St Tudy to Wetherham

The walk starts from the village of St Tudy, crossing through fields and woodland to Wetherham Manor, before returning along a country lanes and footpaths to St Tudy, allowing a final stop at the St Tudy Inn.

Vital statistics

  • OS Explorer: 109 (scan QR code on right to order from Amazon)
  • Distance: 2.4 miles/3.9 km
  • Grade: Easy-moderate
  • Start from: St Tudy war memorial
  • Parking: By war memorial. Satnav: PL303NN
  • Recommended footwear: walking boots or trainers in summer

Maps for this walk

(dark blue corner = laminated version)

Highlights

  • Beautiful stained glass in 15th century Church of St Tudy
  • Pretty woodland around Wetherham, with bluebells in spring
  • Historic Wetherham Manor
  • Winding country lanes lined with pretty flowers in spring and summer
  • Local Cornish food and drink at 17th century St Tudy Inn

Directions

  1. From the war memorial, walk past the bus shelter and turn right, up a few steps, onto a path into the churchyard. Follow this to the church.

    St Tudy was formerly known as Eglostudic. The village church dedicated to a St Tudius, a sixth century abbot and missionary who was active in Brittany. It is doubtful whether he actually visited North Cornwall, but it could have been established by one of his monks around this time.

  2. From the church, go through the gate on the other side of the churchyard and bear right, past the school, to a junction.

    The present church in St Tudy dates from Norman times. It was extensively rebuilt in the 15th century, and repaired during the 19th century. It is built on the site of an earlier church of the 6th century; the circular churchyard is typical of Celtic churches from this period.

    Set into the stone hedge face of the churchyard is "The Clink": initially this was the church ale house, then became the local constable's lock-up (hence the name).

  3. Turn right and walk a few steps up the road to the public footpath sign on the left. Follow the path from the sign to reach a stile.
  4. Cross the stile and bear left slightly to meet the fence on the left and follow this until you reach the far corner. Then cross the remainder of the field to a waymark by a gap in the wall.

    Church Ales were celebrations held within the church calendar, particularly at Whitsuntide and May Day, when ales were brewed and sold in order to raise funds for the Church or for good causes in the parish. With the growth of Puritanism in the late 17th century, drinking was seen as sinful. Church Ales were considered to be nothing but drunken disorders and were suppressed. Church houses were gradually abandoned, demolished or put to other uses.

  5. Climb the stone steps over the wall, into the next field. Cross the field to a stile directly ahead, in the far hedge.

    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.
  6. Cross the two stiles and continue ahead to meet the left hedge. Follow the hedge to the bottom of the field to a gate onto to a wooden walkway.

    The valley is known as Buzzard Valley.

    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.

  7. Go through the gate and follow the walkway to a stile. Cross the stile and continue ahead to a pedestrian gate
  8. Go through the gate into the field and walk straight ahead past the opening on your left until you are opposite a metal gate on your right.
  9. Once you are opposite the metal gate and past the hedge on your left, turn left and follow the hedge on your left to reach a gate in the far hedge leading into the woods.

    There are some elder trees along the bottom of the meadow, should you fancy making some elderflower cordial.

    Elderflowers appear in June and are easily recognisable as large white umbels on the shrubby green trees. Elder trees were associated with witchcraft which may have arisen because their berries were used in medicines. Consequently there were many superstitions about cutting down or burning elder trees.

    Elder be ye Lady's tree, burn it not or cursed ye'll be.

    If you are harvesting the flowers to make cordial or wine, avoid picking umbels where the flowers are going brown or haven't opened yet; they should be bright white with a yellow centre. If you are harvesting the berries they should be black (not red) and not shrivelled.

  10. Go through the gate and follow the path through the woods. If there is still a fallen tree across the path, bear left after it to descend to the path. Continue until you eventually reach a stile leading onto a track.

    To make elderflower cordial, remove the bitter stems from about a 20 flower heads and soak overnight in 1 litre of water containing the juice of 2 lemons. Strain the liquid and dissolve around 600g sugar to make a sweet cordial. To make dissolving the sugar easier, you can pre-dissolve the sugar in the water in advance by boiling the water and allowing it to cool before adding the elderflowers, though you lose some of your sugar on the discarded elderflowers that way. Dilute with water or sparkling water to serve.

  11. Cross the stile onto the track and turn right. Follow the track until it forks just past some granite gateposts.

    The woods contain some huge beech trees.

    Compared to many native trees, the beech colonised Great Britain relatively recently, after the last Ice Age around 10,000 years ago.

    The fruit of the beech tree is known as "mast" or, less crypically, "beechnuts". The small triangular nuts are encased in spiky husks which split and drop from the trees from late August to early October. The kernels of these are edible and are similar to hazelnuts. They were once used as a source of flour, which was ground after the tannins had been leached out by soaking them in water. If you find them too bitter, you might want to try this trick, although toasting them in a hot pan is also a good option.

    Young beech leaves can be used as a salad vegetable, which are described as being similar to a mild cabbage, though much softer in texture. Older leaves are a bit chewy, as you'd expect.

  12. When the path forks, keep right (following the waymark) then keep left along the main path, following it to reach another waymark. Keep right here and follow it to a stone bridge over a small stream.
  13. Cross the bridge and walk over the grass to a tarmac driveway then follow the grassy path opposite to a stone stile.

    During spring, wildflowers amongst the grass attract insects foraging for nectar such as bumble bees.

    Bumblebees were originally called "humble bees" and this name was still in use until early 20th century. There is an urban myth that according to aerodynamics, bumblebees should not be able to fly, leading to statements by US presidential candidates such as:

    It's scientifically impossible for the bumblebee to fly; but the bumblebee, being unaware of these scientific facts, flies anyway.

    You may not be too surprised to discover this assertion was based on flawed calculations in the early 20th Century that neglected to include the bees flapping their wings. In fact, during flight, they beat their wings around 200 times every second. However, the buzzing sound they make is not from the beating wings but from the bee's vibrating flight muscles. On cold days, by using their flight muscles, the bees are able to warm up their bodies to temperatures as high as 30 Celcius. In spring, queen bumblebees need to visit up to 6,000 flowers per day to gather enough nectar and pollen to establish their colony.

  14. Cross the stile onto a lane and turn left. Follow the lane uphill to a metal gate on your left roughly 30 metres past a private concrete driveway with double wooden gates.

    In June, foxgloves flower along the lane.

    The common name "foxglove" dates back many hundreds of years but the origin is unknown. The "gloves" almost certainly refers to the shape of the flowers, and the latin name Digitalis (fingerlike) is along similar lines. The curious part is the "fox" and many different suggestions have been made as to where it came from. It is likely that it is a corruption of another word; possibly "folks" which was once used to mean "fairies".

    Foxgloves are reliant on bumblebees for pollination and bumblebees are much more active when the weather is good. As an insurance policy against bad weather, foxgloves have evolved to stagger their flowering over several weeks, starting with the flowers at the base of the stalk and working up to the top, where the higher flowers protrude over other vegetation that has grown up in that time.

  15. Turn left to go through the metal gate and follow the fence on the left to a stile half way along the fence.
  16. Cross the stile and follow the fence on the left until you reach another stile.
  17. Cross the stile follow the path down into the woods, keeping right, until you reach a wooden footbridge over a stream.

    Wetherham Manor, near St Tudy, sits on a Saxon site (hence the name - "ham" meaning village or estate). It had a colourful start to this millenium with the once owners being imprisoned for threatening bailiffs with a shotgun and evicted by the bank to the outbuildings with their dogs, cats, peacocks and "too many ferrets".

  18. Cross the footbridge and continue ahead to cross over the gravel and tarmac and then follow the wooded path ahead uphill to reach a waymark.
  19. At the waymark, continue ahead and follow the woodland path to another waymark on a bend, by a stile.
  20. As you approach the waymark, turn right to go through the gateway to the lane. Turn left onto the lane and follow it uphill to a waymarked stile on a bend next to Maenne Parc.

    The name is from the Cornish words mĂȘn, meaning stone, and parc, meaning field.

  21. Cross the stile and follow the path over another stile, which brings you out onto a lane.
  22. Cross the lane to a tarmac path just to the right of the garage directly ahead. Follow the path between the houses, turning right to follow the wall to a metal kissing gate into a playground.
  23. Go through the kissing gate and cross the tarmac diagonally to reach a pair of wooden gates. Go though these and along an alleyway to the road.
  24. Turn left onto the road and follow it back to the war memorial.

    The St Tudy Inn (formerly the Cornish Arms) is a 17th century village inn, located at the opposite end of the short lane leading from the War Memorial. It was conveniently proximate to "The Clink", allowing anyone who became drunken and troublesome to find themselves in new accommodation within the time it took for the constable's pint to be poured.

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

Take a photo and 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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