Walk 1030 - printer friendly version
Fowey & Gribbin Head from Polkerris Walk
Author - Lou Johnson
Length - 8.0 miles / 13 km
Ascent - 1200 feet / 364 metres
Grade - moderate
Start - OS grid reference SX094523
Lat 50.339708 + Long -4.6798939
Postcode PL24 2TL (approx. location only)
Gribbin Head separates the harbours of Par and Fowey and provides the basis for a fairly energetic walk. The land behind the headland contains the Menabilly estate, which was inhabited by Daphne du Maurier, author of such famous works at "Jamaica Inn" and "The Birds". This walk uses an inland route across the headland from the small village of Polkerris to Fowey with a return along the Coastal Path.
Park in the small car park in Polkerris (Grid ref. SX 094523) and walk downhill towards the sea. Before reaching the beach fork left past the post office and toilets and left again by the black and white building. Ignore the steps climbing up on the right - this will be the return route - and continue straight on up a narrow path, which leads to a road (Grid. ref. SX 096521).
Turn right along the road for about 200 metres and then left on a waymarked path that leads to Tregaminion Farm. Stay with the waymarked path through the farm and across fields to reach Trenant with some excellent views back to St Austell bay on this section. The onward route from Trenant is clearly marked across fields to a stile. Descend through Menabilly Wood to pass under a bridge, which carries the main drive to the Mansion. Cross some stepping stones and climb out of the valley to reach Lankelly Farm.
Exit on to a lane and turn right. Carry straight on at the junction and turn left at the next junction. In approximately 400 metres look out for "Love Lane" on your right and follow this down to Readymoney Cove which is at the southern end of the attractive town of Fowey. The distance quoted above for this walk includes the return stroll into the centre of Fowey where there is a good choice of pubs, cafes and shops. However this section can easily be omitted without losing too much content.
Readymoney Cove is a pleasant place to linger and during the season there is a cafe open for refreshments and ice-creams. Leave the Cove by the coastal path, climbing up to reach St Catherine's Point where you obtain an excellent view of the harbour and across to Polruan on the other side of the river. The castle here was built by Henry VIII to protect the harbour after a disastrous French raid in 1457.
Stay with the coastal path as you switchback along the cliffs. Ahead the red and white tower on Gribbin Head provides a good idea of where you are heading. Never underestimate coastal walking and although this walk is never too arduous there is still plenty of ascent and descent to contend with before you reach Polkerris.
At Polridmouth there is a short detour inland but you are soon back with the cliff tops. The climb out of the last cove to Gribbin Head is quite long but not too steep. The tower was built by Trinity House in 1832 and provides a daylight marker on the coast. The final section of the walk is a pleasant coastal walk, with a couple of undulations, which seem much steeper at the end of the walk. Away to your left there are excellent views across St Austell Bay with Par harbour usually busy with ships loading china clay. The path exits as noted earlier in the description and the route back to the car park is as followed at the beginning on the walk.