Walk - Mawgan Porth & St Mawgan
Walk information provided with help from Natural England. Map reproduced by permission of Ordnance Survey on behalf of HMSO. © Crown copyright and database right 2021. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100022021.
- From the car park at Mawgan Porth walk back up the road towards St Mawgan.
On the hillside above the beach at Mawgan Porth are the very rare remains of a Dark Age settlement, dating from around AD 850-1050, during the late Saxon period. Archaeologists excavating the site in the middle of the last century uncovered three courtyard house complexes, two of which are still visible. The walls were built of soft slate and earth but faced with stone, and each building had a long room opening into a courtyard. Apart from this, each courtyard was enclosed by smaller rooms. The long room itself was partitioned to provide accommodation for both people and livestock, while still keeping them apart, and the central living area had a hearth and wall cupboards.
- Go into the holiday park to pick up the bridleway on the right just inside the entrance, following this through the park and on through the field above the stream.
- When two footpaths join from the left, bear right to continue ahead, through the trees and the field beyond, to come out on a lane.
- Bear right down the lane, continuing along the road ahead to the T-junction.
- Cross the road to take the footpath opposite, following it through the woods to the road into St Mawgan.
- On the road turn right, bearing right through the village of St Mawgan.
- Below the church turn right to walk steeply uphill, past the convent at Lanherne. Take the second track on the right and follow the footpath straight ahead through fields, descending to a stream.
The ancient manor of Lanherne was first mentioned in the 1086 Domesday Book, but it is thought to have been built on a holy site dating back to the fifth or sixth century.
It was owned by the Arundell family from 1231, when Sir Remphrey Arundell married the heiress of Lanherne, but it was another 130 years before it became the family's principal residence. The Arundells were devout people, given to good works, and they remained staunch Catholics despite Henry VIII's sixteenth-century Reformation. When a party of English Carmelite nuns arrived here in need of a refuge, while fleeing from the French revolution in 1794, Lord and Lady Arundell handed over Lanherne to them. It has been an enclosed convent ever since, and is now home to the Franciscans of the Immaculate.
The present building dates from Elizabethan times, and its front is the original Tudor facade. Its former chapel, now the Roman Catholic Parish Church, was lavishly built despite its diminutive size, and it has some highly decorative features in the style of Louis XIV. Of particular note is the Arundell sanctuary lamp, said never to have been extinguished since before the Reformation.
- Cross the stream and climb through the fields beyond, crossing a minor road and a field beyond it to come out on the main road into Trevarrian. Turn right on the road to walk into the village.
- Fork left through Trevarrian, crossing the road beyond to take the footpath opposite. Walk straight ahead alongside the stream through four fields. Continue ahead through the fifth for a shortcut to the South West Coast Path, or take the left-hand fork to follow the left-hand hedge over the hill, bearing right along the far hedge to come out on the Coast Path.
The high cliffs at Griffin's Point once provided the seaward defence of an Iron Age promontory fort, where the people who lived here some two thousand years ago built ramparts across the neck of the point to defend the landward side. On the other side of Beacon Cove, the higher ground was used in later times for lighting a warning beacon if enemy ships were spotted offshore.
- Turn right on the Coast Path and follow it around Beacon Cove and then Berryl's Point to descend above the beach to the road into Mawgan Porth.
- On the road turn left to return to the car park.
In Mawgan Porth