Saints Way Section 1 - Padstow to Lanivet - 15 miles
Grade - Mainly Easy with some moderate sections - what these grades mean
The Saints Way starts in the heart of Padstow at St Petroc’s Church, the original Celtic Monastery, the head of your Cornwall Coast to Coast Adventure. Having explored Padstow’s harbour, you leave the fishing and Rick Steins Restaurants behind you and climb quickly to ascend Dennis Hill, with its dramatic granite obelisk and rewarding views back over the golden Camel estuary and rugged north Cornwall coastline.
The Saints Way then picks its way along hidden inland creeks and pills, travelling along a sanding track linking old silver and lead mines, to the creek head hamlet of Little Petherick with its 14th century church. Climbing away from the estuary you now enter the gentle meadow and pasture of the Mellingey valley passing through ancient manor settlements such as Blable or the “Wolf Pit”.
A long steady climb follows at St Breock Down, the highest point on the Saints Way path at 700ft. Huge Bronze Age Tumuli and Barrows are flanked here by surreal giant whirring turbines at the St Breock wind farm - and at the summit you reach Men Gurta Longstone -Cornwall’s largest standing Menhir, also known as the ‘Stone of Waiting’.
Over the down the way drops into the delightfully hidden valley of Tregustick, moving onto ancient stony drovers lanes that cross the Ruthern River (or Red River named after its unnatural colour - a result of its tin mining past). For those walking the Saints Way over three days, your first overnight is here in the remote parish of Withiel after 10 miles – with a scattering of farmsteads a 14-century church and little else you already feel a long way from the hustle and bustle of Padstow.
For those walking onto Lanivet on the two Day Saints Way route, you continue through rich pastures and backlanes passing more well preserved Celtic crosses and stone clapper bridges on an easy final 5 mile wander to drop into the village of Lanivet. Lanivet, meaning ‘Pagan Sacred Grove’, has a couple of B&B’s the all-important pub, as well as a fish and chip restaurant and a shop. So, on this trail, it’s something of a hub of civilisation. The Church is well worth visiting with several inscribed stones and crosses - one carved with the slightly disturbing figure of man with a tail.