Two Coombes of Lansallos

The walk starts at Lansallos NT car park and passes the church before following the woodland path along Reed Water through the wooded valley of West Coombe to meet the coast path above Lansallos Cove. The route follows the coast path past Parson's Cove to just before the Udder Rock Obelisk, then turns up East Coombe. From the top of the valley, the lane into Lansallos completes the circular route.

Vital statistics

  • OS Explorer: 107 (scan QR code on right to order from Amazon)
  • Distance: 2.8 miles/4.5 km
  • Grade: Moderate
  • Start from: National Trust car park at Lansallos
  • Parking: Lansallos NT car park. From the B3359 take the turning signposted Lansallos, between Lanreath and Pelynt. Follow the lane until you reach a sharp bend at Higher Polgassic with a small lane leading ahead. Turn left onto the small lane leading ahead and follow this into Lansallos. The car park is on the left, just after the yellow lines start. Satnav: PL132PX
  • Recommended footwear: Walking boots, or trainers in summer

Maps for this walk

(dark blue corner = laminated version)

Highlights

  • Pretty wooded path through West Coombe from Lansallos to the coast
  • Panoramic views over Lantivet Bay
  • Sandy beach at Lansallos Cove

Adjoining walks

Directions

  1. Turn left out of the car park and follow the lane to a track beside the church with a no-through road sign and a wooden footpath signpost opposite.

    The church is on the site of an earlier Norman church and before that, Celtic missionary monks had an establishment here that the "Lan" in the name refers to. The present church building was dedicated to St Ildierna on 16th October 1321, was rebuilt in the 15th century, and contains a number of important architectural and historical features.

    In 2005, the church and many of its ancient artefacts were badly damaged in a fire which is thought was an act of arson. The now partly incinerated mediaeval chest gives an idea of the intensity of the blaze which also damaged both the roof and organ. Fortunately, the magnificent carved oak benches, made between 1490 and 1520, survived the fire.

  2. Turn right down the track, signposted to the Coast Path. Follow it to a waymark just before the gate of the Old Rectory. Bear left down the waymarked path and follow this to reach a waymark and footbridge on the right. Continue on the path, in the direction indicated for the Coast Path, to reach a gate at the bottom of the valley.

    The footpath along the stream, known as Reed Water, is an ancient route from the village to the cove. It was cut out to form a cart track to serve both the cove and the mill, and ruts from the cartwheels are still visible. In March and April, celandines flower along the wooded path.

    The name Celandine is thought to come from the Latin word for swallow. It is said that the flowers bloom when the birds return in Spring and fade when they leave in Autumn. Celandine flowers close each night and open each morning. This is controlled by a circadian rhythm, so they really are 'going to sleep' at night and 'waking up in the morning'. It is likely that this has arisen to protect the internals of the flowers from any frost during the night as they begin flowering in March when frosts are still common.

  3. Go through the gate and the one ahead. At the fork in the path, the walk continues to the left but Lansallos Cove is to the right if you want to explore that first. Follow the Coast Path, ignoring paths to the left and right to reach a gate across the path.

    Lansallos Cove is also known as West Coombe, after the valley. The sheltered beach is composed of sand and shingle and was used to launch small fishing boats. The same characteristics that made it a good launching spot also make it good for swimming, particularly at mid-high tide when the bottom is sandy (at low tide, rocks are exposed). The bowl shape of the cove also traps warm water as the tide rises over the rocks and sand exposed to the sun. Sand from the cove was used by local farmers to improve soil drainage and as a source of lime. Seaweed was sometimes also used as a fertilizer as it is rich in potassium and contains a number of trace elements needed by plants. The small waterfall on the side of the beach was once used to power a mill.

  4. Go through the gate and keep left at the fork in the path (the right-hand path leads to Parson's Cove). Continue on the coast path until, just before a footbridge, a path departs to the left and is signposted on a piece of stone to Lansallos.

    The path to the right after the gate leads down to Parson's Cove.

    At Parson's Cove there is little or no beach at high tide but as the tide goes out, a beach of sand and shingle is revealed with some patches of rock. The cove faces southwest and therefore gets the afternoon sun, and is quite sheltered, making it a good spot to access the water for snorkelling.

  5. Bear left on the path to Lansallos, through the gate. Follow the path parallel along the fence on the right to reach another gate in a hedge across the meadow.

    The white obelisk on the coast path near Lansallos is a daymark indicating the position of Udder Rock, which is also marked by a large buoy. Udder Rock is a pinnacle reef which breaks the surface at low tide but is fully submerged at high tide, making it particularly hazardous to shipping. The reef consists of a number of ledges and these support an array of marine life, making it a fairly popular dive site.

  6. Go through the gate and follow the path parallel to the stream to reach a gateway in the hedge at the top of the meadow.

    In Dec 1911 the SS White Rose set sail from France to Liverpool and disappeared. A report from The Telegraph said the ship was last seen "flying signals of distress and has not been reported since". Over the next few days, three boats from the ship washed up along the Cornish coast but with no-one onboard. Eventually the ship was found to have hit Udder Rock and then drifted into deeper water and sunk with the loss of all hands. The ship's anchor and chain are still on the seawards side of the rock.

  7. Go through the gateway and follow the path alongside the stream and along the fence to reach a stile at the top of a short flight of steps.

    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.

  8. Go through the gate and follow the path to a gate onto a lane.

    East Coombe is an example of a hanging valley, with the stream falling down a cliff to meet the sea.

    Hanging valleys are common on the North Cornish coast and are created due to erosion of the relatively hard cliffs by the Atlantic waves being faster than erosion of the valley by a small river. In many cases, this results in a waterfall where the small river meets the sea cliff, though many of these are little more than a trickle in dry weather. When there is a strong onshore gale, the waterfalls sometimes run backwards!

  9. Go through the gate and turn left onto the lane. Follow it back to the church and keep right at the church to return to the car park.

    The inscription on a gravestone in Lansallos churchyard records the untimely death of John Perry at the age of 24 in 1779 "unfortunately killed by a cannon ball by a person unknown," probably as a result of an encounter with a Revenue vessel at sea.

    In Prime of Life most suddenly.
    Sad tidings to relate.
    Here view my utter destiny
    and pity my sad fate.
    I by a Shot which rapid flew.
    Was Instantly Struck dead.
    Lord pardon the offender who.
    My precious blood did shed.
    Grant Him to rest and forgive me.
    For all I've done amiss.
    And that I may rewarded be.
    With everlasting bliss.

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.

If you found this page useful, please could you
our page on Facebook?