The Mid Cornwall Yachting Trail:
(Restronguet Creek, Mylor Creek and Penryn River)
Distance: 12 miles
Max height: 68 metres
Min height: 2 metres
Total accent: 336 metres
Designation: Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
Some wooded and cross county tracks, followed by miles of flat off road trails following Restronguet Creek, Mylor Creek and the Penryn River estuary with outstanding views across Carrick Roads and Falmouth Bay, Cornwall.
Despite its 336 metres of ascent this route would be labelled by most local runners as a ‘flat route’. The route is a circular route that can be taken in either direction – I prefer to go over land first, as this is the most likely place to lose the trail and get lost and I would rather do that with fresh legs. Taking the circular route the aim is to get across to the footpath at Halwyn opposite Point on Restronguet Creek. From there on the path follows the river creeks the whole way making navigation easy (using the navigation method used for the coast path i.e. if you can’t see the sea you are too far inland and if your feet are wet you are too near the sea).
It is also possible to do this route as an out and back just following the creeks and missing out the inland stretch altogether. This also makes the route much flatter.
Taking the circular route there are several routes you can take inland to Halwyn. The main road from Penryn to Mylor (Bissom Road) is to be avoided; it is narrow and cars travel along it at speed. The road that travels out to Bellevue and on to the Enys lodge house is much safer. There is also an off road route through Pencoose and Gwarder which passes along farm tracks, across fields and then through woods at Rekedjack Cottages. This is my preferred route.
Taking the off road cross country route this evening I was soon clear of Penryn and making my way along a muddy farm track. The air is still warm, but cooling and the sky clear. The characteristic Cornish hedges limit the views but as the track opens up and passes through fields I am treated to a view of pheasants and some wood pigeons. The wood pigeons flap ungracefully, clapping their wings and seemingly hit every tree branch as they dive for cover.
The wood pigeons flap ungracefully, clapping their wings and seemingly hit every tree branch as they dive for cover.
The route then passes through Enys Gardens (an old country manor house) and then through more fields. The first field I run through is freshly cut and golden brown, the air is filled with the smell of cut hay. As I reach the second field I can hear the combine harvester bringing in the rest of the harvest. Luckily the part of the field the path runs through has already been cut, so I can run unimpeded and without getting in the farmers way.
The path then goes from the open field through a narrow bramble archway into a dark dense wood. The sunlight only occasionally making it through the thick undergrowth to dapple the path. The ground is softer in the woods and the air slightly cooler. I cross a small stream and the branches fly past as I continue, now making steady progress.
The wooded trail, becomes a track and then a pot holed road. The route then follows a more substantial road turning left, then right through Angarrick, then right again and finally left following the footpath sign to Halwyn. The path slowly rises before rounding the top and slowly sloping down towards Restronguet Creek. Here you get your first view of the river. At first just a glimpse through the hedges, but as the path snakes down the lane you get a full view of the creek ahead of you and within meters you are running beside it, separated only by a low hedge. The path at this point levels off and stays mostly level for the rest of the run.
The river is wide and expansive. Grey mud flats flecked with green algae and seaweed flank the river, here wading birds search for food amongst the mud. Further out, the river channel winds its way up the valley. Surrounding the creek are a patchwork of fields; green, golden brown and near mauve dress the sloping hills. Along the river channel and squatting amongst the mud flats yachts of all sizes are tethered in place. Occasionally the gentle hum of an outboard motor fills the valley as a small boat makes its way up or down the creek.
The trail follows this scene passing small clusters of houses and The Pandora Inn. The houses are beautiful, with large gated drives and decked gardens looking out over the creek. Most of the houses seem empty. The valley only being affordable now to a very small group of people and out of reach of most of the local inhabitants (at the time of going to press I did a quick house search online, there was only one house for sale, but to give you an idea it wasn’t the largest house we ran past and it had a guide prize of £1,650,000). It is no surprise then that the village pub The Pandora Inn has its own pontoon where you can park your yacht!
It is no surprise then that the village pub The Pandora Inn has its own pontoon where you can park your yacht!
The trail continues past another cluster of beautiful houses and onto a tarmacked drive before switching back to trail again and heading on through a wooded section of the river. The wooded section is also slightly downhill. My pace picks up and with branches seemingly flying inches from my face and my feet spinning like propellers I get a sense of flying through the woods. A sharp bend at the bottom of the slope ends in a small stone quay.
As I stand on the small quay the marina at Mylor is directly in front of me on the opposite river bank. It feels like you could reach out and touch it, it is so close. Boats from the marina fill the creek lined up in rows like a busy car park. Despite being so close it is still another 2.5 miles before we cross the creek at the village of Mylor Bridge and reach the marina at Mylor.
As the run continues the sky turns from blue, through to yellow and orange. I have left it late this evening to start my run. The shadows draw long across the river and tree covered parts of the trail start to get distinctly dark. I have brought my head torch so don’t need to worry, but I still have a sense of being chased by the shadows.
There are public toilets at Mylor Bridge. The route between Mylor Bridge and Mylor then follows a quiet straight road. At Mylor there are more toilets and a café. The trail after Mylor runs through fields. Here you get a great view of the river and out into Falmouth Bay. Large ships are moored in the mouth of the river and out in the bay. Around them sailing boats play in the widening water. You also get your first view of Pendennis Castle perched high on the peninsula to the side of Falmouth, even today it is an imposing site commanding the river mouth.
As the path rounds towards Treffussis Point you then get a fantastic view of Falmouth Docks. The warehouses, cranes and dry docks compete for space at the base of a small cliff, with Pendennis Castle sitting upon the rise. This all gives the sense of a busy bustling port.
By now it is getting dark and it is pleasant to see the sparkling lights of Falmouth and Penryn across the water. I soon reach the village of Flushing. With its narrow main street, old buildings and quay I always think it would make a great set for a period drama.
The final stretch of the run is through narrow lightly wooded tracks. Here the shadows dance in my head torch light. I am happy to know there is only a mile or so to go.
I forget however that less than a mile from the end the trail runs through an old grave yard. During the day the moss and ivy covered headstones blend into the undergrowth, but at night my head torch seems to pick out every headstone covering them in a cool white light. They loom out of the shadows and leer out from the bushes. I stop briefly to take a picture, but don’t feel like hanging around long!
A few minutes later and I am back on the main road at Penryn. The run over, It has been a good varied run, lots of off road trails and great views of the small creeks and larger water ways and the port of Falmouth.