Grampound to Trenowth

Starting at Grampound, the walk circles the Fal Valley on small lanes and footpaths. The route passes the historic settlements of Trevillick, Garlenick, Trenowth and Benallack and the Fal Valley viaduct.

Vital statistics

  • OS Explorer: 105 (scan QR code on right to order from Amazon)
  • Distance: 4.8 miles/7.7 km
  • Grade: Moderate
  • Start from: Grampound
  • Parking: Recreation Ground car park. At the bottom of the hill, turn beside the sign for Grampound Bowling Club and go through the gates Satnav: TR24RT
  • Recommended footwear: Walking shoes, or trainers in summer

Maps for this walk

(dark blue corner = laminated version)

Highlights

  • Historic market town of Grampound and Heritage Centre
  • Bluebell woodland at Garlenick

Adjoining walks

Directions

  1. Make your way out of the car park to the road and cross to the other side. Turn right to follow the road uphill, past the Dolphin Inn, to a footpath sign just before the Creed sign.

    Just behind the market cross, next to the Heritage Centre, is St Nun's chapel.

    There is evidence of a Chapel of Ease (to save the walk to and from Creed parish church) in Grampound during mediaeval times, thought to originally have been dedicated to St Naunter although it was rededicated to a different saint on more than one occasion. Despite being in good repair in 1745, by Victorian times the chapel was in ruins and was in use as an animal pen for the market. In 1868 it was rebuilt, re-using a few older architectural elements that are thought may have been salvaged from the ruin of the previous building.

  2. Turn left through the alleyway marked with the Public Footpath sign and follow the path to a track. Keep right on the track to reach a lane. Turn left onto the lane and follow it for about half a mile until you reach a junction beside a sign for Grampound and St Stephen.
  3. Turn right at the junction and follow the lane to the bottom of the valley and then up the other side until you reach a Public Footpath sign pointing down the driveway of Garlenick.

    The settlement at the junction is Trevillick.

    The settlement of Trevillick was first recorded in 1216 as Trevillioch. There was once a holy well here, dedicated to St Naunter, but now all that remains is a carved stone which has been re-purposed as part of one of the barns on the farm.

  4. Turn left to follow the Public Footpath down the driveway to Garlenick. Continue until the track forks to go through a gateway with a Please Drive Slowly sign.

    Some estimates suggest the UK has up to half of the world's total bluebell population; nowhere else in the world do they grow in such abundance. However, the poor bluebell faces a number of threats including climate change and hybridisation from garden plants. In the past, there has also been large-scale unsustainable removal of bulbs for sale although it is now a criminal offence to remove the bulbs of wild bluebells.

  5. Keep left to enter the yard and then cross to the stables. Turn right beside the stables and follow the concrete track in front of the house to reach a gravel track beside a cottage.

    After you pass the stables and join the concrete track, the building on your right is Garlenick House.

    The settlement of Garlenick was first recorded in 1334 as Corlenneck. It is thought that the name is based on the Cornish word cor, meaning "family". The house is thought to date from the 17th Century but was rebuilt in 1812.

  6. Turn left down the gravel track and follow it until it ends on a lane.
  7. Turn left onto the lane. Follow it through Treway, past junctions to Coombe and Grampound and over a bridge to reach a sign for Grampound Road.

    The River Fal begins in the marshes of Goss Moor at Pentevale and runs for 11 miles to its mouth between St Anthony Head and Pendennis Point. It is little more than a stream passing through the china clay areas near St Stephen and a fairly small river at Grampound and Tregony. At Ruan Lanihorne, the river enters the huge flooded river valley forming the creek system known as Carrick Roads. Within this, it is the former river valley of the Fal which separates the Roseland peninsula from the neighbouring land.

  8. Keep left in the direction of Grampound Road and follow the lane uphill for about half a mile, passing under a railway bridge, until you reach a sign for Trenowth.

    The viaduct on your right is part of the railway main line to Penzance.

    The viaduct was built in the late 1850s as part of the construction of the railway from Plymouth to Truro. The line crosses a number of deep river valleys so in order to lower the initial building costs, the viaducts were constructed mostly of wood with fans of timber, resting on stone piers, that supported a wooden deck. In 1884, this was replaced by an all-stone structure which was cheaper to maintain once built.

  9. Turn left at the sign for Trenowth and follow the Private Road until you reach a waymark pointing towards a bridge.

    Trenowth Mill was built in the early-mid 19th Century to grind china stone. The mill had two water wheels to drive the grinding machinery. The powdered stone was recovered with water as a slurry, concentrated in settling tanks and then dried by two pan kilns (underfloor heating systems).

  10. Bear left to follow the waymarked path over the bridge and continue between the hedges to reach a waymark and gateway into a field.

    Trenowth was first recorded in the year 969 as Trefneweth, meaning "new farm". The manor house at Trenowth was rebuilt in the 19th Century and reused elements of a former house which dated from the 14th Century. The remains of a mediaeval chapel were found in the woodland nearby.

  11. Go through the gateway and turn right. Follow the right hedge to a waymark just before an opening in the corner of the hedge. Turn left at the waymark to stay in the field and follow the right hedge to an opening into the field ahead.

    China clay in Cornwall and Devon resulted from a sequence of events that began over 300 million years ago; molten rock cooled into granite: a mixture of quartz, feldspar and mica. As it cooled, the feldspar reacted with other minerals to form china clay.

    The extraction of china clay has dramatically altered the landscape. For every 1 tonne of china clay, there are 9 tonnes of mineral waste products (a gritty sand of quartz and mica), which has led to the creation of large areas of tips. The now disused conical or "sky tips", can be seen near St Austell from as far away as Bodmin Moor.

  12. Go through the opening into the field ahead and bear left very slightly up the field to a gate in the hedge at the top.

    China Stone is a term used to describe granite which has partially decomposed, but not all the way to china clay. Porcelain is made by mixing china clay with ground china stone and then melting these together in a kiln to form the ceramic. After much trial and error in finding suitable sources of china stone in Cornwall, a patent was filed in 1768 for the manufacture of porcelain using entirely Cornish materials; previously this was only available from China.

  13. Go through the gate and follow the path ahead to join a track. Follow the track ahead towards the building to reach a lane, just past a waymark.
  14. From the waymark, follow the lane ahead until it ends on a junction with another lane.

    The settlement of Benallack was first recorded in 1244 and was the seat of an ancient family with the same name, also recorded as Benethlake. It is thought that the name is from the Cornish word banadhel for the plant broom. Although now a farmhouse, the old hall at Benallack still contains remnants of its former station as a mansion including painted glass in the windows.

  15. Turn left at the junction and follow the lane until it ends in Grampound.

    Grampound is at a crossing of the River Fal and is thought to have been a river port from Roman times up until the 17th Century. River-smoothed pebbles found when improving the village football pitch indicate that the river was originally very much wider. The town takes its name from the "Great Bridge" built in around 1250 by the Earl of Cornwall and was recorded with a Cornish name of Ponsmur (from pons, meaning bridge and meor, meaning large). During Norman times, it became a hub for traders crossing into West Cornwall and the name was translated into Norman French: Grand Pont. In 1332 it was given a charter which included a weekly market and this continued until Victorian times from which the market hall (now Heritage Centre) dates. The seven-sided cross shaft beside it is from the 15th Century and indicates the location of the market. The linear layout of the settlement dates from Norman times, when there would have been long, thin plots of land on either side of the road. It remained an important settlement throughout the mediaeval period but declined in Tudor times so that by 1584, the inhabitants were described as "few and poore".

  16. Turn left and cross the bridge to complete the circular route.

    It is thought that the tanning of hides to produce leather was carried out in Grampound since Roman times and the town became the centre of Cornish leather trade. The process got its name as it involved extracting the tannins from acorns and oak bark and soaking these into the hides. Tannins are natural preservatives and the reason why red wine keeps much longer than white. The most well-known tannery was Croggans which was established in 1712 and was the last tannery in Cornwall and was still producing leather using traditional oak bark until it closed in 2002.

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 also very grateful if could you look out for the following:

  • If you have a large dog, let us know if you find problems with the stiles on this walk (e.g. require the dog to be lifted over). A rough idea of how many problematic stiles there are is useful as some single women can just about manage one or two but not a dozen.

email contact@iwalkcornwall.co.uk, or message either IWalkCornwall on facebook or @iwalkc on twitter. If you have any tips for other walkers please let us know, or if you want to tell us that you enjoyed the walk, we'd love to hear that too.

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