The weather was set fine, and we were off to stay at Gilbert Lodge for a couple of days of sea air and walking on the best bit of coast path you can find!
Beeny Cliff & Rocky Valley walks
The M5 was in a good mood and we had made good time, so we took advantage and headed to Boscastle farm shop for a superb lunch.
This is a fantastic cafe and farm shop for great locally sourced food, right on the coast path where you can follow lunch (or breakfast) with a “hang tough” up, down …. and back up again walk to Beeny cliff, Pentargon waterfall and on to Fire Beacon Point and Buckator, where you can spot a seal if your lucky. We perhaps should have tackled the walk before lunch rather than after, so didn’t make it all the way to Buckator this trip!
The steps on Beeny Cliff near Pentargon waterfall
The mist and soft rain we had arrived to in Cornwall quickly cleared so we took an evening walk from Gilbert Lodge through Rocky Valley to end our day with the view over Bossiney Bay.
There are 3 or 4 different ways of doing the walk from Gilbert Lodge to Rocky Valley, but if you just want a short stretch of your legs after a long drive, then we recommend you turn right out of the lodge and take a short downhill walk along the road towards Boscastle until you reach Trevillett Mill.
You then turn left along the path through the mill cottages and past the ruined building and mysterious carvings to reach Rocky Valley where you will be well rewarded with roaring water cascading along the small but perfectly formed deep gorge out to sea.
There is then a short set of steep steps out of the valley before a bench greets you at the top where you can sit awhile and admire the panoramic view of Bossiney Bay. “Gilbert the Gull” as we named him, put in an unscripted appearance above Bossiney Bay to welcome us before we returned to Gilbert Lodge for a large glass of wine (or two!) , listening to the owl hooting away opposite.
Constantine Bay to Porthcothan Beach Walk
Nothing but blue skies in Cornwall so we nabbed the last parking spot at the small car park by Constantine Bay for a walk along the coast to Porthcothan Beach. There are signs up with new parking charges and large fine warnings which was confusing everyone because there is no ticket machine. It turns out the introduction of parking charges has been put on hold/revoked so still free to park here at the moment.
Between Constantine Bay and Carnewas are a series of distinctive coves, islands and bays, which epitomize North Cornwall as you weave your way along past Treyarnon bay which has a glorious stretch of sand and a turquoise blue rock lagoon.
There were fantastic displays of sea thrift, 3 cornered leeks and sea campion in swathes across the coastal vista. There is also a large protected nesting site area along here so the air was full of the sound of sky larks and corn buntings. As an aside, I need to fess up that I was convinced the masses of 3 cornered leeks were white bluebells – I happily concede that Louise correctly identified the right variety of wildflower on this occasion!
The walk we were on was a circular walk from Constantine to Portcothan beach and back, but the weather was so perfect that we decided to walk further along past park head to Diggory’s Island where you get a great view of the Bedruthan steps. From here, you need to retrace your steps back to Portcothan Beach or you can head inland at Pentire Steps to shorten the return route which we decided to do. This route takes you to a long uphill road slog, which turned out not to be a great idea as there is quite a bit of traffic on the bendy road and no footpath so suggest you return via the longer coast path route, or drive to Park Head and do a circular walk around Bedruthan steps instead.
We re-joined the circular walk at Porthcothan which takes you inland down quiet lanes and across fields back to Constantine Bay.
On the return path there is what is known as “an interesting North Cornwall stile” near Trethias Farm. (quite a few of these in Cornwall!) Strangely enough, we had not thought to pack a portable ladder in our rucksacks, but we had a good laugh working out how to tackle it with very tired legs!
Louise favored the pole vault method!
The rumps and Pentire Walk
We have been meaning to fit in this walk for several years. The weather was gloriously sunny with no breeze so we finally decided to do the walk on this trip – it was definitely worth the wait!
We extended the walk by starting at the serene Lundy Bay – the NT car park here is quieter than Jeffreys Pit so is a good place to start a longer walk from. The coast path from Lundy Bay to the rumps is a bit up and down in places with very few benches on this coast path section, so pace yourself.
It is a spectacular part of the coast line and the wild flowers were yet again in abundance. When you reach the mouls rocks, get out your binoculars as this is also known as Puffin Island. I had sadly left mine behind but was still able to see several Puffins and all sorts of gulls out on the island.
The rumps have two points and the remains of a fort – the coast path skirts the edge on the inland side. However, our walk map indicated you can walk right round the points on the sea side and we could see some kind of path so that’s the way we went. I use the word “path” loosely… we followed in the hoof steps of the last mountain goat to travel this way – about 3 inches from a cliff drop… midway between the two rumps points we realized not even the mountain goat would be keen to go further without the aid of ropes and crampons .. oh dear…… the view was spectacular but it was a challenge traversing the “path” once let alone having to do it again to retrace our steps back to safer ground. Please don’t follow in our footsteps on this bit folks!
Somewhere beyond the rumps and Pentire point, is the memorial dedicated to the well known poem “The fallen” written by poet Laurence Binyon while sat on the Pentire cliffs:
“They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.”
I say “somewhere” because we managed to miss it. We are still debating how that happened, but we are putting it down to distraction by the spectacular views and a bit of team confusion on which side of Pentire Point it is located. We must have walked right past the plaque without seeing it but we will see it the next time we try this walk.
The plaque that alluded us!
Once past the rumps you arrive at Pentire Point, a perfect lunch spot where if you are lucky you can see dolphins. It is a panoramic view of Trevose light house, Stepper point, Hawkers Cove, Padstow and all the way along past the Camel estuary to Polzeath that takes your breath away. Before you ask, no, that is not me or Louise in this photo – hats off to the walker we saw who was brave enough to stand on the edge of the world to film the view!
The return walk skirts around the edge of Pentireglaze Haven and is then a quick inland walk back to Jeffries Pit. We returned to the coast path from the car park via Pentire farm to return to Lundy Bay. We stopped for a coffee break near Carnweather point on the way back and were treated to a flock of swallows who put on a fabulous swooping and diving show just 3 feet in front of us, framed by the amazing view – I could have stayed there watching them for hours.
Once back at Lundy Bay we could not resist a scramble down/over the rocks onto Lundy beach – a beautiful beach once you have made your way over the rocks without
breaking an ankle down onto the two bays that you can access at low tide . A fabulous end to a great walk.
Lundy Bay beach
We were reluctant to leave Gilbert Lodge when the time came to go home, but had a superb breakfast at Boscastle farm shop followed by a walk around the harbour before heading home.
The perfect end to a perfect stay at Gilbert Lodge. We cant wait to return to the wonderful sea views and more walking adventures soon..
Guest post by “Thelma & Louise” who have been regular guests at Gilbert Lodge for 5 years:
Thelma: First visited Bossiney Bay aged about 7 and a bit … she tells us the responsible adult was looking the wrong way when a “Cornish surfer wave” arrived and swept her brothers new jersey away into the Atlantic. She thinks it was green, so if you happen to find a very old small green jersey while beach combing at Bossiney Bay, let us know!
Louise: First visted Bossiney Bay in 2014 when Thelma booked Gilbert Lodge as a special Birthday surprise. Their annual road trip to Gilbert Lodge was born…