Blisland to Lavethan Wood

A short circular walk from the village of Blisland through the churchyard, two stretches of the Woodland Trust reserve of Lavethan Wood and land which was once the estates of Lavethan and Barlandew manors, returning via the Holy Well of St Hyacinth and St Pratt.

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The walk starts at the Blisland Inn, then heads through the churchyard and down a track to cross the Mill Race stream. The route then goes through Lavethan Wood, to emerge on a lane near Cock's Penrose farm. The walk follows the lane to Barlendew Farm and then across fields back into Lavethan Wood, emerging onto a lane near Bridge Cottage and following it past the Holy Well to Blisland.


We followed your Blisland walk on Christmas Day - just took an hour - breathtaking views and a great real ale pub at the end of it for a well earned pint. Thank you.
Did this today, a superb walk from the pretty village of Blisland around the woods, crossing streams and fields. Took the two dogs, Henry and Nancy who loved it playing in the streams. Would thoroughly recommend this walk in any weather, not strenuous.

Vital statistics

  • OS Explorer: 109
  • Distance: 2.2 miles/3.5 km
  • Steepness grade: Easy-moderate
  • Recommended footwear: walking boots, or wellies in winter

OS maps for this walk

Click or tap on map for more info (blue=laminated)


  • Nature reserve of ancient woodland in Lavethan Wood, with bluebells in spring
  • Wildflowers flowers along the country lanes in spring and summer
  • Impressively ornate 15th century church and mediaeval holy well
  • Pretty Saxon village of Blisland with a village green and manor
  • Local food and drink at Blisland Inn - winner of the CAMRA National Pub of the Year

Pubs on or near the route

  • The Blisland Inn


  1. From the lane in front of the Blisland Inn, cross the village green towards the church, to the gate into the churchyard.

    The Blisland Inn lies on the north side of the village green of Blisland, located on the western flank of Bodmin Moor. The pub is renowned for real ales, winning the CAMRA National Pub of the Year in 2001; there are at least 6 real ales on tap at any one time. The landlord has had his own wooden barrels made by a retired cooper, which he sends to the local brewery to fill.

  2. Go through the gate and follow the path, through the churchyard, to the church entrance.

    The parish church of Blisland is located at the south edge of the village green, which lies on the west flank of Bodmin Moor. Blisland church is impressively ornate: thought to be on the site of a Saxon church, it was a slate and granite Norman building, but was rebuilt in the Perpendicular Gothic style in the 15th century (and restored in the 19th). It is unique in being dedicated to St Protus (known locally as St Pratt) and St Hyacinth who were brothers martyred in the late 3rd century AD. No one knows why this church was dedicated to them in the 15th century. If you have the chance to visit on 22nd September, there is a feast day procession to St Pratt's Cross and Holy Well.

  3. From the church entrance, bear right onto the path opposite the church entrance, down some steps and follow it until it ends on a track.

    Notice the sundial above the church door. This is calibrated for the position of the sun in Blisland and would run fast if taken to London. Blisland is roughly 5 degrees west of the Greenwich median and therefore the true time here is about a quarter of an hour behind GMT. It's therefore possible to arrange to meet someone at the church at a particular time, stop for a pint at the Blisland Inn on the way and technically still arrive early!

  4. Bear right onto the track. Follow this through a gateway marked with a public footpath sign. Continue until it ends in a field entrance.

    The wildflowers along the track provide a nectar source for butterflies and bumblebees in the spring and summer.

    A popular misconception is that a butterfly was originally called "flutterby". In fact, the name stems from the Old English word buttorfleoge which literally means "butterfly". The term "flutterby" is thought to have been coined by Shakespeare.

  5. Cross the field to a stone footbridge in the bottom corner at the far side, following a path which becomes gravelled as it approaches the bridge.

    The wildflowers in the field provide nectar and pollen for bumblebees.

    In early spring, queen bumblebees need to visit up to 6,000 flowers per day to gather enough nectar and pollen to establish their colony. Many commercial crops such as oil seed rape flower too late for the queens so the survival of bumblebees is heavily dependent on early-flowering rough ground plants and hedgerow bushes such as blackthorn.

    Many flowers have patterns not visible to the human eye because they require ultraviolet wavelengths to distinguish them. Humans only have 3 colour receptors (red, green and blue) whereas many pollinating insects such as bees and butterflies have more receptors that span into the ultraviolet. They perceive colour quite differently from us and the ultraviolet patterns often point to the location of the nectar within the flower, much like a coloured arrow used to indicate where to open a food package.

  6. Cross the footbridge and bear right slightly across the field to a wooden gate opposite leading into the woods.

    The river is a tributary of the River Camel which it joins about a quarter of a mile downriver at Tresarrett. It is fed by a number of small streams from the Trehudreth and Kerrow downs and was used to power the mills of Waterloo and Lavethan Mill at Tresarrett.

  7. Go through the gate and follow the path a short distance to a crossing with a waymark. Turn right and follow the path to a junction where it meets another path.

    Lavethan Wood lies just south of Blisland on the north-facing slopes of a river valley. Lavethan Wood is managed by the Woodland Trust and is designated a Planted Ancient Woodland Site and an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Most of the wood stands on the sloping, freely draining, rich brown earths underlain with Devonian slates. Bluebells are prolific in the wood between April and June. Two public footpaths cross the wood and a permissive path along the stream links the two.

  8. At the junction, bear left up through the woods until the path ends at a stile into a field.

    Look to your right as you walk through the woods to see Lavethan Manor on the opposite side of the valley.

    Lavethan (originally Le bidhen meaning "the meadow") is an old manor house near Blisland, listed in the Domesday Book. The current building incorporates parts of an earlier 15th century house, and was partly remodelled in the 1650s. The Kempe family moved their residence here from Trevelver in 1475 and for the next 200 years, they were the chief landowners in Blisland, being Lords of the Manor of Barlandew, which in 1654 consisted of twelve messuages (dwellings), six cottages, two water corn mills, two tucking mills, sixteen gardens, sixteen orchards, 400 acres of land, 50 acres of wood, 50 acres of moor, and 300 acres of furze and heath! Much of the surrounding Lavethan Wood, originally belonging to the manor, is now maintained by the Woodland Trust, although the house still retains 35 acres of gardens and fields.

  9. Cross the stile into the field. Follow the path along the right hedge to reach a stone stile to the right of the gate in the far hedge.

    The Woodland Trust was founded in 1972 and is dedicated to providing a UK rich in native woods and trees. They summarise themselves as "the RSPCA of trees" and have set themselves the ambitious target of doubling native tree cover throughout the UK over the next 50 years. They now look after more than 1,100 woods and over 110 Sites of Special Scientific Interest and are committed to providing free public access wherever possible.

  10. Cross the stile and turn left onto the lane. Follow the lane around a sharp bend to the left. Continue on the lane for half a mile, until you reach a Public Footpath sign next to the sign for Barlendew Farm on the left.

    The number of cows in Cornwall has been estimated at around 75,000 (a lot of moo is needed for the cheese and clotted cream produced in Cornwall) so there's a good chance of encountering some in grassy fields.

    The Ramblers Association and National Farmers Union suggest some "dos and don'ts" for walkers which we've collated with some info from the local Countryside Access Team.


    • Stop, look and listen on entering a field. Look out for any animals and watch how they are behaving, particularly bulls or cows with calves
    • Be prepared for farm animals to react to your presence, especially if you have a dog with you.
    • Try to avoid getting between cows and their calves.
    • Move quickly and quietly, and if possible walk around the herd.
    • Keep your dog close and under effective control on a lead around cows and sheep.
    • Remember to close gates behind you when walking through fields containing livestock.
    • If you and your dog feel threatened, work your way to the field boundary and quietly make your way to safety.
    • Report any dangerous incidents to the Cornwall Council Countryside Access Team - phone 0300 1234 202 for emergencies or for non-emergencies use the iWalk Cornwall app to report a footpath issue (via the menu next to the direction on the directions screen).


    • If you are threatened by cattle, don't hang onto your dog: let it go to allow the dog to run to safety.
    • Don't put yourself at risk. Find another way around the cattle and rejoin the footpath as soon as possible.
    • Don't panic or run. Most cattle will stop before they reach you. If they follow, just walk on quietly.
  11. Turn left onto the track marked with the public footpath sign. Follow the track past the farmhouse and continue ahead towards the end of the stone wall, in front of a large barn.

    "Barlendew" (or "Barlandew") means "above God's enclosure" in Cornish because, at the time of building, there was a clear view of the Blisland church from here.

  12. Join the waymarked path and follow it alongside the wall to a kissing gate.

    From Tudor times onward, the majority of farming in Cornwall was based around rearing livestock with dairy cattle being predominant. This is reflected in traditional Cornish dairy produce including clotted cream and, later, ice cream and in the North Cornwall dialect where the pejorative for "farmer" was a fairly graphical description of the act of milking before the introduction of milking machines which rhymed with "bit fuller".

  13. Go through the kissing gate into a field. Follow the left hedge of the field to a gate in the corner.

    The name "Kissing Gate" is based on the way that the gate touches either side of the enclosure. Romantics may however wish to interpret the name as part of the walk instructions.

  14. Go through the gate and through the gateway next to the stile on the opposite side of the track. Follow the left hedge then head for the stone stile approximately 30 metres from the corner of the field.

    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 bleating, 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 a miscarriage. 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.

  15. Cross the stile and bear right to the far right corner of the field where there is a stone stile.

    In fields with crops where the footpath doesn't run along the edge, if there is a well-trodden path then follow this to avoid trampling any more of the crops. If there appears to be no path through the crops then you do have a right to walk through the crop but stick as close as possible to the line of the path to avoid damaging any more of the crop than strictly necessary. Alternatively, you can follow around the edges of the field to avoid trudging though the crop.

  16. Cross the stile and follow the right hedge to a stile.

    Since prehistoric times, a year of fallow was used to allow soil nutrients to recover before planting a crop the following year. By the end of the Middle Ages, a three-year scheme was in use with alternating crops allowing production two out of three years. In the 18th Century a four-crop rotation was introduced (wheat, turnips, barley, and clover) which not only resulted in continuous production but included a grazing crop and a winter fodder crop, providing food for livestock throughout the year. Crops used in the rotation had different nutrient demands, giving the soil chance to recover. In particular, bean crops and clover impart nitrogen into the soil and are therefore a key part of modern rotation schemes. As well as balancing the use of soil nutrients between years, by staggering the rotation in adjacent fields, the spread of pests and diseases is reduced.

  17. Cross the stile and follow the path through the woods until it ends at a stile beside a lane.

    On the left of the stile leading onto the lane is a gate leading to a path along the river. It's quite a pretty spot if you fancy a small detour for a few photos or a picnic. Return to the gate and stile to continue the walk onto the lane ahead.

  18. Cross the stile to reach the lane. Turn left and follow the lane over the bridge and uphill to reach the Blisland village green.

    At the corner, where the lane bends to the left, St. Pratt's Cross and Holy Well can be seen on the right side.

    St Pratt's Cross lies beside the lane between Blisland and Trewint. It marks the site of St Pratt's Well which is used as the source of holy water for christenings at the parish church.

  19. When you reach the village green, cross over the green to end the walk at the Blisland Inn.

    Blisland is a small village which lies on the western flank of the Bodmin Moor, perched above the valley of the River Camel. Unlike most other Cornish villages, the houses of Blisland are grouped around a village green indicating Saxon origins. On the corner of the green is Blisland Manor which is much more recent, dating from the 16th Century. There are 7 wayside crosses in Blisland (out of 360 in Cornwall) including one near the village post office.

either as a GPS-guided walk with our app (£2.99) or a PDF (£1.99)

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