Saints Way Day 2 - The Eastern Route to Fowey via Lanivery and Golant
Distance 13 miles - Grade - Generally Moderate grade with some easy lane sections - what these grades mean.
After the Saints Way splits below Lanivet on this eastern option, you find yourself passing just below Helman Tor and a climb to the summit is a must. The only Tor in this area of Cornwall, it is a dramatic, wind swept and breath-taking spot. Immense boulder stacks and statues litter the summit at 680 feet.
On a good day you can see coast to coast and your whole route Padstow to Fowey is laid out below you. The spot has an other-worldly feel to it, set amongst granite crags, and you can still see some evidence of the 6000-year-old Neolithic Settlement that existed here. The twisted formations here are every bit as good as the Dartmoor Tors and it’s a place to explore as well as take time to sit and contemplate the world with a 360 degree view. Look for its Logan Stone, a huge granite wind sculptured boulder so weathered that it rocks if pushed!
From the Tor you join the Ridgeway - another former drover’s lane - with superb views off the hill crest as you follow this ancient trader’s lane into the charming village of Lanlivery. The Church is particularly impressive here with a tower over 100ft high specifically built so it could be easily spotted from sea as an inland marker for the Fowey Estuary. Lanlivery was the last overnight for the drovers and their sheep and cattle in days gone by. A last place of safety before they dropped into the wilder Fowey valley to herd the livestock on downriver to the ships in Fowey Harbour 8 miles distant. Close by and reached by a short path is the stone clad Holy Well of St Bryvyth, the first of two you will pass today.
You are now passing above the ancient Stannary Town of Lostwithiel. In the middle ages this was the capital of Cornwall and today is an option for an overnight stop with more facilities and exploring opportunities for those walking on the 3 day Saints Way break.
The Saints Way now passes through the remote sounding “no mans land” before dropping from the high ground into the fertile and rather secret valley of the River Fowey just south of Lostwithiel. At first, taking the now virtually disused old road to Fowey, you pass timeless hamlets at Milltown and Lantyan. Settlement here said to be on the site of The Palace of King Mark from the legend of Tristan and Iseult and Daphne du Maurier’s Castle Dor Novel uses locations all the way along this section to Fowey in its retelling of the ancient tragedy.
With stunning views across the Fowey creeks and inlets you continue on towards the village of Golant, passing by the Church of St Sampson before dropping to the river foreshore, a superbly preserved church with carved oak beams, some entertaining stained glass depictions, and the Holy Well of St Sampson by the church door, still used today for water for christenings.
Golant is a real find, a stunning and unusual harbour village full of brightly coloured little boats. The Fishermans Arms is a true waterside pub with views from its terrace over the river you won’t want to leave. Very cut off from the main routes, the village really does feel lost to the wider world, a hidden harbour 3 miles inland with no sign of the sea at all. Instead rolling wooded creeks line the river’s edge and the walk now climbs through the bracken and gorse with superb views of the glistening waters below you as you descend into a hidden creek at the Old Sawmill, until recently an ‘A List’ recording studio only accessible by boat from the water or on foot and now privately owned.