Trelissick

The walk crosses the park to the beach on Channals creek then follows the woodland trail alongside the River Fal to the King Harry Ferry. The route passes around both sides of Lamouth Creek to reach Roundwood Fort and Quay. After following a track to Tregew, the return route is through Trelissick's woodland plantations and finally through the parkland.

Vital statistics

  • OS Explorer: 105 (scan QR code on right to order from Amazon)
  • Distance: 4.7 miles/7.6 km
  • Grade: Easy-moderate
  • Start from: Trelissick NT car park
  • Parking: Trelissick NT. From the double roundabout on the A39 at Playing Place, follow signs to Feock and then turn left at the crossroads signposted for Trelissick Gardens and King Harry Ferry. Satnav: TR36QL
  • Recommended footwear: Walking shoes; trainers in summer

Maps for this walk

(dark blue corner = laminated version)

Highlights

  • Trelissick Gardens
  • Trelissick House
  • Views over the creeks of the River Fal

Directions

  1. From the car park, follow the tarmac drive marked "Woodland walks" through a gate beside the cattlegrid and continue until you reach a junction of paths.

    Trelissick was first recorded in 1275 and the name means Leidic's Farm. A villa was first built in the 1750s and both the house and gardens were extended during the 19th Century first by Thomas Daniell - from a hugely wealthy mining family, but subsequently bankrupt through gambling - and then by Carew Davies-Gilbert - a wealthy Victorian plant-hunter who added the second floor and greatly developed the garden. During the 20th Century the estate was bought by the director of Harrods and inherited by Florence Nightingale's second cousin before being donated to the National Trust in 1955.

  2. At the crossing of paths, bear left slightly onto the grass to head towards the water. Continue walking towards the water to reach a gate on the right-hand side of the railings at the bottom of the slope.

    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.

  3. Go through the gate and follow the path behind the shoreline to reach a gate marked "Woodland Walk".

    During the last Ice Age, up to about 12,000 years ago, ice sheets up to 2 miles thick lay over the northern half of Britain. The weight of this ice was immense and it pressed down onto the Earth's mantle which is a treacle-like liquid rock. The mantle was slowly squished away from beneath the Earth's crust beneath heavy ice. When the ice melted, the pressure was released and the mantle began to flow back creating a super-slow motion rebound effect which will take thousands of years to level out. The result is that the north-western edge of Britain is rising and the south-eastern part is sinking. As South Cornwall has been slowly sinking into the sea over the past few thousand years, this has compounded the rise in sea levels, creating creeks from flooded river valleys.

  4. Go through the gate and follow the path until you reach a sign for the ferry.

    The King Harry Ferry was established in 1888 to connect the Roseland Peninsula with the Truro area and is one of only five chain ferries in England. The alternative route is a 27 mile road journey through Truro and Tresillian. The ferry carries more than 300,000 cars a year and it has been calculated that each year this saves three quarters of a million litres of fuel, and 1700 tonnes of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere.

  5. After the ferry sign, keep left on the path marked "Woodland walk" and follow the path down the steps to the road.

    There is an entrance into the gardens through the lodge ahead so you can break off from the walk for some garden-visiting at this point as well as at the end.

  6. Cross the road to the NT Trelissick sign opposite and follow the path marked "Woodland Walk" until you reach a fork in the path with Roundwood Fort and Quay to the right and Trelissick to the left.

    Holly bushes grow in the lighter areas of woodland along the paths.

    The association of holly with winter celebrations pre-dates Christianity: druids were known to use holly wreaths which, it is likely with some discomfort, they wore on their heads.

  7. Keep right at the fork, signposted to Roundwood Fort, then after crossing the stream bear right onto the path over the bridge. Follow the path to reach a large sign on the left before the path ahead goes through a gap in the wall.
  8. Follow the path ahead. Where the path forks, keep left to stay on the main path and follow it through the ramparts of the fort to reach a junction of paths by a large tree with various words carved into the trunk.

    Roundwood Castle is an Iron Age fort consisting of twin ramparts and ditches, located on the promontory between Cowlands Creek and Roundwood Creek.

  9. At the junction by the tree, take the path to the right. Follow this path, keeping straight ahead down the hill, to the bottom of a flight of steps at the quay.

    Roundwood Quay, located at the junction of Lamouth Creek and Cowlands Creek, was built in the 18th Century and was in active use until some time in the 19th century. It was used to export locally-mined tin, and copper to the smelters in South Wales. Tin was smelted nearby and lime kilns were built later. Ships of up to 300 tons could berth alongside the quay at the lowest tides.

  10. Turn left and walk through the car park towards the house to a gate onto a track passing the house. Follow the track leading from the gate for just over half a mile until it eventually ends on a lane.

    When you reach fields on the right with a twin gate you can optionally follow the path within the field to re-emerge further down the track. The track is a byway which is why there is no Public Footpath or Bridleway sign.

    Public byways are rights of way down which motor vehicles may be driven depending on how brave you are and how expensive your car is to fix. You are also permitted to use a horse-drawn carriage, should you own one. Byways tend to be surfaced in an ad-hoc manner either with gravel or occasionally with a smattering of tarmac, but still leaving plenty of room for a good crop of grass to grow down the centre. They are conventionally marked using red waymarks or a "Public Byway" sign. There are 130 miles of byways in Cornwall.

  11. Turn left onto the lane and follow it a short distance until you reach a track on the left marked as National Cycle Route 3.

    National Cycle Route 3 is part of the National Cycle Network managed by the charity Sustrans and runs 338 miles from Bristol to Land's End. The route is a mixture of lanes, byways and some tracks not open to road traffic including the upper section of the Camel Trail from Wenfordbridge to Dunmere.

  12. Turn left onto the track and follow this over a stream to reach a gate on the left.

    Navelwort grows along the track, particularly in the shady spots on the right.

    Both navelwort's latin name and common name are based on its resemblance to a belly button. Other common names include wall pennywort and penny pies. It is a member of the stonecrop family which are able to survive in barren locations by storing water in their fleshy leaves. The succulent leaves can be eaten and used in a salad. Older leaves become more bitter so the younger leaves are recommended. Care should be taken not to pull roots out of wall when breaking off leaves.

  13. Go through the gate on the left and follow the path alongside the stream to the small stream crossing with a stepping stone that you encountered earlier on the walk.
    [an error occurred while processing this directive]
  14. Cross the stream and then turn right when you reach the junction, signposted to Trelissick. Turn right and follow the zig-zag path to emerge on a road.
  15. Carefully cross the road to the gate opposite and go though this. Continue ahead to pass the track on the right and reach the front of the Old Lodge. Of the remaining 2 paths ahead, follow the surfaced one leading straight ahead until it ends on a tarmacked drive.

    Trelissick Garden evolved during Victorian times and it still looks broadly today as it did in the 1870s. Trelissick is the home of the National Plant Collections of photinias and azaras and much of the plant collection was established in the 1930s. The Orchard was replanted relatively recently, in the 1990s, to recreate the original Trelissick orchard and has over 70 old varieties of Cornish apple with names such as Pig's Snout.

  16. Turn left onto the drive and follow it until you reach the junction of paths you encountered at the start of the walk.

    The name "Carrick Roads" is thought to be a mangling of the Cornish Karrek Reun meaning "seal rock". It is now known as "Black Rock" and located in the centre of the harbour entrance, between Pendennis Point and Carricknath Point, and marked with a large conical beacon. It is still used at low tide as a haul-out spot by seals.

  17. Turn left at the junction to return to the car park, house and gardens.

    The Water Tower at Trelissick was built in 1865 in Victorian over-engineering style as a water reservoir for the house. Its height was designed to provide high enough water pressure to fight fires effectively, which were clearly of concern. It has since been converted to a holiday cottage with one circular room on each of four floors connected by a narrow spiral staircase.

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.

A free way to not kill penguins: discarded ink cartridges float in rainwater, can wash into rivers, be broken up by the sea into reflective shards eaten by dopey fish, and build up in the stomachs of seabbirds, causing them to starve to death. Google "stinkyink" and click on "free recycling" for a freepost label.
If you found this page useful, please could you
our page on Facebook?