Circular walk from Cubert to St Pirans Round

Cubert to St Pirans Round

A short section of the route is on the Perranporth road which can be busy at peak holiday times.

A circular walk from Cubert's Celtic churchyard through the cowslip meadows of the Penhale Sands nature reserve and on paths lined with wildflowers along the river valley to reach St Pirans Round - the remains of the mediaeval amphitheatre.

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 at Cubert church and descends into the valley to reach the dunes of Penhale Sands. The route then follows small lanes, tracks and footpaths up the Treamble Valley to St Piran's Round. From here the route turns back into the valley and follows footpaths and lanes to reach the Smuggler's Den Inn before a final footpath to return to Cubert.


  • At St Piran's Round, two footpaths end a couple of hundred metres apart on a B-road so a short walk along the fairly fast road is required to get between them. This is likely to be busy at peak holiday times.
  • After prolonged periods of heavy rain, the lane to The Smugglers is prone to flooding.

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: 104
  • Distance: 6.3 miles/10.1 km
  • Steepness grade: Moderate-strenuous
  • Recommended footwear: Walking boots; wellies after prolonged rain

OS maps for this walk

OS Explorer 104 OS Explorer 104 (laminated version)

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


  • Penhale sands SSSI - carpeted in cowslips in May
  • St Piran's Round - a mediaeval amphitheatre
  • Wildflowers along the footpaths in Spring
  • Plenty of wildlife including birds and butterflies

Pubs on or near the route

  • The Smugglers Den


  1. Go through the entrance to the churchyard and follow the path to the junction of paths near the church door.

    The village of Cubert was once known as St Cubert who is thought might have been a Welsh missionary and a companion of St Carantoc (of Crantock). Half way between the village and the coast is the mediaeval Holy Well dedicated to St Cubert. Whether Holywell Bay is named after this one, or the colourful freshwater spring in the cave on the beach, is still being debated.

  2. At the junction of paths, bear right, around the church, to reach a gate out of the churchyard.

    The churchyard in Cubert is thought to date from Saxon times. The present church was built in the 13th Century and the tower was added around 1300; the spire was added somewhat later. The church was enlarged in the 15th Century by the addition of a south aisle. In the mid 1800s, the church was restored after lightning struck the tower and spire.

  3. Go through the gate and turn left at the junction of paths. Follow the path to emerge onto a lane.

    A well-known country remedy for the stings of nettles is to rub the sore area with the leaf of a dock plant. A common misconception is that dock leaves are alkaline and neutralise the acids in the nettle sting but, in reality, docks contain a mild (oxalic) acid and nettle stings aren't caused by the acid content anyway. Although dock is claimed by some to contain a natural antihistamine, no scientific evidence has been found for this. It is thought that it is simply the rubbing and moisture in the leaf which provides a short-term relief/distraction whilst the sting itself is diminishing over time. It's possible it may also dislodge any stinging spikes left in the surface of the skin. Therefore almost any moist leaf should provide a little relief, with the exception of another nettle leaf!

  4. Bear right across the lane to a small path to the right of the concrete wall ahead, marked with a footpath sign. Follow the path until it joins another path at a wall.
  5. Turn right and follow the path to some wooden steps into the field. Climb these and follow the right hedge of the field, passing a gateway, to reach an area of bushes extending from the right hedge. Follow the path along the hedge, beneath the bushes to a kissing gate.

    There are several quite common plants (catsear, hawkbit and hawksbeard) which all have yellow flowers similar to dandelion. Their main flowering period is later in the summer (late June and through July) than dandelion which itself peaks in April-May. If you want to have a crack and figuring out exactly which you are looking at, the leaves offer a good clue.

    Catsear is the most common, especially along the coast, and is the easiest one to tell apart as the leaves are hairy (hence the name).

    Hawkbit and hawksbeard both have non-hairy, deeply toothed leaves like dandelion but the leaves are narrower than dandelion. Hawksbeard has very well-defined "shark teeth" along most of the stem leading to the solid patch of leaf on the tip that all three have - these teeth are as wide as the widest part of the leaf. In hawkbit, these teeth are so tiny that the stem is nearly bare for about half its length.

    One other plant with flowers similar to the dandelion is the sow thistle but this is easily recognised by its spiky thistle-like leaves.

    The moonscape of dunes stretching towards the sea is Penhale Sands.

    Penhale Sands, located between Holywell Bay and Perranporth, is the largest dune system in Cornwall and the highest in Britain, rising to 90 metres. In places, the sand is nearly 50 metres deep. The area has been designated an Important Plant Area by Plantlife due to the rare plant species and lichens. The soil here is, unusually for Cornwall, alkaline which is why rare plants can thrive here. This is due to the high density of shell fragments in the sand, which are composed of calcium carbonate (limestone). The area has also been designated a Special Area of Conservation due to the range of butterfly and moth species which live on the plants here.

  6. Go through the kissing gate and follow the path downhill to emerge on a track beside a wooden gate.
  7. Cross over the track to the small path opposite and follow this down to a lane. Bear right onto the lane and follow it towards a pair of gates where a grassy track departs from the left next to Old Peartree Barn.

    Daisy flowers are not actually a single flower but a composite made of lots of little flowers. Each tiny yellow dot making up the central area is a tubular flower. Similarly each petal is a specially-adapted miniature flower.

    Trebisken was recorded in 1291 as Trebreskyn and 1403 as Trebryskyn. The meaning is thought to be "farm near a small copse". The small blocks of tree cover along the footpaths may be relics of this.

  8. Bear left onto the grassy track and follow it to the second of the two wooden gates on the left which is waymarked. Go through the gate and follow the path to the bottom of the valley to reach a footbridge.

    There are several species of dock but two of the most common found in fields are the broad-leaved and curly dock. Broad-leaved docks are the ones with the big leaves that are usually grabbed after a stinging nettle encounter. They can live for at least 5 years and normally don't produce seeds until their second year. Curled docks have more slender leaves which often have more wavy edges. They are shorter-lived and can flower only 9 weeks after germination but often die after flowering if not cut.

    Cow parsnip (also known as "hogweed" - not to be confused with "giant hogweed") is a member of the carrot family. It has more solid leaves than cow parsley or alexanders which it often grows alongside. It also flowers later. The leaves are noticeable from around mid-April. Flowering starts roughly at the start of June and continues through the summer.

    Giant hogweed is regarded by some as the most dangerous plant in the UK (although hemlock is also a good contender). If you encounter giant hogweed, avoid touching it and children and dogs should be kept away from it as the sap contains a chemical which is extremely phototoxic. When activated by sunlight, this binds to the DNA in skin cells and kills them. Skin reaction starts as an itchy rash and can develop into third degree burns and scarring. It also makes the affected areas susceptible to severe sunburn for several years.

    The plant gets its name as it can grow more than 10 feet tall, topped with white umbrella-shaped flowers. Due to the similar style of flowers, it is also known as giant cow parsley although the giant hogweed leaves are much more solid with a toothed edge, more similar to cow parsnip (normal hogweed). It is typically found near water or on waste ground.

    The plant was introduced to Britain by Victorian botanists in the 19th century as an ornamental plant and has escaped from gardens into the wild. It has been spreading across the UK (as one plant produces 50,000 seeds) but is still very rare in Cornwall. A project to eradicate it along the Tamar River system is helping to stop further spread into Cornwall.

    If you find giant hogweed in Cornwall (and are sure it's not normal hogweed), take a photo and report it to

    In mediaeval times, blackthorn was associated with evil. This may also tie in with the English word "strife" which has Celtic origins. Straif was the name of a letter used in Celtic Ogham script and was originally the word for "sulphur". Some of the other letters in the script corresponded to tree names. In late mediaeval times, a retrospective assignment of trees to the letters in the alphabet used for Ogham that weren't already tree names became popular (sometimes known as the "tree alphabet") and blackthorn was chosen for Straif.

  9. Cross the footbridge and follow the path over 6 smaller bridges to a gate.

    Marsh marigold is a plant with large, glossy leaves that is indeed found in marshes but is actually a member of the buttercup family rather than a marigold. The name is more likely to do the size of the striking yellow flowers in spring.

    In shape, the flowers are fairly buttercup-like and have been likened to a goblet made from gold, giving rise to the alternative common name "kingcup" and also the Genus name (which based on the Greek for goblet).

    Like other members of the buttercup family, the plants are poisonous and can cause skin irritation in some people.

    The yellow water iris (also known as yellow flag) is a native plant but can become invasive and have a negative effect on biodiversity due to its ability to out-compete many other water plants. It is thought by some to be the original plant on which the "fleur-de-lis" heraldic symbol is based.

    If heavy metals are present in the soil, the plant is quite effective at absorbing these. This together with its aptitude for growing in pools of shallow water makes it potentially useful for detoxifying mine drainage.

    The sandy stream bed seems to provide a good habitat for trout which can often be seen in the stream here.

    Trout are members of the Salmon family who all have an extra tiny (adipose) fin on their back towards their tail, that most other fish don't have. No-one is quite sure what the purpose is of this fin but a neural network in the fin indicates that it has some kind of sensory function.

    The trout that supermarkets and trout farms stock is the Rainbow Trout (which has a red flush along its side) and is native to North America not to the UK. Our native trout is the Brown Trout which has well-defined dark red spots along its sides. You can often make out the spots when you see them lying in pools. Rainbow Trout are often stocked in fishing lakes so do sometimes escape into the wild.

    Small trout typically feed on invertebrates whereas larger trout generally feed on other fish but have been known to eat anything of a suitable size unlucky enough to fall into a river. In fact in New Zealand, mouse-shaped lures are sold for trout fishing!

  10. Go through the gate and turn left to follow the path out of the bushes then continue on the path through the vegetation to emerge in the meadow. Stay on the leftmost path within the meadow. Keep following this alongside the vegetation and bushes on the left to eventually reach a field gate.

    The calcium-rich soils provide the perfect habitat for cowslips which usually thrive on chalk downs. In May there is a spectacular display of cowslips in this field.

    Cowslips grow on chalky soils. Chalk is not found in Cornwall but a close approximation is a sand dune made up of fragments of chalky seashell. Cowslips can therefore be found in sandy soils along the coast, particularly on the inland edge of large dune systems such as Penhale Sands.

    The name of the plant is thought to be from the Old English for cowpat (cow slop). Other common names including "Key of Heaven" and "Bunch of Keys" are based on the small flowers on the end of long stems.

  11. Go through the gate and follow the path a few paces to a lay-by around an island of vegetation. Keep right and pass the island on your left to reach a lane. Turn right and follow the lane uphill. When the lane levels-out, continue past Mount Pleasant Farm and Mount Farm to reach a forked junction on the left after Mount Farm.

    The calcium carbonate from seashells has been a key factor in Cornwall's natural and industrial history due to the shortage of lime-rich rocks. The golden colour of the sand on the beaches is due to the small fragments of shell and in the past this was transported around Cornwall using horses, donkeys, canals and even by railway. You may be wondering where the shellfish themselves got the calcium carbonate from in the first place, since it was so scarce. As well as the "salt" (sodium chloride) that you can taste, sea water contains a range of other dissolved salts and around 1% of the dissolved material is calcium. Molluscs are able to extract the calcium ions from the seawater which they use to construct their shells.

  12. Turn left onto the track and follow this to a junction of tracks.

    Wild lilies grow along the track.

    In order to attract pollinating insects, the plant heats the flower spike up to 15°C above that of the surroundings. The plant exudes a smell of decaying flesh which attracts flies and the flower is designed to trap these. Within the flower, the female organs mature first and insects carrying pollen from other plants (together with any unlucky enough not to be) are imprisoned behind a row a spines within the flower. Once the plant is pollinated, the male organs quickly mature and the plant's own pollen is dusted over the trapped flies. The spines then wither away enough for the flies to escape.

    All members of the lily family, including wild arum, are poisonous to dogs.

    Fern fronds form in a coil (known as a crozier or fiddlehead) with the delicate tip protected in the centre. As the outer parts begin to photosynthesise, the sugars they produce cause more water to be drawn into the leaf, causing it to expand and gradually unfurl.

  13. Continue ahead to follow the track gradually downhill until it passes over a stream and enters a yard in front of a cottage, where there is a signpost.

    At the junction, the track to the left (waymarked for Treamble) connected to the terminus of the Treamble railway. This was used to export ore from the mines in the area. This passed through East Wheal Rose to a junction just outside Newquay (now the Treloggan industrial estate). A branch was later added from Fiddler's Green to Perranporth to create the Newquay - Perranporth railway.

  14. Bear right across the yard to a concrete track leaving from the back right corner. Follow the track past an opening to the right to reach a path departing from the right just before the track enters a field.

    Tawny owls live in the valley here and can sometimes be heard hooting at night.

    The tawny owl is largely nocturnal so you're less likely to see one than to hear it, but if you do it's brown speckled and about the size of a pigeon. However, they make the well-known "twit-twoo" sound. The "twit" (which is more like "ke-wick") is their version of "hello?" and the "twoo" (or "hoo-hoo-oooo") is a male territorial call. The two calls together are likely to be to a male responding "you'm on my land!" to another owl.

  15. Bear right onto the path between the granite posts and follow this to a waymark, marked "Rose".

    The name "Rose" or prefix "Ros" crops up quite a lot in Cornish place names. The reason is that ros is a Celtic word meaning either "moor" or "spur of a hill". Both of these occurred fairly frequently in the Cornish landscape, particularly before much of the lower-lying heathland was drained and cleared for pasture.

  16. Turn right at the waymark and follow the path until it ends beside a cottage.

    Yellow lesser celandines line the path in spring and early summer.

    Celandine roots have numerous knobbly tubers and when these break off, a new plant can regrow from the tuber. Digging animals such as rabbits and squirrels can therefore help to spread celandines. In some parts of the world they have become an invasive problem where their dense mat of leaves chokes out native species which have not evolved to compete with them.

    Green woodpeckers are the largest and most colourful of the woodpeckers native to Britain and have a distinctive laughing "yaffle" call. The two species of spotted woodpecker are smaller and usually noticed from the drumming sound they make on trees although they can sometimes be heard making a short "cheep" sound.

    All of the woodpeckers bore holes in trees in which they nest, but only the spotted woodpeckers drill into trees in search of food, spending most of their time perched on a tree.

    Conversely, green woodpeckers spend most of their time on the ground, hunting for ants. The ants nests are excavated using their strong beak, and then ants are caught on the barbed end of their long tongue. In fact, their tongue is so long that it needs to be curled around their skull to fit inside their head.

  17. Bear left on the path uphill from the cottage and when you reach a gravel parking area, continue uphill on the concrete to a track. Turn left onto the track and follow it, passing around a hairpin bend to the right, to eventually reach a junction of tracks at a wooden signpost.

    Cottage gardens such as this one and the wildflowers in the hedges along the tracks provide a several months supply of nectar for insects such as butterflies. Their elaborate lifecycles are based around the lack of this in the autumn and winter.

    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.

  18. Turn left in the direction of Lower Rose. Follow the track until it ends at a junction with a lane.

    The fields here are quite often planted with arable crops. The shell fragments in the soil both improve drainage and raise the pH of soils which would otherwise be heavy, acidic clays. The reason that pH matters is that many plants are inefficient at absorbing nitrogen in acidic conditions. If there is something to neutralise the acid, such as the calcium carbonate in seashells, plants are able to put on leaf growth much more efficiently. This is why many lime kilns were built on Cornish beaches as further from the coast the soils are generally quite acidic, so coal and limestone were imported to create lime.

  19. Cross the lane to the track opposite and follow this to a bend where a narrow footpath continues ahead, alongside the house.

    The house name Rose Wollas is Cornish for "Lower Rose" whilst "Perran Glaze" is based on the Cornish word for colours of the sea.

    A few different factors all combine to vary the colour of the sea:

    A glass in your hand might lure you into thinking otherwise, but pure water is faintly blue. The main wavelengths that the chemical bonds in water absorb are either in the infra-red or ultra-violet, and not in the visible spectrum, which is why a glass of pure water does not look coloured. However one fairly obscure harmonic of the vibrations in the water molecule corresponds to the wavelength of red light and so water very weakly absorbs the red from white light, giving it a very slightly blue tinge. If there is enough water, both the blue tinge and reflection of blue light by any suspended particles make it look blue.

    Another factor is that the surface of the ocean acts as a mirror and reflects the colour of the sky and this is why it may appear grey under a cloudy sky. Under a blue sky, this intensifies the blueness.

    In shallow water, the sand which is golden in Cornwall due to fragments of seashell, reflects yellow light and this combines with the blue from seawater to generate colours from green to turquoise. The ocean also sometimes appears green due to the presence of planktonic plant life.

    The Cornish language has a word glas (often appearing in place names as "glaze") which is the Swiss Army Knife of sea colour descriptions. It means blue, or green, or grey.

    Some of the tourism literature used to say that the green colour of the sea in Cornwall was due to copper dissolved in the water. This is total nonsense. In order to be visible, the concentration of copper salts have to be incredibly high which would never happen with an entire Atlantic Ocean to dilute it. The highest copper levels are found in estuaries fed by rivers into which mines drain. There are at most in the order of micrograms per litre and are carefully monitored by the Environment Agency.

  20. Follow the path ahead, to the left of the house, until it passes a gate on the right and emerges onto a track, next to a gate on the left.

    During late winter or early spring, if you encounter a patch of plants with white bell-shaped flowers, smelling strongly of onions, and with long, narrow leaves then they are likely to be three-cornered leeks. Once you're familiar with their narrow, ridged leaves, you'll be able to spot these emerging from late October onwards.

    All parts of the plant are edible by humans and the flavour of the leaves is relatively mild so they can be used in recipes in place of spring onions or chives. They are at their best for culinary use from November to April. By mid-May, they have flowered and the leaves are starting to die back.

    The long leaves can be mistaken for bluebells or daffodils which are both poisonous but do not smell of onions. However, fingers that have previously picked 3-cornered leeks also smell of onions and so mistakes have been made this way.

    In sheltered places, hawthorn trees can reach 20-40ft in height and live up to 400 years. In harsher environments such as the coast and moors they can be as little as 5-6ft tall.

  21. Turn right to follow the track away from the gate and continue until it ends at a road, next to Perran Round.

    Perran Round is the best-preserved example of a mediaeval amphitheatre known as a plen-an-gwarry (Playing Place) where "miracle plays" were performed, re-enacting miracles performed by the Saints. These were described as "often noisy, bawdy and entertaining". The depression in the middle (which was known as The Devil's Spoon) was the place from where the Devil sprang from during the performances. It is possible that the circular enclosure may have originally been constructed in the Iron Age as a fortified farmstead and repurposed during mediaeval times.

  22. Turn left and very carefully follow the road, using the verge to avoid cars, to reach a track on your left (the next junction with a mirror opposite) with a public footpath sign.
  23. Turn left and follow the track until, just after the house with a telephone box outside, you reach a waymarked gate on the left.

    The Latin name of the buttercup, Ranunculus, means "little frog" and said to be because the plants like wet conditions. It is thought it may have come via a derogatory name for people who lived near marshes!

    Note how the small trees along the track have been sculpted by the winds coming off the sea to your left.

    The salt-laden breeze coming off the sea dries out leaf buds and inhibits growth so the plants end up growing most vigorously in the lee of the wind. In the direction facing the prevailing wind, the growth is therefore more compact and stunted whereas in the lee of the wind, the branches are much more straggly. The result is that the trees appear to point away from the prevailing wind. Where there are no obstacles interfering with the wind direction, the shape of the trees can be used as a compass. Prevailing winds come from the southwest, so in general, trees in Cornwall point northeast.

  24. Go through the gate on the left and then follow the right hedge of the field downhill to an opening in the bushes at the bottom-right corner of the field with a waymarked stile.
  25. Go through the opening in the bushes to pass the stile and follow the path along the fence along the bottom of the garden. Follow the path into the trees on the far side and continue downhill to join the wooden walkway. Follow the path over the stream and along the fence in the field to reach a stone stile in the hedge.

    The stream is the same one that you crossed earlier in the walk near Stampas farm, but upstream of where the tributary stream from Hendra Farm joins. The stream rises from the Carn Moor area on the far side of the Newquay road from Goonhavern where the Wheal Albert lead and silver mine was once based.

  26. Cross the stile and bear right to follow the path leading up into a field. In the field, bear left to follow the left hedge and reach an opening into another small field.

    Extracts from ivy were used in herbal remedies and still form the basis of some modern-day cough medicines. It is said to have both antibacterial and antiviral properties. A study for English Heritage also found that roadside ivy absorbed particulates from the atmosphere which may lead to its use in improving air quality.

  27. Go through the opening and cross the small field towards the cottages to reach a metal gate.

    The first documented use of an electric fence is by a woman in Cincinnati who invented it to protect a museum display from the public. This appears in her 1832 book "Domestic Manners of the Americans".

    The application to livestock came roughly a century later. In New Zealand, an electric fence initially invented to stop a horse rubbing against the horse owner's car was being marketed commercially in the 1930s. The capacitor discharge approach to create pulses of electricity was also invented in New Zealand in the 1960s.

  28. Go through the gate and follow the path alongside the cottages to reach a tarmac drive. Continue ahead on the drive to reach a track.

    The cottages are on the site of Wheal Hope which was a mine extracting lead ore. Three engine houses were located roughly where the cottages are now.

    Many Cornish mines have names starting with Wheal, and it is a common misconception that Wheal meant "mine". In fact, Wheal simply meant "workplace". The word for "mine" was bal and the women who worked on the surface were known as Bal Maids.

  29. Bear left onto the track and follow it downhill to a left hand bend, where a path departs ahead.

    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 lead ore found in Cornwall is a form of lead sulphide known as galena which often contains an appreciable amount of silver. This was first smelted to produce "argentiferous lead" and then the silver was separated by a process known as "cupellation". The molten alloy of the 2 metals was placed in an oxygen rich furnace which caused the lead, but not the silver, to oxidise. The lead oxide was then absorbed into a calcium-rich material such as the ash from bones or seashells, leaving the liquid metal silver on the surface of the "cake". The lead oxide could later be converted back into lead by smelting it with charcoal.

  30. Take the narrow path ahead and follow this until it ends on a lane.

    Sycamore is a member of the maple family which is why the leaves look a bit like the Canadian flag. Although sycamore doesn't have the striking red autumn colour of other maples, the young leaves and developing seeds are a vivid red colour which is caused by similar red anthrocyanin compounds.

  31. Turn right onto the lane and follow it until you eventually reach a tarmacked driveway on the left with two low white concrete walls either side and a stone on the left inscribed with Treamble Valley Touring Park.

    Honesty is recognisable by its four-petal purple flowers and serrated leaves in spring and flat, circular, translucent seed pods in late summer and autumn. It was originally from eastern Europe and southwestern Asia but has been naturalised in the UK for hundreds of years and is also found in many temperate regions of the world. The name "honesty" arose in 16th Century Britain and is thought to be a reference to the translucency of the seed pods. The Genus name - Lunaria - likens the seed pods to moons and for similar reasons it is known as "silver dollars" in the USA. Despite its exotic appearance, it's a member of the cabbage family.

    Hendra is a common Cornish place name meaning "home farm" (from the Cornish word hendre which itself is based on the words hen meaning old, and dre is equivalent to tre). Hendra was also used as a boy's first name with the meaning literally "from the family farm".

  32. Turn left onto the driveway and follow it past Little Treamble to the entrance to Treamble Valley Touring Park where tracks depart left and right.

    Orange tip butterflies are one of the most noticeable and memorable due to their brilliant orange wing tips, but it's only the males that have orange-tipped wings. The striking orange is a warning to predators that they taste highly unpleasant. Intelligent birds such as crows will avoid repeating culinary disasters by remembering the colour pattern associated with it.

    The females are mainly white with a bit of black at the wing tips. There will be an evolutionary reason for why it's not worth the females bothering with the orange warning pigment. This could be because the males spend much more time in flight (looking for females), and the resources needed to produce the bitter chemicals and orange pigment are better spent instead on making more eggs.

    As additional protection from predators (especially for the females), they have also evolved a green camouflage pattern on the underside of their wings that makes them quite hard to spot when they land and close their wings.

    Orange tips overwinter as pupae so they are able to emerge in April, making them one of the first butterflies to be around in the spring. They can be seen until mid-summer then their caterpillars spend the remainder of the summer feeding ready for the winter.

    Treamble was recorded in 1316 as Taranbol. This is from the Cornish words for "thunder" and "pool" or "pit". There are now no obvious landscape features that can be matched-up to work out the origin of this. Although "thunder pit" seems like it could be a mining or quarrying reference, the industrial-scale mining that was carried out here took place many centuries after the name was recorded. There is a small stream at the bottom of the valley which has likely been altered substantially by mining activity and building a railway so it's possible that in Early Mediaeval times there was a small waterfall with a plunge pool.

  33. Bear right onto the track indicated by the red waymark arrow and follow this to reach a junction of tracks by a cottage with a waymark post.

    Quite a bit of iron mining activity occurred here during Victorian times. A tramway passed over the track here and Great Retallack Mine was situated part-way along the track. Further along was Treamble Mine.

    The caravan park lies on the site of the Treamble mine. This was an iron mine on the Perran Iron Lode, started in the middle of the 19th century and worked intermittently until the Second World War. During the 1930s, as well as iron, clay was extracted for use as fuller's earth. Power was provided by an engine house and waterwheel. An aerial cable was used to transport material to the processing area near the railway terminus.

    The iron lode runs all the way to Perran Sands where there is a mine in the cliff at the northern end of the beach. It was originally worked at Treamble from two open pits. When the western pit was excavated, a lead lode was also exposed. Where this intersected the Perran Iron Lode, it contained silver ores and even some silver in metallic form.

  34. Turn right towards Holywell and follow the byway until it ends on a lane.

    The iron sulphide compounds mined here react very readily with water and oxygen to produce rusty-coloured iron hydroxides often seen in the rivers in mining areas. Because oxygen is a much smaller atom than sulphur, more oxygen atoms can fit around one iron atom forming more chemical bonds which allow the little electrons that live on the atoms to spread about more which makes them happier. As the electrons "chill out" into their new more spacious accommodation they release their pent-up energy in the form of heat (chemists describe the reaction as "exothermic" to mean "bleddy hot!"). Consequently, even though the mines here were relatively shallow (about 40 metres deep), temperatures of over 50 Celcius were recorded on the Treamble Iron Lode.

  35. Turn left onto the lane and follow it downhill to a junction signposted to the Smugglers Den, just past the river crossing.

    In the late 18th and early 19th Century there were two mines in the valley either side of the bridge, known as Wheal Mexico and Wheal Peru. Both started as lead mines and the one to the left of the bridge dates back to Tudor times, working the lode of lead ore that was also mined at Treamble. In 1785, rich silver ores were discovered here and at was at this point the mine reopened under the name Wheal Mexico. The quantity of ore within the lode was not that great but the high concentration of silver more than made up for this. There are even reports of lumps of pure silver being raised from the mine.

  36. Turn right at the junction and cross the bridge. Follow the lane for half a mile to the Smugglers Den. Continue uphill a few more paces to some wooden steps on the left beside the bend in the road.

    The Smuggler's Den was originally a farmhouse, built in the 17th Century and consisting of 3 rooms, the middle of which was unheated. At the end of the 17th Century, an additional room was added to create the large U-shaped building that fronts onto the road. The rear buildings were added much more recently. Before married life, Prince Harry had been known to take part in the pub quiz here.

  37. Climb the steps and cross the stile into a field. In the field, follow the left hedge uphill to reach a stone stile just before the top corner of the field.

    Rooks nest in colonies and are one of the most social members of the crow family. Scientists have found that rooks are happy to work cooperatively to solve problems (e.g. each pulling on a separate string to release food).

  38. Cross the stile and bear right in the direction of the church spire to a stile in the corner of the field.

    Mount mine was predominantly an iron mine working the Perran Iron Lode although manganese, lead and even chunks of pure silver were also extracted during Victorian times. The mine began as surface pits, the largest of which was gradually extended down to about 100ft. The far end of the tarmac track running out onto the dunes is built on the trackbed of a railway branch line that connected to the iron mine at the far end of Perranporth beach. It's also likely some of the cottages in Mount were built and inhabited by miners in this period as many of the cottages are recorded on the OS map from the 1880s.

    The mine was reopened during the Second World War to produce iron for weaponry but production was on a relatively small scale.

  39. Cross the stile and bear left, following the path along the left hedge to reach a gate. Go through the gate to emerge in the square outside the churchyard and complete the circular route.

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.