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​Section 4. Coverack to Helford Passage Area  - Cornwall Coast Path

Distance 13 miles -  Grade - Moderate  - What these grades mean.

Start today with a rare inland diversion around the Gabbro producing Dean Quarries. However, at Rosenithon Village this allows you to take a short detour to see The Giants Quoits standing stones. Returning to the path after Lowland Point you encounter the remains of  a second Century salt works at Trebarveth, where Sea water was boiled in clay troughs, leaving valuable salt which was packed into pots.

Look closely and you will still see pottery shards in the cliff edge. More climbs and descents lead to Porthoustock, with its gabbro pebble beach in a location that fished for pilchards by day and landed brandy by night. 218 barrels landed in just one night here in 1762!

At Porthallow you reach the official half way stage of the full 630 mile coast path and the chance to take refreshments at the excellent Five Pilchards Inn - an atmospheric place stuffed with its relics of Old Porthallow.

Overnight stops at the tiny village of Porthallow on the South West Coast Path

In the afternoon great panoramas start opening up across Falmouth Bay. Through Nelly’s Cove with its occasional orchids, a good spot for butterflies and on to the aptly named Snails Creep and the white rock Quartzite at Turwell Point. As you round Nare Head Crags with its MOD observation post, on a clear day you will see Rame Head this side of Plymouth - 70 odd miles and a good 8 days walking away for those following the Cornwall Coast Path.

Then it all starts to change as you enter Gillian Creek, with its unusual mix of ancient woodland and Monterey Pines. Shelducks, Egrets and Curlew appear along the mudflats and if it's close to low tide you can ford the creek on stepping stones or wade across the inlet.  If it’s too deep use the longer route round the head of the creek. Either way you end up at the isolated and idyllic little church at St Anthony in Meneage, “meneeg” meaning land of the monks, this being one of Cornwall’s earliest Christian sites.

Dennis Head from the Cornish Dinas (castle) has always been a strategic spot with it's Iron Age earthworks and Royalist fortification and yet another magnificent viewpoint. Finally today you now enter the Helford river area with its forested creeks and swampy inlets and pills, including of course Daphne du Mauriers Frenchman’s Creek which is just off the coast path here in an area that used to be renowned for being overrun with pirates.

In Helford Village don't miss the excellent cream teas at the Down by the Riverside Cafe - or if you do then I guess you should find your way into the Shipwrights Arms instead.   Refuelled, you cross over the Helford River to Helford Passage on a tiny ferry, summoning the ferryman by swinging open a semicircular black board to make a brightly coloured circle for him to spot. This crossing has operated here since medieval times, when traveller’s horses swam alongside the ferry. There is no accommodation on the other side of the river at Helford Passage which is sadly virtually all second homes and holiday lets. You therefore need to head around 1 mile inland to Mawnan Smith where there are good accommodation options for those walking the Lizard Coast Path.

Overnight stops in Mawnan Smith (Helford Passage Area) on the South West Coast Path

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