The St Michaels Way Cornwall Coast to Coast Trail. Walking, Hiking, Trail Running.

Following the ancient tracks of the St Michaels Way you find yourself imagining the journey taken by those original pilgrims many years ago.

The Magic of St Michaels Mount, Cornwall.

The Magic of St Michaels Mount, Cornwall.

History, folklore and an atmospheric landscape combine in this cross country coast to coast way-marked route. It is believed the route was originally used by pilgrims travelling to the Cathedral of St James in Santiago de Compostela in Northern Spain from Cornwall, Ireland and Wales. European funding and the combined efforts of Cornwall County Council saw the route ‘reopened’ in 2004 with new signage. All of the new signs on the route have the symbol of a stylised scallop shell making it easy to tell if you are on the right path. A decade later the route is still well marked. However I would not recommend attempting the full route without a map as there are a few places where the signs have fallen down or are missing. There are also plenty of other footpaths that traverse the route (which are all worth exploring on a trail run) however without a 1:25000 OS map you may find you significantly add to the distance of your run if you don’t know the area (OS Explorer Map 102 Land’s End available on Amazon Weatherproof version also available!).

Start of the St Michael's Way at Marazion.

Start of the St Michael’s Way at Marazion.

This morning’s run starts at the charity car park at Marazion Cornwall. While most tourists make a beeline to the iconic mount, we followed an unassuming trail at the back of the car park into the reeds of Marazion Marsh. This as the weathered wooden sign proclaimed was the start of the ‘St Michaels Way’. A 12 mile cross country coast to coast route from Marazion on the south coast of Cornwall to St Ives and Lelant on the North Cornish Coast. This turned out to be a fascinating trail run full of variety.

Marazion Marsh nature reserve.

Marazion Marsh nature reserve.

At Marazion Marsh the route is flat. The high reeds limit the view a little, but the moving sea of reeds make for a different running experience. Occasionally boardwalks take you over the marshier sections. I ran the route at the end of a dry summer and the path was nice and firm underfoot. I haven’t yet run it in the winter, but I can imagine some sections would be soggy.

Raised decked footpath through Marazion Marsh.

Raised decked footpath through Marazion Marsh.

The Marazion Marsh section of the trail is short, less than a mile. Halfway along this section a small wire fence and a stile with the words STOP LOOK LISTEN, alert you to the fact that you have to cross the Penzance to Paddington mainline.

Stop look and listen! St Michaels Way crossing the Penzance London mainline.

Stop look and listen! St Michaels Way crossing the Penzance London mainline.

The line is very straight here so you can get a good view down the track to see any approaching trains.

London Penzance mainline crossing.

London Penzance mainline crossing.

A short distance later you have to cross the A394 and the A30, these are a lot harder to cross than the railway line.

Crossing the A394 Penzance to Helston road. St Michaels Way.

Crossing the A394 Penzance to Helston road. St Michaels Way.

View looking back to St Michaels mount, first mile of the St Michaels Way.

View looking back to St Michaels mount, first mile of the St Michaels Way.

Crossing the A30 near Crowlas on the St Michaels Way.

Crossing the A30 near Crowlas on the St Michaels Way.

Beautiful flowers and St Michaels Mount in a field near Ludgvan.

Beautiful flowers and St Michaels Mount in a field near Ludgvan.

Once past the main roads the route climbs up to the village of Ludgvan. A beautiful, but rather imposing church and very inviting pub greet you as you enter the village. The St Michaels Way loops around the church and heads out across the open countryside to St Ives. From here on the route follows ancient tracks and field boundaries. Following these ancient tracks at times there is no sign of the modern world and you could easily imagine the journey taken by those original pilgrims.

The church at Ludgvan, St Michaels Way.

The church at Ludgvan, St Michaels Way.

The White Heart Ludgvan, looking very inviting along the St Michaels Way.

The White Heart Ludgvan, looking very inviting along the St Michaels Way.

Woodland path along the St Michaels Way Cornwall.

Woodland path along the St Michaels Way Cornwall.

Field near Nanceddan, St Michaels Way.

Field near Nanceddan, St Michaels Way.

Beautiful ford with granite paving nr. Cucurrian Mill, Cornwall, St Michaels Way.

Beautiful ford with granite paving nr. Cucurrian Mill, Cornwall, St Michaels Way.

First glimpse of Trencrom Hill fort on the St Michaels way, Cornwall.

First glimpse of Trencrom Hill fort on the St Michaels way, Cornwall.

Neolithic axe heads dating to 3500 BC have been found at Trencrom Hill Fort, the trails and land around the St Michaels Way have been in continual use for thousands of years.

Crossing a newly sown field on the St Michaels Way. Trencrom Hill Fort in the distance.

Crossing a newly sown field on the St Michaels Way. Trencrom Hill Fort in the distance.

The Bowl Rock, According to local folklore this rock was used by giants in a game on Trencrom Hill.

The Bowl Rock, According to local folklore this rock was used by giants in a game on Trencrom Hill.

Bowl Rock. St Michaels Way.

Bowl Rock. St Michaels Way.

Folklore mixes with history on this beautiful way-marked trail. This rounded bolder is the height of two people or the size of a small cottage.

One of the many cow fields crossed by the St Michaels Way.

One of the many cow fields crossed by the St Michaels Way. Near Trevarrack.

Many fields along the route are full of cattle. Personally I recommend walking through these sections until you get a feel for the mood of the livestock. 40 cattle and a herding instinct combined with the excitement of a runner in the field can easily result in you leading a stampede. Luckily by midday most of the cattle were ready for an afternoon nap and less interested in the strange runner in their field.

Nearing Knill's Monument on the St Michaels Way, Cornwall.

Nearing Knill’s Monument on the St Michaels Way, Cornwall.

Knill's Monument, near St Ives Cornwall.

Knill’s Monument, near St Ives Cornwall.

The urge to build large phallic objects by men of wealth has led to several monuments across Cornwall. This one gives a lovely view of Carbis Bay and a great place to sit and eat a picnic, so thank you to the Knill’s.

View of Carbis Bay and St Ives Bay from Knill's Monument, St Michaels Way.

View of Carbis Bay and St Ives Bay from Knill’s Monument, St Michaels Way.

Knill's Monument 1782.

Knill’s Monument 1782.

View back to Trencrom Hill Fort from Knill's Monument, The St Michaels Way, Cornwall.

View back to Trencrom Hill Fort from Knill’s Monument, The St Michaels Way, Cornwall.

St Michael's Mount comes back into view on the return leg of the St Michaels Way.

St Michael’s Mount comes back into view on the return leg of the St Michaels Way.

A footpath sign marks the route of the St Michaels Way near Boskennal. St Michaels Mount in the background.

A footpath sign marks the route of the St Michaels Way near Boskennal. St Michaels Mount in the background.

Running back down from Ludgvan to Marazion on the St Michael's Way.

Running back down from Ludgvan to Marazion on the St Michael’s Way.

Back at St Michaels Mount after a great trail run on the St Michaels Way.

Back at St Michaels Mount after a great trail run on the St Michaels Way.

What a fantastic route for a trail run. Thanks to the original pilgrims and Cornwall County Council for way-marking this route.

If you like this route you might also like Cape Cornwall to St Ives: The Cousin Jack Classic Trail Run.

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