PUBLISHED: 10:21 10 January 2016 | UPDATED: 12:42 30 August 2017



Get together and join Robert Hesketh for this family-friendly walk around Cardinham

This fairly easy walk through woods and fields in the green countryside west of Bodmin Moor has plenty of interest en route, including an historic church, an unusual mine chimney and a Norman castle. Pleasant through the seasons with wildflowers in spring and autumn colours, it offers shade on a hot day, but is well-sheltered against winter winds.

We begin and end in Cardinham Woods, a popular area with families and well provided with marked trails, toilets, parking, a children’s play area, picnic tables, barbecues and a café. Half-way is Cardinham’s historic church, with its unique dedication to Saint Meubred, who (according to William of Worcester) was the son of an Irish king and became a Cornish hermit. Among its many interesting features is a fine collection of typically Cornish 15th-16th century carved bench ends, complemented by a splendid carved chest. The churchyard cross is also one of Cornwall’s best.

Cardinham Castle was founded by Richard Fitz Turold, an Anglo-Norman with estates in Devon and Cornwall. It is one of approximately one thousand motte and bailey structures scatted across the country and consisting of a raised mound (motte), guarded by a defended outer courtyard or bailey. These were hastily erected shortly after the Norman Conquest to subdue the population and deter further revolts such as the Western Rebellion of 1067-68.

There are mine workings hidden through Cardinham Woods. Our route passes Wheal Glyn Silver Mine at Hurstocks. Last worked in the 1890s, Wheal Glyn actually began as a tin and copper mine - the silver was a lucky find. Look out among the trees for its fine chimney stack, which has castellations not found on chimneys elsewhere in East Cornwall.

Boots on? Let’s go!

  1. Starting from the car park, cross the stream and pass to the left of the children’s play area. Turn right up the valley on Lady Vale Walk’. At a major junction of tracks turn right and right again across the bridge (noting the clapper bridge alongside). Continue left up the valley (Wheal Glyn). At the next junction, ignore the Wheal Glyn turning.
  2. Where the main track swings right above a mobile home, take the lesser track to the left. It becomes a lane. At a lane junction, turn left across the stream and follow the main track up. Turn right (yellow waymark) onto a path through a wood. Leave the wood by a stile and cross a field to a lane. Turn right, cross the stream and take the footpath on the right to the church.
  3. Leaving the church, turn right along the lane for 400m to a steep hill sign. You now have a choice: take a short cut, continue along the road for a further kilometre (half mile), ignoring side turns, to the triangular road junction at point 5 and follow directions from there.
  4. For the full route (including the remains of the Norman castle), take the bridleway signed to the left, but be warned – the next part can be muddy! Go through the yard of the house, then cross a streamlet (not over the little wooden bridge) and walk down beside it. This is clearly a very old road’ leading across the valley to Castle Farm. Turn left here along the lane, and at the next bend you can just about see the fairly minimal remains of Cardinham’s motte and bailey castle. Continue up to a crossroads and turn right along the lane for 1km (half mile), to a triangular road junction.
  5. There are two tracks ahead. Take the one on the right (from the short cut this is the first track on the right, just before the junction). When it forks, take the forestry track bearing right. Follow the main track, which at first winds downhill. Ignore the first turning on the right. At a fork bear left, slightly uphill. Near the head of a steep valley, you will pass the engine house of Wheal Glyn. The track rounds the head of the valley, and then descends. Join the lower path and continue ahead to the car park.

Fact File

Distance: 8.75km/5 ½ miles

Time: 2 ½ hours

Exertion: Moderate

Start/parking: Cardinham Woods car park, SX100667

Terrain: Forest tracks, footpaths and quiet lanes. Fairly easy walking

Child/dog friendly: Suitable for dogs on leads and older children

Maps: Ordnance Survey Explorer 109; Landranger 200

Refreshments: Woods Café at start. Barbeque facilities

Public Toilets: At start

Public Transport: None

More Walks: Shortish Walks Bodmin Moor, Paul White, Bossiney Books, 2016

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