Lostwithiel may sound like a spot from Middle Earth, but middle river would be more accurate. Cornish for the "place at the tail end of the woodland" this is your first introduction to your companion to the sea... The mighty River Fowey.
Whilst not on the Saints Way, Lostwithiel is a very pleasant town of around 3,000 inhabitants in the valley half a mile below the Saints Way Route.
Those staying here have a choice of two hotels and some very good B&B accommodation. You also have the option to take a beautiful route out to rejoin the Saints Way at Milltown via the protected saltmarshes and meadows of the River Fowey, starting from the Medieval Civil War bridge still standing at the heart of the town.
The town has around 4 pubs, several cafes, and a reputation as the antiques capital of Cornwall, with an array of rather quirky antique and oddity shops down its single high street. There are 3 very good restaurants including Asquiths Restaurant, which is one of the best in mid Cornwall if you like your food. All the pubs serve food, The Globe is one of the perennial favourites and there is plenty to explore if you do decide or are forced to spend your last night on The Saints Way here.
The town was founded by the Normans, who also built the very impressive Restormel Castle - a dramatic spot, the Castle now in ruins is only 1 mile from the village and maintained by English Heritage. If you are keen, it’s quite possible to visit this on the morning of the walk to Fowey and continue onwards to the coast and it is a truly spectacular spot.
By the 14th century the town was the proclaimed capital of Cornwall due to the Fowey river which, until it silted up in later centuries, was the main route for goods in and out of this part of Cornwall. The darkest times for the town were during the Civil War when a siege of Lostwithiel saw 10,000 of Cromwells troops cornered here. Much of the town was ransacked, many starved and those who survived were driven to nearby Castle Dore, one of Cornwall's biggest Iron Age Forts just above The Saints Way in Golant. There, a final surrender and bloody retribution was handed down by the people of Lostwithiel and the Royalist Kings Soldiers.
Reflecting this history, within a short distance you can find the Duchy Palace and Old Stannary Parliament, Coinage Hall, Debtors Prison as well as the 13th century medieval Bridge at a stunning crossing point over the Fowey. There is also an impressive church and Town Museum.
For those who like their history or want a choice of eating options, Lostwithiel is a better choice than the much smaller Lanlivery for the final night. As John Betjeman pointed out "There is history in every stone in Lostwithiel".