A Day Trip Around The Roseland
The words 'Roseland' and 'unspoilt beauty' always seem to go hand-in-hand. And we can see why. Bordered by the Fal Estuary to the west and the Atlantic to the east, the Roseland Peninsula is a paradise for walkers, foodies, beach bums, history buffs and wild swimmers.
OUR TOP ACTIVITIES WHILST ON THE ROSELAND
1. The Roseland’s coastal waters are popular with yachtsmen, windsurfers and canoeists. We absolutely love a kayaking adventure. Beach launch from Pendower or Carne if you’re an experienced paddler, or Paddle and Sail offer guided canoe trips to explore the creeks and backwaters of the Percuil River.
2. Grab your picnic hamper and head to St Mawes Castle, built by Henry VIII to guard the entrance to the safe anchorage in the Carrick Roads. Today, the castle stands intact and although re-fortified throughout its history, it is a Tudor time capsule wanting to be explored. Kick back in the sunshine amongst landscaped grounds, which provide gorgeous views of the surrounding coastline.
3. In the summer, go down to Porthcurnick beach where you can hire kayaks, stand up paddle boards and boogie boards from Paddle and Sail. Reward yourself with a feast from the Hidden Hut afterwards or sit with an ice-cream as you admire the views.
4. Blow away the cobwebs and go for a stroll. The feeling of whipping your walking boots off after a long hike and dipping your toes in the river or sea is just as good as the trek itself! The Roseland Visitor Centre has some brilliant walking guides to set you on your way.
5. Visit the 13th century church at St Just in Roseland. With a 6th century Celtic heritage, it sits in a waterside semi-tropical garden where you will be sure of a warm welcome. Described by John Betjeman as ‘to many people the most beautiful churchyard on earth’, an old legend states that Joseph of Arimathea brought Jesus ashore here.
Pack your snacks, don your boots and while away the day walking the peninsula. Here’s our favourite stroll by our friends at Fal River, an all-day circular walk covering 9 miles…
Starting from Portscatho with the sea on your left, walk down past the view over the harbour to the cottages and pick up the path that will take you all the way to St Anthony’s Head. Portscatho (or ‘harbour of boats’ in Cornish) once had fish cellars around the walls of the harbour, and still has a small fishing fleet. Take some time to explore the village’s galleries and shops or and stop for a tipple in the local pub before walking up the hill to Gerrans Church.
Dedicated to St Geraint who was an ancient Celtic saint, locally there are also sites in honour of King Geraint of Dumnonia who is associated with the legend of King Arthur and is supposedly buried around Veryan on Carne Beacon. The church high up on the hill is a valuable reference point for sailors.
It is a two-mile walk from here to Towan beach. The tall post encountered as you leave the beach is a “wreck post” where a breeches buoy could be fired to the mast of a ship to begin rescuing people off stricken vessels. Walk around Killigerran Head and the approach to Porthbeor Beach. This is worth getting down the 100 or so steps, especially at low tide. There are caves to explore and although popular with the boating community, in summer it remains a secluded beach.
After half an hour, you should be approaching St Anthony’s Head with the wonderful views over to Falmouth, down to the Lizard peninsula and up the Fal River to Truro. St Anthony’s has been important in protecting the entrance to the Fal and various gun batteries were placed here which you can explore. There is also a bird hide lower down where one can see peregrine falcons nesting.
Walk to the end of the car park and take the road downhill. This takes you to the military road T-junction. To the left downhill is Place and to the right is the road back to Portscatho. Just after the entrance to Porth Farm, there is a footpath sign and gate that indicates Rosteague and Gerrans. Take this (not the road) and it will take you through farmland to a lane, eventually coming out at Gerrans. No doubt you’ll be ravenous by now, so head to the tearoom or pub and put your feet up.
WHY WE LOVE IT & HOW TO GET THERE
Picture-postcard views wait for you at every turn. From tranquil beaches, historic ports and headlands to pretty fishing villages, secluded creeks and cliffs – the Roseland has been designated part of Cornwall’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Accessible from St Michaels Falmouth via the St Mawes Ferry, the King Harry Ferry or an Enterprise Boat, it’s the ultimate day trip this summer.
Whether you opt for a river cruise or crawl by car to through the sleepy villages and country lanes, you’ll soon stumble upon wide open beaches, farm shops selling goodies grown in their fields, and eventually hit the coast along to St Mawes.
Here’s a quick round-up of our favourite Roseland beaches for you to discover…
TAVERN and SUMMERS BEACH in St Mawes are two fabulous family beaches on either side of the harbour. Both tick our boxes for swimming and sunbathing.
GREAT MOLUNAN at St Anthony is a small golden beach, reached by a path from the Headland. It’s thoroughly worth the wander as the views are breathtaking and it’s perfect for snorkelling. Great Molunan is a bit of a secret spot, with plenty of quirky nooks and crannies to uncover.
CARNE and PENDOWER are wide, sandy and safe for children with flat soft sand and lots of shelter. At low tide, you can stroll barefoot from one beach to the other and look out to the dominant Nare Headland to the East.
PORTHBEOR is another National Trust treasure – a sandy cove with caves and reached by a steep path, making it secluded and super quiet.
PORTHOLLAND is a sweet small cove backed by a granite sea wall with rock pools at its feet. The tiny hamlets of East and West Portholland are inhabited by just forty local residents.
TOWAN is a long crescent shaped beach perfect for rock-pooling at low tide. Often over the edge in the bays, seals can be spotted bobbing about.
TATTAMS at Portscatho is a pretty fishing village beach with rocks and sandy patches. It stretches all the way to Porthcurnick beach to the north.
PORTHCURNICK is the perfect cove to bring the little ones to, with plenty of water activities and rock pools to get stuck into.
THE PLACE TO BE
Crossing St Mawes Harbour and operating seven days a week, the Place ferry runs a regular service between St Mawes and Place Creek. As soon as you step off the ferry, you’ll need to have your walking boots on as you explore some of the most unspoilt spots in Cornwall. Place’s poor road access means the area is unspoilt and a real secluded spot. Even in summer, it’s the ultimate spot to get off the beaten track and not see another soul.
When you arrive at Place, turn right from the ferry and walk to Place House. If you turn left up into the woodlands you’ll be rewarded with old oaks, hazel, sweet chestnut and many ferns. Returning to the path to Place House, a small diversion is to take the gate on your right to the small quay. At the first footpath on your right, go into the churchyard. The church, founded in the 12th Century, is always open for a visit. There is an old granite coffin in the churchyard and the entrance is made of Jurassic limestone from Caen in Normandy.