St Buryan to Penberth Cove circular walk

St Buryan to Penberth Cove

To bypass the crop at direction 13, continue straight to the left corner of the field and over the stone stile. Turn right onto the lane. Continue 150 yds (past a metal gate on your right) to reach the public footpath sign by the white cottage to rejoin the route.

A circular walk along the granite cliffs and the valleys of St Loy's and Penberth Coves where colourful gardens flourish in one of the mildest winter climates on the British mainland.

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 follows a footpath towards the coast then along the stream through bluebell woods to St Loy's Cove. The walk then joins the coast path and follows this to Penberth Cove via the rocky valley of Porthguarnon. The return route is up the Penberth valley and across the daffodil fields on the west side of St Buryan.

Considerations

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

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: 102
  • Distance: 7.6 miles/12.3 km
  • Steepness grade: Moderate-strenuous
  • Recommended footwear: Walking boots

OS maps for this walk

OS Explorer 102 OS Explorer 102 (laminated version)

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

Highlights

  • Rugged granite coastline
  • Bluebell woods approaching St Loy's Cove
  • Pretty fishing port of Penberth Cove
  • Wildlife including seals, birds of prey and choughs

Pubs on or near the route

  • St Buryan Inn

Directions

  1. From the church, cross to the St Buryan Inn and then turn down Boskennal Lane alongside the inn. Follow the track leading from the end of the lane to reach a stile beside a gate at a sharp bend in the track.

    St Buryan churchyard is a raised oval enclosure indicative of a Celtic religious settlement from the Dark Ages, possibly the 6th Century. A church was established here in 930 under Saxon King Athelstan and owned extensive land in the parish. After the Norman Conquest, the church was re-established in 1238 and remnants of the Norman church are still visible including a coffin-shaped monument inscribed with Norman French. The 13th Century church was pulled down and rebuilt in the 14th Century, from which the tower remains. The rest of the church was rebuilt again in the 15th Century and has subsequently been restored a number of times since the mid-18th Century.

  2. Cross the stile or go through the gate and walk ahead across the field to the gap in the hedge opposite.

    St Buryan dates from Celtic times and was recorded in 1086 as Egloberrie (Cornish for "Church of St Berrie"). The Domesday survey recorded that the Cannons of St Buryan owned enough arable land for 8 ploughs and 20 acres of pasture.

  3. Go through the gap and cross the field to a pedestrian gate with granite gateposts.

    Where the Domesday survey mentions "land for one plough" this was a measurement of land taxation rather than a measurement of actual land area.

    In Norman times and before, ploughing was done with oxen. A single oxen could plough 15 acres in a season so "land for one plough" was loosely based on this. With 8 oxen, around 120 acres could be ploughed in a season which represented enough to support a (manorial) household (a peasant household would get by on a lot less!). The unit of land tax known as a "hide" was based on this (effectively "land for 8 ploughs").

    In both cases, the actual area of land for each taxation unit varied with the productivity of the land so the lower income that the land was, the larger the area a taxable unit covered. More-or-less, they were the Norman version of Council Tax bands.

  4. Go through the gate and turn left. Follow the track until it ends in a junction with another track.

    Granite is the most common igneous rock found at Earth's surface and also the oldest - thought to be formed up to 300 million years ago.

  5. Turn right at the junction and follow the track until it ends at a metal gate for "Gwarrakewenbyghan", with a small stile to the left.

    The settlement of Boskennal dates back to Early Mediaeval times and was first recorded in 1329 as Boskenhal. The name of the settlement is thought to have been based on the Cornish word bod and a personal name i.e. "Kennal's dwelling".

  6. Cross the stile on the left and follow the right hedge of the field to a gateway.

    Nettles obtain soluble silicate compounds in the soil and use these to create silicon dioxide (quartz) from which their 1.5 mm long hollow stinging spikes (known by scientists as "trichomes" and most other people as "glass needles") are made. These spikes are located on the stems of the plant as well as the leaves and break off in the skin of a herbivore or walker that brushes against the plant. Because the spikes are so brittle, they also gradually break off during the lifetime of the nettle as other leaves rub against them on windy days, so older nettles are "less stingy" than fresh growth.

  7. Go through the gateway on the right and turn left to carry on in the same direction as before, following the left hedge to reach a stone stile in the corner.

    Skylarks can often be heard singing above the fields.

    Skylarks are the most common member of the lark family in Britain and are often known simply as "larks".

    Lark shooting was a popular sport in Victorian times. Revolving mirrors were used to attract the migrating birds, which would hover over the mirror. There are records of over 1,000 birds being shot at a single mirror in a day. Despite being flagged as high conservation concern on the the IUCN Red List, at the time of writing in 2020, skylarks can still be legally shot in France and still are in large numbers.

  8. Cross the stile and follow the right hedge to reach another stone stile.

    The word "stile" is based on an Old English word stigel for ladder. This in turn came from an old Germanic word stig meaning "to climb" and the word "stair" also came from this.

    Conversely, the word "style" (now used for fashion etc. but originally for literary style or a writing tool i.e. stylus) is from French origins (naturally!). This came from an Old French word stile, derived from the Latin stilus. It's thought the "i" might have been changed to a "y" for snob value to be more like the (unrelated) Greek word stylos (for pillar).

  9. Cross the stile and head straight across the field to the stone stile opposite.

    Growing daffodils has been an important industry in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly for over a century. When the Great Western Railway reached Cornwall, this provided a means to export perishable goods such as fresh flowers and fish which previously would not have survived the long journey by boat or horse and cart. Out of respect for the dead, coffins were transported by the railway for free. It was therefore not unheard of for coffins filled with daffodils to arrive in London from Cornwall.

    Over 99% of a protein molecule is made up from just 4 chemical elements: carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen. Except in times of drought, hydrogen and oxygen are readily available from water. Plants can get carbon from atmospheric carbon dioxide via photosynthesis. That leaves nitrogen. Some plants are able to get this from the air but most plants need to get this from the soil in the form of nitrate or ammonium compounds. This is why cow manure, composted plants and even dried blood (which all contain nitrogen compounds) have been used to improve soils.

  10. Cross the stile and follow the left hedge to reach a gate.

    In August and September, thistles produce their seeds attached to white fluffy plumes, known as thistledown which disperse in the wind like dandelion seeds. Wet weather makes their parachutes collapse so the dispersal success varies a lot with the weather. Around 90% of seeds fall within a metre of the plant so thistles are often found growing in patches. The remaining 10% disperse more widely and can travel as far as 30 metres even in light wind.

    Thistle seeds are a favourite food of goldfinches and the down is used by birds as an insulating lining for their nests.

  11. Go through the gate ahead and continue following the left hedge to reach a stone stile.

    Ribwort plantain is a common weed on cultivated land with long leaves and unmistakable black seed heads on the end of tall stalks often with a halo of white flowers. Generations of children have worked out that by knotting the stem, the seed head can be launched as a projectile at unsuspecting adults.

    A tea made from the leaves is a popular herbal remedy but care should be taken where the plant is harvested as it is not only highly tolerant of high metal levels in the soil but also accumulates these. It will even tolerate and accumulate arsenic which is normally toxic to plants. It therefore has the potential to be used for cleansing soils contaminated with mine waste.

  12. Cross the stile and continue across the field to reach a stone stile to the right of the gate.

    As you approach the gate, there is a horseshoe-shaped cross head built into the wall. In 1896, this was recorded as standing beside the gateway. The cross shaft on which it stood is also now built into the wall. The cross head is mediaeval but the shaft is more recent.

  13. Cross the stile and bear right across the field towards the cottage to reach a stile against the wall outside the cottage.

    Meadow buttercups spread across a field relatively slowly as most seeds fall quite close to the parent and although it has a creeping root system capable of propagating new plants, this only extends a fairly short distance from each plant (unlike creeping buttercup which has a much more extensive root system). Because grazing animals avoid buttercups due to their acrid taste, this allows them to accumulate over time. The combination of these factors allows the number of meadow buttercups in a field to be used an indicator of how long it's been used for grazing.

    An acre is a unit of area dating back to mediaeval times, based on the amount of land that could be ploughed with a yoke of oxen in one day. It was standardised in 1824 as a rectangle of 4 rods (66 feet) by one furlong (660 feet). The 10:1 "letterbox" aspect ratio comes from the long, thin field shapes in mediaeval times to minimise the awkward process of turning the oxen around. In fact the name "furlong" comes from the Old English for "one furrow long". The acre has since lost its prescribed shape and now just means 43,560 square feet.

  14. Cross the stile and go down the steps to a road. Turn right onto the road and follow it downhill a short distance to a footpath sign on the left.

    Crocosmia (also known as Montbretia) is a garden plant in the iris family with bright orange flowers in summer. It has South African origins and was bred in France as a garden plant, then introduced into the UK in the 1880s.

    It has spread into the wild, particularly along the west coast of Britain and is extremely invasive. It is now a criminal offence to cause it to grow in the wild.

    Crocosmia means "saffron scent" and alludes to the smell of the dried leaves (the crocuses which produce saffron are also members of the iris family).

  15. Turn left onto the path indicated by the footpath sign and follow it through the woods until you cross over the stream and reach a fork.

    In Old Cornish, both bluebells and marigolds were known as lesengoc which translates to "flower of the cuckoo". In Modern Cornish, the marigold has remained more-or-less the same but the bluebell has been changed to bleujenn an gog ("plant of the cuckoo"). The association between bluebells and cuckoos exists in Welsh ("bells of the cuckoo") and Gaelic ("cuckoo's shoe"), and in some English folk names such as Cuckoo's Boots and Cuckoo Stockings. It is thought that the association is due to the time that bluebells flower coinciding with the time that the call of the cuckoo is first heard.

    Crows have a vocabulary of different calls with specific meanings and these can be varied to convey emotion like a human tone of voice.

    The sounds that crows make have also been found to vary with location rather like regional accents in humans. When a crow moves into a new area, it mimics the calls of the most dominant flock members to fit in with its peer group.

  16. After crossing the stream, keep left at the fork to follow the path back over the stream and continue down the valley. Follow the path to eventually reach a small gate before a stream crossing.

    The deciduous woodland includes beech and chestnut trees.

    To roast chestnuts, prick each of your chestnuts with a skewer or slit the shell with a knife - this is vital to stop them exploding (and disappearing into dust). Bake them in a hot oven for at least 10 minutes. Wild chestnuts are harder to shell than the shop-bought variety as the shells are much thinner and the nuts are often smaller. An easier way to separate the edible part from the shell is to simply slice the shell in half and then scoop out the contents with the point of a knife blade. Also this way, the bitter pith covering the outside of the nut is left behind in the shell. The contents of the nut should be fluffy and pale yellow; discard any that are brown. Separating the flesh from the shells is a fairly tedious process, but with a few friends armed with large cups of tea, a formidable amount of chestnut can be extracted which can be used to make stuffings, soups or whizzed into flour and added to bread recipes. It also freezes nicely so it can be stored up for Christmas recipes.

  17. Go through the gate and cross the stream via the protruding stones, then follow the path to reach a stile.

    St. Loy's Cove is rumoured to be the warmest cove on mainland Britain during winter. In reality, the warmest location probably varies a little from year to year, but it is true that some of the mildest winter temperatures are found in Southwest Cornwall as winter temperatures increase in a southerly and westerly direction across Britain. South-facing bays also have the benefit of catching the winter sunshine whilst having some shelter from prevailing westerly, or cold northerly and easterly winds.

  18. Cross the stile. The walk continues ahead along the fence but beforehand you may want to make a small diversion down the path to the left to St Loy's Cove. After returning here, follow the path along the fence to a kissing gate.

    To reach the cove, follow the path to join a track beside a bridge and cross over the track to the path opposite. Follow this over another bridge to reach the cove.

    The first record of St Loy is a reference to the bay from 1580 as "Saint Loybay" and the saint mentioned is likely to date from early mediaeval times. At St Loy's Cove, a chapel dedicated to St Loy was recorded as being located on the east side of the stream. It is thought to have been removed in the 19th century in order to build a summerhouse.

    A second mediaeval chapel was also recorded at St Loy's Cove - on the west side and dedicated to St Dellan. It is thought that its ruins were thrown over the cliff in the mid 19th century to create a garden.

    More about the history of St Loy's Cove

  19. Go through the kissing gate and follow the coast path past one waymark to a corner with a large rock on the right and a waymark around the corner to the left.

    In October 1912, the French steamer Abertay ran aground at St. Loy's Cove in thick fog. A newspaper at the time reported:

    The crew were astounded to find themselves alongside a large steamer; they shouted but got no reply from the vessel that towered over them, and they took her for an abandoned wreck. The Abertay was badly holed aft and, fearing she would sink, the crew clambered aboard the other vessel.

    The vessel they boarded was the SS South America, which had itself run aground at St Loy's Cove in thick fog seven months before, and had been abandoned after the attempts to refloat it had failed. The crew spent the night on the wreck of the large ship and climbed down to safety the following morning.

  20. Keep left around the corner to follow the waymarked coast path to reach a stile.

    In 1991, sloes were found in the stomach contents of a 5,300 human mummy in the Alps, indicating that they were part of the Neolithic diet. Alone they are extremely bitter but with enough sugar, they can be made into a range of preserves.

    Blackthorn stems are often covered in fungi or bacteria and if a thorn punctures skin, these can sometimes cause infection. Any splinters left in the skin can also disintegrate over time and result in an immune response. If a puncture wound becomes infected, it's a good idea to get it checked-out in a minor injuries unit in case antibacterial or anti-fungal treatment is needed to prevent it escalating.

  21. Cross the stile and continue following the coast path until you reach a waymark at a junction of paths, with a sign for Treverven Campsite.

    The ancient field boundaries of West Penwith are thought to be older than the Pyramids. The Environmental Stewardship Scheme has allowed traditional farming methods to be sustained, preserving the network of hedgerows in the tiny Celtic fields that would otherwise be uneconomical to farm with industrial-scale machinery. The scheme has also facilitated coastal grazing which helps prevent the coast becoming overgrown with gorse and bracken, allowing species such as the chough and potentially the large blue butterfly to recolonise.

  22. Follow the steps down to the bottom of the valley and up the other side then continue following the coast path until you reach a T-junction in the path.

    A path leads down to Porthguarnon Cove from the coast path. It is a boulder-strewn beach similar to St Loy's Cove. The name of the cove is thought to derive from the Cornish for Alder trees which perhaps once grew along the stream.

  23. At the junction, turn left and follow the path to a waymark.

    The size of the kestrel population is very dependent on the vole population. The mortality of young kestrels is high. Around 60-70% don't survive their first year and the main cause of this is starvation.

  24. Bear left at the waymark onto the small path indicated and follow it to a junction of paths.

    Lichens obtain nearly all their nutrients from the atmosphere and therefore can be very sensitive to air pollution. As a general rule of thumb, healthy lichens means clean air, but more specifically, different species have been found to be sensitive to different pollutants. By identifying common species that exhibits change for a particular pollutant, lichens can be used as an early warning dashboard showing not only how much air pollution there is but also what kind.

  25. Keep right at the junction and follow the path downhill to emerge beside the cottage at Penberth Cove.

    The Hottentot Fig (Carpobrotus edulis), was once classified as a Mesembryanthemum but as plant genetics were better understood, was found to be a close relative but in a different sub-family of the larger ice-plant family. They are called ice plants due to hairs on the leaves which refract sunlight and make them sparkle. The plant is native to South Africa and was originally grown ornamentally in gardens but has subsequently gone feral and settled on the coastline where it thrives in sandy soils, helped by its resistance to wind and salt. It forms a dense mat which crowds out other species and is therefore considered invasive.

    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.

  26. Keep right to pass the cottage and follow the tarmacked lane to reach an elaborate bridge/tower over the river. Continue on the road until you reach a public footpath sign on the right next to a telegraph pole.

    Penberth Cove was documented in 1580 as Porth Penbyrthe. Many elements of the fishery visible today date back to the 18th century which is one of the reasons it was selected as one of the main filming locations for the BBC's Poldark series. The capstan dates from the 19th Century and was used to winch boats up the beach before the electric winch was installed in the 1960s.

  27. At the Public Footpath sign, bear right onto the small path and follow it down from the wall. Continue along the woodland path to reach a flight of steps.

    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 plants in the onion family including three-cornered leeks are poisonous to dogs. Keep dogs away from the plant and wash their paws if they come into contact with it.

    The settlement of Penberth was recorded more than 1,000 years ago in 932 as Benberd. The name is thought to be based on the Cornish word ben, meaning foot, and the name of the river (which Cornish place-names expert Craig Weatherhill suggests could have been Breyth, meaning "dappled one"). The overall gist is therefore something like "at the foot of the dappled river" which is consistent with both the location of the settlement and tree cover in the sheltered valley.

  28. Go down the steps into the garden and follow the path ahead to emerge in a gravel parking area. Turn right onto the tarmac driveway to reach the road.

    Cornwall has the mildest and sunniest climate in the United Kingdom, both due to its southerly latitude and the Gulf Stream carrying warm air from the Caribbean. The county has become even milder over the past decade, according to a report from Exeter University. Average temperatures in Cornwall stay above 10°C for more than seven months of the year and the southwestern part of the county is classed as subtropical.

  29. Turn left onto the road and follow it uphill a short distance to a track on the right marked with a footpath sign.
  30. Turn right onto the track and follow it to a bend where an unsurfaced track departs to the left before a wooden gate ahead.

    The inner bark of the tree carries sugars created by photosynthesis down from the leaves to feed the rest of the tree. The inner bark dies over time to produce the outer bark which protects the living part of the tree.

  31. Bear left onto the track and follow it through the woods until a path forks off to the right into a meadow.
  32. Bear right onto the path into the meadow and follow along the line of trees on the left to the far hedge. Continue through the gap in the hedge to reach a stone stile.
  33. Cross the stile and cross the field to a small gap on the right side of the far hedge beside the river.

    The small yellow flowers in the field in the spring are celandines.

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

    The extra distance covered by going up and down does indeed add to the distance shown on a map. However, despite your legs telling you otherwise, this is actually not that huge. On an exceptionally arduous walk solely on the coast with lots of deep valleys, the distance travelled "up and down" is likely to be at most about 10% compared to the distance on the flat. For a more normal coastal circular walk the extra "up and down" is typically not much more than 5% of the distance on a flat map.

  34. Go through the gap in the wall and follow the path to emerge via some steps into another small meadow. Follow along the left edge of the meadow to reach a small path leading from the corner to a footbridge.

    You may remember from school geography lessons that the faster-flowing water around the outside of the bend causes a meander in a river to slowly grow as the outside edge is eroded and sediment is deposited on the inside by slower-moving water. At this point, your school geography teacher probably got excited about ox-bow lakes and never got around to explaining exactly why the water flows faster on the outside in the first place. So that you don't go to your grave feeling short-changed, an attempt at an explanation follows...

    Flowing water piles into the outside of the bend and creates a higher pressure there. Close to the riverbed, water is moving very slowly so the high pressure pushes water across the bottom from the outside to the inside. This drags the faster-moving water across the top of the river to the outside to take its place. This spiralling current both erodes the outside edge with faster-moving water and also transports the sediment back across the bottom to the inside

  35. Cross the bridge and climb the steps. Follow the sunken woodland path and cross over a track leading from the field. Continue following the sunken path until it ends in some stone steps.

    Black fungi that resemble lumps of coal are known as coal fungus but also King Alfred cakes due to a legendary baking disaster by the regent. The dried fungus can be used with a flint as a fire starter - a spark will ignite the inside which glows like a piece of charcoal and can be used to light dry grass. There is evidence that prehistoric nomadic tribes used glowing pieces of fungus to transport fire to a new camp.

  36. Go down the steps into a field and cross this to the stile ahead with wooden poles either side.

    Small birds such as tits can often be seen perching in the trees along the edges of the fields.

    Members of the tit family have been seen using tools such as a conifer needle to extract grubs from holes in trees and to exhibit social learning - once discovered, the behaviour of pecking through foil on milk bottle tops to reach the cream spread steadily across the country. This is quite impressive considering their brain weighs less than 1 gram.

  37. Climb the stile and go through the gate. Cross the field to a similar stile to the right of the field gate (using the higher ground on the left to bypass any flooding).

    If there are sheep in the field and you have a dog, make sure it's securely on its lead (sheep are prone to panic and injuring themselves even if a dog is just being inquisitive). If the sheep start bleating, this means they are scared and they are liable to panic.

    If there are pregnant sheep in the field, be particularly sensitive as a scare can cause a miscarriage. If there are sheep in the field with lambs, avoid approaching them closely, making loud noises or walking between a lamb and its mother, as you may provoke the mother to defend her young.

    Sheep may look cute but if provoked they can cause serious injury (hence the verb "to ram"). Generally, the best plan is to walk quietly along the hedges and they will move away or ignore you.

  38. Go through the wooden pedestrian gate and climb the stile. Follow along the right side of the field to reach a stile next to the gate in the far hedge.

    The stream along the valley is sometimes visited by herons.

    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.

  39. Climb the stile and continue ahead to the gate and stile opposite.

    Rooks nest in the trees on the opposite side of the stream and are able to find uses for human junk as well as natural materials.

    Experiments have shown that rooks are able to use tools to solve problems, choosing tools with optimal sizes and shapes to solve a problem. They are also able to adapt tools e.g. bending a wire to make a hook to retrieve food.

  40. Cross the stile and follow the track to reach a lane.
  41. Turn right onto the lane and follow this a short distance to a track with a Public Bridleway sign on the right.

    The magpie is believed to be one of the most intelligent of all animals. The area of its brain used for higher cognitive function is approximately the same in its relative size as in chimpanzees and humans. Magpies can count, imitate human voices, recognise themselves in a mirror and have been observed regularly using tools to keep their cages clean. It has even been suggested that magpies may feel complex emotions, including grief.

  42. Bear right onto the track and follow this. When a section of tarmac ends, keep right to pass alongside a white house.

    Both navelwort's Latin name and common name are based on its resemblance to a belly button. Other common names include wall pennywort and penny pies due to the shape and size resembling an (old) penny.

  43. Once past the house, continue ahead over the stream then follow the track around the bend to the right. Continue uphill past the flight of steps to reach a track departing to the left.

    Bamboo is a member of the grass family. Like grass, it can spread through underground stems. This combined with its dense growth makes it able to out-compete many other species. The largest species of bamboo can grow over 100ft tall!

  44. At the junction, turn left and follow the track uphill and around a bend to the right to reach a fork.

    Around 400 million years ago, green algae made its way from the sea to the land and the first liverworts appeared. These ancient, very simple plants are still around today. DNA studies suggest that all land plants and mosses may have originally evolved from early liverworts.

    Liverworts are found in damp, shady places but form flat structures that almost resemble soft corals. Their name is based on the appearance of the leaves which was thought to resemble an animal liver. Like mosses, liverworts don't produce flowers but instead reproduce via spores.

  45. At the fork, take the right-hand path. Follow this until it emerges onto a gravel track.

    Three-cornered leeks are really nice in pasta dishes to add a bit of texture and colour to the sauce.

    To make tagliatelle with three-cornered leeks and feta, collect about half a carrier bag of 3-cornered leek leaves. It seems a lot but they will wilt down massively. Wash them well and chop into around 1-2cm lengths.

    Mint is just coming up at the same time as the 3-cornered leeks so harvest about 5 sprigs if you have it in your garden. If not, a teaspoon of dried mint will do (or dried oregano as a backup).

    Make some 5 minute fresh tagliatelle for two by mixing 120g plain flour, 1 egg, 3g salt and enough water to make a stiff dough. Roll out with a rolling pin using lots of flour until nice and thin, loosely roll up into Swiss roll, cut with a sharp knife, and lay out the strips on a clean tea-towel.

    Fry an onion (red if you have it), a bit of chopped bacon (optional) and a sliced courgette (or red pepper) in olive oil then reduce the heat and add the leeks and chilli (e.g. a few fresh jalapenos or some dried chilli flakes). Whilst the leeks are wilting, pop the tagliatelle into boiling water for about 2 minutes until it floats. Drain the pasta, add to the main pan, turn off the heat, add in the mint (gently coarsely chopped if fresh) and some crumbled feta. Stir together, dress with a bit of extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice and serve with a glass of chilled white wine.

  46. Bear left onto the gravel track to reach the tarmac and follow the driveway until it meets a lane.
  47. Continue ahead to merge onto the lane and follow this until it ends in a T-junction.
  48. Turn right at the junction and follow the road until it ends in a T-junction with the main road.

    There are two types of ivy leaf. Those on creeping stems are the classic ivy leaf shape with 3-5 triangular lobes - they grow towards shade to find a tree to climb up. However, more mature ivy plants grow aerial shoots with a completely different (teardrop) leaf shape. These are the shoots that bear the flowers and fruits and are typically located in a sunny spot such as on an upright ivy bush or top of a rock face. The reason for the different shapes is that the larger, multi-lobed leaves are able to catch more light in shady areas whereas the smaller, stouter leaves are more resistant to drying out.

  49. Turn left onto the road and carefully follow it to the next junction on the left.
  50. Turn left onto the lane and follow this until you reach the driveway to Higher Alsia Farm.

    Alsia Well is nearby - reachable via a short diversion using the footpath that departs on the left a little further up the lane past Higher Alsia Farm. A worn track leads down to the well which is immediately evident from the tree tied with ribbons.

    Like many ancient wells, Alsia well was reputed to cure ailments and was a focus for superstitious rituals such as forecasting the future. The tree tied with ribbons is a relic of another ancient practice, although at this particular well it could be a modern revival rather than a continuous unbroken tradition.

  51. As you approach the Higher Alsia Farm driveway, bear right onto the small path to the right of the concrete structure to reach a stile into a field. Cross the stile and follow around the left hedge of the field until you pass one gateway and reach the gateway in the top corner.

    The pieces of ribbon tied to a tree beside the well may initially appear to be New Age pollution but are in fact a Celtic tradition dating back to pre-Christian times. For example, Christ's Well at Mentieth was described in 1618 as "all tapestried about with old rags".

    It was thought that an ailment could be cured by dipping a piece of fabric in the well and hanging it on a sacred tree beside the well. As the fabric rotted away, the illness was supposed to disappear. The wells were known as cloughtie wells based on clout - the archaic word for item of clothing - as in the saying "never cast a clout till May is out". Documented examples of cloughtie wells include the holy wells at Sancreed and Madron. This can also be seen at other holy wells such as St Clether, but how much of this is modern emulation and whether a suitable sacred tree species grew beside these wells in Celtic times is not known.

    Unfortunately most modern ribbons are made of polyester which does not rot and remains in the environment a long time where it can be hazardous to wildlife. If you are planning to tie a ribbon, make sure it's a natural fibre or rayon (aka Viscose) which is plant cellulose and can be broken down by micro-organisms.

  52. Go through the gateway and follow the right hedge past one gateway to a waymarked gateway in the corner.

    Broadleaf plantain (also known as greater plantain or common plantain) has rounded leaves. It grows in areas disturbed by humans or livestock such as fields and along footpaths and lanes. It was known as "white man's footprint" by some Native American people as it thrived in disturbed ground surrounding European settlements. The young leaves are edible as a salad green but become tough as they mature.

  53. Go through the gateway and stay in the right-hand of the two fields. Follow along the hedge on the left and as this bends away then cross the field to the small stile near the left corner of the far hedge.
  54. Climb over the stile and cross the field to another small stile directly opposite.

    The fields here are often used for arable crops including brassicas.

    The stink from decaying cabbages is due to sulphur compounds which it stores in its leaves, ready for the production of seeds later on. The compounds are also more concentrated in the plant if it has been deprived of water. These compounds are also released from the plant when leaves are boiled - the longer it's cooked, the more cabbage smell. The silver lining is that it's thought that the smelly compounds may possibly have anti-cancer properties. Whilst that's being researched a bit more, blanching or braising cabbage is a less smelly way to cook it.

  55. Cross the stile and follow the path through the undergrowth to another stile. Cross this into a field and follow along the left hedge to reach a stile in the hedge opposite.
  56. Cross the stile and then cross the field to a gate and stile in the right-hand corner of the far hedge.
  57. Climb the stile and cross over the track to the stile opposite. Cross the stile and continue ahead across the field towards the buildings on the skyline until you meet the right hedge. Follow along this to reach a stile next to a tall wooden fence.

    Bramble flowers produce a lot of nectar so they attract bees and butterflies which spread the pollen between plants. One study found the bramble flowers as the fifth highest nectar producers out of the 175 species studied. Brimstone and Speckled Wood butterflies are particularly fond of bramble flowers.

  58. Cross the stile and follow the path over two stone stiles. Continue on the path to where it ends on a driveway.

    Blackberries are high in vitamin C, K and antioxidants. The seeds, despite being a bit crunchy, contain omega-3 and -6 fatty acids and further enhance blackberries' "superfood" status.

  59. Continue ahead onto the driveway and follow this to reach Galligan Close.
  60. Turn left and follow the tarmac to a junction of tracks at the Galligan Lane sign. Turn right to reach the main road beside the village shop 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.