Mylor to Flushing circular walk

Mylor to Flushing

A circular walk from Mylor along the creeks of Carrick Roads to Flushing which was named after a town in Holland when Dutch engineers built the quays, and where ships' captains would keep a watchful eye over Falmouth Harbour from their tall houses.

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The route follows the coast path along the edge of Carrick Roads to the waterside village of Flushing where a week-long regatta is held in July. The return route is over the hill, descending to Mylor creek through woods which are carpeted in wild garlic flowers in the spring. The final stretch back to Mylor is along the creek via the churchyard.


  • Note that most coastal walks in Cornwall have paths close to unfenced cliffs.

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Vital statistics

  • OS Explorer: 104
  • Distance: 4.1 miles/6.5 km
  • Steepness grade: Easy-moderate
  • Recommended footwear: Walking boots, 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)


  • Views across Carrick Roads and along the creeks
  • Pretty woodland with wild garlic in spring and nice autumn colours
  • Flushing - a pretty waterside village

Pubs on or near the route

  • The Royal Standard
  • The Seven Stars

Adjoining walks


  1. Facing the harbour, turn right and walk past the Castaways to a private road with a sign for "Footpath to Flushing". Follow the private road to reach the gate for Penarrow House.

    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.

  2. At Penarrow House, bear left onto the small path and follow this to the slipway outside the RSC building.

    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.

  3. Cross the slipway to the concrete path opposite and follow this between a hedge and a fence to reach another slipway.

    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. At the slipway, bear right slightly to follow a path between the fences. Follow this to reach a stile.

    Native oyster beds lie off the point in the main river.

    Native oysters were overfished in the 20th century, and in the 1960s, pacific rock oysters began to be imported into Britain. Native oysters can be distinguished from imported pacific oysters by the shape of their shell. Pacific oysters have pointed shells (a bit like knobbly mussel shells) whereas the shells of native oysters are round.

  5. Cross the stile and follow the path along the left hedge to reach a stile next to a gate.

    The Trefusis family has a colourful ancestry which includes Sir Francis Drake, Robert the Bruce and even Lady Godiva! There had been a house on the same site on the Trefusis Estate in the parish of Mylor since the 13th century. When the present house was built in 1891, artefacts found from the previous house were incorporated, including a Tudor mantle piece.

  6. Cross the stile and follow the path along the left hedge to a gateway.

    Small sailing boats are still used in the estuary for fishing for shellfish.

    The Lugger was a type of sailing boat widely used for fishing until the 20th Century, and was the principal vessel of the Cornish fishing industry. The type of sails it used were known as "lugsails", and were positioned asymmetrically with respect to the mast so more of the sail was behind than in front of the mast. The origin of the name is uncertain, but one suggestion is that it might be from "ear-shaped-sail", which a French name for the class of boats ("aurique") also points to.

    In the early 20th Century, small petrol-paraffin engines became available which allowed the boats to enter a harbour more easily. At this point, the boats also began to last longer because oil spills from the engine soaked into the timber, both preventing rot and also killing off woodworm and woodlice that, formerly, had gradually devoured wooden vessels. Some of the vessels from this period have survived, converted to pleasure craft.

  7. Go through the gateway and follow the path ahead to a gap in the far hedge.

    Falmouth harbour is one of the largest natural harbours in the world and the deepest in Western Europe. The large waterway of Carrick Roads, forming the junction of seven estuaries, was created after the Ice Age from an ancient valley which flooded with the rising sea levels as the ice caps melted.

  8. Go through the gap and continue following the path to reach a stile.

    St Anthony's Lighthouse overlooks the entrance to the estuary.

    St Anthony's Lighthouse was built out of granite in 1835 on the eastern entrance to Falmouth Harbour to guide vessels clear of the Manacles rocks. In most directions, the light is white but a sector close to The Manacles rocks is coloured red, warning vessels to steer offshore. The lighthouse was featured in the UK version of the TV series "Fraggle Rock" as "Fraggle Rock Lighthouse". Until 1954, the lighthouse possessed a huge bell which hung outside the tower and was used as a fog signal. This was later replaced with a foghorn.

  9. Cross the stile and follow the path to reach a gap in the hedge in front of a stream.

    St Mawes castle is on the headland on the opposite side of the creek.

    St Mawes Castle is part of the chain of coastal defences built during the reign of King Henry VIII to protect against an invasion threat from Catholic France and Spain after establishing the Church of England. St Mawes' clover-leaf shape was designed so that heavy "ship-sinking" guns could be mounted to face in three directions and together with Pendennis Castle could protect the important anchorage of Carrick Roads. Whereas Pendennis was further developed after Tudor times, St Mawes was not. Thus it is one of the best preserved of these fortresses and is also the most elaborately decorated of them all.

  10. Cross the stream and follow the path along the edge of the field to reach another gap in a wall.

    In Elizabethan times, the town of Falmouth did not exist, only a few small settlements around Carrick Roads which had been there since mediaeval times. A few castles had been built during the Tudor period to defend the river system and there was a manor house of Arwenack which was owned by Sir John Killigrew. When Sir Walter Raleigh visited Arwenack in 1598, he was so impressed with the natural harbour of Carrick Roads that he recommended that it should be developed as a port. Following this, the town of Falmouth was created in 1613.

  11. Go through the gap and keep right where the path forks to follow the upper path. Continue until the path ends at a gate and stile.

    The "corner" where the inlet to Falmouth begins is known as Trefusis Point.

    King Henry VIII planned to build a castle in the field on Trefusis Point as part of the Falmouth coastal defences to go alongside the castles at St Mawes and Pendennis. However, the funds had to be diverted in order to finance the front line of his wars in France and Scotland, so the castle was never built.

  12. Cross the cattle-grid-like stile and follow the track to a gate outside the Flushing and Mylor Pilot Gig Club.

    The six-oared elm boats known as Pilot Gigs were general-purpose work boats, but one of their uses was to transport the pilot to and from a ship, which resulted in the name. The first boat to meet a ship gained the business of transporting the captain (and thus being paid) and thus a "race" came into being, with different boats competing for business. Today, Gig Racing is of a recreational nature, but the boats are still built to the exact well-documented specification of the originals. Elm wood is highly resistant to water, so much so, that town water mains were made of elm before the widespread availability of iron.

  13. Go through the gap on the right of the gate and follow the pavement alongside the road. Continue to reach the Flushing Sailing Club by the water's edge.

    Flushing contains a number of grand houses from the 18th and 19th Centuries which were the residences of ship's captains and merchants. Some even include turrets from which the incoming ships could be identified.

  14. Turn right to stay on the lane and follow this past the wharf to reach the Seven Stars inn.

    The Seven Stars Inn dates back to at least the 18th Century, when there are records of it being leased by the Trefusis family for 99 years. It was rebuilt in the early 20th Century after it burnt down in 1900.

  15. Continue a short distance past the Seven Stars to a junction with Kersey Road. Bear right onto Kersey Road and follow this until you reach some steps with a public footpath sign on the left, opposite Kersey Close on the right.

    St Peter's Road is named after the church which lies a short distance along it and, in common with many in Cornwall, is dedicated to the patron saint of fishermen.

    Flushing lies in the parish of Mylor so in the 17th and 18th Centuries there would have been a trek to Mylor church on Sundays. Flushing church was built in 1840s and renovated/extended in 1871.

    In Flushing Churchyard is the head of a Celtic wayside cross which is decorated with carvings on both sides. It was found in 1891 in a pigsty at Porloe farm (over the top of the hill from Flushing, towards Mylor Harbour) where it had been in use as the socket stone for a threshing machine. The brass socket is still visible in the neck of the cross head.

  16. Turn left up the steps immediately before the Orchard Lane sign and follow the footpath to a stile.

    Flushing was originally known as Nankersey, meaning something along the lines of "valley of reeds"; a number of roads still contain the name Kersey. The village is recorded as being founded in 1661. The name Flushing was given to it by the Dutch engineers who built the quays, as they were from Flushing in the Netherlands.

  17. Cross the stile and follow the path along the left hedge to reach a stone stile in the corner in front of the house.

    Nettle fibres have been used to make clothing since at least the Bronze Age (textiles made from nettle fibre were found at a Bronze Age site in Denmark). During the First World War, almost all German army uniforms were made from nettles to avoid a shortage of cotton. In more recent years, some European countries have started modern commercial production of nettle-based textiles. A textiles student who produced "nettle knickers" for her university project commented that the fibres are coarser than cotton so it is probably more suited to workwear than underwear.

  18. Cross the stile and follow the right hedge to a gateway. Go through the gateway and turn left onto the driveway. Follow this until it ends on a road opposite a junction.

    Whilst it's fairly obvious why cows are reluctant to cross a cattle grid, you might be surprised to learn that cows will also not cross a "virtual" cattle grid composed of dark and light lines painted on a completely solid surface. This even works with wild cattle who have never encountered a "real" cattle grid before and so is unlikely to be learned behaviour. It is thought that the reason is due to the limitations of cows' vision, specifically their limited depth perception means that they cannot discriminate between bars over a pit and a series of light and dark lines.

  19. Cross over the road and follow the lane ahead. Continue a short distance to reach a stile and pedestrian gate on the right.

    Since its reintroduction, sycamore has spread widely as the seeds are extremely fertile and able to grow just about anywhere where the ground is sufficiently wet. In particular they can grow within the shade of the parent tree, creating dense cover that crowds-out other species. In some areas it is regarded as an invasive weed.

  20. Cross the stile or go through the gate and follow the path along the left hedge of the field to the bottom-left corner.

    Tannins are natural preservatives. The reason why red wine keeps much longer than white is that the grape skins that give the red colour also contain tannins. Oak leaves, wood and acorns all contain a high level of tannins. When wine is aged in oak, the wooden barrels release more preservative tannins into their contents.

  21. Follow the path leading from the corner of the field into the woods. Stay on the main path leading downhill through the woods to reach a gate.

    Wild garlic is best harvested in early spring before it flowers and the leaves start to die off. Unlike domestic garlic, the leaves are generally used rather than the bulb, which is very small. Note that there are some lilies that look very similar and are poisonous! If it doesn't smell strongly of garlic/onions, then it's not wild garlic and should be avoided. A schoolboy error is to rub the leaves between fingers where the smell lingers so a subsequent poisonous lily leaf could be misidentified.

    Some mosses are able to absorb 20-30 times their own weight in liquid. Moss was used in several ancient cultures as nappies: babies were carried in a moss-lined bag to prevent leaks. Moss has also traditionally been used to line hanging baskets which are very prone to drying-out. Areas of moss help to protect soil from erosion by runoff and rivers from sediment and flooding by capturing rainfall and giving it chance to soak slowly into the soil.

  22. Pass around the gate and follow the path to reach few steps leading up to emerge onto a track.

    A problem with rhododendrons is that they kill bees. Rhododendron nectar is highly toxic to honeybees, killing them within hours. Some other bee species such as mining bees are also adversely affected. Bumblebees seem to be unaffected though.

    Rhododendrons are so successful in Britain that they have become an invasive species, crowding out other flora in the Atlantic oak woodlands. They are able to spread very quickly both through suckering along the ground and by abundant seed production. Many of the root stocks of ornamental specimens have suckered off some new common rhododendrons which have then out-competed the ornamental tree and killed it off!

    Conservation organisations now classify the rhododendron explosion as a severe problem and various strategies have been explored to attempt to stop the spread. So far, the most effective method seems to be injecting herbicide into individual plants which is both more precise and effective than blanket cutting or spraying.

  23. At the top of the steps, turn right onto the track and follow this until it ends on a lane.

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

    From mid November to January, the plants produce spikes with pale pink scented flowers. The scent resembles marzipan i.e. almond and vanilla.

    A large beech tree overhangs the track, dropping beechnuts in early autumn.

    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.

  24. Turn right onto the lane and follow it to where a narrow tarmac path on the right starts parallel to the road opposite Kiln House. Follow the path beside the road until it ends beside a slipway outside "Chynoweth".

    Chy is the Cornish word for "house", and noweth means "new". Both words crop up a lot in place names, such as Trenoweth (new farm) or Chypons (bridge house). chy usually mutates to -jy when placed at the end of a word such as bowjy (cow barn - literally "cow house") or melingy (millhouse).

  25. Follow the track to the left of Chynoweth and the path that leads from this. Follow the path, which expands into a track at Menwinnion, to emerge on a lane opposite Mylor Church.

    Mylor Church is dedicated to St Melorus, who is said to have established an early religious settlement here and given the name to the parish. A few parts of the present church date back to Norman times, notably the North door; however, the majority of the building dates from a major reconstruction which took place around 1870.

  26. Cross the road and enter the churchyard. Walk downhill and pass to the left of the church to reach a gate leading to Mylor Harbour and complete the circular route.

    The tall cross in Mylor churchyard is the largest in Cornwall: the stone is reported to be over 17 feet in length and protrudes 10 feet above the ground. It was recovered in 1870 when it was found buried upside down and in use as a gatepost. It is thought that it may have been in use as a sacred stone before Christian times.

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