Once you get past the Manor House and manicured lawns of the National Trust gardens at Trelissick (near Truro, Cornwall; OS Explorer Map 105 Falmouth and Mevagissey) you can find some great trails around the Fal River. This route is 8.45 miles and takes in the views around the King Harry Ferry, Roundwood Quay and Coombe.
There are National Trust car parks at Trelissick, however the parking charge of £4 for cars and £5 for camper vans (on top of an entrance fee of £9.50) can only be part of either a cynical plan for social exclusion or a ploy to get people to pay for full membership. Either way there are luckily other places to park for free – there is a layby about a quarter of a mile before you reach the gardens or there is also free parking at Roundwood Quay or Coombe.
If you start at Trelissick, once out of the car park head into the grounds in front of the manor house and you will be greeted with majestic views down to the estuary and on to Falmouth.
Continuing on through the steep wooded ria of the Fal you get a glimpse of the chain operated ‘King Harry’ car ferry. One of only five chain ferries in England it was established in 1888 and connects St Mawes and the Roseland Peninsula with Feock, Truro and Falmouth.
Further on the route snakes around Lamouth Creek and on to Roundwood Quay. The tide is out in the creek but the cold sucking mud flats are juxtaposed with the colours of the late autumn trees which are momentarily illuminated in sunlight.
The sun is short lived and gives way to a light mizzle. But this doesn’t stop Roundwood Quay looking magical with a romantic beauty. The quay was previously the site of an iron age settlement and some of the old fortifications and ditches are still well preserved.
From Roundwood Quay it is on to Coombe, a small hamlet on Cowlands Creek famous (locally) for its Kea Plum Jam.
The whole of this part of the Truro and Falmouth river estuary is designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Meaning that there are heavy planning restrictions which have helped this area to retain its timeless beauty.
From Coombe there is a short loop around Halwyn and then back to Coombe via some country lanes.
Link to Falmouth and Mevagissey 1:25,000 Explorer OS map on Amazon click here.
The run then goes back up Cowlands Creek and then via a more direct route (missing out Roundwood Quay) on to Trelissick Gardens again.
A beautiful run and just shows what you could miss out on if you didn’t put on your trail running shoes and go beyond the normal manicured well trodden National Trust paths.