The South West Coast Path National Trail covers 630 miles and offers some of the most spectacular views you can see on foot in the UK. The full path starts from Minehead on the edge of Exmoor in Somerset and trails westward down the north coast of Devon into Cornwall, before snaking around Land's End and following the south coast of Cornwall and Devon, after which it goes on towards Poole Harbour in Dorset.
There are some fantastic views all along the coast path, from beaches to cliffs, woodlands to rivers, historical buildings to rugged moorlands. The beauty of the south-west coastline needs to be seen to be believed, and the area around Fowey and our boutique hotel.
Fowey is well known for its association with Daphne du Maurier, as the harbour town has served as the inspiration for many of her books, and you can understand why when you visit. The natural beauty around the town along with the rich heritage and working landscape has made Fowey and the south west an irresistible place to explore on foot, which du Maurier no doubt frequently did when living in the area. You can follow in her footsteps and discover the beauty of Fowey and the surrounding coastline when you visit on a mini-break.
One of our guest's favourite walks when staying in our luxury Fowey accommodation in Cornwall is Gribbin Head and the Saints Way walk. A moderate walk, it follows the cliff tops and has a few climbs. Many are attracted to it due to the rich historical and literary associations you find along the way, but also the spectacular views of the area, and it also gives you a chance to spot local wildlife along the cliffs.
- When leaving our hotel, drive or take a bus to Polkerris, as the starting point is at Polkerris Car Par. From there you can walk down to the beach, where you join the South West Coast Path passing seaward of the Lifeboat Café. Turn left up a slipway and after roughly 50 metres, take the path on the right. After 'zigzagging' up through the woods, the route then runs along the imposing cliffs, to the 'Daymark'. An impressive 84ft red and white tower, it was built in 1832 for sailors to distinguish Gribbin Head. Even from land, it is hard not to miss!
- From this vantage point you have magnificent views across St Austell Bay, and eastwards along the coast to Rame Head and South Devon. The tower is open certain Sundays through the summer, and this gives you a chance for an even more awe-inspiring view if you can handle heights.
- Moving on from the Daymark, you will have a manageable descent to two sandy coves and lake at Poldridmouth, which is pronounced ‘Pridmuth’! In the valley behind is Menabilly Barton, which was the home of Daphne du Maurier for many years, and the house and beach house at Polridmouth were central features of her acclaimed novel Rebecca.
- You can cross the stream via stepping stones, and it is at this point you will be glad to be wearing walking boots, as it can be slippy even when dry. Once you have crossed the stream, take the right-hand path which continues along the coast. When you reach Covington Woods, take the coastal path which will pass St Catherine’s Castle. The castle was built in 1540 and overlooks the Fowey Estuary.
- From St Catherine’s Castle, take the higher Coastal Path back into the woods and continue straight along this track. After 200m the path forks, with the Saint's Way marked with a Celtic cross and leads back inland to Polkerris. The Coast Path continues downhill to Readymoney.
- The Saints' Way is signposted clearly, and you can explore it along quiet lanes, through fields and woods across the Polkerris peninsula. When you reach Tregaminion, turn right and follow the road for 100m, before taking the footpath on your left which takes you across a field to re-join the Coast Path just above Polkerris. From this point, you can retrace your earlier steps along the coast path to lead you back to the car park.
This is the route description from the South West Coast Path and is around 6.6 miles in length. When walking the path, you may want to deviate and seek out some detours. There are longer routes to take, which will give you the chance to explore Fowey, or walks along the coast between Par and Polruan, encompassing Gribbin Head, Readymoney Cove and the Fowey Estuary.
Take a look at our other blog posts for more things to do in Fowey: