry weighs to water as 2-(62/121) are to 1, is not subject to rot or decay, to imbibe water, or split with falling, as the bottom-stone of Tintagel, and other quarries; but for its lightness, and enduring weather, is generally preferred to any slate in Great-Britain."

Help us with this walk

You can help us to keep this walk as accurate as it possibly can be for others by spotting and feeding back any changes affecting the directions. We'd be very grateful if could you look out for the following:

  • Any stiles, gates or waymark posts referenced in the directions which are no longer there
  • Any stiles referenced in the directions that have been replaced with gates, or vice-versa

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