Monday, 13 August 2018

Falmouth's beautiful North Helford region

It has been so hot recently in Cornwall that hard coastal path hikes have been put on the back burner for the time being. However, I have managed to cycle most days, and the North Helford region of Falmouth is one of my favourite rides, albeit very hilly (but manageable on my e-bike!). This is also a great area to explore in a few hours by car from Falmouth.
Falmouth lies between the estuaries of two very beautiful rivers, the Fal to the north and the Helford further south, and the North Helford region of outstanding natural beauty starts on the road to the small village of Constantine, from where we can take a 16 mile circular drive along the road which has several offshoots to the Helford River.

Passing by Constantine we reach the Port Navas Creek, one of the Helford's many creeks. Climbing a very steep and narrow hill out of Port Navas village takes us to Budock Vean, from where we head back to Falmouth. The Helford River is a couple of hundred feet below the road, and it is worth the steep descent down to Helford Passage, where there is a small car park next to the famous Ferry Boat Inn. From Helford Passage there is a small ferry to the beautiful Helford Village, and from there a short walk to Frenchman's Creek, the location of the eponymous book and film (see also posting of 10th April 2015).
Port Navas Creek
Helford Passage
Helford Village
Frenchman's Creek
Cornwall not only has a stunning coastline, it also has beautiful gardens, and two of them are on the road back to Falmouth. Trebah is rated in the top 80 gardens in the world, and has a lovely walk through a wooded valley with rhododendrons, magnolias and camellias onto Trebah beach, an idyllic spot on the Helford River. In 1944, the beach was used as an embarkation point for a regiment of 7,500 of the 29th US Infantry Division for the assault landing on Omaha beach, part of the D -Day Landings.

Trebah (source unknown)

Trebah beach
Back on the main road, a short distance from Trebah, is the Glendurgan Garden, owned by the National Trust. This thriving sub-tropical valley garden winds down to the Helford River at the fishing village of Durgan.

The maze at Glendurgan

Durgan village
Heading back to Falmouth, turn right at the Red Lion Inn at Mawnan Smith. Further on it is worth a right turn to Mawnan Church, from where you can park your vehicle and walk through the wood to the coast. A right turn takes you to Toll Head with its spectacular view of the mouth of the Helford River.
The Helford Estuary and the short walk from Mawnan to Toll Head
The Helford estuary from Toll Head
As you complete your journey, you will pass Falmouth's most southerly beaches at Maenporth and Swanpool. Maenporth is overlooked by our favourite Falmouth restaurant, The Cove. What better way to end the day than to have an evening meal in the restaurant with its amazing view of the beach and cliffs?
Maenporth beach
Swanpool beach
Twitter @barrywills

1 comment:

  1. Really nice post. What a captivating place.


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