Walk - Millendreath & the Monkey Sanctuary

3.6 miles (5.8 km)

Millendreath car park - PL13 1PD Millendreath car park

Challenging - The path is narrow and rough, with a lot of steep ascent and descent including steps.

A short but strenuous adventure through rugged terrain with spectacular views across Looe Bay. Older children will love it, and they will delight in following the decision-making process involved in walking around the Celtic Labyrinth en route. An optional extra (with an admission charge) is a visit to the Monkey Sanctuary, which is open during the season from Sunday to Thursday, 11 am - 4.30 pm (closed Fridays and Saturdays). Tel 0844 272 1271.

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.

Windsworth, St Martin, Looe

Take a break to stay in an old stone longhouse, offgrid and in a nature reserve on the Cornish coast - with a discount for South West Coast Path walkers.

Woodlands B&B, Looe

WOODLANDS is a lovely Victorian country house set on the edge of secluded woodland, overlooking the peaceful Looe river estuary.Within easy walking distance of Looe.

The Anchorage

Light bright airy double room with sea & countryside views. Private en-suite shower room with private sun patio. Single night stays.

Hendersick Farm House

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

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.

Riverview Farm

Relax amongst nature and wildlife – Riverview Farm is a small, working farm overlooking the East Looe River valley. Self catering – sleeps 4

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.

Treliddon Farm

200 year old farmhouse in Downderry is a home from home offering drying facilities, wifi & free Downderry pick-up/drop-off. Self catering also available. Phone 01503 250288 for further details

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.

Interactive Elevation

Route Description

  1. From the Millendreath car park at the bottom of the hill drop down the road towards the beach.

Turn left at the end of the road, following Bodigga Lane as it climbs steeply uphill. After the houses, carry on ahead along the South West Coast Path, pulling uphill to the campsite at Bay View Farm. Keep going ahead, along Looe Hill towards Seaton.

In medieval times Bodigga Lane was part of the main east west route through Cornwall. The original medieval settlement of Bodigga was first recorded in 1076 and listed in the Domesday Book as 'Bodcodigu'.

  1. Turn right on the South West Coast Path when it turns seaward along a narrow path, just after Bay View Farm, and follow it high above the sea.

About three quarters of a mile along the path, on your left, you will come to the Labyrinth field. Entry is free.

The terrain here is rugged, and the path is fairly rough in places. The Coast Path was diverted up Bodigga Lane to bypass the cliffs between here and Millendreath, because Bodigga Cliff is unstable and prone to landslips. This makes it a good habitat for a wide range of species, and if you walk along here in summer it is a riot of colour, with stands of foxgloves and brilliant blue viper's bugloss surrounded by the delicate pinks and yellows of red campion and rough hawkbit and the starry white stitchwort.

The profusion of wildflowers attracts butterflies. Colourful Peacocks, Red Admirals and Painted Ladies twirl flamboyantly among the muted shades of the Small Heaths and the pearl-bordered Fritillaries.

The Celtic Labyrinth is on your left on the hillside after the wooden steps, shortly before the path ahead plunges into the trees. There are a number of information panels mounted on the fence.

The Labyrinth is an ancient symbol, and the earliest examples, found in cave paintings in southern France and Spain, date back some 10,000 years ago to Palaeolithic times. Since then it has been created throughout the world in various forms carved into rock, cut out of turf, even woven into baskets. The most noted example is in a five-thousand-year-old passage grave, believed to be an ancient temple, at Newgrange near Dublin. 

The seven trails are carved into the grass as walks which spiral in towards a seven-foot menhir, made of slate and quartz from the Carnglaze Caverns near Liskeard. (The Carnglaze Caverns, themselves, are well worth a visit, with underground caverns and a subterranean lake deep beneath ancient woodland).
Traditionally, the walk into the centre of the Labyrinth is designed to gather information about a problem that is troubling you. There are a series of questions to ask yourself on the way in. Reaching the centre, you pause and relax, concentrating on the here and now. After a time you return through the loops to the world outside the Labyrinth. As you walk you make decisions, based on the answers to the questions you asked yourself on the way in.

The Monkey Sanctuary is above you as you carry on along the Coast Path beyond the Labyrinth, but there is is no path into it from here. You will pass the entrance later in the walk.

  1. Shortly after entering the National Trust property at Struddicks, where the Coast Path travels high above the turquoise sea at Keveral Beach, a small path climbs steeply up the hillside above you, Turn left onto this path and follow it all the way up to the road at the top.
  2. Coming out at the crossroads below Penhale Farm, turn left on the road back towards Millendreath and walk to the next junction.

The Monkey Sanctuary is on your left. After visiting it (or not), carry on along the road until you come back to Bay View Farm at 2. Retrace your steps to the car park from here; or for a pleasant detour take the footpath on your right and follow it downhill through the trees.

The Monkey Sanctuary is an active rescue centre and is home to over 25 monkeys. Some are capuchin monkeys, named after an Order of Franciscan monks who wear brown robes with large hoods; some are woolly monkeys from the South American rainforests; and others are tail-less barbary macaques from the Atlas mountains. 

As most of these animals have had an unhappy start to life, some areas of the sanctuary are not accessible to the public, in order to allow them space for recovery and progress.

There are also wildlife gardens, surrounded by beech and sycamore trees facing south over the bay. They are mown at particular times of the year to encourage a wide variety of plants and animals. 
In the pond an important feeding and breeding station for many species there are frogs, toads and newts. Great water diving beetles hunt newtlets in the water, and no fewer than 10 different kinds of dragonfly have been spotted hovering above it.

The edge of the woodland area is alive with birds and insects, attracted by the shelter afforded by the densely packed shrubs, small trees and native weeds. Inside the grounds, the formal Victorian Garden harks back to the days of the Empire when the Murray family introduced exotic plants like rhododendrons and azaleas to their country estate. 

In the cellar beneath the house there is a bat roost, where rare lesser horseshoe bats are able to breed in the warmth provided by the oil boiler. An infra-red camera, funded by the Mammals Trust UK, enables visitors to watch the bats without disturbing them.

  1. Turn left on the road to return to the car park.
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