Polruan to Pancarrow Head.

Start. Polruan (St Saviours Hill car park).

Route. Polruan - School Lane - Fore Street - West Street - Battery Hill - South West Coastal Path - Fuze Park - Lantic Bay - Pencarrow Head - Lantic Bay car park - Churchtown - St Wyllow's Church - Hall Walk - Little Churchtown - Pancallynick - Polruan.

Notes. This walk followed a quite demanding stretch of the South West Coastal Path, high above the crashing waves and foaming waters of the English Channel to reach the spectacular crescent of Lantic Bay. Three stunning beaches failed to tempt us to descend to the shore line, our aiming point was the massive bulk guarding and sheltering the bay, Pencarrow Head. Out return route followed ancient tracks and narrow ways through cool woodland visiting a 14th century church dedicated to St Wyllow. This hidden gem featured in Daphne Du Maurier's first novel “The Loving Spirit”, she was married here in 1932.

We parked on St Saviour's Hill car park, a word of warning, don't try driving into the village if you value your vehicle, the roads are narrow, modern day cars struggle to fit down the narrow streets, we saw a number attempting loosing wing mirrors and paint in the process. Also don't do as we did and go exploring the village first, it's a bloody steep climb onto the coastal path. Unlike us dear reader all you need do is simply follow the path from the rear of the car park.

Once we'd explored the ancient village famous for it's boat building heritage, working quay and narrow ways we ascended Battery Hill to join the South West Coastal Path. Through Fuze Park we wandered, the path guided us through dense undergrowth, gorse and hawthorn forcing us to keep to the narrow trod. Stunning views ahead and behind accompanied our every step, we soon reached Lantic Bay to be welcomed by a lung buster of a climb to access the path descending to Pancarrow Head. Once on the headland it was time to rest and enjoy the scenery along the south coast, the two of us sat, drank coffee and soaked up staggering views, rocky headlands and sheltered bays, to the east and west, lush green pastures dissolving into scrub of gorse, hawthorn and bramble before sheer cliffs plunged into the churning ocean.

Rest over our route followed the path away from the coast, north we walked through cow pastures to access a narrow lane leading to what I believe is the small hamlet of Churchtown, dominated by St Wyllow's Church. To satisfy my morbid curiosity we had a quick wander around the cemetery before popping into the church. To the rear of the church a path descends through woodland, this ancient right of way was signed Hall Walk, it guided us to Little Churchtown before ascending a steep hill, climbing parallel to the narrow road the path soon swung right. What followed was a delightful sylvan walk under the dark canopy of coppice woodland, rivers of fern and moss flowed out of sight down the steep hillside, every so often stolen views across the Fowey Estuary would greet us before the path ejected us back into the narrow ways of Polruan.

view route map.


View taken from School Lane, the River Fowey and the harbour at Polruan.

A small slice of Polruan.

Sue drinks in views over the mouth of the River Fowey.

Airy views from the South West Coastal Path.

Looking to the long finger of Gribbin Head with a tall ship leaving the safety of Polruan Haven.

The beauty of Lantic Bay backed by the bulk of Pancarrow Head.

Sue strides out on the South West Coastal Path above Lantic Bay.

Seen from above Lantic Bay, Blackbottle Rock.

The 400ft high bulk of Pancarrow Head on view over Lantic Bay.

With Great Lantic Beach below our feet views over Pencarrow Head.

For those of you whom prefer to spend a day lazing on a peaceful strand, this is the path for you.

From Pencarrow Head views over Lantivet Bay to Lansallos Cliff, the dip of East Coombe and Blackbale Point.

A change of scenery, the Cornish countryside seen over the valley of Pont Pill.

The small community of Churchtown.

Fourteenth century St Wyllow Church, christened "Lanoc Church by Daphne Du Maurier in her first novel "The Loving Spirit".

The romantic novelist was married to major Frederick Browning here in 1932.

Looking down on the confluence of the River Fowey and Pont Pill (Creek of seal cove).

Pillbox, dug in ground post dating back to the second world war, built to resist small arms fire and grenades, there are many such relics scattered across the English countryside particularly along the south coast.

back to top

back to list