Walk - Falmouth Town Station - Falmouth Packet
Walk information provided with help from Natural England. Map reproduced by permission of Ordnance Survey on behalf of HMSO. © Crown copyright and database right 2020. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100022021.
This is a circular walk and, as such, can be started from any point. From the Town Station, come out through the car park onto Avenue Road. Start the walk at Point 7.
- With your back to the Greenbank Hotel turn left down Stratton Place, carrying on ahead along Dunstanville Terrace and then the High Street.
'Wind in the Willows' author Kenneth Grahame was staying at the Greenbank Hotel when he first started writing the book as a series of letters to his son. It is also where many sea captains stayed when they came in on the packet ships. Until the middle of the twentieth century the quay was the embarkation point for a ferry to Flushing as well as for the packet ships. The fine houses along Dunstanville Terrace were packet captains' residences, built to overlook the stretch of water known as 'The King's Road', where their ships were moored. At the end of the terrace is the old Falmouth Prison.
Greenbank Gardens was once the site of the workshops belonging to William Olver, one of Falmouth's leading builders in the Victorian era.
- When Beacon Street joins from the right carry on along the High Street.
In 1862 a great fire wiped out much of the High Street – the main route in for the mail coaches – and it was rebuilt ten feet wider. The Old Town Hall, near the top of the street, was originally a Congregational chapel and was presented to Falmouth in 1725 by Martin Lister Killigrew. In its additional role as the Court House its most famous trial was in 1884, when two shipwrecked sailors were accused of cannibalism after eating the cabin boy while adrift in the Atlantic.
The Cutty Sark clipper was anchored in the harbour between 1923 and 1938, when she served as a training ship, and was famously framed through Barracks Ope, built in the seventeenth century as the entrance to barracks housing Royal Marines.
Opened in 1930, the Post Office stands on the site of the old Market, moved in 1812 from its original location on Market Strand, ahead.
- Carry on along the High Street as it becomes Market Strand, and bear left onto Market Street beyond.
King George V laid the foundation stone for the Prince of Wales Pier in 1903. It was from here that 622 sailors and commandos set sail in March 1942 for the successful raid on St Nazaire in Operation Chariot. 168 were killed in the operation and 5 Victoria Crosses were awarded.
In Market Strand a narrow alley leads up to Bell's Court, the site of the packet agent's office. From here Christopher Saverland read the Riot Act to mutineering packet crews in 1810 after customs men confiscated their private goods intended for sale overseas.
The Midland Bank, at the end of Market Street, was once the Royal Hotel, built in 1800 for the packet captains' social activities and later the terminus for the London mail coaches.
- At Fish Strand Quay carry on ahead along Church Street to the Royal Cornwall Polytechnic Society.
Fish Strand Quay was built in 1790 for the landing and selling of fish. It was near here that the news of Nelson's death and the victory at Trafalgar was brought ashore.
St George's Arcade, opened in 1912, was Falmouth's first purpose-built cinema and at the time it was the second largest in the country. Beyond, the shop with the four-pillared facade was once the Public Subscription Rooms, opened in 1826 as a place where local merchants and traders, as well as visiting ships' officers, could socialise.
Upton Slip is the last remaining ope in this part of the town with direct access to the waterfront.
Founded in 1833, the Royal Cornwall Polytechnic Society was the venue for an annual exhibition, where mechanical inventions and models were displayed for industrialists and mine owners. Life-saving devices first introduced here included the man engine, used to raise and lower men in a mine, and the safety fuse, devised to reduce the risk of accidental explosions. The building is now a library and arts centre.
Beside the Society is one of Falmouth's former Post Offices, built in 1872 to handle the increasing volume of mail. It also housed the British end of a cable link with the Mediterranean, the Direct Spanish Telegraph Company..
- When Church Street becomes Arwenack Street continue ahead, passing Swanpool Street and then the National Maritime Museum.
Falmouth was stoutly Royalist in the English Civil War, and the Parish Church was dedicated by Charles II to his father, Charles the Martyr, in gratitude for this support. Built in 1663, the church was remodelled in 1898.
Sir Peter Killigrew built Falmouth's quays in 1670. The red brick chimney beside the entrance is the King's Pipe, used by customs officers to burn confiscated contraband tobacco.
Opposite the Maritime Museum, Grove Place was named after a grove of elm trees, now gone, where Martin Lister Killigrew first sited his monument – the tall granite pyramid by the car park – in 1737. He left strict instructions that the monument should never bear an inscription.
Arwenack House was the home of Falmouth's founders, the Killigrew family, after they had acquired the estate through marriage in 1403. Rebuilt in 1567, it was destroyed by fire during the Civil War and reconstructed in its present form.
- Keep on ahead as Arwenack Street becomes Avenue Road, bearing right at the roundabout.
- Turn right on Arwenack Avenue, carrying on ahead at the end to go between the stone pillars and on to Swanpool Street, turning right here.
Originally Arwenack Avenue, the main access to Arwenack House, stretched further south and the Killigrews called it the 'Long Walk'. In 1737, after the family had left, the avenue was used as a ropewalk, where strands of hemp were twisted together to make ropes for the ships. To the west of the avenue, Grovehill House was built in 1789 by the prosperous Fox family, who were responsible for establishing the Quaker movement in Falmouth.
- Turn left onto New Street.
The Quaker Meeting House, at the top of Quay Hill, was built in 1805 on the site of an old water mill. The Quaker Burial Ground was located behind it before being removed to the outskirts of town.
- At the end of New Street turn left up the steps by the car park onto Gyllyng Street, turning right at the top.
- Fork left onto Vernon Place, and then take the long flight of steps down to Falmouth Moor, coming out beside the Methodist Church.
The former Synagogue, now a studio and private residences, was built in 1806, replacing the first synagogue erected near Fish Strand in 1776. The building opposite was the poor house until the new Poor Laws in 1830 brought the construction of a 'Union' workhouse on the western edge of the parish in 1851: an innovation bitterly opposed because it separated more than 100 children from their parents.
The 111 steps of Jacob's Ladder were built by businessman Jacob Hamblen to enable him to access some of his properties, at the top, from his business below. The Packet Memorial was built in 1898, after a public subscription raised almost £300 to commemorate the service.
- Turn right on Killigrew Street to return to Market Strand. Either turn left. Head along High Street past Point 2 and along Dunster Terrace to reach Point 1 at the Greenbank Hotel. Continue the walk from Point 1 by retracing your steps! OR continue the walk at Point 3 and turn right along Market Street. Finish the walk at Point 7.
There are a wide variety of cafes and restaurants in Falmouth.