Walk - Stay Cafe - Maenporth to Rosemullion Walk

5.3 miles (8.5 km)

Maenporth Beach Car Park - TR11 5HN Maenporth Beach Car Park

Moderate -

Starting as a headland walk with wide-ranging coastal views and banks of vivid wildflowers, this route sweeps into the inland waterways of the Helford River, where the Secret Intelligence Service based a flotilla for night-time missions across the Channel to France. None of the ascent or descent is steep, and the paths, though narrow, are along mostly easy terrain.

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.

Trevarn B&B

Comfortable B/B. Convenient to coastal path and excellent village amenities. A warm welcome awaits.

Falmouth Lodge Backpackers, Falmouth

Convenient, comfortable and friendly only 2 mins from the Coast Path and 5 mins from the town for supper and train station

The Five Pilchards Inn, Porthallow

Situated at the halfway point of the Path, a great place to stop for a bite to eat whilst enjoying the picturesque village. Delicious home cooked food and B&B and great pub atmosphere

Portscatho Holidays Limited

Properties from converted stables to large luxury homes, including properties with sea views, Wi-Fi, parking, fires and wood burning stoves, many accepting pets.

Ship & Castle Hotel

Beside the harbour of nautical St Mawes with winding streets and ancient castle, this peaceful spot is an ideal base for a leisurely holiday

Bragnaza B&B, St Mawes

Stunning views of the harbour and bay from our Regency home. The perfect base to explore locally. Ample parking, free wifi, style and elegance.

What is on your list of things to do when you visit the Path? From walking companies, to help you tailor your visit, with itineraries and experts to enhance your visit, to baggage transfer companies and visitor attractions there are lots to people and places to help you decide what you'd like to do. The businesses that support the Path, where you've chosen to visit, are listed here.

Trebah Gardens

Sub-tropical garden leading to its own private beach. Adventure Play area & Children's Trails.1st class, award winning destination Cafe.

Interactive Elevation

Route Description

  1. From Maenporth Beach Car Park, turn right onto Maenporth Road and walk a little way uphill to pick up the South West Coast Path on your left. Follow it around the headland above the beach, dropping down towards Bream Cove as it passes houses and a hotel on your right and private moorings on your left.

The first written reference to Rosemulllion was in 1318, when it was called 'rosemylian'. The name is thought to come from the Cornish word 'melhyonen', meaning 'clover', and as you round the first corner towards the headland there are swathes of pink clover in the summer. The path is a riot of colour at this time of year: purple heather, vetch, wild thyme and thistles, yellow trefoil, buttercups, dandelions and tormentil, blue bugloss and sheep's bit, red campions and speckled white sea campions, white and purple daisies.
Carrying on along the path, clumps of monbretia in the gardens bordering the path add to the red of the fuchsias and the pink, white and blue of the hydrangeas, while moths and butterflies flit between them.

When you reach the cove, and Gatamala Cove beyond it, tiny paths lead down to equally miniature beaches, including Woodlands Beach, part of the National Trust's land at Nansidwell. There are elm trees above the path, and a collection of oaks from all over the world in a little walled garden, as well as an abundance of wild garlic and three-cornered leek in the spring for the wild-food gourmet.

  1. Carry on along the Coast Path signposted Durgan, ignoring the footpaths inland to your right until the coastline starts curving around towards Rosemullion Head. Here the left-hand fork will take you around the headland on the Coast Path, while the right-hand fork cuts across the headland and returns to the Coast Path on the other side. (Here either fork will lead you back to the Coast Path).

It is thought that there was once an Iron Age cliff castle on Rosemullion Head, defended by a massive rock-cut ditch with a bank some 10 feet higher. Within it were two Bronze Age barrows, although there is no trace of them now.

The headland was similarly used for defence much more recently, when it hosted a gun emplacement for anti-aircraft guns in the Second World War, although all that remains now are the concrete bases of these and the searchlight emplacements which were part of the station.

On the point there is a nineteenth century boundary stone, marking the limits of the Falmouth Borough's area of jurisdiction. This was painted red and renewed every three or four years in a festival known as 'beating the bounds'.

There are two wrecks on the seabed off the headland: the Endeavour, which went down in 1804, and the wooden cargo sloop the Alma, which sank in 1895. Both are below the low water mark and so not visible from the land.

  1. Continue on the Coast Path along the northern edge of the mouth of the Helford River, ignoring the footpaths heading inland on your right, for a little over a mile. Dropping downhill past the beach at Porthallack, ('willows cove' in Cornish), carry on ahead to Porth Saxon.

In 1940, the Secret Intelligence Service based its Helford Flotilla at Ridifarne, near Porth Saxon, to maintain clandestine contact with its networks in Brittany. Using traditional Breton fishing boats as well as fast motor launches, the flotilla ran regular night-time missions to remote French beaches, infiltrating agents and collecting airmen. There was a forward base in the Scilly Isles, and operations continued until after D-Day.
Many of the troops involved in the D-Day landings left from Trebah, upriver at Durgan. The concrete jetty remains.

The Helford River is a voluntary marine conservation area with European designation. As well as the oysters for which it is famous, sea slugs, anemones, cuttlefish and seahorses live in the estuary's beds of the rare eelgrass, Britain’s only marine flowering plant.

  1. At Porth Saxon, find the footpath behind the boathouse and follow it uphill through the woods towards Mawnan Smith. There are a number of paths through the woods, but if you keep heading uphill you will reach the lane at the top of Carwinion.

The main footpath up through the woods appears on nineteenth century maps as a trackway leading up to the eighteenth-century stone manor house at Carwinion.

Like their neighbours the Foxes at nearby Glendurgan, Carwinion's owners, the Rogers family, were Victorian plant-hunters, and there are many exotic species to be seen in the gardens, which are open to the public.

  1. At the end of the lane turn left on the road and turn right onto the small path about two hundred yards ahead. This leads through three fields to some farm buildings.
  2. At the farm buildings, before you reach the gate to the road, there is another footpath signed through fields to your left. Take this path and follow it downhill to the trees at the bottom, turning right in front of the hedge to follow the path into some woodland. Emerging a short while later, the path starts to climb gently before dropping downhill again to come out on the road at Maenporth. Return to the car park at Maenporth Beach.

Parking

Maenporth Beach Car Park - fee payable

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