Walk - Killigarth to Talland Bay & Hendersick

4.2 miles (6.8 km)

Killigarth Manor - PL13 2JQ Killigarth Manor

Moderate - A gentle walk with some ascent and descent, travelling along the coast with views across to Looe Island and beyond to Rame Head, returning inland on a path through fields.

A gentle walk with some ascent and descent, travelling along the coast with views across to Looe Island and beyond to Rame Head, returning inland on a path through fields and passingTalland Church, noted for its fifteenth century bench-ends. If it's windy, listen out for the voice of smuggler 'Battling Billy'!

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.

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.

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.

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.

Riverview Farm

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

Interactive Elevation

Route Description

  1. From the reception car park at Killigarth Manor Holiday Park turn right and follow the Claremont Falls road, continuing ahead when Carey Park joins from the left, to where Bridals Lane leads off to the right at the next junction.
  2. Turn right and walk down Bridals Lane, curving right with it after the houses, to Talland Bay.

The settlement of Bridals (spelt Bridles on modern OS maps) was first recorded in 1356, when it was spelt 'Bridewelle', meaning 'brides well'. This is thought to refer to a natural spring in the fields nearby, which is traditionally referred to as a holy well, although there is no evidence of it ever having been used as such.  It has also been suggested that brides used this lane to travel to the church at Talland.

The secluded beach at Talland Bay has been a popular place for landing contraband over the centuries, and there are a number of smugglers' tales associated with the cove, including that of 'Battling Billy', who used a hearse to convey his kegs of brandy inland, knowing that the Customs men were unlikely to search a coffin for smuggled goods. He swore that, if they ever killed him, his body would still drive the hearse to Polperro; and legend has it that when the Revenue men did shoot him, his corpse went on to drive the hearse over the cliffs despite the gunshot wounds to his neck. Locals say that his spirit still haunts the bay on a windy night.

  1. Bearing left on Bridals Lane above the beach at Talland, carry on along it, past the car park, to the road beyond. Turn right here, dropping onto the path beside the road above the beach for part of the way, and then turn right and bear right through the car parking area to pick up the South West Coast Path.
  2. Climb the steps above Aesop's Bed and follow the Coast Path acorns to the National Trust path at Hendersick.

Aesop's Bed is the flat-topped rock on the beach below. It has been suggested that it is not named after the Greek fabler, but that the name is a corruption of the Hebrew 'Yesu', or Jesus. There is a legend that the teenage Jesus came to Britain with his uncle, Phoenician tin trader Joseph of Arimathea, and that they landed at Looe. It is known that there were trade links between Cornwall and the Middle East around these times, and an amphora of the right age and of Mediterranean origin has been found on St George's Island at Looe (see the Looe Walk).

  1. Reaching Hendersick Point, take the path to your left towards Hendersick, following the hedge. Turn right at the top of the field to carry on along the path by the hedge as it curves to the left and comes out by the barn.
  2. Alternatively, carry on along the Coast Path past the footpath to Hendersick, instead taking the next path inland, about a quarter of a mile beyond. Walk uphill to the barn, ignoring the path which joins from the left.

This permissive access meadow is a good spot for a picnic and a chance for a rest after all that toiling uphill! Enjoy the sea views, and look out for the rare Dartford warbler, a tiny, shy bird with a rattling call, and the hornet robberfly, a huge predatory fly (but harmless to humans!), recognisable by its yellow abdomen.

  1. From the barn take the track uphill to the car park and the road.

To your right is Hendersick, a traditional Cornish stone farmhouse. In the original Cornish, Hendersick was 'Hendresygh', which means 'waterless home farm'. The settlement was first recorded in 1306, and archaeologists have found traces of fields and an orchard from medieval times, although the farmhouse is much more recent.

The combination of farmland and woodland provides a haven for wildlife, and woodpeckers can be heard drilling in the trees, while buzzards circle overhead, mewing. There are occasional glimpses of deer in the woods, and at dusk badgers and bats come out and owls can be heard calling across the fields.

  1. On the road turn left, and walk back down to Talland, detouring through the field on your left again to avoid a small section of road-walking.

The huge landmark towers to right and left of you as you walk down towards Talland are matched by a further pair on the hillside at Hannfore, just down the coast, and together they constitute a measured nautical mile.

Although advances in technology mean that ships can measure their speed accurately, these pairs of towers are still sometimes used for this purpose by ships coming out of Plymouth Sound. The run is timed from when the first pair of markers line up when viewed from the ship, and the clock is stopped when the second pair line up. The run has to be repeated as many as five or six times in each direction to allow for winds and tides.

Talland Church was built in the thirteenth century, supposedly on the site of a Celtic altar set up by St Tallanus in the fifth century. The medieval building was enlarged and reconstructed in the fifteenth century, and the bench-ends from that time survive to this day, although the sixteenth century wall paintings were destroyed in the restoration carried out in 1848. As well as the carvings on the bench-ends, the church is known for its unusual bell-tower, which was detached until it was joined to the church by the construction of a coach-house roof between church and tower.

Records from 1400 suggest that there was a cross on the hillside above the church, known as 'Tallan Crosse', which may have been a wayside cross marking the path to the original Celtic church. 'Tallan' in Cornish means 'holy place on the brow of a hill'.

There are more than 400 ancient crosses throughout Cornwall. The most common ones are the wayside crosses, which stand at the side of roads, trackways and paths and once marked the route to the parish church, although sometimes it was to a pilgrimage or monastic site, an ancient chapel, a holy well. Sometimes these crosses marked a burial ground which existed before the church, and the cross was used to mark the site.

Retrace your steps along the road above the beach at Talland, but instead of taking Bridals Lane uphill to the right, carry straight on along the lane ahead and follow it to the road on the right, just after the first caravans.

  1. Turn right on the road and walk back up to Killigarth, just a short distance ahead.

Public transport

For details visit www.travelinesw.com  or phone 0871 200 22 33

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