Bodmin and Bodiniel two manors circular walk

Bodmin and Bodiniel - the two manors

A figure-of-8 walk through Bodmin's historic centre to the beacon nature reserve and through the woods at Dunmere to Scarlett's Well

Get the app to guide you around the walk

Phone showing walk for purchase
Download the (free) app then use it to purchase this walk.
Phone showing Google navigation to start of walk
The app will direct you to the start of the walk via satnav.
Hand holding a phone showing the iWalk Cornwall app
The app guides you around the walk using GPS, removing any worries about getting lost.
Phone showing walk directions page in the iWalk Cornwall app
The walk route is described with detailed, regularly-updated, hand-written directions.
Person looking a directions on phone
Each time there is a new direction to follow, the app will beep to remind you, and will warn you if you go off-route.
Phone showing walk map page in the iWalk Cornwall app
A map shows the route, where you are at all times and even which way you are facing.
Phone showing facts section in iWalk Cornwall app
Each walk is packed with information about the history and nature along the route, from over a decade of research than spans more than 3,000 topics.
Person looking at phone with cliff scenery in background
Once a walk is downloaded, the app doesn't need wifi or a phone signal during the walk.
Phone showing walk stats in the iWalk Cornwall app
The app counts down distance to the next direction and estimates time remaining based on your personal walking speed.
Person repairing footpath sign
We keep the directions continually updated for changes to the paths/landmarks - the price for a walk includes ongoing free updates.
The walk starts in the centre of Bodmin and climbs to the local nature reserve at the top of Beacon Hill passing the Bodmin-Wenford railway station and the barracks where the Regimental Museum is now located. The route then crosses through the town to reach the jail and then leaves Bodmin to the hamlet of Bodiniel, once a neighbouring manor. The walk descends through bluebell woods to the Camel Trail and then returns to Bodmin past some of its historic wells.

Buy walk

Sign in to buy this walk.

This walk is in your basket. Proceed to your basket to complete your purchase.

My Basket Remove from basket

You own this walk.

An error occurred while checking the availability of this walk:

Please retry reloading the page. If this problem persists, please contact us for assistance.

Reload page

Vital statistics

  • OS Explorer: 109
  • Distance: 5.2 miles/8.4 km
  • Steepness grade: Moderate
  • Recommended footwear: walking shoes in summer, boots in winter

OS maps for this walk

OS Explorer 109 OS Explorer 109 (laminated version)

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


  • Cornwall's historic County Town
  • Town Museum (free entry)
  • Cornwall's Regimental Museum
  • Courtroom Experience in the Shire Hall
  • Bodmin Beacon Nature Reserve
  • Scarlett's Well
  • Snowdrops, bluebells and woodland wildlife at Bodiniel
  • Bodmin's historic jail
  • Bodmin & Wenford heritage railway

Pubs on or near the route

  • Chapel An Gansblydhen
  • The Hole In The Wall
  • The Mason Arms


  1. Make your way to the back of the car park and then follow the track leading uphill to the right. Continue past the entrance to the Football Club and on the pavement along the track past one sign for the railway and museum to reach a second (smaller) sign for these where a path departs uphill.

    Bodmin is one of the oldest towns in Cornwall, with a religious foundation in the 6th Century by St Petroc. It was the largest town and main religious centre in Cornwall in 1086 when it was documented in the Domesday Book:

    The Church of St Petroc holds Bodmin. There is 1 hide of land, and land for 4 ploughs. There are 30 acres of pasture and 6 acres of scrubland. St Petroc has 68 houses and 1 market. The whole is worth 25s.

    Bodmin received its first Royal Charter in 1563 from Elizabeth I which established it as a self-governing town. However, it wasn't until early Victorian times that it took over from Launceston as the County Town of Cornwall. In late Victorian times, the administrative functions began to move to Truro once the Great Western Railway arrived and the cathedral was built. Despite Truro being the cathedral city and administrative centre, Bodmin is still the County Town of Cornwall.

  2. Bear left onto the path indicated for the train and museum and follow it until it ends on the road.

    "The Keep", which today houses Cornwall’s Regimental Museum, was originally built in 1859 to provide stores and a parade ground for the Royal Cornwall Rangers Militia Regiment. This was later extended into Victoria Barracks in 1881 with the addition of many other buildings, including separate soldiers' quarters for the newly formed Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry (DCLI). The barracks played a major role in the life of the town and the county for over 100 years. During the Cold War, the barracks housed a Russian language school, the "School for Spies".

  3. When you reach the road, turn left and follow the pavement until you reach a crossing at a junction to the right.

    The Museum is housed in the original home of Cornwall’s Regiment. The Victorian Keep was built in the style of a French Chateau, and many original features of this Grade II listed building still exist, including the great granite staircase which visitors climb to reach the museum’s collections, and the military Police cells which are dressed to the Cold War era. The museum also holds the DCLI and LI archives, and a reference library where a team of research volunteers help over 300 families a year to discover their military past.

  4. If you wish to visit the Regimental Museum, continue ahead and return here afterwards. Cross the road to Harleigh Road and follow this uphill past the Bodmin and Wenford Railway to a junction with Marks Drive.

    When the London to Penzance line was built in the 1800s, the initial intention was to run this through Bodmin to link with the Padstow line, running on what is now the Camel Trail. However, to cut cost, the line was never built through Bodmin and instead a station was built at Glynn Bridge (now Bodmin Parkway).

    In 1887, a branch line was built into Bodmin from the mainline station now known as Bodmin Parkway to a station known as Bodmin General. A year later it was also connected to the Bodmin and Wadebridge railway via Boscarne junction, providing a link between the main line and the railway running from Wenfordbridge to Padstow.

    Although the station closed to passengers in 1967, it remained in use for freight trains until 1983. Although many of the buildings and structures were demolished by British Rail, the station building remained and the Bodmin-Wenford railway is now run from here.

  5. Cross the road to the pavement opposite and continue following Harleigh Road until it ends in a junction.

    The Bodmin and Wenford heritage steam railway runs for 6.5 miles between Bodmin Parkway station and Boscarne Junction on the two sections of branch line built to link Bodmin General station to the main line and to the Padstow - Wenfordbridge line. This is Cornwall's only full-size (standard gauge) railway still operated by steam locomotives (the Launceston Steam Railway uses smaller gauge locomotives and tracks originally used in the Welsh quarries).

  6. Turn right at the junction and follow Beacon Road uphill until you reach a track on the left marked "Except for Access" just as you reach the top of the hill.

    Red valerian grows in the wall along Beacon Road.

    Red valerian is also known as kiss-me-quick, fox's brush and Devil's or Jupiter's beard and can be seen flowering in early summer in hedgerows near the coast. The plant is originally from the Mediterranean and is thought to have been introduced as a garden plant roughly around the Tudor period. It has since become naturalised and the brightly-coloured flowers provide nectar for bees, butterflies and moths. Over time the base of the stems can get as thick as a small tree trunk which can lever apart the walls in which it can often be seen growing.

    Red valerian occurs with three main flower colours: about 50% of plants are deep pink, 40% are red and around 10% have white flowers. Very pale pink also occurs to but is much rarer. These distinct forms are an example of flower colour polymorphism. The red pigment within the flowers is an anthrocyanin compound and the different colours are due to different amounts of the pigment.

    The large stone on the pavement of Fore Street near Lloyd's Bank commemorates the Prayer Book Rebellion of 1549 - a Cornish uprising which began in Bodmin against the newfangled religion being imposed by the Tudor monarchy and English Church. The earliest recorded execution in Bodmin is that of the Mayor, hanged on a gallows near where the Turret Clock is today at Mount Folly for his part in the uprising. Until fairly recently, this was re-enacted with subsequent Mayors being dropped rather realistically on a harness, much to the surprise of visitors to the town!

  7. Cross the road to the track opposite and follow this to a gate. Pass around the left of the gate and continue along the track until you reach a small gap in the wall on the right, just before a granite gatepost on the left.

    The wildflowers along the track are popular with butterflies in summer.

    When a caterpillar is still developing, it grows a small group of cells - known as an imaginal disc - for each of the adult body parts it will need as a mature butterfly. When a caterpillar pupates, it digests itself, releasing enzymes which dissolve all of its tissues into a soup leaving only the imaginal discs. These then act as seeds from which the adult butterfly is resurrected.

    Some work has been done in the area to try to control ash dieback.

    Ash trees are often easy to spot by the knobbly twigs all over the ground beneath the trees. They also have distinctive rows of quite small leaves. Ash trees can live for over 400 years and the life of the tree can be prolonged further by coppicing. Ash was traditionally coppiced to provide wood for firewood and charcoal. However, the name is nothing to do with this. It is from æsc - the old English word for spear. This comes about because ash is one of the toughest hardwoods and absorbs shocks without splintering. It is still used for making tool handles and sports equipment, including hammers, axes, spades, hockey sticks and oars.

    Ash trees in Britain are now under threat from a highly destructive fungal pandemic similar to Dutch Elm Disease, known as chalara or "ash dieback". Rather than being spread by beetles, this one is simply carried by the wind. Work is underway to try to find genetic factors which allow some trees to resist infection in order to breed a new generation of disease-tolerant trees.

    The Living Ash project started with over 150,000 seedlings gathered from a wide range of areas, planted during 2013 in locations with the most ash dieback. In 2018, grafts were taken from the 575 trees which appear to have resisted infection and planted alongside 420 grafts from trees in woodlands and hedgerows which also seem to have survived infection. The idea is that these can all cross-pollinate to maximise genetic diversity and it is hoped this will eventually become a source of seeds of disease-resistant trees.

    Similarly to Dutch Elm Disease, the chalara fungal disease that causes ash dieback is originally from Asia and the ash species there have co-evolved to be tolerant. In case attempts to breed disease resistant native ash trees are unsuccessful, work is underway to create hybrid species that closely resemble the Common Ash but with the disease resistance from an Asian parent plant.

  8. Go through the gap on the right and follow the left hedge to reach a gate on the far side.

    Celtic wrestling has been established in Cornwall since mediaeval times with Cornish, Devon and Breton wrestlers taking part in inter-Celtic matches since at least 1402. The Cornish form of wrestling is similar to a Breton style known as Gouren (which simply means "wrestling" in Breton). The objective is to throw your opponent and make him land as flat as possible on his back. The more of his back that touches the ground, the higher the number of points. Tough jackets are worn to allow opponents to grip each other.

  9. Turn right before the gate to stay in the field and continue past the benches to join a gravel path. Follow this through the gap in the wall to reach the base of the monument.

    Near the monument on Beacon Hill is a circular earthwork known locally as the Wrestling Ring as Cornish Wrestling took place here. Previous to this, it is thought to have been a fire beacon, hence the name of the hill. It's possible that the beacon may have itself used a prehistoric barrow as its basis (barrows are often found on the top of prominent hills such as this and several were recorded here in 1813).

  10. Continue ahead on the gravel path from the monument to reach a gate with a parking area behind.

    The 44-metre tall monument was built in 1857 by the townspeople of Bodmin to honour the life and work in India of Sir Walter Raleigh Gilbert who was born in Bodmin in 1785. At the age of fifteen he joined the Bengal Infantry as a cadet and eventually rose to the rank of major-general. He became a national hero following his conquests in Northern India and (apart from the Duke of Wellington) was the only army officer whose portrait appeared on an army medal.

  11. Pass around the gate and keep right to follow the tarmac ahead. Continue to the junction with the road, joining the pavement on the left to reach a crossing on the speed hump.

    The Bodmin Beacon Local Nature Reserve was designated in 1994 on what was formerly known as Bodmin Downs and covers 87 acres surrounding the Gilbert Monument on Beacon Hill. The meadows and community woodland provide a range of habitats for birds and insects.

  12. Cross the road and follow Robartes Road downhill. Continue downhill past the school until you reach a junction with Beacon Hill on the right.

    Robert Robartes was the son of the Earl of Radnor and had the title "Viscount Bodmin" during the Stuart times of the Civil War. He purchased Lanhydrock House where his family have lived since then.

    Viscount ranks above a Baron (the lowest peerage title) but below an Earl (with Marquess and Duke forming the highest two peerage ranks). When intermarriage resulted in the inheritance of multiple titles, the oldest son was often given the father's lower-rank title whilst he was still alive and then the higher rank one was inherited on his death.

    Following the restoration of the monarchy in 1660, Robert Robartes sat in the House of Commons for 19 years before becoming ambassador to Denmark. He died whilst in the Danish court at only 48 and whilst his father was still alive. He therefore never inherited the title of Earl which passed to his eldest son on the death of his father.

  13. Bear right down Beacon Hill and follow this until it ends in a T-junction.

    Tucked behind the houses towards the bottom of the hill, there is a large chapel (now Wetherspoons) on the right which dates from Victorian times when Methodism was popular in Cornwall. The organ, built in 1886, is still present.

    By the time John Wesley died, the majority of Methodists were not attending Anglican church regularly, and following his death a Methodist church was formed, separate from the Anglican church. In the first half of the 19th Century, the Methodist movement fragmented into several different factions, often each with its own chapel in the same town. The Bible Christian movement was one of these, founded in North Cornwall in 1815 by William O'Bryan from Luxulyan. His followers are also known as the Bryonites, although after falling out with most of his ministers, O'Bryan emigrated to America. In 1907, the Bible Christian movement amalgamated with other Methodist groups to form the United Methodist Church.

  14. Turn left and follow the pavement to Robartes Road. Cross over this and continue along the pavement to the pedestrian crossing just past the Give Way signs.

    The cross was made in 2002 of granite from De Lank quarries.

    The De Lank quarries are on Bodmin Moor between Blisland and St Breward. The quarries lie along the bed of the De Lank river, which runs through a culvert beneath the quarry workings. Buildings and monuments that have incorporated silver-grey granite include Tower Bridge, The Royal Opera House and monuments to Churchill and Marx. At the Eden Project, "The Seed" in "The Core" was quarried from here.

  15. Cross via the island to the pavement opposite. Turn right and follow the pavement past the Mason's Arms and downhill to a junction on the left signposted for Bodmin Jail.

    The Mason's Arms was originally located on Fore Street next to Bell Lane but was relocated twice in the first half of the 19th Century before settling in its present position.

    As you go down the hill, the large building opposite was built as a Bible Christian chapel.

    In the first half of the 19th Century, the Methodist movement fragmented into several different factions, often each with its own chapel in the same town. The Bible Christian movement was one of these, founded in 1815 by William O'Bryan from Luxulyan and his followers are also known as the Bryonites, although after falling out with most of his ministers, O'Bryan emigrated to America.

  16. Bear left down Cardell Road and follow the road downhill using the right-hand pavement until the road ends in a T-junction.

    The Coast and Clay Trails cycle route crosses at the bottom of the hill.

    The Coast and Clay Trails is a 45 mile public access network of tracks and roads around St Austell. The trails were first opened as "The Clay Trails" in 2005 as part of a restoration programme to provide new habitats for flora and fauna. The trails are described as "multi-use" although are principally aimed at cyclists, with many sections of the routes being on Public Highways (quiet lanes where possible) and link up with National Cycle Route 3 to Bodmin and Truro. For walkers, the off-road sections provide some additional links across the Rights of Way network.

  17. Turn right at the junction and follow the road a short distance to a junction with a lane on the opposite side of the road, marked with a stone cross.

    The cross was found lying on a heap of stones near the jail in the 1800s and re-erected. In 1968 it was hit by a lorry and broke into 3 pieces which have subsequently been stuck back together. The cross may have marked the pilgrim route to Scarlett's Well.

    Scholars speculate that the Celtic Cross (a crucifix with a circular ring) developed from the sun cross (a cross inside a circle), a common symbol in artefacts of Prehistoric Europe, particularly during the Neolithic to Bronze Age periods. When Christianity came to the Celtic regions, Christians extended the bottom spoke of this familiar symbol, to remind them of the cross on which their new Saviour was crucified.

  18. Cross the road to the lane and follow this past the jail and Armchair Corner. Continue following the lane until you reach another junction on the left, with a signpost to Middle and Lower Bodiniel.

    Bodmin Jail is a historic former prison situated in the town of Bodmin, on the south-west edge of Bodmin Moor. Bodmin Jail was built in 1779 by prisoners of war and was a milestone in prison design and progressiveness. It was light and airy and it was the first British prison where inmates had individual sleeping cells. There was hot water and an infirmary for sick prisoners. It was separated into three isolated areas for felons, misdemeanants and debtors. Males and females were also segregated. Prisoners worked to make products which the governor sold and paid them from the profits.

    In 1861, the jail was rebuilt as even despite being extended, the original building was not large enough to accommodate all those "doing time". Towards the end of the First World War, national treasures including the Domesday Book, Coronation Rolls and all State Papers were stored in the Jail. The Jail finally closed in 1927 and, since then, there has been no prison in the county.

  19. At the junction, turn left and follow the lane for just over a quarter of a mile to Lower Bodiniel Cottage (on your right).

    In late winter there are some nice displays of snowdrops towards the end of this lane.

    Snowdrops are a member of the onion family. Although it is often thought of as a native British wild flower, the snowdrop was probably introduced in Tudor times, around the early sixteenth century.

    Swallows forage for insects on the wing, typically around 7-8 metres above the ground, but will skim over the surface of the ground if that's where the insects are. They can sometimes be seen skimming the surface of water either to drink or to bathe which they also do in flight.

    Cornwall had a number of its own peculiar units of measurement:

    • A Cornish Gallon was a unit of weight (10 lbs) rather than volume. A Cornish Apple Gallon however was 7 lb, rather than 10 lb. Given the strength of Cornish Rattler, this is probably wise.
    • When counting fish, a Cornish hundred was, in fact, 132.
    • Finally, a Cornish Mile is 1.5 miles. Though you may suspect otherwise when walking up a steep hill, our walk distances are not measured in Cornish Miles.
  20. At Lower Bodiniel Cottage, turn right up the drive just before the cottage and follow the track leading from it to a gate.

    Wild garlic grows along the track and is visible in spring.

    Wild garlic has been found in settlements dating as far back as the neolithic period which given its springtime abundance and aroma is not that surprising. Its culinary use was eventually overtaken by domesticated garlic which first arrived with Mediterranean traders and had the advantage that the bulbs could be stored for relatively long periods.

    The first record of the settlement of Bodiniel is from 1256. The name is from the Cornish for "dwelling at a fortified place".

  21. Go through the gate and bear left across the track to a stile marked "footpath". Cross this then follow along the fence on your right to reach a gate and stile at the far side of the field.

    Electric fences are typically powered from a low voltage source such as a car battery which charges a capacitor to release a periodic pulse of high voltage electricity. This is often audible as a quiet "crack" which is a good indicator that a fence is powered. As with the high-voltage shock caused by static electricity, the current is not high enough to cause serious injury but touching an electric fence is nevertheless unpleasant. If you are answering the call of nature in the vicinity of an electric fence, be mindful of the conductivity of electrolyte solutions!

  22. Carefully unclip the springy section of the electric fence (it's quite a strong spring!) to pass through and re-clip. Then cross the stile and the track and follow the path opposite down into the woods to reach a fork in the path.

    There are some nice displays of bluebells in the woods in April and early May.

    In folklore, the bluebell is a symbol of constancy, presumably based on the fact that they flower in the same place every year. It was said that anyone who wears a bluebell is compelled to tell the truth. This could be the origin of the "…something blue…" that a bride should wear on her wedding day.

    Solar panels absorb visible light so provided it's not dark, they are able to generate power even when it's cloudy. Solar panels are more efficient in cooler temperatures than warmer ones, so cold, sunny winter days generate a comparable level of electricity to hot summer days despite the sun being weaker.

  23. At the fork, take the right-hand path and when you reach a second fork, keep left so the bank stays on your right. Keep following the path downhill when the paths merge and continue until the path ends in a T-junction with a stony track.

    The wall along the left side of the woodland contains a large rabbit warren; you may encounter a few startled rabbits on your way through the woods if no-one has been down here for a few hours.

    During mediaeval times, rabbit was decreed by Pope Gregory I as "not meat" so it could be eaten during Lent. This accelerated the spread of rabbits through European monasteries in the middle ages. In fact, there are no barriers in the world's major religions to eating rabbit which is also considered both halal and kosher. From Elizabethan times, rabbit farming became common practice in Britain and it was not until the 1950s (when rabbits were associated with myxomatosis) that its popularity as a food declined sharply.

  24. When you reach the track, turn left and follow it a short distance to a gate. Cross the low stile on the right of the gate and immediately turn left onto the trail. Follow this to where it crosses over a lane.

    The Camel Trail is a recreational walking and cycling track along the track bed of an old railway running from Wenfordbridge to Padstow. The railway, where the Camel Trail now runs, was originally built in 1831 by local landowner, Sir William Molesworth of Pencarrow. The line from Wadebridge to Wenfordbridge, with a branch to Bodmin, was intended to carry sand from the Camel estuary to inland farms for use as fertiliser. Later, the railway was used to ship slate and china clay from inland quarries to ships in Padstow and also transport fish, landed in Padstow, to London and other cities. The last passenger train was in 1967 and freight finally ceased in 1983, when a need to invest in new track forced closure of the line.

  25. Cross over the lane to the trail opposite and follow it to where it meets the lane again. Keep left to continue a little further on the trail to where a path departs to the left, just before St Anne's Cottage B&B.

    Yellow celandine flowers also can be seen along the trail in early spring.

    The name celandine is thought to be derived from the Greek word for swallow, based on the arrival of swallows being a sign of spring. Another common names for celandine is spring messenger, based on the early flowering. This was presumably also the basis of the Victorian use as a symbol of "joys to come".

    The bicycle was invented in the 19th Century, initially without any form of propulsion - pushed along with feet and free-wheeled downhill.

    By the 1840s, pedals had been fixed to one of the wheels resulting in propulsion albeit difficult to control - in 1842 a gentleman in Scotland "bestride a velocipede... of ingenious design" was fined five shillings for knocking over a young girl.

    By 1885, bicycles with a chain drive and pneumatic tyres resembling modern bicycles were being manufactured in England. These were known initially as "safety bicycles".

    More than a billion bicycles have since been produced and since the 1970s the production of bicycles has increased substantially above that of cars - there are now more than double the number of bicycles produced than cars each year.

  26. Turn left onto the path leading uphill. Keep following the path between the hedges until eventually the cycle track passes alongside and you reach a path leading down to a footbridge over a stream. Follow the path over the bridge until it ends on a lane.

    From Roman times, holly trees were planted near houses as it was believed to offer protection from witchcraft and lightning strikes. There is some scientific basis for the latter at least: the spines on the leaves can act as lightning conductors. The sharp points allow electrical charge to concentrate, increasing its potential to form a spark.

  27. Join the lane ahead and follow it until it ends in a junction.

    Scarlett's Well is named after a family prominent in the 14th Century. It is known to have been in use in this period from a 14th Century Papal bulla (an official lead seal attached to a pardon from Purgatory in return for payment) found beside the well. Rumours spread that it could cure all sort of ailments and consequently it attracted huge numbers of visitors in mediaeval times which eventually caused so much annoyance that access to it was forbidden for a time. It was suggested in 1600 that its "miraculous" powers were due to the water percolating through a mineral vein.

  28. Keep left at the junction and follow the road to where it ends in a T-junction.
  29. Cross the T-junction to the path directly opposite and follow this past the jail wall and Naval Yard entrance to reach "Polindra" on the left and a gap in the wall on the right leading onto the road.

    Grey squirrels were introduced to the UK from the USA in the late 19th Century and within decades they had replaced the native red squirrel in most parts of the country.

  30. Cross the road and turn left to follow the pavement a few paces around the bend into Cardell Road to reach a crossing point.

    The town of Bodmin is thought to have grown from a location originally settled in the late 5th or early 6th Century by a hermit known as St Guron. In AD 518, St Petroc travelled inland from his original settlement at Padstow and was invited to stay by Guron. Petroc remained and founded a monastery in Bodmin whilst Guron moved "about a day's journey to the south" to Gorran Churchtown near Gorran Haven.

  31. Cross Cardell Road to the path leading from pavement on the opposite side. Follow the path between the metal fences to emerge onto a road beside Sainsbury's.

    After St Petroc died, he was buried at the monastery in Padstow. After lots of Viking raids, the monks fled to Bodmin carrying the bones of St Petroc. In 1177, a disenfranchised monk stole the remains and took them to Brittany but Henry II intervened. They were returned in an ivory casket to Bodmin church where they remained until 1997 when they were stolen again, although this time not by a monk. They were eventually traced and recovered and are now back in the church.

  32. Join the road and follow it until it ends in a junction.

    Sainsbury's car park is on the site of Bodmin North station.

    The Bodmin and Wadebridge railway (now the Camel Trail) included a branch line that ran from Dunmere to a small station in Bodmin known as Bodmin Wharf but later renamed Bodmin North. Towards the end of the 19th Century, the station was rebuilt by the London and South Western Railway. The station was in use until the 1960s and was closed in 1967.

  33. Turn right at the junction and follow the wall on the right to another junction and around the corner to a pedestrian crossing on the main road.

    St Guron's well house, located beside the church, is thought to date from the mid 16th century and was the town's main water supply until quite recent times. Records from the early 16th century refer to aqueducts created to carry water through the church to a location outside the churchyard so it is thought that the spring is located somewhere underneath the church. In earlier times, this was known as St Petroc's well and St Petroc's well near the football ground was known as St Guron's.

  34. Cross the main road beside the roundabout and turn left to pass Chapel Lane and Market Street and reach Hamley Court with a pedestrian sign for the town centre.

    Cock's Well, located on the corner of Chapel Lane, supplied water for the houses nearby and a blacksmith opposite. The present well is dated 1849 but the spring here may have been in use before this date. In 1881, the water became contaminated with a typhoid-like infection which resulted in 60 cases of fever and 13 deaths. Two of the fatalities were the blacksmiths who drank a lot of water due to their hot work.

  35. Turn right on Hamley Court and follow it around a bend to the left to reach an alley just before the well railings on the right signposted to the town centre.

    The well at Bree Schute is known as the Eye Well as the water was reputed to heal eye complaints. The stone tablet dating from 1700 indicates the well was already in use by the Civil War period. In 1872, a Rivers Commission report found the water to be highly contaminated and a source of possible illnesses.

  36. Bear right up the alley to emerge on Fore Street.
  37. Turn left and follow the street downhill until you reach a junction.

    The small passage between the shops on the right-hand side of the road is known as Arnold's Passage.

    John Arnold was born in Bodmin in 1736 and worked initially as an apprentice for his father who was a clockmaker before moving to Holland and South East England to work as a watchmaker. He made the smallest watch ever, fitted on a ring, as a gift for George III. He was the first person to design a watch that was both practical and accurate and he introduced the term "chronometer" and largely invented the modern mechanical watch.

  38. Keep right at the junction to pass the Shire Hall where the road ends in a junction.

    St Francis of Assisi began preaching in 1207 and two years later the Franciscan Order was founded, requiring monks to live in austerity to emulate the life of Jesus. A group of Friars reached England in 1224 and the Franciscan movement spread quickly to the principal towns across England. It is known that Bodmin Friary was built before 1253 but not exactly when. It was located on Mount Folly where the Shire Hall and Courthouse now stand, and included a fairly large church which was demolished in the 19th Century to make room for the Courthouse. Remains of the cemetery have been found beneath the Shire Hall.

    Bodmin's Shire Hall was the County Court, completed in 1838 and in use for 150 years until 1988 when it was replaced by new County Courts in Truro. The building included two courtrooms, two judges' dressing rooms and 30 small holding cells with a communal washing trough. One of the courtrooms is still intact and used for a re-enactment of the Charlotte Dymond murder case.

    A museum in Bodmin is documented in 1843 which fell into neglect and was resurrected twice, with the current Town Museum opening in 1983 in the ground floor of the Public Rooms. The Town Museum has stones from Bodmin's Augustinian priory, a bell from the mediaeval Friary, the fire engine that was used to put out the Lanhydrock fire in 1881, and lots more from the Victorian period including Cornish kitchen and blacksmith displays. Entry is free.

  39. Cross the road then follow the parking signs back into the car park. If you wish to visit the church after the walk, follow one of the paths from the car park through the park below to emerge on the road opposite the church then use the pedestrian crossing towards Lidl.

    In the mediaeval period following the Norman Conquest, the Augustinian Canons established a priory in Bodmin which became the largest religious house in Cornwall. It is thought that the priory was first established in the 12th Century around 1120, before the Franciscan friary was built at Mount Folly in the 13th Century. The priory was located in the area that is now mostly a park on the opposite side of the road from St Thomas Beckett's chapel which would have been several centuries old when the priory was first built. The pond in the park was originally the priory fishpond. Following Henry VIII's Dissolution of the Monasteries, the mediaeval priory buildings were sold off and gradually demolished and replaced. In the 18th Century, Priory House (at the bottom of the park) was built and the surrounding area landscaped, burying the remains of the priory which still survive below the ground. During garden excavations, the remains of a dovecote and a private chapel were found between Priory House and the pond.

    St Petroc's church, which is the largest parish church in Cornwall, was built largely in the 15th Century after a mediaeval crowdfunding campaign where 460 householders donated money or nails. However, the base of the church tower remains from an early 12th Century stone church and the Norman font is also from this period. The 15th Century tower originally had a spire one hundred feet high until this was destroyed by lightning in 1699. The church underwent a fairly drastic restoration in the 1870s during which many of the mediaeval features were lost including a Norman door.

    The ruin in the churchyard is the remains of a chapel, recorded in 1377, making it the oldest surviving religious building in the town (albeit as a ruin). The chapel is dedicated to St Thomas Becket - the Archbishop of Canterbury who fell out with the King Henry II during Norman times. Beckett was murdered by four knights who quite possibly misinterpreted the King's words of exasperation as an order of execution. The chapel was used as Bodmin's first Grammar School and later as a school for girls before it went out of use in the late 1850s and fell into ruin.

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

Please recycle your ink cartridges to help prevent plastic fragments being ingested by seabirds. Google "stinkyink" and click on "free recycling" for a freepost label.