Mylor and Restronguet Creeks circular walk

Mylor and Restronguet Creeks

A circular walk along the Mylor and Restronguet creeks via the Pandora Inn, said to be once owned and renamed by the captain of HMS Pandora sent to capture mutineers from The Bounty, and where a passing-boat was kept to connect the post road between Falmouth and Truro, summoned by a bell on the other side of the creek.

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The walk starts at Mylor Bridge and climbs the hill through fields to Restronguet Barton then descends Restronguet Hill to the Pandora Inn. The rest of the route is along the edge of the creeks, down Restronguet Creek to Weir Point and, via Greatwood quay, back up Mylor Creek to Mylor Bridge.

Reviews

lovely walk today with stop off @PandoraInn for lunch on the water. Thank you @iwalkc another fabulous walk.
@iwalkc another brilliant walk today around Mylor and Restronguet Creeks. Thank you.
Done this walk last weekend, nice walk, great views with a refreshment break at the Pandora.

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Vital statistics

  • OS Explorer: 104
  • Distance: 4 miles/6.5 km
  • Steepness grade: Easy-moderate
  • Recommended footwear: Walking boots in winter. Walking shoes or trainers in summer

OS maps for this walk

OS Explorer 104 OS Explorer 104 (laminated version)

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

Highlights

  • Views across Carrick Roads and along the creeks
  • Wildlife along the creeks and in the woods

Pubs on or near the route

  • The Lemon Arms
  • The Pandora Inn

Adjoining walks

Directions

  1. Cross the road from the car park and head down Trevellan Road (to the right of the butchers) to a footpath signpost at the end of Mill Quay, just before you reach a lane painted with a 10 mph sign.

    The quay at Mylor is thought to date from the 18th Century, initially built of slate and then rebuilt in granite. Just upstream at the head of the creek was a tidal mill. In the late 1760s, work began on a new a double-wheeled watermill behind the quay to replace the tidal mill. Water was supplied by a leat to power the waterwheels and the water exited from tail races through two arched openings in the front of the quay. The mill was in use until the early 20th Century.

  2. At the public footpath sign, turn left in the direction of the small footpath sign and follow the track uphill. Continue as this shrinks into a path and follow this up the hill. Continue on the path between the hedges until it eventually emerges into a field.

    Wild lilies grow in the shady areas of the track.

    The wild arum (Arum Maculatum) is known by over 90 colourful folk names including "Lords and ladies", "Priest in the pulpit", "Devils and angels", "Cows and bulls" etc. Most of these have sexual connotations as the inflorescence (known as the "spadix") is obviously phallic, and is sheathed suggestively by the encircling, leaf-like spathe. Another name "Cuckoo Pint" alludes to the time of the flower's appearance being with the first cuckoos; "pint" stays on theme, being the Old English slang for penis (a contraction of "pintle").

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

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

    Holly has separate male and female plants, so not all holly bushes produce berries - only female plants. In less biologically-enlightened Pagan times, holly was though to be a male plant (the spikes symbolising aggression) whereas ivy was regarded as a female plant (symbolising attachment). The Christmas Carol "The Holly and the Ivy" is thought originally to derive from Pagan fertility myths onto which Christian symbolism has subsequently been added.

  3. In the field, follow the right hedge past gateways on the right and through a gap into the field ahead. Continue following the right hedge until you reach a gateway leading to a lane.

    The settlement here is known as Restronguet Barton.

    Despite the illusion of being a French word, Restronguet is pronounced as if it contained no "u" and it was like any other Cornish place name: "re-stron-get", with the emphasis on the middle syllable. The reason is that it was originally a Cornish name, starting with ros, meaning "promontory". The other part has been suggested as coming from tron (literally "throne", also used to mean "elevated") and koes (meaning "wooded"). Alternatively it could be from the less glamorous stronk, meaning "dirty water". It's possible that the spelling gained its French appearance after the Norman invasion.

  4. Go through the gateway and turn left onto the lane. Follow the lane to a crossroads.

    During the Second World War, there were British and American army camps on the hill near Restronguet Barton. Between the two camps was a prisoner-of-war and refugee camp which housed over 100 men. Many of the refugees were Ukrainians who had fled the Communist regime and the men created a chapel from one of the Nissan huts in the camp. The prisoners of war were repatriated after the war but many of the refugees found work on the farms in the area and a number settled permanently. In 1948, the Nissan Hut chapel was blessed by three Roman Catholic priests, and a priest from Falmouth made a regular visit to take services. When the camp finally closed, an eight foot high cross was built on the site of an old guard house. A re-dedication took place near the start of the 21st Century with a number of the original refugees and their descendants attending.

    More about the memorial

  5. Turn right at the crossroads, signposted to Restronguet Passage. Follow the lane down the hill to the Inn.

    From April to June, white flowers of Greater Stitchwort can be seen along hedgerows and paths. The petals are quite distinctive as each one is split almost all the way to create pairs - most of the flowers typically have 5 pairs. The name comes from alleged powers to cure an exercise-induced stitch. Other common names include Star-of-Bethlehem (due to the shape and perhaps Easter flowering time) and Poor Man's Buttonhole for budget weddings. It is also known as Wedding Cakes but that may be more due to the colour than anticipation of what a buttonhole might lead to. The seed capsules can sometimes be heard bursting open in the late spring sunshine which gives rise to another name: Popguns.

    Timber for the mines was unloaded on the wharfs of the Restronguet creek and stored in timber ponds on either side of Strangeweke Quay close to the Pandora Inn. The seawater brought in on the tide gradually saturated the wood with salt and prevented the timbers from rotting or warping.

  6. Turn right into the car park and walk along the front of the Inn to join a track. Follow the track to a junction of tracks at Wheelhouse.

    The Pandora Inn dates back to the 13th Century, when there was a farm on the site. Later it became an Inn and was known as the Passage House as a boat was kept there to link the post road from Truro to Falmouth, which cut across the creek. The Inn changed its name to The Ship and was finally renamed in memory of the HMS Pandora sent to Tahiti to capture the mutineers from the Bounty. The captain of the HMS Pandora was from Cornwall and is reputed to have bought the inn on his return. The HMS Pandora was ill-fated, sinking on the Great Barrier Reef with the loss of many of the crew and mutineers, and the pub also had its share of bad fortune in 2011 when a fire badly damaged the building. The proverbial silver lining was that fire had destroyed all the 1970s additions to the pub, and it has now been restored using traditional materials and building methods.

    As you pass the Inn, note the gold postbox celebrating the 2012 Olympic medals for sailing.

  7. Continue ahead past the garages on the right to reach a fork in the track. Take the left-hand track (with grass growing down the middle and a footpath sign) and follow this until it ends at Glenarva Cottage.

    Mosses reproduce with tiny spores rather than seeds. Many mosses use wind to carry their spores and produce tiny stalks with the spore-releasing equipment on the top in order to catch the wind - these can be seen as thread-like structures standing up from the moss. These spore-releasing devices often have a ring of teeth around the edge (visible with a magnifying glass) to control the release of the spores, allowing them to be released gradually over a period of time to catch gusts of wind of different speeds and in different directions.

  8. At Glenarva Cottage, bear left onto the path beside the track. Follow the path, which expands into a track at Delta Cottage, and continue until it ends on a beach.

    During winter, from November to March, winter heliotrope is visible along the edges of roads and paths as carpets of rounded heart-shaped leaves.

    The name of the plant is Greek for "sun direction" because the flowers turn to follow the winter sun.

    The Restronguet Sailing Club (RSC) was founded in 1933 and had its first Olympic gold medallist in 1948. By 1965, it had become so popular that it outgrew its location on Restronguet Creek and was relocated to its current position near Mylor Harbour. More recently, Ben Ainslie learned to sail here and went on to win a number of Olympic medals and receive a knighthood.

  9. Bear right along the top of the beach (or use the path if the tide is in) to reach a lane. Turn left and follow the lane (Restronguet Weir) to some wooden gates. Go through the pedestrian gate on the left then bear left at the fork. Follow the track until a footpath marked with a green arrow departs from the left.

    In the 19th Century, Restronguet Creek played an important part in the mining industry. Minerals were exported and coal was imported from wharves along the creek from Devoran to Point. Waste water from the mines caused gradual silting of the creek and this accelerated during the 19th Century, eventually leading to the complete silting of Devoran harbour.

  10. Bear left off the track onto a footpath and follow this until it emerges onto a track.

    The Redruth and Chasewater Railway was an early industrial line which evolved from John Taylor's tramway and eventually served many of the mines in the Camborne-Redruth area. The line ran to Devoran and Point Quay on Restronguet Creek and initially used horse traction. Later, steam locomotives were used but these terminated at Devoran. For shunting at Devoran and for the extension to Point Quay, trains were still hauled by horses. It was a single railway line all the way from Redruth with passing places. If two trains met between passing places, the drivers drew lots to determine who had to reverse.

  11. Join the track ahead and follow the Public Footpath signs to Mylor Bridge to emerge onto a lane outside Greatwood House.

    Greatwood House was built in 1840 as a private residence by the family who owned Trelissick. It has been put to a number of uses over the years including a market gardening estate and a hotel. In the 1970s it became derelict and was subsequently converted into flats. It has since gone full circle and been restored into a single large residence.

  12. Bear right onto the lane and follow it uphill to a Public Footpath sign on the right, opposite a footpath on the left.

    There are oyster beds nearby in the creeks.

    Oysters feed by filtering plankton from seawater and a single oyster can filter around 100 litres of water per day. As with mussels, during the warmer months (May-Aug, remembered as not containing the letter "r"), plankton species which are poisonous to humans are around which can accumulate in shellfish and cause tummy upsets. Consequently the Falmouth Oyster Festival is in October.

  13. Turn left onto the footpath and keep left between the granite gateposts. Follow the path to reach an old quay.

    During Victorian times, the building of railways allowed primrose flowers picked in the Westcountry to be on sale in London the next day. Picking was done on a large scale but eventually became unfashionable, being seen as environmentally destructive. However all the evidence gathered suggests as long as the flowers were picked and the plants were not dug up, the practice was sustainable.

    Greatwood Quay was built in the 18th Century, mostly from slate, with granite used for the outer face. It provided a landing stage for Greatwood House, accessed via the public footpath.

  14. Continue on the path from the quay to reach an old wooden kissing gate.

    From the quay, you may be able to see the sailing boats of the local oyster fishermen.

    The Fal estuary is home to a native species of oyster known as the "flat" or "edible" oyster. These are fished sustainably by the last commercial fleet in Europe to use only sails and oars. The fishermen, known as "oyster dredgers" or "dregemen", work the oyster beds with triangular iron dredges which drag along the riverbed as the boat is allowed to drift. The use of non-powered boats is a local bye-law to guarantee the stocks. This has proven effective: the Carrick Roads stocks are as good both in quantity and quality as they were 50 years ago, whilst the Oyster fishing industry has died out on the East coast of England due to overfishing.

  15. Go through the gate and follow the path along the left hedge to reach a kissing gate.

    Gorse is present as two species along the Atlantic coast and size is the easiest way to tell them apart: Common Gorse bushes are up to 10ft tall whereas Western Gorse is more of a mat - less than 1ft tall. Common Gorse flowers in spring whereas Western Gorse flowers in late summer - early autumn.

  16. Go through the gate and follow the path across the causeway and out of the woods into a field. Follow the left hedge to reach a metal gate on the far side of the field.

    The grey heron is an unmistakably massive bird with a 6ft wingspan and yet weigh in at only 1-2kg. The call of the heron is equally unsubtle - a loud croaking "fraaank" noise that is more like grating metal than the sound of birdsong. Herons are are most commonly seen in or near freshwater where they hunt for fish. The number of breeding herons has been steadily growing in the UK due to mild winters as they struggle to feed during cold weather when ice forms a barrier on the surface of water.

  17. Go through the gate and follow the path to reach a gate on the opposite side of the small inlet.

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

  18. Go through the gate and follow the path to emerge on the shore of the creek.

    Blackthorn and hawthorn trees both grow in similar places but in each season there are different ways to tell them apart.

    In spring, blackthorn is one of the first trees to flower. The white blossom appears before the leaves in April. In warm weather, the leaves may quickly catch up and this is when it can get mistaken for hawthorn, which produces leaves before flowers. However, there are a few other ways to distinguish the flowers: blackthorn pollen is orange whereas hawthorn is pink, fading to black. Hawthorn petals overlap each other whereas blackthorn is more "gappy".

    In summer, the leaf shape can be used to tell them apart. Blackthorn leaves are a classic leaf shape with slightly serrated edges. Hawthorn leaves have deep notches dividing the leaf into several lobes a bit like oak.

    In autumn, pretty much all hawthorn trees have small red berries, even the windswept specimens on the coast. Blackthorns trees may have purple sloes, but not all the trees fruit each year. Some years seem to result in a lot more sloes than others.

    Hawthorn trees are often a little bigger than blackthorn, especially in harsh environments such as on the coast. Blackthorn tends to form thickets whereas hawthorn are typically distinct trees. Hawthorn bark is usually shiny whereas blackthorn is dull. The thorns on hawthorn tend to be shorter (less then 2cm) and point slightly forwards on the stem. Blackthorn has longer spikes that stick out at right angles.

  19. When you reach the shore, turn right between the trees to a gate. Go through the gate and follow the path across the field to a pedestrian gate marked with a public footpath sign to the right of the field gate.

    The little egret - a white member of the heron family - can be seen on many of the creeks in Cornwall and yet is only a very recent settler in Britain. The birds first appeared in Britain in any number in 1989 and the first to breed was in 1996 in Dorset.

  20. Go through the gate beneath the footpath sign and follow the path to reach a lane. Bear left across the tarmac to the public footpath path opposite (to the left of the Trevellan Road sign), and follow this to re-emerge onto the lane.
  21. Follow the lane ahead to return to Mill Quay and the car park to complete the circular route.

    Mylor is the name of the parish but there is not as such a village of Mylor. The closest thing to this are the separate villages of Mylor Bridge, which is the largest in the parish, and Mylor Churchtown which includes the harbour as well as the church.

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