Walk - Boswinger YHA - Porthluney
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.
- From the Youth Hostel bear right to pass Boswinger Farm. Carry on past the turnings to the holiday park, to come out at a T-junction after the church.
- Turn left, and then take the footpath on the right a short distance further on, staying by the hedge to pick up a track heading gently downhill to Treveor.
- At Treveor turn left on the road and walk about 250 yards, to the right-hand bend. Turn left onto the footpath at the bend and drop down to the trees near the left-hand corner, going through into the field beyond and turning right to walk past the row of houses.
- On the road bear left and carry on past the buildings at Tregavarras, picking up the footpath (not the lane) through the trees on your right when the road turns sharply left. Drop diagonally through this field to the car park at Porthluney.
On your right is the medieval manor of Caerhays . It belonged to the Arundells until around 1379, when Johanna Arundell married Robert Trevanion. It then passed into the Trevanion family. When the last male Trevanion died in 1767, the Bettesworth family became the new owners, although in 1801 John Bettesworth added the name Trevanion to his own.
In 1807 John Bettesworth had a new mansion built on the site of the manor house. The house was designed by John Nash who was also responsible for designing Buckingham Palace and the Brighton Pavilion. Caerhays was complemented by formal gardens with ornamental towers and follies.
By 1840 the cost of all this splendour became too much for the Bettesworth-Trevanions. They fled to Bruges and left Caerhays to the bailiffs.
In 1854 Michael Williams bought the property. However, even in such a short time, much of the castle was derelict. The garden had run wild.
Michael and his son set about restoring the estate. He demolished a number of buildings, the mill leat was filled and the Luney Valley moors were drained. They planted new woodland, purchased new land and created a deer park.
The gardens of the property were extended by John Charles Williams when he inherited Caerhays in 1880. He joined the Royal Horticultural Society and began to fill the gardens with large quantities of plants. He indulged his passion for daffodil breeding but more importantly, mirrored the fashionable habit of importing exotic shrubs. These days, Caerhays prides itself of having an international reputation as Britain's most exotic woodland. among the 120 acre site are lavish collections of rhododendrons and camellias. The National Magnolia Collection, located at Caerhays, numbers around 80 species and over 500 hybrids.
- From the car park above Porthluney Cove go back to the road and turn right, to pick up the South West Coast Path.
Porthluney (Cornish 'porth leveny') means 'cove of the smooth river'. The River Luney runs out to see across the sands. The beach is a designated Eurobeach, with its golden sand and safe swimming. In 1979 it was used for the filming of Daphne du Maurier's ' Rebecca'.
The beach is enclosed on its westerly side by Watchhouse Point. A Georgian style watchhouse was built on the point in the nineteenth century as a lookout station. It served a dual purpose - to keep an eye open for attackers, as well as for those in trouble out at sea.
The Coast Path climbs a short distance and then turns to the right above the rocks at Porthluney before steeply ascending the small headland beyond.
Wildflowers as well as butterflies, moths and other insects thrive around this part of the Cornish coast. The clean air, combined with the conservation strategies used by the National Trust and other bodies responsible for managing the coastal properties, encourages a diversity of habitats which encourage wildlife to flourish.
In summer there is a riot of colour with red campions, ragged robins, stitchworts, dandelions and buttercups joined by such species as the sea campion with its speckled white flowers, the tufty pink globes of the thrift, the bold white heads of Michaelmas and ox-eye daisies as well as the blue and purple pokers of the viper's bugloss.
Occasionally, it is possible to spot more unusual flowers: the fleshy leaves and brilliant yellow petals of the sea kale; the small yellow pearls on the upright, spiky-leaved wild asparagus, which later turn to vivid red berries. If you are lucky, you may see the pink-petalled centaury with its yellow stamens, which was not seen in Cornwall from 1962 until 2010. Discovered growing at Land's End, it had spread to the county's south east coast by the summer of 2011.
- From the headland the Coast path sweeps around the coast above Lambsowden Cove and then Greeb Point, before curving around Clitter's Rock to drop gently to the road at Hemmick Beach.
Immediately below the hulk of the western flank of Dodman Point lies Hemmick Beach. It is quite small and usually uncrowded and has sand and rock pools at low tide. Here sits an isolated Victorian cottage, built on the site of an earlier fishing hamlet that was demolished by the mid 19th century. It is now a National Trust holiday cottage.
- Turn left on the road. As the road curves to the left you come to a footpath on the right. Head uphill through two fields before bringing you back to the road again. Turn right on the road and walk back to the Youth Hostel in Boswinger.