Grampound to Trewithen

The walk follows a lane from Grampound to Creed church where the churchyard is carpeted in primroses in early spring. The route is then on a permissive path through the Trewithen Estate and along the River Fal to Golden Mill. Here, the walk follows a lanes to Trewithen Gardens passing the mediaeval hall now used as a cow barn. The walk then passes through the grounds of Trewithen House and Gardens. The final section is on a bridleway which was once, in the days before tarmac, the main road from Grampound.

Vital statistics

  • OS Explorer: 105 (scan QR code on right to order from Amazon)
  • Distance: 5.0 miles/8.1 km
  • Grade: Easy-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 boots

Maps for this walk

(dark blue corner = laminated version)

Highlights

  • Trewithen House and Gardens
  • Historic market town of Grampound and Heritage Centre

Adjoining walks

Directions

  1. Turn right out of the village hall car park and follow the main road half-way up the hill, past the Dolphin Inn, until you reach the junction signposted to Creed. Turn right at the junction and follow the lane for around a mile to reach Creed churchyard. Continue on the lane past a small black and gold gate into the churchyard to reach the main large black gate.

    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".

  2. If you are doing the walk from 1st Feb - 30th Sep: turn right into the churchyard and follow the path to the church door, then bear left up the bank and pass the waymark to reach a gate in the bushes at the bottom of the churchyard. If you are doing the walk from 1st Oct - 31st Jan (shooting season): follow the lane ahead from the church to the bottom of the hill and up the other side until you reach a track on the right near the top of the hill; turn right and follow this track to reach a gate; go through the gate and follow the lane over the bridge to continue from direction 6.

    The church building at Creed is thought to date from a Norman building which was enlarged in the 15th Century and the tower was rebuilt in 1734. The church was heavily restored in 1904. The churchyard possibly dates from the early mediaeval (Dark Ages, Celtic) period before the Norman conquest.

  3. Go through the gate and follow the path along the bank to reach a footbridge.

    In 1791, the vicar of Creed Church, William Gregor, discovered a new metal which he isolated from a sample of magnetic sand. He called the new metal menachite after Mannacan, where it was found. In 1795, a Prussian chemist "discovered" the same element and named it titanium, only to find it had already been discovered four years earlier, but his impressive-sounding name involving Greek mythology was more favoured by the scientific community.

    The Christening bowl in Creed church is made of titanium to commemorate its discovery.

  4. Cross the footbridge and then head to the gateway that you can see across the diagonal of the field in the middle of the left hedge.

    Be aware when walking through long grass that pheasants have a habit of remaining completely still and then panicking at the last second. A squawking pheasant just in front of your face that appeared to leap into the air out of nowhere can be rather startling if you are not expecting it! It is therefore recommended to walk along the right hedges.

    The pheasant is named after the Ancient town of Phasis (now in West Georgia) and the birds were naturalised in the UK by the 10th Century with introductions both from the Romano-British and the Normans. However, by the 17th Century they had become extinct in most of the British Isles.

    In the 1830s, the pheasant was rediscovered as a gamebird and since then it has been reared extensively for shooting. The pheasant has a life expectancy of less than a year in the wild and it is only common because around 30 million pheasants are released each year on shooting estates.

  5. Go through the gateway and cross the field to a gateway in the far right corner of the field. Go through the gate to reach a lane and turn right onto the lane to reach a bridge over the river.

    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.

  6. From the bridge, follow the lane uphill until it eventually ends at a crossroads.

    The settlement of Golden was first recorded as Wolvedon in 1329. It is thought that this might be an Old English name meaning "Wolf Hill". The building with a sundial, now used as a barn, is known locally as "the chapel" but is thought to have been the mediaeval manor house of the Wolvedon family. The Wolvedon family married into the Tregian family in 1514 and in 1538, the Tregians built a new manor. Once the new manor was built, the original manor of the Wolvedon family is thought to have been abandoned and was then partly rebuilt in the 19th Century. The Tregians were strongly Catholic which proved career-limiting during Tudor times and their estate was confiscated. The remains of their manor are thought to have to become the current Golden Manor farmhouse, with some fragments also in the small cottage of Golden Keep. The mill at the bottom of the hill was used for grinding animal feed and fulling (beating cloth) and was in operation until the early 20th Century.

  7. Turn right at the crossroads and follow the road carefully until you reach the entrance to Trewithen Nurseries.

    Trewithen house is on the site of a dwelling recorded in the Domesday survey of 1086. Trewithen house and estate is now owned by the Galsworthy (formerly Johnstone and, before this, Hawkins) family who have lived there for around 300 years. The house was substantially rebuilt after the estate was purchased in 1715, but has been altered relatively little since. The stone used was from the quarries at Pentewan which were part of the estate. It is opened to the public for guided tours on two days per week between March and June. The name Trewithen is from the Cornish word gwydh, meaning trees, and dates from mediaeval times, but is still very fitting for the estate's horticultural reputation.

  8. At the Trewithen Nurseries entrance, turn left and cross the cattlegrid, then keep left to follow the concrete track. Continue along the track via one more cattlegrid to a junction by a nursery sign.

    The grounds of Trewithen have been described as "a masterpiece of landscape gardening", and consist of over 30 acres of woodland gardens and 200 acres of parkland. Much of the landscaping was done in the 18th Century under the ownership of Thomas Hawkins and the grounds were extended by his son Christopher. When Christopher died, his brother John inherited and planted a number of specimen trees. The estate was passed down two more times until in 1904, it was inherited by George Johnstone - a horticultural enthusiast - which coincided with a period of plant hunting expeditions in far-flung places. Collections of exotic seeds were sent back to Britain and many of these were successfully cultivated in the sheltered, south-facing glade. The gardens are particularly notable for the collection of camellias, rhododendrons and magnolias. The estate is now owned by George's grandson, who also has a great interest in the gardens.

  9. Continue ahead from the junction and pass the lake and house to reach a junction just after the house.

    Christopher Hawkins expanded the Trewithen Estate during Georgian times through shrewd investment in land and mines and development of mining ports at Pentewan and Hayle. Eventually he owned a continuous tract of land from Newquay to St Mawes, pointing out that it was then possible for him to cross Cornwall without stepping off his own land. He also became a Member of Pariament, High Sheriff of Cornwall, and ultimately Sir Christopher when he received a baronetcy for his service to the Tory government. Sir Christopher was a patron of steam pioneer Richard Trevithick and in 1812 commissioned from him the world's first steam threshing machine which was used until the 1880s and is now in the Science Museum in London. There is painting of Sir Christopher in Trewithen House.

  10. After the house, take the left-hand track ahead through the wooden gate. Follow the track through the car park and keep right at the coach park entrance to stay on the track and meet the drive. Continue ahead on the drive and follow this to the entrance onto the main road.

    During Georgian times it was not uncommon for landowners to acquire rotten boroughs (parliamentary constituencies with few voters) which provided additional parliamentary influence. Christopher Hawkins was accused of bribery a number of times in connection with this, which he denied, challenging one accuser to a dual. Rumours were also circulated that he had gained a reputation as a miser amongst his tenants and had even pulled down the houses of tenants in the rotten boroughs to reduce election expenses. The following verse was said to have been fixed to the gates of Trewithen:

    A large house, and no cheer,
    A large park, and no deer,
    A large cellar, and no beer,
    Sir Christopher Hawkins lives here.

    Whether there was any truth in these, or how much of this was instigated by competitors in an attempt to damage his reputation, is unknown. There is certainly plenty of cheer, beer (as evidenced by the sign at Golden Mill), and pheasants (rather than deer) at Trewithen now.

  11. When you reach the entrance, turn right through the white gate marked as a Bridle Path to Grampound. Follow the track until it ends in a junction.

    The bridleway is the old coach road from Truro to St Austell through Grampound, which until 1834 was the main road. It is thought to have been built by the Romans. Fifteen Roman coins have been found along the road.

  12. Turn left at the junction and follow the track until it meets a lane.
  13. Continue ahead across the lane to the track opposite and follow the track to a fork.

    The banks and ditches at Carvossa are the remains of a hillfort. Brooches, rings, bracelets and coins found during excavations and surveys suggest that the site was occupied in Roman times, from first to the fourth centuries AD, but also prior to this in the Bronze Age or even earlier. Amongst the finds were spindle whorls, indicating that spinning of wool or flax occurred on the site. When a trench was dug for a water pipe, foundations were uncovered of a settlement on the outside of the fortified walls.

  14. Keep left at the fork to continue ahead and follow the track until it emerges onto a residential lane.

    Evidence of windmills in England dates from around the 12th century and in Cornwall there are records of windmills as far back as 1296. Wind turbines may be viewed as the modern successor but actually themselves date back to Victorian times: the first large windmill to generate electricity was built in 1888 in the USA, and in Cornwall, a private house was lit using electricity generated by a wind turbine in 1890.

  15. Follow the lane ahead until it ends on the main road. Turn right on the main road to complete the circular route.

    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.

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.

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