The Saints’ Way 4

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Lanlivery church

It has been a wonderful spring with three weeks of dry sunny weather during April. The camelias, bluebells, azaleas and blossom seem to have gone on for ever and it is only now that they are beginning to look as though their flowering is drawing to a close.

At the beginning of May we took the chance to complete ‘the other leg’ of the Saints’ Way.

The Saints’ way splits at Helman Tor with the westerly route going through Luxulyan, St Blazey and Tywardreath to enter Fowey across the Menabilly headland. The easterly route heads for Lanlivery and follows the river to Golant, entering Fowey from the north. When we previously walked the Saints’ Way we had used the westerly route.

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Polyntor standing stone

We started at Lanlivery, having previously walked the Helman Tor to Lanlivery section on a warm summer’s day after a pub lunch at the (excellent) Crown Inn.

The way crossed a small valley, past a curious shrine to Humpty Dumpty, complete with lighting effects, to where a large standing stone stood, sited unusually on the side of a hill but within view of the church tower. This would have been a good waymarker for a passing saint.

There was another waymarker over the next hill where we encountered a wayside cross, set next to the busy A390 at a place charmingly called No Man’s Land.

After a short distance walking alongside this road, the way dived right and we took a steep lane down a field towards Milltown.

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St Winnow church

Passing a vain goose admiring her image in a greenhouse, we emerged on a small road running parallel to the river. All around, the vegetation was red, white and blue against a background of the fresh green of spring: campion, wild garlic and bluebells were doing their bit and the air smelled strongly of fresh garlic.

This was a lovely section and very easy going. In the distance, across the river, the sight of St Winnow church in its waterside setting just added to the delights.

The path turned off halfway up a hill and crossed a large ploughed field, heading for Golant. We stopped here to visit St Sampson church which gets a single star from Simon Jenkins. This is well worth a visit, if only for its hillside setting and putative links with the story of Tristan and Iseult.

P1090384Leaving Golant, the way then became a narrow path and quite the loveliest section of the day. The vegetation continued to be quite splendid: sadly our camera cannot do it justice. There is something about the colours of bluebells that modern cameras simply do not like. They also cannot capture the smell of fresh vegetation or the noises of the birds enjoying a sunny day.

We emerged at a small quay and followed the valley up through a wood to a small waterfall where we ate a sandwich, surrounded by the smell of garlic.

Across another hill – and past the inevitable water treatment works – and we descended a hill towards the Bodinnick ferry. Around us were the signs of the former railway station and its accompanying infrastructure. The station itself being converted into ‘apartments’. We hope they like views of a car park.

We walked through the narrow streets of Fowey – it was almost mandatory to wear Joules and SeaSalt – and arrived at the church formally to end our walk. It had been an easy 7.5 mile (9 mile on our gps) walk in 3 and a quarter hours.

 

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