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Discover the county of Cornwall with a Cicerone Guidebook - Introduction

Cover of Walking in Cornwall
8 May 2015
17.2 x 11.6 x 1.0cm
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Walking in Cornwall

by Graham Uney
Book published by Cicerone Press

This guidebook includes routes to 40 day walks in Cornwall. From short, easy strolls to longer, wilder routes, there is plenty to appeal to both families and experienced walkers. The walks explore the interior and coasts, including walks through picturesque villages, old tin-mining areas and the Lizard and Land's End Peninsulas.

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40 half to full day rambles on the coasts and inland hills of Cornwall are explored in this guidebook.  Routes range from short, 2 mile strolls to long, wild walks of over 8 miles. With plenty of opportunities to combine routes together, this guide provides a wealth of variety for walkers of all abilities.

The guidebook is divided into 6 sections, including walks on Bodmin Moor (for which good navigational skills are required), the North Coast, Penwith and West Cornwall, the Inland Mining Districts, Land's End and the Lizard and Roseland Peninsulas. 

Cornwall has a lot to offer walkers; stunning coastal scenery and long stretches of wild moorland, with quiet estuaries cutting through high and rocky headlands. Birdlife and wildlife, from choughs to falcons to seals are found throughout the county, as are historical sites from the neolithic, to Iron Age hill forts and a long history of mining. The towns and villages of Cornwall, from the popular spots such as St Ives, Newquay and Padstow, to quiet inland hamlets and tucked away fishing villages are also included and provide perfect bases for going out to explore the country.

Alongside the 40 walking routes, this guidebook also includes plenty of practical information on getting to and around Cornwall, as well as details on each walk's distance, timing, terrain, ascent and nearest town. Throughout the walk descriptions, there are details of places of interest along the way, as well as annotated OS maps and stunning photography. The result is an ideal companion to stepping out and exploring the best of Cornwall.

  • Activities
    Day walks, both coastal and inland
  • Seasons
    There really isn't an off-season in Cornwall. The coastal walks are great at any time of year, as are the archaeological sites. Only Bodmin Moor is best left for the summer months.
  • Centres
    Good bases are St Just, St Ives, Porthleven, St Agnes, St Austell, Padstow, Boscastle and Bude.
  • Difficulty
    Most of the routes in this book are short easy walks following obvious paths and tracks, although a handful are more challenging. Walking boots and waterproofs are necessary, especially on exposed cliff-top walks, and for all the routes on Bodmin Moor.
  • Must See
    Explore the amazing cliff-top paths of the Cornish coast. Discover signs of ancient man at scores of archaeological sites. Uncover the history of the Cornish tin mines. Stride out across the wildest parts of Bodmin Moor.
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Industrial heritage
Cornish language
Cornish fare
Getting there
Getting around
When to go
Information sources
Using this guide
Bodmin Moor
Walk 1 The Hurlers and the Cheesewring
Walk 2 Twelve Men’s Moor and Trewortha Village
Walk 3 Brown Willy from Priddacombe Downs
Walk 4 Brown Willy from Garrow Downs
Walk 5 Brown Willy and the source of the River Fowey
Walk 6 Rough Tor and Brown Willy from the north
Walk 7 Bray Down and Leskernick Hill
The North Coast
Walk 8 Sharpnose Point from Coombe
Walk 9 Crackington Haven to Dizzard Point
Walk 10 The Strangles and Cambeak
Walk 11 Boscastle
Walk 12 Tintagel and Willapark
Walk 13 Around Port Isaac Bay
Walk 14 Pentire Point
Walk 15 Stepper Point
Walk 16 Trevose Head
Walk 17 Kelsey Head and Cubert Common
Walk 18 St Agnes Head and Beacon
Walk 19 Godrevy Point, Navax Point and Hudder Down
Penwith and West Cornwall
Walk 20 The Hayle Estuary Nature Reserves
Walk 21 Wicca Pool and Zennor Head
Walk 22 Zennor Hill
Walk 23 Gurnard’s Head
Walk 24 Hannibal’s Carn, the Nine Maidens and Mên-an-Tol
Walk 25 Chûn Quoit and Castle
Walk 26 Pendeen Watch and the Levant Mines
Walk 27 The Kenidjack Valley and Cape Cornwall
Walk 28 The Cot Valley from St Just
The Inland Mining Districts
Walk 29 The Porkellis Engine Houses
Walk 30 Carn Brea and Piece
Walk 31 Redruth and Gwennap Pit
Land’s End
Walk 32 Carn Brea, Carn Euny, and Bartinney Downs
Walk 33 Sennen Cove and Land’s End
Walk 34 Around Gwennap Head and Porthcurno
Walk 35 Lamorna Cove and Valley from Mousehole
The Lizard and Roseland Peninsulas
Walk 36 Porthleven and Trewavas Head
Walk 37 Halzephron Cliffs from Cury
Walk 38 Mullion Cove and Predannack Head
Walk 39 Around the Lizard from Cadgwith
Walk 40 Zone Point
Appendix A Route summary table
Appendix B Useful contacts


Looking back to the lighthouse from Lizard Point (Walk 39)

The county of Cornwall is home to both the British mainland’s most southwesterly point at Lands’s End, and most southerly at Lizard Point. The county stretches into the Atlantic Ocean for almost 130km from its boundary with Devon, which largely follows the River Tamar, rising not far from the north coast then flowing south to reach the sea at Plymouth. Cornwall is thus almost an island, surrounded by the Celtic Sea to the north and west, the English Channel to the south, and the Tamar to the east. The Cornish display a fierce sense of independence; the name ‘Kernow’ (‘Cornwall’ in the Cornish language) is seen regularly, town and village signs appear in English and Cornish, and the black-and-white county flag is very much in evidence. Many will only know Cornwall as a holiday destination, but this is a land steeped in history and tradition with a fascinating industrial heritage.

Walking is the best way to see the county. Many places in Cornwall are only accessible on foot, and the routes described here will take you to the very best places for spectacular scenery, wildlife, prehistory, industrial archaeology, and just for relaxing and getting away from the hustle and bustle of life further east.

Being largely surrounded by water – apart from the land border with Devon – many of the walks are coastal. There are routes to stunning headlands, to some of the most important industrial sites of a long-ago age, and to some of the top places to see wildlife. Cornwall’s coast is remarkably varied: the north and west coasts tend to be more rugged than the south, which is home to the sheltered wooded valleys and broad estuaries of rivers such as the Fowey, Fal and Helford.

But this guide is not all about the coast. Cornwall is also blessed in that at its heart lies one of the most exciting and scenic upland areas in England: Bodmin Moor. Here you will find wild, remote-feeling hills, many of them topped by weirdly shaped granite tors, as well as ancient settlements, burial cairns, and hill forts.

The walking in Cornwall can be surprisingly strenuous, considering that the highest hill in the whole county – Brown Willy – is only 420m above sea level. Many of the routes on Bodmin Moor lead over wild, boggy, pathless terrain; while – as anyone who’s ever spent time walking around much of the UK coastline will tell you – any route along a cliff top is likely to involve a fair amount of up and down.

The 40 walks described in this book provide options suitable for all tastes and levels of ability. There are lots of short walks for Sunday strolls, and a fair few longer routes for those who want to head out for more than just a couple of hours. There is also the opportunity for the serious walker to combine some routes for a more challenging day out (Walks 5 and 7, and 9 and 10). Note that Walks 1–7, on Bodmin Moor, are only suitable for those competent in the use of map and compass.

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