- Start: Cremyll car park
- End: Cremyll car park
- Country: England
- County: Cornwall
- Type: Country
- Nearest pub: Edgcumbe Arms, Cremyll; pubs and cafés in Kingsand and Cawsand; Friary Manor Restaurant, Maker
- Ordnance Survey: Explorer 108 or Landranger 201
- Difficulty: Medium
This route from Cremyll to Cawsand offers the options of a longer ramble, or a shorter circuit for a couple of brisk hours
Among several fine views looking north is a splendid vista of Devonport Dockyard and the Tamar Bridges. Mount Edgcumbe has aristocratic grandeur, but Empacombe Quay and Millbrook Lake have intimate charm, as do Kingsand and Cawsands narrow streets.
During the 18th and early 19th centuries, these attractive twin fishing villages thrived on smuggling. Ideally placed to serve Plymouth, Kingsand and Cawsand were yet a comfortable distance from Plymouth Customs House and intrusive observation although ships of His Majestys Navy were reputedly good customers for cheap grog.
Contraband was traded on a generous scale: in 1804 the Plymouth Collector of Customs estimated that 17,000 casks of spirits were smuggled into Cawsand annually. Three-masted luggers and the bigger smuggling cutters carried up to 800 eight-gallon spirit casks, plus tea and tobacco. Fifty smuggling craft were in business at Cawsand by 1815 and a similar number were still employed on French runs in the early 1840s.
A Grade I Listed country park of 350 hectares (865 acres) with many miles of paths, Mount Edgcumbe is open daily and free of charge all year. Its elegant mansion and formal gardens are surrounded by extensive woods. Sir Richard Edgcumbe built Mount Edgcumbe as his main seat in 1547-50, leaving Cotehele, the old family home up the Tamar, a time capsule. The Edgcumbe family later developed the colourful gardens, with their orangery (now open as a restaurant), elegant statues, handsome avenues and specimen trees.
Incendiary bombs gutted the house during the 1941 Blitz, but enough survived for it to be rebuilt. Furnished with paintings by Sir Joshua Reynolds, 16th-century tapestries and porcelain from both China and Plymouth, Mount Edgcumbe House and the adjoining Earls Garden are open in season (see below).
Turn left out of the car park and left again 200m ahead onto the signed public footpath for Empacombe by the telephone kiosk. Turn right 200m ahead at the next footpath sign. Follow the path along the bankside and around Empacombe Quay and behind for Empacombe windmill.
Cross the lane. Follow the signed public footpath ahead for Maker Church (do not confuse it with a track that diverges left along the field edge). Walk uphill to a kissing gate. Turn right as signed and push uphill on the zigzag path, following yellow waymarks. Cross the lane and continue to Maker, a typical 15th-century Cornish church, with a massive tower and a wonderfully carved Norman font.
From the churchs west gate turn right and right again for Mount Edgcumbe car park. Turn right and exit the car park through a five-barred gate. Walk towards the sea on the vehicle track and continue downhill towards two pines. Stay on the track as it curves left. When it curves right, turn sharp right down a steep path towards a tarred lane. For the second loop around Kingsand and Cawsand follow directions 4, 5 and 6 below back to this place otherwise continue from direction 7.
Turn right along the lane, then left 50m ahead onto the coast path. Enjoy the views of Plymouth Breakwater (built 1812-44). Continue for 1.6km (1 mile) to a gate, which has a street map of Kingsand and Cawsand.
To explore the villages, turn left downhill past the Rising Sun. The old Devon/Cornwall boundary marker is on a wall opposite the Halfway House Inn. Kingsand was part of Devon until 1844; intense rivalry between Turk Town (Cawsand) and the North Rockers (Kingsand) flourished. To continue the main route, walk ahead into Lower Row. Ignore the footpath on the right. Bear right at the lane junction. Turn right into Earls Drive 100m ahead. Follow it uphill behind allotments. Bear right at the public footpath sign. Continue at the next footpath junction, signed Grenville Battery. Carry on at the next footpath junction, Maker Heights. Turn right onto the lane and right again at the next
junction, Fort Picklecombe. Turn left 100m ahead at a stile. Follow the signed path to Maker Church (Point 3).
Retrace your footsteps from Maker to point 7.
Do not go through the gate. Turn left and take the South West Coast Path, parallel to the lane and make sure you follow the acorn signs and yellow waymarks. After rising, the path descends via steps to a junction. Either continue down steps and follow the Coast Path left to the start, or take the easier option of turning left to follow the level contoured path via a superb viewpoint to a deer gate. Please shut the gate and continue ahead, following signs for House and Gardens. Bear right and downhill to the Orangery, Cremyll Shop. Continue ahead to the Orangery Formal Gardens and down the avenue to the start.
Start/parking: Cremyll car park
Distance: 12km/7 miles (7km/4 miles for short version)
Time: 4 hours (2 hours)
Maps: Explorer 108 or Landranger 201
Terrain: Some short but sharp slopes; signed footpaths and Coast Path
Refreshments: Edgcumbe Arms, Cremyll; pubs and cafs in Kingsand and Cawsand; Friary Manor Restaurant, Maker
Public transport: Bus 81C connects Cremyll, Torpoint and Plymouth daily. Traveline: 0871 2002233. Cremyll Ferry: 01752 822105 daily from Stonehouse