Details

  • Start: Car park at end of road beside Mullion Golf Course, OS grid ref SW663204
  • End: Car park at end of road beside Mullion Golf Course, OS grid ref SW663204
  • Country: England
  • County: Cornwall
  • Type: Country
  • Nearest pub: Pubs and tearooms in Mullion and Gunwalloe Fishing Cove; Church Cove and Poldhu Cove snack bars open in summer
  • Ordnance Survey: OS Explorer 103 or Landranger 203
  • Difficulty: Medium
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Description

This walk starts near Poldhu Cove then leads to Mullion, Gunwalloe and Church Cove on the beautiful Lizard Peninsula

This walk starts near Poldhu Cove then leads to Mullion, Gunwalloe and Church Cove on the beautiful Lizard Peninsula


Descend the hill, round Poldhu Cove and climb Poldhu Point. After passing the visitors centre and home of an amateur radio club you cross the fields that contain the remains of Guglielmo Marconis experimental wireless station. These fields were chosen because they gave an uninterrupted path for radio waves to cross the Atlantic, were sufficiently remote to ensure privacy, and were close enough to the nearest hotel to provide accommodation for his workers. Beside the coast path a monument is erected in Marconis memory that describes his achievements and from here there are tremendous views over Mounts Bay from Gwennap Head to Mullion Island. The cove below is Poldhu Cove, an attractive family beach where once a fisherman called Lutey was said to have rescued a stranded mermaid who rewarded him with magical powers. These powers were inherited by his descendants who became a powerful class of white witches named pellars.
From here we head into Mullion, the largest village on the Lizard, through a field with a plaque revealing that Wesley preached here in 1762. Beyond Mullion the countryside is open and undulating before the route returns to the coast path at Gunwalloe, once a fishing village. This is part of the Penrose estate that stretches down a treacherous piece of coastline to Porthleven and Loe Pool and is the largest property owned by the National Trust. When it acquired the land, the Trust also gained right of wreck, entitling them to benefit from all ships wrecked on the shoreline. Past Gunwalloe climb to the dizzy heights of Halzephron Cliffs, translated as the cliffs of hell.
Amongst Bronze Age barrows the shallow unnamed graves of drowned sailors from wrecks can still be distinguished as hummocks on the ground. Dollar Cove, past the end of the cliffs, takes its name from the two tons of silver dollars carried by the San Salvador, a Spanish ship, which came to grief on the rocks in 1669. It is said that coins are still sometimes washed ashore in storms, but attempts made in the 1800s to find them were unsuccessful. Efforts were made to dam an undersea gully that was thought to have trapped them, and in 1847 tin miners sunk a shaft below the wreck in the hope the coins would drop into it!
The last cove before the climb back to your car is the remarkable Gunwalloe Church Cove. In the sand dunes beside the beach, separated from the sea only by the rocks of Castle Mound, stands the parish church of St Winwaloe and its bell tower, surrounded by a tamarisk hedge, and in the sandbanks nearby lie buried, it is believed, several chests of treasure that once belonged to a notorious buccaneer.


1


Descend the road, round Poldhu Cove and climb the drive towards the hotel to the Marconi Centre and memorial on the coast path. Turn left through the wall to follow the path signposted Mullion. Just after the white thatched house, follow the path across a field and behind houses before turning left across the street. Turn right at the major road uphill to car parks opposite the Old Inn.


2


Turn left down the path immediately after toilets to cross a field. At the lane turn right to pass Newton Farm Riding Stables and right again at Robins Parc along a bridleway before turning left through a gate to follow blue arrows into the valley. Cross the bridge over a stream and under trees to join the minor road before turning left after 100m along the driveway to Lampra Mill.


3


Follow yellow arrows through the grounds and stay alongside a field to leave in the left corner. Climb to the top of the hill and stay beside the hedge before turning left up stone steps and following the footpath to the road. Turn left and take the lane opposite the church. Turn left along the path to Gunwalloe alongside the second gateway after the graveyard and cross a field to enter the driveway to Sowanna Farm.


4


Follow arrows across a high stone stile and descend the valley to another stile and boardwalk over wet ground. Cross the fields to a second boardwalk and steep stone steps, then climb to a path and a walled, stony track to turn right between a stile and gate. Swing left at the bottom of the hill across fields to a gate and overgrown lane up to the road. Turn right past Halzephron Inn and left down the road and track towards Gunwalloe Fishing Cove.


5


Fork left opposite the beach cafe and climb to Baulk Head. Above Halzephron Cove follow the path beside the road and pass above the towering cliffs to descend to Dollar and Church coves at the foot of Mullion Golf Course and then climb the track to the car park.
CHRIS LOGAN



FACT FILE


Start/parking: Car park at end of road beside Mullion Golf Course, OS grid ref SW663204
Distance: 8 miles (13.2km)
Time: 4hours
Maps: OS Explorer 103 or Landranger 203
Terrain: Tracks and paths through gentle countryside and along coast; short sections of quiet lanes
Refreshments: Pubs and tearooms in Mullion and Gunwalloe Fishing Cove; Church Cove and Poldhu Cove snack bars open in summer
Public transport: Truronian hourly bus service T34 from Helston to Mullion (an alternative starting point)


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