Cremyll to Maker Church

A circular walk on a peninsula protruding into the Hamoaze estuary and where the land was dotted with gun batteries, defending against a potential invasion from Napoleon.

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 via satnav the start of the walk.
Hand holding a phone showing the iWalk Cornwall app
The app leads you around the walk using GPS, removing any worries about getting lost.
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 and which way you are facing.
Phone showing walk directions page in the iWalk Cornwall app
Detailed, triple-tested directions are also included.
Phone showing facts section in iWalk Cornwall app
Each walk includes lots of information about the history and nature along the route.
Person look at phone with cliff scenery in background
Once a walk is downloaded, the app doesn't need wifi or a phone signal for 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 of £1.99 for a walk includes ongoing free updates.
Loading...
The walk begins with the Mount Edgcumbe Country Park, passing through the formal gardens and past the house, then through the deer park to reach Maker Church. The route then descends through the woods to reach the creeks of the River Tamar and follows the riverside path back to Cremyll.

Considerations

  • After wet weather, the steep path through the woods can be slippery. The steepest section has a rope "handrail" to steady oneself. Walking poles are also useful to assist with this.
  • Note that most coastal walks in Cornwall have paths close to unfenced cliffs.

Vital statistics

  • OS Explorer: 108
  • Distance: 3 miles/4.8 km
  • Steepness grade: Moderate
  • Recommended footwear: walking boots or, in summer, walking shoes

OS maps for this walk

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

Highlights

  • Spectacular gardens of Mount Edgcumbe
  • National Camellia Collection
  • Deer Park and wooded paths of the Mount Edgcumbe estate
  • Views over St Germans River and Plymouth Sound

Pubs on or near the route

  • The Edgcumbe Arms

Adjoining walks

Directions

  1. Make your way back to the car park entrance and cross the road. Turn left onto the pavement signposted to Mount Edgcumbe Country Park (brown sign) and follow this to reach a fountain where a path departs to the right.

    The Edgcumbe Arms dates from the 18th Century but the original building was destroyed by fire and rebuilt in 1995.

  2. Turn right after the fountain and follow the path to the gate into the Country Park.

    There has been a ferry service at Cremyll between Devon and Cornwall since mediaeval times, and is thought to have been established around 1204. A foot passenger service still operates. The journey takes around 8 minutes and lands at Admiral's Hard in the Stonehouse area of Plymouth.

  3. Go through the gate and turn left to follow the path to the castellated gatehouse to the Historic Gardens.

    The Mount Edgcumbe estate was the principal seat of the Edgcumbe family. The house was built between 1547 and 1553 but was badly damaged by German bombs during World War II. In 1958 a restoration process began to return the interiors to an 18th Century style. In 1971 the estate was sold jointly to Plymouth City Council and Cornwall County Council and the grounds were opened to the public as a Country Park in 1988.

  4. Follow the path through the gatehouse and follow the main path towards the fountain. Head to the fountain at the centre of the garden and then to the area with statues at the far end.

    The Formal Gardens at Mount Edgcumbe were planted between 1750 and 1920 in English, French and Italian styles. The Orangery in the Italian Garden is thought to date from near the beginning of this period, possibly around 1760. More recently, an American plantation and a New Zealand garden were added, reflecting the family's Commonwealth connections, and a Jubilee commemorative garden was added in 2002.

  5. From here you can explore the gardens and return here afterwards. The route continues to the right, keeping right at the first fork and the second one (with a tree) to pass through the pergola and reach a gate leaving the gardens.
  6. Go through the gate and cross the bridge. Bear right slightly across the grass to reach a signpost in the centre of a triangular grassy island between tracks.

    The two large trees at the end of the row of trees are horse chestnut.

    The game of conkers was first recorded on the Isle of Wight in 1848, but similar games were played in Britain and Ireland with hazelnuts or even snail shells before this. In recent years, many schoolchildren have become disinterested in playing conkers, preferring electronic gadgets that simulate the game by catapulting birds rather than horse chestnuts. However there has been a surge in interest from adults who would prefer to physically bash something, preferably less expensive than an iPhone. The World Conker Championship has been held in England since 1965 and now attracts competitors from all over the world.

  7. From the signpost, head across the grass towards Mount Edgcumbe House to reach a flight of steps leading up to the house.

    The large tree on the right is an oak.

    The older an oak tree becomes, the more acorns it produces. A 70-80 year old tree can produce thousands. Acorns are high in carbohydrates and as well as being a staple food for squirrels, they are also a really important food for deer and make up a quarter of their diet in the autumn.

  8. Climb the steps and turn right at the top. Follow the driveway over a bridge to reach a junction of tracks.
  9. Turn left, signposted Dry Walk, and continue over the crossing of tracks to follow the track uphill marked "Parking" and "Exit". Continue to reach a junction of paths and tracks outside the Barrow Centre.

    Robins are also able to see magnetic fields. Receptors in their eyes make magnetic fields appear as patterns of light or colour which allows them to use the Earth's magnetic field for navigation. They only seem to use their right eye for this as the left half of their brain (linked to the right eye) does the processing.

  10. Bear right onto the track with signs for "Deer Park" and "Exit" to where another merges from above.
  11. Follow the track past the car park to where a woodland path signposted "Deer Park" departs uphill to the left.

    Red and Roe deer are the two truly native species of the six found in the UK and both have pointy, branching (rugose) antlers. The Red deer is the largest of the species and has a characteristic large white V on its backside whereas the Roe deer just has a small white patch.

    The fallow deer was introduced by the Normans and has flat, elk-like (palmate) antlers and an inverted black horseshoe surrounding a white patch on its rear end.

    In the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, three "exotic" Asian species (munjac, sika and Chinese water deer) were introduced. These all have quite rounded ears whereas the European species all have pointy "elf-like" ears.

    Roe deer, Fallow deer and Red deer are all present in Cornwall and the populations of all three species has increased substantially over the past decade, possibly by as much as a factor of ten. There are also a small number of munjac deer, but far fewer than in the rest of England.

  12. Bear left onto the path and follow it to a gate into the deer park.

    Some estimates suggest the UK has up to half of the world's total bluebell population; nowhere else in the world do they grow in such abundance. However, the poor bluebell faces a number of threats including climate change and hybridisation from garden plants. In the past, there has also been large-scale unsustainable removal of bulbs for sale although it is now a criminal offence to remove the bulbs of wild bluebells with a fine up to £5,000 per bulb!

    Fungus is the Latin word for mushroom but is derived from the ancient Greek word for sponge since this is what they were thought to resemble. Biologically, this isn't so far off either as fungi are more closely-related to animals than plants.

    To support their massive weight, trees produce a biochemical compound called lignin which has a cross-linked polymer structure that makes it very rigid. Because it's so tough, most fungi and bacteria are unable to break it down. The main fungus that has worked out a way to do it is known as white rot.

  13. Go through the gate and follow the path to where it merges with another. Continue until the path ends in a gate.

    In 1515, King Henry VIII granted Sir Piers Edgcumbe permission to keep a herd of deer in the park on the Edgcumbe estate. The deer roaming the park today are direct descendants of those Tudor deer.

  14. Go through the gate and follow the track ahead over the cattle grid to a junction with a footpath sign on the right.

    Plymouth grew from the mediaeval waterside village of Sutton to a port town by Tudor times and continued to grow throughout the Industrial Revolution. The three neighbouring towns of Stonehouse, Devonport and Plymouth were formally combined as the city of Plymouth in 1914. The city expanded further in the 1960s after post-war rebuilding of the bombed-out centre and incorporated Plympton and Plymstock. In the 2011 census, it was the 30th largest urban area in the UK.

  15. Turn right and follow the path downhill to reach a pedestrian gate in the bottom hedge. Go through this to reach the road.

    In AD 705 the parish of Maker was given in an act of diplomacy by the King of Cornwall to Sherborne Abbey to give the Saxons control of the Tamar mouth, and it remained part of Devon until 1844. The parish church was was first mentioned in 1121 and there were a number of churches on the site dating back to mediaeval times. The current building mostly dates from the 15th Century, built of local red sandstone in a Perpendicular style. It was extensively restored in the 1870s. The Norman font was brought from St Merryn near Padstow. Due to its prominent position, the church has been used as a landmark by nautical navigators and the tower was used as an Admiralty signal station in the 18th Century.

  16. Carefully cross the road to the footpath sign opposite and follow the path downhill through the woods. Continue to where the path descends a few steps onto a track.

    A short distance along the road to the right is a trough and St Julian's holy well is just behind this.

    St Julian's well and chapel was built in the 14th or 15th Century and is also known as St Leonard's. The well house was restored in the late 19th Century by the Earl of Mount Edgcumbe.

  17. Cross the track to the path opposite and continue downhill, using the rope to steady yourself if the ground is slippery. Continue downhill to a waymark at a junction.

    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.

  18. Turn right at the junction and follow the track to reach another junction with a kissing gate and footpath signpost visible to the left.

    Beech trees can live up to 400 years but the normal range is 150-250 years. Beech trees respond well to pruning and the lifetime of the tree is extended when the tree is pollarded. This was once a common practice and involves cutting all the stems back to a height of about 6ft during the winter when the tree is dormant. The 6ft starting point kept the fresh new growth out of the range of grazing animals. When allowed to grow to full size, a beech tree can reach 80ft tall with a trunk diameter of around 3ft.

  19. Turn left and go through the kissing gate. Follow the path leading downhill into the field. Continue downhill across the field until you reach the track running along the edge of the field. Bear left onto this and follow it to a gate.

    The early purple orchid has a Latin name meaning "virile" which is in keeping with the word "orchid" coming from the Greek word for testicle (on account of the shape of the tuber).

    This particular species is the con-man of the plant kingdom, with brilliant purple flowers resembling those of other nectar-rich orchids. When the insects arrive and push through the pollen to investigate the promising flowers, they discover that the flowers contain no nectar.

    The stretch of the estuary from the confluence of the Lynher and Tamar is known as the Hamoaze. This was recorded in 1558 as ryver of Hamose and is thought originally just referred to a creek that led to the manor of Ham which was located north of where Devonport Dockyard is today. The "ose" part of the name may derive from the Old English word wāse (meaning "mud") which is the origin of the English word "ooze".

  20. Go through the pedestrian gate on the right of the gate and cross the road to the gate and stile opposite. Go through the gate and follow the path along the edge of the fields. At the end of the fields, keep left to follow the path into the trees to reach a stile made of stone and wood.

    The house above the field is built in the remains of the sixth Maker redoubt (also known as Empacombe Redoubt or Obelisk Redoubt).

    During the 18th Century, there was concern that the docks at Plymouth was very vulnerable to attack by a foreign military power landing on Rame peninsula and then firing shells from the high ground at Maker Heights down onto Plymouth. Therefore a number of defensive positions (known in military jargon as redoubts) were built in the area around Maker Church. Five of these were built on the high ground facing the sea as earthworks in the 1780s. A sixth was built on the lower ground facing the Tamar the 1800s to defend the creeks.

    A couple of paths lead down onto the shore. One is by the two upright trees just before the large tree overhanging the path. Another is shortly after this at the apex of the field (this one has a rope).

    The tower in the fields is the remains of an 18th Century windmill. It is over 25ft high with 4ft thick walls.

  21. Cross the stile and bear left to walk along the top of the harbour wall. Follow all the way along the low wall in front of the house to reach the opening at the far end.

    The first record of the settlement of Empacombe is from 1265 and is thought to be derived from a personal name and "coombe" (for valley). The quay is recorded on Victorian maps but the exact age of the harbour isn't known.

    The castellated wall is thought to be a folly dating from the 18th Century - i.e. "bling" designed to be seen from the river. It forms part of a continuous stone wall which encloses fields and walled kitchen garden associated with an 18th Century farm house at the top of the valley.

  22. Turn right to go through the opening and join the driveway leading between the gateposts. Follow this away from the houses for a short distance to reach the paved driveway for Empacombe House on the left.

    The striking magenta flowers seen in Cornish hedgerows and gardens in May and June are known as Whistling Jacks, Mad Jacks, Cornish Jacks or Corn Flag. The "whistling" is thought to be from children using the leaves as a reed between their fingers and blowing. The plant is a species of Gladioli originally from the Mediterranean but has been naturalised in Cornwall for some time. Opinions differ on exactly when it first arrived but numerous opportunities have existed during the trade that has taken with Cornwall over the centuries, and the great gardens and cut flower industries in more recent times.

    Barnacles and lichens can be used to gauge the position of the high-tide line on rocks and therefore a dry place to leave your possessions whilst you go swimming if the tide is coming in.

    Barnacles need to be covered with seawater each day so they grow below the high-water mark for neap tides.

    Black tar lichen occurs just above the barnacle zone. It is quite tolerant of spray and short periods of immersion in seawater so it typically grows in areas which are out of the water at neap tides but may get briefly immersed during spring tides.

    Orange marine lichen is less tolerant of immersion in seawater but can otherwise often out-compete black tar lichen so this usually grows just above the high water mark for spring tides where it may get an occasional splash.

  23. Cross over the paved driveway and follow the gravel path ahead along the wall. Pass the "Edgcumbe Street" building and then join the path leaving from the other side. Follow the path until you reach a junction of paths at the end of a wire fence.

    The derelict concrete buildings between Empacombe and Cremyll are the remains of a fuel storage centre from the Second World War, constructed by the American military. The site included two cylindrical storage tanks, a pump house and a workshop area and latrine block. In the early 20th Century, a slipway and boathouse was built on the shore so the rows of concrete pillars may be the remains of that.

  24. Keep left and follow the path leading into the woods ahead. Continue on the path until it ends in a junction. Go through the opening directly ahead of this to enter the back of Cremyll car park.

    The obelisk on the hill behind Cremyll is made of Portland stone. It was originally situated in the location of the "ruin" (folly) in Mount Edgcumbe Park. The obelisk in its original position had collapsed by the time the folly was erected in 1747. Some sources say the obelisk was re-erected in 1770 but shipping maps from 1768 show the obelisk in its new position. There is a story that the obelisk was reconstructed in memory of Countess Edgcumbe's pet pig named Cupid which is recorded as dying in 1768.

either as a GPS-guided walk with our app (£1.99) or a PDF (£1.50)

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.