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MEI Online: Conferences: MEI Conferences: Falmouth on Foot


During your stay in Falmouth, we suggest that you take some time to explore the delights of this beautiful town on foot.

Gyllyngvase Beach

The following two walks have been designed to show you the best of Falmouth's town and coastal scenery. Both walks start at the main beach - Gyllyngvase - directly opposite the St. Michaels Hotel. All mileages are from Gyllyngvase.

Falmouth Town and Harbour (6 miles)
Falmouth Bay and Helford River (7.5 miles)


Falmouth Town and Harbour

From Gyllyngvase Beach, walk east (with sea on your right) along the promenade, with the view of Pendennis Castle on the headland in front of you. After 3/4 mile, the main road swings left, but keep to the footpath towards the Castle (Castle Drive). After 150 yards, the road to Pendennis Castle goes up the hill to your left. If time permits (allow at least an hour) the visit to the Castle is highly recommended.

Pendennis Head

If you decide not to visit the Castle, remain on the Castle Drive coastal path, with glorious views of Falmouth Bay and the entrance to the Helford River on your right, until you reach Pendennis Head (1.5 miles).

Walk through the car park and down the steps to the end of the point, with Falmouth Bay on your right and the mouth of the River Fal on the left.

Turn left and you will see the village of St. Mawes across the river. Continue left and walk down to the 16th Century Little Dennis blockhouse. As you walk back to the car park, you will see Pendennis Castle ahead on the top of the hill.

Proceed along Castle Drive until you reach the overlook for Falmouth Docks (2.3 miles)on your right, with good views of the dry dock and inner harbour. At the beginning of the overlook are plaques summarising the history of the docks and pointing out local landmarks. Slightly to your right, across the Fal Estuary is St. Mawes Castle , the sister castle of Falmouth's Pendennis Castle, both built in the 16th Century by King Henry VIII to defend the mouth of the river.

At the bottom of Castle Drive, turn left to walk the 1.5 miles back to the hotel, or follow the road right down to the mini-roundabout. Cross the roundabout, go under the railway bridge, and then walk along Bar Road towards the town centre, passing the Docks and Killigrew Monument on the right, with the 14th century Arwenack Manor on the left (3 miles).

Customs House Quay

Turn right immediately after the Harbour Lights restaurant, into Customs House Quay (notice the King's Pipe on your immediate left, where contraband used to be burnt). Walk straight ahead to the end of the quay for a good view of Falmouth Harbour (by the bench at the far end of the quay is a plaque summarising the history of the Port of Falmouth).

Returning from the end of the quay, turn right towards The Chain Locker pub. If you have time, it is worth calling in here for a drink, as this is an atmospheric pub, frequented by local fishermen.

Walk through the alleyway under the Chain Locker, then turn left and walk back up to the main street. Turn right and walk up to the King's Head pub. Turn left here and walk up the steps (right of the telephone booth) at the side of King Charles Church.

Carrick Roads and the harbour

Turn left at the top of the steps, cross the road, and then ascend the steps about 30 yards on the right. Turn right at the top, then after about 20 yards turn left under the archway and up the steps. At the very top look back for glorious views of the river (Carrick Roads) and the harbour.

Turn right and walk about 50 yards before turning right at Thetis Place and walking down Barbary's Hill. Turn left at the bottom of the hill and follow the road, keeping left (do not descend at Smithick Hill, but follow the road left up the hill).

Pass Jacob's Ladder pub on the left, turn the corner, then directly opposite the pub, turn right down Jacob's Ladder. Descend the 111 steps to Falmouth Town Centre (the Moor).

River Fal from Prince of Wales Pier

Cross the road to the Library, then turn right and follow the road to the junction. Turn right onto the High Street then left onto Prince of Wales Pier (4 miles), where the ferries leave for St. Mawes and Flushing, across the River Fal.

At the end of the pier, you have the harbour and docks to the right, and to your left, across the river, is the village of Flushing.

Leave the pier and turn left onto the main street (Market Street). Turn left at the Grapes Inn into Fish Strand Quay, where you will see plaques on the Battle of Trafalgar and Operation Chariot. Leave the quay and turn left again onto Market Street. Follow the road back to the King's Head again, and turn right, ascending the steps to the left of the telephone box. Turn left at the top and follow the road to the junction. Turn right and ascend the steep road (keeping to the footpath on the right of the road).

Follow this road, passing the Falmouth College of Art (4.9 miles) on your left. Cross the mini-roundabout at Western Terrace and descend Pennance Road. Turn left at Spernen Wyn Road back to Gyllingvase Beach (6 miles).


Falmouth Bay and Helford River

Swanpool Beach

Follow the footpath along Gyllyngvase Beach, with the sea on your left. This takes you over the cliff to Swanpool Beach (0.5 miles).

Cross the beach and take the main road, which ascends steeply past the Hooked on the Rocks restaurant; 70 yards past the restaurant turn left onto the coastal path. After a few hundred yards the path splits into three. Left is a private road and straight on is the coast path (signposted Maenporth Beach via Pennance Point), which is an easy walk to Maenporth.

Falmouth Golf Club

However, we recommend that you take the less obvious, but very scenic route, via the right hand footpath. Turn sharp right and cross the stile, then walk up through the field, with the hedge close to your right. At the top of the field, cross the fence onto the public footpath which takes you across Falmouth Golf Club, surely one of the most beautiful courses in England. Follow the path across the course (well marked with yellow arrows).

Leave the golf course via the path by the 17th tee. This path drops down to the main coastal path. Turn right and follow the path to Maenporth Beach (2.2 miles), a deep, sheltered cove, popular in the summer with tourists.

Rosemullion Head

Cross the beach to re-join the coastal path near the The Cove Restaurant, a good place to take refreshments, as you are now leaving "civilisation" for a while.

The coast path now takes you on a varied and beautiful coastal walk. Occasionally the path will branch off to the right, but stay at all times on the coastal path, as close as possible to the sea, particularly at Rosemullion Head (4 miles) where you can look back to distant views of Falmouth, and ahead to the Lizard Peninsula and the Manacles Reef.

Helford River from cliff above Glebe Beach

As you pass round Rosemullion Head you will see the entrance to the Helford River in front of you, and at Mawnan Glebe (5 miles) the scenery changes drastically as you enter the Helford estuary.

Durgan Village

Follow the path up the estuary, then descend the tarred lane into Durgan Village (6 miles). Turn right at the quay and walk up the hill. After a few yards turn sharp left onto the coastal path (do not go straight ahead on the footpath), and follow this to Helford Passage (7.5 miles), where, if time permits, you can take the short ferry crossing to the picturesque Helford Village. If not, this is a good place to have a meal and a few drinks at the Ferry Boat Inn, and to phone for a taxi back to Falmouth!


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