Walk - Looe Bay Holiday Park - Polperro to Looe

5.0 miles (8.1 km)

Looe Bay Holiday Park Looe Bay Holiday Park

Moderate -

Catch the bus to Polperro and walk back to Looe. This part of Cornwall had lively trading links with the Mediterranean up to three millennia ago, and it is said that Jesus visited Looe with his uncle, Phoenician tin trader Joseph of Arimathea. There are the ruins of a medieval chapel to be seen on the site of a Celtic monastery, as well as the much more recent banjo pier and a monument to one of Looe's more unusual visitors. Once you have climbed the steep hill above Polperro Harbour there is not too much ascent or descent.

There are a range of wonderful places to lay your head near the Coast Path for a well-earned sleep. From large and luxurious hotels, to small and personable B&B's, as well as self-catering options and campsites. The businesses that support the Path, where you've chosen to visit, are listed here.

Meadow View B&B

En-suite kingsize modern B&B close to SWCP, Saint's Way and public transport. Multiple sections of Coast Path easy to do from stunning Fowey

House On The Props B&B

B&B & Restaurant.16th Century timber building 'propped' up over the river on old ships timbers. On the Path overlooking Polperro Harbour & Quay

Great Kellow Farm Caravan & Campsite

Great Kellow Farm is situated above the beautiful village of Polperro. We are a quiet family & dog friendly campsite. The campsite has sea views and easy access to country and coastal walks.

Treargel Retreats,near Looe

Treargel is the Cornish name for 'a home of retreat' and provides a sanctuary in nature for those needing to get away from it all.

Hendersick Farm House

Traditional farmhouse B&B hospitality. Sea views, rambling gardens, footpath to the coast. All day kitchen facilities. Muddy boots welcome.

Camping Caradon Touring Park

Located halfway between the harbour towns of Looe and Polperro. 3.5 acres of level ground with excellent facilities. Open all year. Free wifi. Local bus service.

Bridgeside Guest House

A family run Victorian Guest House situated in the heart of Looe with harbour views. A stone's throw from Looe's many shops and restaurants and 5 minutes from the coast path.

Interactive Elevation

Route Description

To reach Polperro from the Looe Bay Holiday Park you can EITHER walk for 15 minutes towards Looe to the bus stop on Barbican Road and catch the Western Greyhound 573 bus to Polperro (the bus takes about 25 minutes) OR take the Western Greyhound 572 bus from Looe Bay Holiday Park to the Globe Inn on Station Road in East Looe and then catch the Western Greyhound 573 bus to Polperro (this journey takes about 55 minutes altogether). Some buses stop at Crumplehorn (allow 10 minutes extra walking!) at the top of the village, others go down into Polperro.

  1. From the bus stop at the Crumplehorn car park walk down through Polperro to pick up the South West Coast Path on the north (left-hand) side of the harbour and walk steeply uphill, past the seating area at the viewpoint.

The path to the right at the top visits the lighthouse and is known as Reuben's Walk. This is named after Reuben Oliver, a former harbourmaster in Polperro, who loved to walk up here and carried on doing so even when his sight failed. If you choose to explore this path, a left-hand turn before you reach the lighthouse will bring you back up onto the Coast Path.
The land beside the Coast Path was given over to allotments for the villagers to grow vegetables and flowers, since the steep sides of the valley gave little opportunity to do so in Polperro itself.

  1. Carry on along the Coast Path to Talland, ignoring the footpath inland to Brent, and the lane on your left just before you reach Talland.
  2. Arriving at Talland, detour to the left to visit the church, noted for its detached bell-tower and its thirteenth-century bench-ends. Otherwise continue eastwards walking along the Coast Path as it travels around Hendersick Point.

On the shoreline below as you head towards the point there is a curious flat-topped rock known as Aesop's Bed. Far from being named after the Greek fabler, it has been suggested that the rock was once known as 'Yesu's Bed', this being the Hebrew word for Jesus.
As you round Hendersick Point, ahead of you is Looe Island, also known as St George's Island. According to legend, Phoenician tin trader Joseph of Arimathea landed here with his great-nephew, the teenage Jesus, before they travelled up the coast to Glastonbury to found Christianity in Britain. A fragment of an amphora (an earthenware storage vessel) from the Eastern Mediterranean, dating from around that time, shows that there were trading links between Looe and the Middle East then.
Trade between Cornwall and the Mediterranean had already been happening for a long time before that, however. The Pelynt Dagger, found just a few miles from here, shows contact with the Mycaenean Greek world, which existed between 1900 and 1100 BC. When the Greek explorer Pytheas of Massalia visited in 325 BC he found a flourishing tin trade.
Around the fifth and sixth centuries there was a flow of Celtic saints through Cornwall, arriving on its shores from Wales and Ireland. They set up hermitages and monasteries around the coast. One such was supposedly St Tallanus, who is said to have set up a holy altar on the site where the present-day Talland Church now stands. In 1400, according to one historical source, there was a Tallan Cross on the hillside above the church. Celtic crosses were often used to mark holy places, and 'tallan' in Cornish means 'the holy place on the brow of the hill'.
There was another Celtic chapel just outside Looe, and the site is signposted from the Coast Path just before you reach the first houses of West Looe. The ruins visible today are from the medieval Lammana Chapel, which was built on the site of a sixth century monastery and hermitage.
There is another medieval chapel on Looe Island, which was dedicated to St Michael, although this was later corrupted to St George. It was a popular place for pilgrimages; but so many people drowned trying to reach it that the new Benedictine Lammana Chapel was built, sometime around the twelfth century. The island is now owned by the Cornwall Wildlife Trust who run tours out to it throughout spring and summer, and you can find details about these on their website.

  1. Continue along the South West Coast Path until you go through the gate onto Hannafore Road. Follow the road as it travels above the beach and curves around the harbour.

The rocky beach at Hannafore is a popular place for rockpooling. The rocky reef exposed at low tide consists of beds of flat slate scored through by deep gullies, providing a habitat for many different species. These include sponges, sea-squirts and sea anemones, as well as furrowed crabs, scorpion spider crabs and hairy crabs, and squat lobsters.
As you walk along beside the harbour, note the bronze statue of Nelson, a one-eyed bull seal who was a familiar sight around the harbour for 25 years before he died in 2003.
Looe's banjo pier, on the other side of the river, was designed in the nineteenth century by local engineer and entrepreneur, Joseph Thomas. The pier in place at the time failed to stop the sand from silting up the river, which was why it was built in the first place. Thomas reasoned that adding a round head would solve the problem. It was so successful that banjo piers were adopted elsewhere in the world.
Joseph Thomas was also responsible for the quayside in East Looe, across the water, as well as the rail loop to Liskeard. Other projects of his include Hannafore Road and the Hannafore Estate

  1. Carry on through West Looe.

In medieval times, East and West Looe were separate towns joined by an estuary bridge, which was the first in Cornwall and in existence by 1411. The two towns even had separate Parliamentary seats until 1832.
Continue to the bridge ahead to cross the river to Station Road. This is where the bus leaves. To get back to Looe Bay Holiday Park take the Western Greyhound 572. The bus journey will take about 15 minutes.

Public transport

The Western Greyhound bus number 572 runs frequently between Looe Bay Holiday Park and West Looe, stopping at the Globe Inn on Station Road in East Looe and the West Looe fire station. The Western Greyhound bus number 573 runs frequently between Polperro, Looe and Liskeard. For timetable details visit www.travelinesw.com  or phone 0871 200 22 33

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